Fretless electric guitar…

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby ricbleu » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:22 am

Ah, a perfectionist. I like it. :D Peace.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:06 pm

Thanks!

I did the frets today:
Image

The binding made the job somewhat longer:
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Clifford D » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:10 am

I'm a big fan oof fretless, I made one out of an inexpensive Ibanez electric.
I filled the fret slots with a green epoxy. It looks nice but I want the fret board mre flat.

The way I'm going to flatten the neck is basically glue on a 16th inch piece of hard plastic glued with
Clamps that will eliminate any curve, once the piece is glued into place it will be flat.
I haven't done this yet, I got the custom cut plastic at the custom plastic shop but at the last moment I'm thinking a piece of
sheet metal like in housing heater systems. I think the metal would sound better.

The problem I have is sustain, a metal or hard plasic surface will allow vibrating better.
Using my fingernail is good for beefier tone and sustain n wood, But I saw Ed DeGenero
Using metal and it was a big difference.

Like I said sustain is my issue so with the wood fretless neck I use an effect. Either a n od or better yet a.
Mutron, the auto wah effect works great with the fretless.


Steve Kimock is one of my favoritge fretless player. Awesome.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby ricbleu » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:26 am

Buff, a page back you posted a pic of you cutting the fret slots with a lovely little brass backed tenon saw (I love hand tools). You had some timber clamped each side to keep things straight,but I couldn't spot how you cut to a consistent depth. I cut fret slots for my Weissey and electric lap steel with a not as pretty Sandvik tenon saw, but they were filled with fine wood fillets and sanded flat so depth accuracy was not an issue. How did you cut yours to all the same depth? :D Peace.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:11 pm

Well my guide is the book: Build your own Acoustic Guitar by Jonathan Kinkead.
He just eyeballs the slot depth, because he builds guitars as a living, his slot cutting skills are right on.
As for maintaining the same depth for this guitar, these slot were previously cut, so I was just cleaning out the wood filler.
But I scored a slight line, end to end on the saw face as a reference, 2.5mm from the teeth points.
Peace Bro.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:17 pm

Clifford D wrote:I'm a big fan oof fretless, the problem I have is sustain, a metal or hard plasic surface will allow vibrating better.
Using my fingernail is good for beefier tone and sustain n wood, But I saw Ed DeGenero
Using metal and it was a big difference.
I would track down some stainless steel, or nickle silver for the fingerboard surface. Nickle silver will probably be the easiest to cut, and it does not tarnish or oxidize. You can find sheet metals cheap online, and in small sizes.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Clifford D » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:44 pm

I bailed on the exotic and instead polyurethaned the fretless board, it's curing
for a few more days but I have nothing to lose trying this first.
I can always sand a little and add a fresh coat if it wears.
This whole project has cost what, an
old guitar, and $20.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:14 pm

Sure Clifford, I think it'll work. At least it'll give you a real taste of fretless guitar.

Meanwhile I have the strings on my fret restoration project:
Image

I carved a new bone nut, because on the original nut I had to deepen the notches for fretless:
Image

Have some scars to paint over and polish:
Image
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Clifford D » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:06 pm

I prefer standard tuning because I play all over the neck and I play all kinds of chords and scales. No different from fretted guitar, excepts no frets, I don't know but my muscle memory is still there so that gives me a plug and play approach. I re
I depend on this fretboard memory for everthing, because of this I can focus on making music and intonation.
Pretty easy really.
kiwiblues wrote:Being an average guitar player, fretless playing has always been a wonder to me. I have enough problems stretching my fingers to make chords when I know where they are supposed to go, let alone trying to get them right without frets.
That's why I assumed they must use open tunings to make things a bit easier.
We have a guy in Christchurch who plays a fretless guitar and when he plays at gigs it makes my jaw drop.
The sounds he gets are really out of this world!
I know he uses a lot of open tunings however, some of which he makes up himself.
It doesn't really matter it still sounds fantastic and quite different to anything else I have ever heard. :)
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Clifford D » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:16 pm

Yesterday I put a set of flatwound or ribbon wound chrome strings on my fretless.

I thought it was a terible choice of strings, the flatwounds just totally sound dead. The fretless has enough problems with sustain
it doesn't have any volume either, This expensive set of strings had a wound G, only had two strings unwound.
This meantmy four lowest strings were a 1/4 to 1/3 less volume, at least on my cheap beast.
Today the store is closed so I need to wait till Monday. Bummer, I was going to play it tonight.
Don't buy those strings =/
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Clifford,
do you use a compressor to increase the sustain?
I know it helps single coil Fenders, mucho.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Jakeblues » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:26 pm

Buffalo_Bill wrote:Clifford,
do you use a compressor to increase the sustain?
I know it helps single coil Fenders, mucho.
Bill


The video clip of Ned Everett sounds like he's using compression...particularly in the beginning.
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Jakeblues » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:41 pm

tinsmith wrote:Well...he was a Berklee guy....They exist for theory


I guess I've been successfully de-programed then. Talking "theory" and "blues" is a little like Engineering" a "chopper". :D
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:05 pm

Yea Jake, and I see he's got his index finger curled all the way in, so he can use the finger nail to press on the string. That gives him a sharp tone and sustain on the treble strings. On the bass side he uses his finger tips.

98% of the time he's holding a sustained note with his index finger, sliding up and down, and just adding licks with his other fingers.

He probably uses a fingernail hardener such as described here:
http://www.guitartips.addr.com/tip05.html
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Re: Fretless electric guitar…

Postby Clifford D » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:29 am

No compresser. Sustain is enough for many things, like notey soloing.
Using the fingernail like a slide greatly increases sustain and volume.
Keeping things sliding helps maintain sustain. Overdrive will do the meat job.
Lots of meaty fat tone, that can sustain. I would like to try an Ebow sometime. Also a fretless makes a great slide guitar with no fret clang.
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