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Where can I buy a fretless guitar ?

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Plendakor, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Plendakor

    Plendakor Member

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    been wanting this for ages
     
  2. StefTD

    StefTD Member

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    Rondomusic sells some Agiles that are Fretless, besides that, most of the sold
    fretless guitars are custom shop guitars, Vigier sells one or two different models
    but these are pretty expensive (handbuilt in France).
    Godin sells a fretless acoustic guitar, nylon stringed afaik.

    But believe me, the idea sounds pretty cool, but it's really tough to play fretless
    on a guitar, even more than on a bass.
    You have to touch the strings exactly on the right point, especially for chords or
    it will sound really, really out of tune, that part is pretty tough on a fretless bass
    and due to the longer neck you don't have to be as spot on as on a guitar, it's still
    tough.
    If you come from a classical background, played violin or something like that it won't
    be as hard probably, but after getting used to frets and playing a pretty chord based
    instrument like guitar it may be really hard to adapt to the fretless concept.

    These are the only two avaiable Agiles atm:
    http://www.rondomusic.com/al3110hsbffretless.html
    http://www.rondomusic.com/st625eb3tsfretless.html

    If you got a cheap guitar around, you could actually defret it by yourself, did this to
    a bass (and once on the bass of a friend) it's not that hard, but I wouldn't try it on
    a expensive guitar.
    You have to heat the frets (with a soldering iron for example - touch ONLY the frets
    with it, just for 5-10 seconds) and than pull them out really slow with pincers.
    After you've done that, sand the fretboard a little bit, put some wood glue into the
    fretslots (you don't need much, just a tiny bit) and press some veneer in there.
    Move on to the next fret, after you've done that, there's a lot of veneer you have to
    cut off (from the top and the side of the fretboard), just use a sharp cutter and be
    precise.
    In the next step, sand the fretboard again so everyting feels consistent (don't sand
    too much, just a bit with fine sandpaper) and oil the fretboard.
    That's it actually, you've just defretted a guitar neck and got a fretless guitar.

    WARNING: I would only do this to a guitar with a bolt on neck that wasn't expensive
    and that you don't love!
    Remove the strings, remove the neck, let the neck rest for 1-2 days, do the stuff I
    wrote above, let the neck rest for 1-2 days, put it back on, put strings on it.
     
  3. Plendakor

    Plendakor Member

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    Wow thanks for all the info man ! That Agile is really not much expensive.
    I thought about defretting a guitar but I don't think the fretboards on the fretless are just rosewood like on a guitar... But yeah, might be nice.

    Well that wouldn't be to play chords really, more like arpegios. I already play scallop and like the feeling, and the feeling on a violin too.. so I think it would make good sense for me to have a fretless guitar even if it's hard to play ;P
    I might hate it, who knows lol
     
  4. StefTD

    StefTD Member

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    it depends, many guitars (and basses) just use a normal fretboard for the fretless
    versions, sometimes a bit thicker that it's not that bad if it wears a bit down.
    Vigier uses some sort of metal (called iMetal, should help against feeling cold), but
    most of them use ebony afaik because it is said to be a bit harder than rosewood,
    but that depends on the tree...
    Jaco Pastorious defretted his Fender Jazz Bass and put epoxy on the fretboard
    to get it even, with that technique, it won't wear down as fast.
     
  5. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

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    My brother defretted a bass and guitar. The bass turned out really well but the guitar is not nice at all.

    You don't need to use veneer either. He used an epoxy (woodfiller) and filled the empty fret slot with it and sanded the whole fretboard to get rid of excess once it dried. It's easy to see the fret lines and it's perfectly flat with the fretboard. You score either side of the fret before pulling it out so that it doesn't crack the wood. It's easier on rosewood than on ebony or maple too as maple has a finish usually and ebony is a very brittle wood that can crack easily.

    The bass is great- plays well and it has a decent sustain, sounds exactly like a fretless bass should. The guitar is very hard to play and there is very little sustain. He did it to a cheap harley benton that he got used and it'd be a shame to do it to a more expensive instrument.

    You often see fretless guitars made with different neck/fretboard materials like metal to increase the sustain. I'm sure nylon strings work alot better than steel for it too.
     
  6. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Member

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    I'm pretty sure the guys from Nile got their fretless guitars from KxK.
     

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