Fretless Classical Guitar

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
bodhisattva
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Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by bodhisattva » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:35 am

Once I heard very interesting music from a barber shop. It sounded like music played on an Al-Oud. I came in to have a look, and I saw a Lebanese guy playing a fretless guitar. It was exactly a classical guitar without any fret. With such a fretless guitar, the Lebanese guy could ornate notes with quarter-tone bends, various types of vibrato, smooth and sweet glissandi, ect ... I wonder if any contemporary composers have written music for the fretless classical guitar. It would open guitar music to interesting explorations.

Cipher
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Cipher » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:48 am

bodhisattva wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:35 am
Once I heard very interesting music from a barber shop. It sounded like music played on an Al-Oud. I came in to have a look, and I saw a Lebanese guy playing a fretless guitar. It was exactly a classical guitar without any fret. With such a fretless guitar, the Lebanese guy could ornate notes with quarter-tone bends, various types of vibrato, smooth and sweet glissandi, ect ... I wonder if any contemporary composers have written music for the fretless classical guitar. It would open guitar music to interesting explorations.
This piece written and played by Buzz Gravelle on a fretless classical is beautiful! The tuning is C# G# E G# B D#


RobMacKillop
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:32 am

Check out the work of Erkan Ogur, who plays a fretless Ramirez 1a.

a human
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by a human » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:23 pm

Nice video. Makes me wonder why guitars have frets and violins, violas, cellos and basses don't.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:26 pm

It is nice! The reason guitars have frets and the others don't, as you mention above, is that guitars are designed to be played in a chordal type way. It would not be possible to lay down a chord shape on a fretless guitar and the notes to be in tune.. ..cetainly not in the way we all know. The string family of instruments are designed to play melodically on (largely) one note at a time, so frets would serve no purpose.
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:25 pm

Beautiful. It looks like frets were removed, slight imprint on the "fret" board, and fret marks on the neck. I can only imagine, no frets to buzz on!
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:40 pm

Frets help enhance the sustain of the notes; finger tips are a lot softer and absorb some vibration. This is not an issue on fiddles, where there is constant energy input from the bow, and may even help. A fretless classical guitar probably would have a sound more like an 'oud.

Just because there are no frets doesn't mean there is no chance for buzzing. Violins use a rather pronounced amount of relief in the fingerboard to eliminate the chance of buzzing from small bumps. THey also use pretty high action. You really need to be obsessive about flatness on fretless bass guitars, where the action is low.

bodhisattva
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by bodhisattva » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:39 pm

Big thanks to you all for your interesting and valuable ideas. I'm thinking of obtaining a fretless guitar or, perhaps, removing frets from one of my guitars, so that I can enjoy a new experience.

Tom Phillips
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Tom Phillips » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:53 am

Check out Tev Stevig.


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Contreras
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Contreras » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:03 pm

Nice video ... never seen such a thing.
No more intonation worries!
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Conall
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Conall » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:12 pm

Contreras wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:03 pm
Nice video ... never seen such a thing.
No more intonation worries!
Ha! You wish. Those with a good ear will be ok but considering how many guitarists already play out of tune with frets, removing frets mean they will sound even worse.

I tried one once. I also tried violin. I was surprised that I found the intonation ok for single line melodies (after playing & teaching for decades). But chords on the fretless guitar were near impossible (because shapes like A major cannot be stacked slightly diagonally as we do on fretted guitar) - which raises my admiration for violin players playing the Bach sonatas & partitas a hundred fold!

Conall
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Conall » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:14 pm

And of course, while the sliding effect is nice, the dullness of not having notes well defined by metal frets gets monotonous after a while.

DeeKay
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by DeeKay » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:48 pm

Check out Fatih Ahiskali on youtube playing a version of capricho arabe by Tarrega on a Godin glissentar.

MarkInLA
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by MarkInLA » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:08 pm

Plain and simple: Single notes and double stops are no diff than the viols make..The reason for frets is that the side of the first finger is of course not straight. Making a barre or grande barre chord is going to be way out of tune. The fret compensates for this by keeping the barred notes within correct tempered tuning as well as guaranteeing the entire barre's distance from the nut to be correct as well as remaining parallel with the nut (Not slanted)..

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Fretless Classical Guitar

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:52 pm

It doesn't really sound like classical guitar, ofcourse the he's playing is slightly eastern. Anyway, it's interesting how the basses sound almost like a bass guitar...
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