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Fretless...GUITAR? That's crazy talk, Batman!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Aaron Saunders, Oct 13, 2002.


  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Anyone ever defretted a guitar? I'm a bass player primarily, but I've been rather curious about defretting my own bass -- and other instruments, especially my brother's really old electric guitar.

    So, basically, what does a fretless guitar sound like?
     
  2. Dunno, but I'd imagine playing chords would be... challenging on one.
     
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    No harder than playing on a fretless bass...all you need is a good ear and a very good knowledge of your instrument.
     
  4. Rondo Music sells a fretless guitar. I think it's a Les Paul clone.
     
  5. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    The guy from ZZTop, Billy Gibbons I believe, had a 5 neck guitar made by Hammer. It had a 12 string, a 6 with a sustainer block, a 6 with the trem from a flying V, another 6 with a sustainer block, and on the bottom, a 6 string fretless.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Vigier builds a fretless guitar with a stainless steel board.

    Godin has something called the Glissentar; basically an acoustic-electric oud.

    Pat Metheny has a fretless classical built (I think) by Linda Manzer.

    You can make any guitar fretless with a slide.
     
  7. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Sounds more like Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick.

    Robert Fripp has used a fretless guitar with King Crimson.

    And, I have an 8 string fretless that I can play just the octave strings on. Sounds like a fretless guitar, and it's a lot of fun. Sounds cool, to boot.
     
  8. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    That, I severely doubt. I've never played a fretless guitar, but I do play the guitar, and I do play fretless bass. The strings are shorter on a guitar, and thus the frets are narrower, which makes playing in tune much harder (as you'll know if you've ever played above the 12th fret on a fretless bass). Playing chords of 2 or 3 notes on a fretless bass is tricky enough to do in tune, but stopping 4, 5 or 6 strings at once on a fretless guitar - coupled with the increased need for accuracy...? I doubt it's no harder than playing fretless bass.
     
  9. Actually, it's Adrian Belew who used one. Check "Man with an Open Heart," from Three of a Perfect Pair.

    Steve Vai's infamous tripleneck JEM has a fretless 6-string neck, as well as a 12-string and a 7-string with a Floyd.
     
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I have no problem playing 3, or 4 note chords above the 12th fret on a fretless bass. And, I know violin players who can competently play 4 note chords on a violin, which has an even shorter scale than a guitar.

    You'd be amazed at what is possible with the time and dedication to practice. Difficulty is relative.

    And, of course, Peter, you are correct. It was Adrain Belew. I bow to your smugness.
     
  11. pmkelly

    pmkelly

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    here you go, from steve vai's website...

    [​IMG]



    "This Ripley guitar features a fretless fingerboard, a single humbucker in the bridge position, and a Floyd Rose tremolo system. It is unfinished and very lightweight. This guitar remains in Steve's studio most of the time."

    click here for the website...

    P@
     
  12. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Indeed, you are right, difficulty is relative (as with all things), and I realise these things are possible with time, dedication and practice! But I still reckon fretless guitar would be harder than fretless bass to learn! I didn't say fretless guitar was exremely hard or insurmountable, just harder than fretless bass! As far as accuracy goes that is. I can believe that you have no problem playing 3 or 4 note chords above the 12th on a fretless - but I bet it took some practice! Like you say difficulty is relative, and what violinists do is amazing! (good ones that is!).
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Here's that Vigier fretless guitar:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Lap steel immediately comes to mind....