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Fretless Guitar


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Well you'll need a fretless guitar for one, and I've never seen any that aren't extremely pricey. Fretless guitars are more rare than fretless basses, and I've seen some guys play those. I've also never ever noticed anyone who wasn't a really knowledgeable guitar player notice that the sound they were listening to or watching is produced by a fretless instrument, and that alone makes me think it's kind of a gimmick. Like someone trying to find an "identity" so they're looking for the most unconventional thing they can find in order to try and stand out in some way.


The learning curve would be next to nothing for an average guitarist even without frets or fret markers. Like playing an upright bass, looks alot more difficult than it really is. Sonically, the only real difference I've noticed is that it makes sliding a little more "fluid."

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tcrberg1 asked:

"What do you think would the most efficient way to start playing fretless???"


And whilst it is tempting to go with Ian's pricelss answer - get a fretlees guitar - the first thing you need to do is play, play and play some more until you know exactly where your fingers go without thinking - kind of like driving a car. So I would guess playing scales and tunes you know inside out would be the best start.


Remember how hard it was playing stuff on that first guitar you ever had - WITH frets.


Take the frets away and imagine it all over again. Steep learning curve, but interesting reslts.


Good luck tcrberg1 - and post sound clips when you get going too.....

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Hmmm... Very interesting. Fretless basses sound completely different from fretted basses.... Its a very distinct sound. You can tell immediately if its a fretless bass. Most associated with the fretless bass sound was the great Jaco Pastorius.




I don't think I have ever heard a fretless 6 string guitar or maybe I have and didn't know it... If anyone can post a clip of one that would be cool...

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The only person I've ever seen (on video) play a fretless guitar was Chet Atkins.




Of course Chet makes it look easy, but I would think it would be a very hard thing to master. Unlike the low tones of a fretless bass, the mid-frequencies of a guitar would require near perfect finger placement to sound like anything except farting geese.


The other thing is that I would assume that it would be a single note only instrument. I can't imagine trying to play chords on one. Although a nice gimmick, a fretless guitar would seem to have very limited application possibilities.

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Very different style and skill set to sound in tune with others takes skill much like a Violinist or other string players. That said I only have a single fretless a Godin Glissentar which at least to me has a very strong Eastern sound (think Oud or kind of Sitar sounding). At least you don't need to worry about fret Buzz.:)


it's a lot of fun to play and with guitar scale and tuning a lot easier to play then many Eastern instruments I drag it out when I'm in the mood for classic Seals and Crofts type sounds



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Godin Fretless 11 string like a Oud only one low E



If youve never looked at Godin you should try one very nice guitars and wide assortment of styles - I currently have


Glissentar 11 string fretless

A4 Bass

A6 Nylon string electric style neck wit Roland 13 pin synth out

XTSA electric (strat Style HSH layout)

A8 Mandolin

Multiac Jazz hollowbody

5th Ave. Archtop (shipped yesterday)

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