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  1. #1

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    A few years ago, I traded one of my solid body electric guitars (I had two identical guitars with different colors and different production years) with a Godin Glissentar- a fretless instrument with a 25.5" (648 mm) scale length originally intended for 11 nylon strings (one low E and duplex strings of A, D, G, B, E). I strung it with six nylon strings like a classical guitar. I attached a Peterson tuner to the headstock. I try to fret notes to correct pitch/frequency and produce it by singing and try to find octaves, fifths and other more challenging intervals with my eyes closed. Also try to play melodies accurately (chords are extremely difficult).

    If you think this is a worthwhile exercise, you can remove the frets off a cheap guitar or swap the bolt-on neck with a fretless one you can get from Warmoth or USA Custom Guitars.

    Has anybody else tried this ? Surely those who double (or dabble) on upright double bass know of the challenges and rewards of this approach.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I've played slide guitar for over 40 years, it has similar demands.

  4. #3
    How did that experience translate into other instruments, I believe you played tuba too :-) I think even for people who have perfect pitch fretless instruments are difficult.

  5. #4

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    once you open up your ears to more microtonal music..it becomes more second nature...not to just approach it from a western "jazz" outlook...but worldly... north indian classical or middle eastern oud, gimbri and beyond...there's lots of modern players meshing the two in a really smart way these days...listening to that kind of music and getting your brain configured to those kind of intervals and harmonies is the the first step..otherwise a glissentar, that you are just trying to translate american jazz onto is not really going to work


    some great slide players incorporate the whole spectrum of notes into their playing...the great dave tronzo, greg leisz and derek trucks to name but 3 of the more popular...most famously, george harrison was even a precursor...

    the mind leads the fingers...think outside the box..and the ear & digits will follow


    cheers

  6. #5

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    I love listening to Perdesiz style playing !! - Cenk Erdogan is one of my favourite players - he has some tutorials on the style available.


    and

    and


    Erkan Ogur is one of the masters for many younger players.

    You can purchase small removable fret marker dots to place along the neck to act as an aid to get you going.

    Will

  7. #6

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    We're dealing with the fretboard accuracy that other string players take for granted as a normal part of their technique. Violin must be tough because of the small scale of the instrument. I've also spent time on a fretless 5 string banjo, and it's a challenge to finger chords with precision, but ear and technique prevail.

  8. #7

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    I play cello. A few thoughts/suggestions:

    Cultivate moving with physical confidence even when an intonation success rate
    is a low percentage event. Practice with drones or pedal tones to provide an aural measuring stick. Practice with your eyes closed. Visualize the sound and
    location of the target note(s). I found practicing interval double stops
    immensely helpful, building a foundation for melodic and chordal playing.
    Record yourself often. Explore in detail the continuum of when an interval
    is not in tune, in tune and more in tune. Humbly accept the lifetime quest that
    is good intonation.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    ... I believe you played tuba too :-)
    And how! Here he is, in the middle of his blistering solo on "Feelings".

  10. #9

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    Well, some twenty years ago I was granted a Churchill Fellowship (no need to bow!) to study music somewhere in the world, but it must be music I knew nothing about. I chose Turkish classical music, with its 53 subdivisions of the octave, and unlike Indian music it has no drone. I went to Istanbul, and was allowed to observe the State Orchestra rehearse most days for up coming concerts. This was a tremendous privilege. I also got oud lessons from Necati Celik, arguably the greatest living proponent of the Turkish oud. I also saw Erkan Ogur perform in a bar to about thirty people, and be introduced to him. It was quite a trip! and lasted for three months.

    The orchestra consisted of about fifteen musicians, each a different instrument, and six singers. Everyone had exactly the same score, which they each interpreted in their own way. There was a Musical Director, who was extremely strict in having everyone play and sing the correct intervals. I recall him screaming at one singer, throwing her out of the rehearsal room. These were intense rehearsals!

    When first attended I couldn't hear the subtleties that they obviously did. Sure, it sounded in places a bit odd to my ears, a bit "oriental", but after a couple of months I was beginning to tune in. I also had an oud to practise on. I got deeply into it over a short period of intense study, so much so that when I got home after three months, I couldn't tune my guitar!

    So, why didn't I continue down this route? I could have continued a study of Turkish music, and/or incorporated some of my experience into music I was already playing. For the former I felt the music was so bound up in the sounds of the language I was hearing, the articulation and phrasing, I just found it too alien, no matter how beautiful it was, or how moved I was - it would require a lifetime of devotion. As for the latter, I was recording and touring playing 17th Scottish lute music, which with its hexatonic melodies was a world away from anything I heard in Istanbul, and it never felt right whenever I tried to find common ground.

    But overall my study opened my ears to the expressive qualities of microtones, and odd time signatures such as 15/16 or 24/8.

    So, with humour I warn you away from micro intervals, as there will come a day when you can't understand why you can no longer tune your guitar!

  11. #10

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    I played trombone in the army which is the same theing approximately, and I also a big fan of early transverse flutes as a hobbiest (baroque, renaissance, medieval) they are very demanding about intonation (you can flex almost more than 1/4 in most notes).

    This is enough for me to excercise good intonation)))

    But my wife played cello and viols da gamba (which is fretted) and when I tried cello I found it is more fun for me to play fretless by ear...

    I have to try fretless guitar - it sounds iteresting... But I guess that guitar should be very well made to soud well fretless.
    (
    I do not like that oriental colour that comes in... but probably it depends on the player's choices more?)

  12. #11

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    I attached a Peterson tuner to the headstock.
    I would not use tuner... I know a guy who teaches cello buy puttin a tuner in fron of a student -- I think it is a big mistake...
    Only ears and good hearing of context make sense here.

  13. #12

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    I had a Godin fretless guitar for many years, I really liked it, but ultimately just didn't have enough time to explore the instrument the way I wanted. I used it a lot for singing and playing against a drone (the guitar is double coursed except for the lowest string)

    couple practical notes:
    - You want a guitar with really good sustain, as quick attack/decay will mask intonation problems. the double strings helped a lot. My main instrument is double bass, and us bassists practice with a bow for intonation stuff.
    - chords are really hard to play in tune
    - don't feel bad about using markers, it's not cheating. Some of the best classical bassists in the world (Edgar Meyer, Lauren Pierce) use markers.

    I personally find guitar (and also electric bass) much harder to play reliably in tune than acoustic bass. The portion of the neck on a double bass that is "open space" is actually way shorter than an equivalent electric bass. Classical bassists practice shifting exercises and staying engaged with the string in a way that I've never really seen guitar taught.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    - don't feel bad about using markers, it's not cheating. Some of the best classical bassists in the world (Edgar Meyer, Lauren Pierce) use markers.

    I personally find guitar (and also electric bass) much harder to play reliably in tune than acoustic bass. The portion of the neck on a double bass that is "open space" is actually way shorter than an equivalent electric bass. Classical bassists practice shifting exercises and staying engaged with the string in a way that I've never really seen guitar taught.
    I also thought about different physiology and psychology of playing on cello/upright bass and guitar.
    They hold the instrument vertically and there technique and teaching method are more connected with sensual 'searching' for a tone... and also they do not have to play so many big chords in consequences.
    Guitarists often think of the fretboard in the way that is more similar to that of a keyboardist

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Well, some twenty years ago I was granted a Churchill Fellowship (no need to bow!) to study music somewhere in the world, but it must be music I knew nothing about. I chose Turkish classical music, with its 53 subdivisions of the octave, and unlike Indian music it has no drone. I went to Istanbul, and was allowed to observe the State Orchestra rehearse most days for up coming concerts. This was a tremendous privilege. I also got oud lessons from Necati Celik, arguably the greatest living proponent of the Turkish oud. I also saw Erkan Ogur perform in a bar to about thirty people, and be introduced to him. It was quite a trip! and lasted for three months.

    The orchestra consisted of about fifteen musicians, each a different instrument, and six singers. Everyone had exactly the same score, which they each interpreted in their own way. There was a Musical Director, who was extremely strict in having everyone play and sing the correct intervals. I recall him screaming at one singer, throwing her out of the rehearsal room. These were intense rehearsals!

    When first attended I couldn't hear the subtleties that they obviously did. Sure, it sounded in places a bit odd to my ears, a bit "oriental", but after a couple of months I was beginning to tune in. I also had an oud to practise on. I got deeply into it over a short period of intense study, so much so that when I got home after three months, I couldn't tune my guitar!

    So, why didn't I continue down this route? I could have continued a study of Turkish music, and/or incorporated some of my experience into music I was already playing. For the former I felt the music was so bound up in the sounds of the language I was hearing, the articulation and phrasing, I just found it too alien, no matter how beautiful it was, or how moved I was - it would require a lifetime of devotion. As for the latter, I was recording and touring playing 17th Scottish lute music, which with its hexatonic melodies was a world away from anything I heard in Istanbul, and it never felt right whenever I tried to find common ground.

    But overall my study opened my ears to the expressive qualities of microtones, and odd time signatures such as 15/16 or 24/8.

    So, with humour I warn you away from micro intervals, as there will come a day when you can't understand why you can no longer tune your guitar!
    Great story ! I actually grew up surrounded mostly with eastern music mixed in with rock and blues, jazz came later ! Right now I am using the fretless strictly for pitch training for my ear. I agree that it is another lifetime going into microtonal music.

  16. #15

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    Fretless midi guitar (well 1/2 of his double neck), lots of microtonal and poly rhythmic techniques influenced by Balkan and Indian music:


  17. #16

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    lap steel is pretty ideal for this. More sustain I would imagine and it's made for playing like this (I would imagine it's difficult to play in tune chords on a fretless guitar but that's how a lapsteel is set up. Plus they are particularly cheap and have potential for playing jazz (western swing is pretty much cowboy jazz, check out Joaquin Murphy solos). If you want a nice cheap one, I like the Melberts which are kind of plain looking but pro quality instruments.

    My favorite book on music is called A Harmonic Experience and it walks you through how the overtone series works, how that leads to different temperaments and most importantly how to sing them against a drone. I have a long commute and lately I've been playing a C and G drone and then singing chromatic major triads against that (Db Major, D major, etc). I can only do that because of that book and also doing some indian classical singing.

    Favorite drone app is Total Energy (TE) Tuner, which is just amazingly useful. You can program equal or just temperment, and you can make the drone as many notes as you want. Also itablapro which is only on IOS. It is really popular with Indian musicians but super useful. I like TE tuner a lot but Itabla pro has a great "mood".

  18. #17

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    well if we speak about lap-steel for the purpose of ear-training - a monochord will be enough... and it was used for these purposes for hudreds of years of years

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by medblues

    Has anybody else tried this ? Surely those who double (or dabble) on upright double bass know of the challenges and rewards of this approach.
    I play a 7 string fretless archtop. It's changed the way I play fretted in a number of very definite ways.
    First, I play triads a lot more, and not just tertiary harmony triads but three note chords that include seconds and fourths and wider, but in three note combinations. My fingers can't realistically hold down more than three notes without disastrous intonation issues.
    I find myself going up and down the neck in a more linear way, as opposed to the across the neck playing fretted playing lends itself so easily to. In the fretted realm, this has helped me get a more lyrical legato aspect of my playing.
    I will say that I took the dots out of the side of my neck and I re-dotted the guitar on the fret location-where the actual fret is. For a fretless, this makes a lot more sense.
    It's also helped me play with better left hand technique. There's a clean and expressive way of playing that comes from being really mindful of using fingertips of the left hand. This is something stressed when playing classical guitar, not so much playing jazz on a steel guitar where just making the chord cleanly especially with wider chord stretches is the priority. But playing fretless has made me play cleaner on the fretted guitar.
    Playing fretless has also coincided with playing with a more upright position. I play sitting and I use a guitar support permanently affixed to my guitar. This makes for a greater reach for chordal and linear work.
    It's also changed the way I phrase. Long notes are really not possible for me on the fretless. My phrasing has more linear support and exposition to it when I'm playing fretless. This has led to the challenge of being melodic in my harmonic fills while playing fretted.
    So those are a few takeaways from my feeble and humble forays into the fretless realm.
    D

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    well if we speak about lap-steel for the purpose of ear-training - a monochord will be enough... and it was used for these purposes for hudreds of years of years
    Cool. Who's your favorite swinging monochord player?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by sully75
    Cool. Who's your favorite swinging monochord player?
    Boethius of course!
    Attached Images Attached Images Ear training with a fretless guitar-boethius-jpeg 

  22. #21

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    I play a 7 string fretless archtop. It's changed the way I play fretted in a number of very definite ways.
    mmmm.... what kind of guitar is it? It seems to combine features I wanna try...

    Could you share more please?

    Is it modified? Or was it built like that?

  23. #22

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    I think it makes sense to share my lute experience.. I play early lutes a lot and very intensivel.

    they have moveable gut frets... when I got into mean-tone intonation it was never-ending story ... a bit crazy...

    It is both fun and crazy to find a compromize on a fretted instrument (on keyboard you can at least tune a single key separately!).

    When I changed frets (once in 1-2 months) - I tried to play fretless but the problem is early lutes are too light and the tension is too low and they do not sound at all (oud for example has usually much higher action and tension) also they have wooden frets on the top that are fixed and they buzz))))

    So it was almost impossible because the pitch was too obscure.. bows definitely help a lot to hear correct pitch because the sound is clearly pronounced and sustained.
    When the sound decays - and when the instrument has complex sound with lots of harmonics - the pitch become illusive... I experience it on long neck basses on archlute - you play and the pitch floats a bit.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Boethius of course!
    That cat could really play, man! Far out.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by sully75
    That cat could really play, man! Far out.
    I like how he outlines the chord.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    I like how he outlines the chord.
    He could play more with one 1/4" goat gut string a large piece of bone than most dinguses can play on an 8 string stuper 400.

  27. #26

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    You could always make yourself a diddley-bow (once you’ve finished the bottle of whisky):


  28. #27

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    I am thinking about getting a cheap used acoustics - there are plenty of them around.. and just take out the frets myself - if it works more or less I will have the slots filled in..
    If I like it - I will think about decent instrument...

    I understand that electric guitar may help to cover sustain and tonal issue but still i wasnt to try with acoustic...

    I see that there are lots of records on classical and nylons...

    I can play both nylons and steel string guitars... is there any advantage of nylons for fretless playing?

    And another video (also with oriental colour which I am not really after but very nice playing)... the guitar seems to be very simple classical... in later videos he alread has better quality instrument with specially made (fret?)board



    This is another later record, and more conventional musically..

    He is a wonderful player.. I only miss some dynamics range in his playing...

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I am thinking about getting a cheap used acoustics - there are plenty of them around.. and just take out the frets myself
    Would you report the results, please? I'd like to do that too if it works. I regret letting you do the speculative spending, but my own budget won't allow it at the moment. And I don't intend to make oriental sounds either, so if that's inevitable on a fretless guitar I'd like to know it in advance.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zina
    Would you report the results, please? I'd like to do that too if it works. I regret letting you do the speculative spending, but my own budget won't allow it at the moment. And I don't intend to make oriental sounds either, so if that's inevitable on a fretless guitar I'd like to know it in advance.
    Sure. As I see there is a bunch of used cheap guitars in my area below usd40.. It just takes some time to choose something playable.

    the best advantage of trying the cheap one is that the most problematic contructional issue of cheap guitar is usually neck and frets .. if you make it fretless you het ways from thois problem... even neck twist can adjusted by polishing the fretboard in that case...

    I am sure you can avoid playing 'oriental' -- violinist do not all play oriental music))) ---
    I believe not all those that play it on youtube do it in the real way... some seem just to mimick microtonal soundscape becasue it is just easier than playing in tune with good intonation..
    Real oriental music is serious semantical system of modes and requires good skills and knowledge.

    This guy really tries well to do something conventional... I like it.. but ocasionally I hear that he loses control over intonation...


  31. #30

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    I came across cheap steel 7-string Martinez with cutway - used forabout 80dollars.

    Never came across it? Anyone has experience with it?
    I always wanted to try 7 strings too.. could be a could idea to combine it.

    The location is not very convinient for me to go to try...
    Attached Images Attached Images Ear training with a fretless guitar-faw819m-jpg 

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I am sure you can avoid playing 'oriental' -- violinist do not all play oriental music)))
    True, but I was imagining the difficulty of making clean chords. I'd like to shift whole chords; similar to slide guitar, but more precise/local, without the rattle, and without losing the use of my auricular.

    I believe not all those that play it on youtube do it in the real way... some seem just to mimick microtonal soundscape becasue it is just easier than playing in tune with good intonation..
    Yes!

    Real oriental music is serious semantical system of modes and requires good skills and knowledge.
    That's right as well. I've a record by Oum Khalsoum, and only realised much later the intricacies and discipline involved for the orchestra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I came across cheap steel 7-string Martinez with cutway - used forabout 80dollars. Never came across it? Anyone has experience with it? I always wanted to try 7 strings too.. could be a could idea to combine it. The location is not very convinient for me to go to try...
    No, I've never seen a 7-string, and have access to few musicshops. I read that the russian guitar has 7, and asked someone to look for a cheap used one over the summer vacation. She did, but it got stolen by gypsies on the way back. I hope that 7th string stumped them!

    Btw, is the 7th string used for drones, or can it be used in chords?

  33. #32

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    No, I've never seen a 7-string, and have access to few musicshops. I read that the russian guitar has 7, and asked someone to look for a cheap used one over the summer vacation. She did, but it got stolen by gypsies on the way back. I hope that 7th string stumped them!

    Btw, is the 7th string used for drones, or can it be used in chords?
    Well... traditional Russian guitar is 7 strings with open tuning (G major chord with D in the bass) and traditional construction has neck on bolt that you can take off or adjust neck angle.

    No, low 7th is not drone... it is chordal.
    In 19th century there was a lot of classical music composed for this guitar in Russia.

    Also thumb over neck was regular technique for fretting 7th string

    Here it was still popular in 60s - 70s as 'home instument' for comping songs (not Western music and not traditional Russian music... but some kind of romances and also very popular 'bards' movement, singing poets... something like American folk-rock songowriters but in different style).

    When I was a kid the 7strings were already often tuned as 6 string to play Western music easily...

    Today there are plenty of Soviet period 7th strings here for sale that you can get for 20-30 dollars often in decent condition... the biggest problem would be the quality.
    Soviets could not make decent instruments, the necks are extremely thick, the tops can be solid but very thick too. The best you can do with these low-end guitars is comping in traditional gypsy or Russian romance styles.

    This Martinez is definitely not Russian type of 7-string.
    My idea was actually to try two options: 1) is standard tuning with low A on 7th string (e.g. like Pizzarellis do),
    2) one of my guitars has totally alternative (and very weird for others) tuning which combines some ideas of tuning I have from lutes with half-Nashville tuning... but I feel like I need an extra bass string in that tuning, and also probably

    I should say while I keep playing standard 6sting all the time and developing ideas and all.. I like experimenting even if it does not succed I always feel like it affects my approach to traditional guitar.

    Here is our Rob playing one... but traditional Russian guitars are mostly steel stings!

    And Doff guitars are terrible mostly...
    they use solid materials and make very low price (cheaper than laminated Chinese guitars sometimes) but the quality is mostly scary, I tried a quite a few. I do not why they cannot make it properly.
    (If Rob got one good he is really lucky).

    There is another small company in St.Petersburg - GMD - those are real instruments (but the price is also much higher).


  34. #33

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    I found two more examples of relatively conventional music on fretless guitar.. a bit too pop to my taste but still it shows conventional harmony and intonations

    This one is on converted classical - note it is expensive model that was concerted by professional luthier (I guess that fretboard was changed or coverd with extra plate.)
    I think this record shows more realistic sounds (no compressors probably etc)... trebles are a bit out of balance.
    On the other hand I can see that the player (hower tasteful and skilful he is) is not really a classical guy and probably one could get more sound out of this guitar with a different picking technique

    Fretless classical guitar acoustic nylon string - YouTube


    And here is AFG fretless (it is said to be made fretless) - and steel string....
    I hear something like steels are weaker on fretless than nylons... (I mean acoustic guitars)...
    Nylons have bigger sound and more controlable and clearly pronounced intonation.


    But I hear here also that basses go over trebles... again could be the player too... also he seems to play melody on bass stringsuse trebles mostly as doubling melody and harmonic notes so that could be the reason the trebles are in the background (or maybe the chice of arrangent was made because of weaker trebles)


  35. #34

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    I think even for people who have perfect pitch fretless instruments are difficult.
    perfect pitch can make even more problems in that case actually.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I am thinking about getting a cheap used acoustics - there are plenty of them around.. and just take out the frets myself - if it works more or less I will have the slots filled in..
    .
    Jaco did this

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Jaco did this
    I know... Jaco is one of those who immidiately captured my attention once I was told about him - not becaus eif his bass - but I think is one of the most fresh and brilliant musician in jazz ... his records as a leader with the band are pure joy.

    And yes I know that story... I think Fender issues cutoms bass that looks like it had frets that were taken away...

    But! Jaco played electric long-scale bass range (thick strings) instrument...
    that trick may not work as well on acoustic guitar

  38. #37

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    I think it will work. Good luck.

  39. #38

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    In case someone wants to try at least the approximation of how it will sound on particular guitar.. yesterday I put thin ruler under the strings and fixed it with a capo (you can do it even wihout a capo...).
    Of course it gives buzz somewhere and it's not the same thing as polished fredboard... but on many notes you can hear clear tone well and the sustain that would supposedly be quite close to what you will have on converted guitar.

    This concerns only tone and sustain - you cannot check playability this way of course.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    <7-string information>
    Thanks; that was helpful. I'd like the 7th to be a bass string as well. I'm experimenting with 5 different open tunings, all with low 6ths, and I'm quickly getting a taste for all of them; they sound great for finger-style, whether acoustically or mixed with light amplification.

    This one is on converted classical - note it is expensive model that was concerted by professional luthier (I guess that fretboard was changed or coverd with extra plate.)
    I think this record shows more realistic sounds (no compressors probably etc)... trebles are a bit out of balance.
    On the other hand I can see that the player (hower tasteful and skilful he is) is not really a classical guy and probably one could get more sound out of this guitar with a different picking technique

    Fretless classical guitar acoustic nylon string - YouTube
    I like that a lot.

    I just saw your trick with the ruler; clever. I'll wait till after the holidays and look for a cheap, but decent classical guitar. And a pair of pliers...

  41. #40

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    as per jaco..he in no way invented the electric fretless bass..he just wanted that sound and went about a way to achieve it with the bass that he owned...he pulled the frets and filled them (with wood filler if i recall)...then used marine (boat) epoxy (he was a florida boating kid) to get a super hard durable finish


    one of the great unitar..single string "guitar" 45's..on the specialty (little richard) label no less!



    b side was unitar instro!




    cheers

  42. #41

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    Ear training with a fretless guitar-20181220_231759-jpg

    this is BEFORE

    I did that...

    After trying a few cheap used acoustics and classicla guitar.. I came to the point I do not want to buy this garbage to try...
    If I do not like it it will be just a waste of money - and the cheapest playable was about 60 dollars...
    If I like the result it will be anyways a waste of money because I would want a better soundng guitar to play then.

    The problem with acoustics is that I am sure it should be really good to sound well fretless. If it sounds dead with frets it will hardly be any better without them.

    With electric guitar you can cover it with a bit of reverb and delay (and I have Freeze by the way - could be interesting to try it with fretless)

    I tried to search for used electrics but nothing interesting came up.

    And then suddenly I realized what to do... I have a heavily modified Aria Sinsolnido (you can seeon the pic (before): there is a real pickup installed, tunomatic, grover tuners)... it is very comfortable to play ... the most comfortable freme guitar i ever tried.
    convinient travel guitar which in such a setup can be also used for gigging...
    But mostly I only use it for travels anyway.
    Wherever possible I prefer to play hollow-body guitars.

    I had some issues with frets there - they could be solved with polishing - not critical..

    I decided: if I go fretless this guitar suits it better than anything... it looks great fretless imho.
    And if I do not like it -- I have a friend luthier who can put new frets for not too much money..

    I took the frets off for about 20 minitues using poker-work tool of my son to heat it.
    I did it almost clean - some scratches which I polished easily after that.
    The fretboard turned out to be much lighter by the way... I thought it was ebony, but it seems rosewood.. which is fine too.

    I will adjust action at the bridge and the nut tonight ... it is too high for fretless.

    I did not fill in the slots so far... I will see how it goes and fill it a bit later (byt the way I think it is important --- taking off the frets weekens the neck)

    and also I think I will have to adjust pickup position.

    I like the effect.. yes there is not sustain especially on trebles but I do not expect it to be there actually.

    I play early lutes (baroque and renaisance) and in general lutes do not have sustaine, they have echoing sympathetic resonance... on electric guitar you can cover it with reverb and maybe a bit of delay.

    It turns the instrument in almost percussive one.

    I noodle now without looking at the fretboard - try to search pitch by ear only... my idea that markings are not the good idea - at least at the begining and for my purposes...
    I already see that technique should be different - some fingering do not work (like finger unde finger on the same 'fret' - as the fret does not correct it, you should be very precise).

    on the other hand my idea is not oriental stuff and glissandos but rather meantone temperaments that I tried to achieve on lutes with moveable frets.

    I really enjoy and option to temper intervals the way I want - that is why I think markings are not good at the beginning... I want it all to be ears-- not eyes..

    Byt the way when I playied a bit all in close postion and the plucked an open string I found out that I went up a bit)))
    Next time I was more correct - and I try to start with open string to have a reference (or to play it in couterpoint)...
    It reminded me as my friend - a great violinists - used to say: you do not need to tune violin at all)))

    I will adjust the instrument and play a bit an dwill record just some noodling at least to demostrate it in a day or two...

  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    mmmm.... what kind of guitar is it? It seems to combine features I wanna try...

    Could you share more please?

    Is it modified? Or was it built like that?
    Hi Jonah
    I have 2 actually. One was built by the Yunzhi people while Mr. Wu worked for them. It's a thin line single cutaway with a floating pickup. It was originally fretted but I took the frets out, leveled the fingerboard after filling the fret grooves with epoxy. (relax the neck until it's absolutely straight and fill the fingerboard. Level with a luthier's straight edge, then keep the neck as close to straight as possible once restrung. I use LaBella roller wound strings.
    The other one is an Ibanez AX7-521. Same treatment, pulled frets, filled, etc. If you can find the Korean version, they're great too, and in the $300 range. There's a Chinese version too, good too, and they used to be widely available for $100. Discontinued.
    The solid body is actually easier to use. One of the most salient limitations of fretless is a damped (short) sustain. The notes die out quickly. Solid bodies are better in this respect.

    Good luck
    D

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone Deaf Tony
    Hi Jonah
    I have 2 actually. One was built by the Yunzhi people while Mr. Wu worked for them. It's a thin line single cutaway with a floating pickup. It was originally fretted but I took the frets out, leveled the fingerboard after filling the fret grooves with epoxy. (relax the neck until it's absolutely straight and fill the fingerboard. Level with a luthier's straight edge, then keep the neck as close to straight as possible once restrung. I use LaBella roller wound strings.
    The other one is an . Same treatment, pulled frets, filled, etc. If you can find the Korean version, they're great too, and in the $300 range. There's a Chinese version too, good too, and they used to be widely available for $100. Discontinued.
    The solid body is actually easier to use. One of the most salient limitations of fretless is a damped (short) sustain. The notes die out quickly. Solid bodies are better in this respect.

    Good luck
    D
    Thank you!

    Could you say please if you used any laquer to finish the board or you just filled in the slots and sanded it?

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Thank you!

    Could you say please if you used any laquer to finish the board or you just filled in the slots and sanded it?
    I leveled it, then sanded it to a very fine grit, like 2000. This puts a very smooth almost reflective surface on the dark woods. Having access to luthier's radiused sanding block is really helpful, but not absolutely necessary. A long straight block of wood used as a sanding block works. At this stage, I played it a while, taking the action down to find any spots that weren't really smooth (glitches where notes were'nt clear) and to these spots I took a cabinet scraper and gently evened them out.
    When it was all done for a critically low string height, I'd raise the action to a height that is musical. As far as finishing, no lacquer. I wanted to avoid any surface build up that would doubtlessly be cut through with the string on wood relationship of a fretless fingerboard. I do however use a coat of Danish Oil, applied, dried, wiped off with a cloth, and that protects the fingerboard. I reapply when needed, and I do keep a mindful watch for wear because, as you can imagine, it will tend to wear where it's used a lot. In that case, I just repeat the above process.
    It might be easier on fingerboard wear to use flat wound strings, but that's not the sound I want so I can't speak to the idiocyncracies of steel wrap on wood.

    D

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone Deaf Tony
    I leveled it, then sanded it to a very fine grit, like 2000. This puts a very smooth almost reflective surface on the dark woods. Having access to luthier's radiused sanding block is really helpful, but not absolutely necessary. A long straight block of wood used as a sanding block works. At this stage, I played it a while, taking the action down to find any spots that weren't really smooth (glitches where notes were'nt clear) and to these spots I took a cabinet scraper and gently evened them out.
    When it was all done for a critically low string height, I'd raise the action to a height that is musical. As far as finishing, no lacquer. I wanted to avoid any surface build up that would doubtlessly be cut through with the string on wood relationship of a fretless fingerboard. I do however use a coat of Danish Oil, applied, dried, wiped off with a cloth, and that protects the fingerboard. I reapply when needed, and I do keep a mindful watch for wear because, as you can imagine, it will tend to wear where it's used a lot. In that case, I just repeat the above process.
    It might be easier on fingerboard wear to use flat wound strings, but that's not the sound I want so I can't speak to the idiocyncracies of steel wrap on wood.

    D
    Thank you,

    I have rosewood board. I levelled it a bit and left slots unfilled for a few days just check how it will work. I think tomorrow I will unstring it and clean the slots again and fill it with epoxy and after it is dried out do all the levelling and sending as you describe.

    thankk you again

  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Thank you,

    I have rosewood board. I levelled it a bit and left slots unfilled for a few days just check how it will work. I think tomorrow I will unstring it and clean the slots again and fill it with epoxy and after it is dried out do all the levelling and sending as you describe.

    thankk you again
    Don't forget to slack the truss rod off and return the neck relief to zero before you do any filling. That will assure you've got the exact amount of epoxy you need to fill precicely. It's gonna look like a mess. Be patient. As soon as it starts setting up, I remove as much extra as possible, even starting the leveling process while the epoxy is pliable. Keep a razor nearby, the epoxy doesn't like to get down into a tight space. Apply it reasonably, work it in, when it's starting to set up and the fret spaces are well set, remove as much excess as you can, sanding block and paper will do. If you don't do that at this point, you're making a lot more work for yourself, and too, because epoxy is harder than wood, if you try to level large deposits of cured epoxy on a wood fingerboard, you'll tend to pit the wood before the epoxy even cares. Some handy tips. Good luck. Tell us how it comes out.
    It's worth it!
    D

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Thank you!

    I finished filling in the slots and polishing... it all went very smooth. First it looked ugly I used a few different sanding papers and finally came to the surface almost as smooth as glass.
    Now I have to adjust action and height of pickup, on this guitar it turned out to be a bit tricky as it had been customized and it was never expected to be played with such an action.

    But I know the way how to do it, we will have long National holidays at the beginning of January - I think I will end it and play into it a bit and then make some recording.

  49. #48

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    Just wanted to thank WillMbCdn5 for allowing me to discover Cenk Erdogan. Absolute master.

  50. #49

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    Here he is playing one of his compositions on a fretted Graciliano Perez instrument, then a homage to Paco on unfretted. Both beautiful and powerful.