Fretless guitars derive their unique sound from the fingers engaging the strings against the fingerboard without an interposing fret. The fingerboard material (wood, glass, metal, plastic) directly affects the fretless guitar's sound and functionality.
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Rather than selecting and sounding a fixed note like on the piano, the player moves the note to him using his fingers, ears, and eyes. Fretless Guitar is a close relative to slide guitar in many ways, with the fingertips taking the place of the slide. This simple deconstruction of the modern guitar creates exciting new possibilities and unexpected challenges.
Fretless guitar comes along at a unique moment in the history of guitar playing. The resources for learning a particular style of conventional guitar have never been more available; we have easy access to private teachers, videos, the internet, magazines, and of course the works of acknowledged masters on record.
Fretless guitar still has a frontier-like atmosphere surrounding it, with many of it's methods and potential still undefined. From a melodic perspective fretless guitar is a very free instrument, giving the player direct control over every cent of a notes pitch. This freedom can be mastered at different levels to produce musical results in whatever style you choose. Granted, its harder to play Bach in tune than simple power chords, but man are power chords the bomb on fretless guitar.
There's an affinity in creating a notes 'shape' that all musicians enjoy; bend a string, tweak a filter, clench down on that reed a little harder, scratch a record, or process a wave file into something unrecognizable. Just remember to make a noise. -NE-
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