Fretless guitar

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Fretless Guitar
Timucin Sahin 06n5789.jpg
Timuçin Şahin performing with a double neck fretless and fretted guitar.
String instrument
Classification String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 321.322
(Composite chordophone)
Playing range
Range guitar.svg
(a standard tuned guitar)
Related instruments

A fretless guitar is a guitar with a fingerboard without frets, typically a standard instrument that has had the frets removed, though some custom-built and commercial fretless guitars are occasionally made. [1] Fretless bass guitars are readily available, with most major guitar manufacturers producing fretless models.


On the fretless guitar, the performer's fingers press the string directly against the fingerboard, as with a violin, resulting in a vibrating string that extends from the bridge (where the strings are attached) to the fingertip instead of to a fret. [1]


Musicians employ a standard harmony and the twelve-tone technique as a base for exploring tones, using a fretless guitar. [2] Fretless guitars offer musicians an ability to explore new sounds through using microtonal harmonies and folk melodies in a jazz-groove context. [3] A detailed article on extended techniques for fretless electric guitar - written by British guitarist Rich Perks - was published by Music and Practice journal in 2019. [4]

Musicianship with fretless guitars differ from fretted guitars:

Fretless guitars are uncommon in most forms of western music and generally limited to the electrified instruments, due to their decreased acoustic volume and sustain. [3] The fretless bass guitar has found popularity in many forms of western music, from pop to jazz. [5] The first use of fretless bass guitars dates back to Bill Wyman in the early 1960s.

Festivals featuring live fretless guitar music have been held for several years both in the US and in Europe. In New York, the first NYC Fretless Guitar Festival was held in 2005. [6] In the Netherlands, the Dutch Fretless Guitar Festival has taken place since 2006. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

The bass guitar, electric bass, or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music.

Classical guitar

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the modern acoustic and electric guitars, both of which use metal strings. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.

Guitar Fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the fingers/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

In music, a glissando is a glide from one pitch to another. It is an Italianized musical term derived from the French glisser, "to glide". In some contexts, it is distinguished from the continuous portamento. Some colloquial equivalents are slide, sweep, bend, smear, rip, lip, plop, or falling hail.

String instrument Class of musical instruments with vibrating strings

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.


A fret is a raised element on the neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the full width of the neck. On most modern western fretted instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard. On some historical instruments and non-European instruments, frets are made of pieces of string tied around the neck.

Zither Class of stringed musical instruments

Zither is a class of stringed instruments.

A pull-off is a stringed instrument playing and articulation technique performed by plucking or "pulling" the finger that is grasping the sounding part of a string off the fingerboard of either a fretted or unfretted instrument. This intermediate- to advanced playing technique is done using the tip of a finger or fingernail on the fretting hand. Pull-offs are done to facilitate the playing of embellishments and ornaments such as grace notes. Pull-offs may be notated in sheet music or improvised by the performer, depending on the musical style and context.

The fingerboard is an important component of most stringed instruments. It is a thin, long strip of material, usually wood, that is laminated to the front of the neck of an instrument. The strings run over the fingerboard, between the nut and bridge. To play the instrument, a musician presses strings down to the fingerboard to change the vibrating length, changing the pitch. This is called stopping the strings. Depending on the instrument and the style of music, the musician may pluck, strum or bow one or more strings with the hand that is not fretting the notes. On some instruments, notes can be sounded by the fretting hand alone, such as with hammer ons, an electric guitar technique.

Appalachian dulcimer

The Appalachian dulcimer is a fretted string instrument of the zither family, typically with three or four strings, originally played in the Appalachian region of the United States. The body extends the length of the fingerboard, and its fretting is generally diatonic.

Fender Precision Bass

The Fender Precision Bass is a model of electric bass manufactured by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. In its standard, post-1957 configuration, the Precision Bass is a solid body, four-stringed instrument equipped with a single split-coil humbucking pickup and a one-piece, 20-fret maple neck with rosewood, pau ferro, or maple fingerboard.

Fender Jazz Bass

The Fender Jazz Bass is the second model of electric bass created by Leo Fender. It is distinct from the Precision Bass in that its tone is brighter and richer in the midrange and treble with less emphasis on the fundamental frequency. The body shape is also different from the Precision Bass, in that the Precision Bass has a symmetrical lower bout on the body, designed after the Telecaster and Stratocaster lines of guitars, while the Jazz Bass has an offset lower bout, mimicking the design aesthetic of the Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars.

Jazz bass

Jazz bass is the use of the double bass or bass guitar to improvise accompaniment ("comping") basslines and solos in a jazz or jazz fusion style. Players began using the double bass in jazz in the 1890s to supply the low-pitched walking basslines that outlined the chord progressions of the songs. From the 1920s and 1930s Swing and big band era, through 1940s Bebop and 1950s Hard Bop, to the 1960s-era "free jazz" movement, the resonant, woody sound of the double bass anchored everything from small jazz combos to large jazz big bands.

Barre chord

In music, a barre chord is a type of chord on a guitar or other stringed instrument, that the musician plays by using one or more fingers to press down multiple strings across a single fret of the fingerboard.

Electric upright bass

The electric upright bass (EUB) is an instrument that can perform the musical function of a double bass. It requires only a minimal or 'skeleton' body to produce sound because it uses a pickup and electronic amplifier and loudspeaker. Therefore, a large resonating structure is not required to project the sound into the air. This minimal body greatly reduces the bulk and weight of the instrument. EUBs must always be connected to an amplifier and speaker cabinet to produce an adequate audible sound. The EUB retains enough of the features of the double bass so that double bass players are able to perform on it.

Erkan Oğur

Erkan Oğur is a Turkish musician. A pioneer of fretless guitars, he invented the first fretless classical guitar in 1976. A composer, he has influenced many musicians with his compositions combining the sounds of Turkish folk music and classical music with the ancient traditional music. He has played many concerts all over the world. He is regarded as a master of the kopuz and bağlama lutes.

Outline of guitars Overview of and topical guide to guitars

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:

Finger vibrato is vibrato produced on a string instrument by cyclic hand movements. Despite the name, normally the entire hand moves, and sometimes the entire upper arm. It can also refer to vibrato on some woodwind instruments, achieved by lowering one or more fingers over one of the uncovered holes in a trill-like manner. This flattens the note periodically creating the vibrato.

Classical guitar technique

In classical guitar, the right hand is developed in such a way that it can sustain two, three, and four voice harmonies while also paying special attention to tone production. The index (i), middle (m), and ring (a) fingers are generally used to play the melody, while the thumb (p) accompanies in the bass register adding harmony, and produces a comparable texture and effect to that of the piano. The classical guitar is a solo polyphonic instrument, and it is difficult to master.

Guitar picking

Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist uses to set guitar strings in motion to produce audible notes. These techniques involve plucking, strumming, brushing, etc. Picking can be done with:


  1. 1 2 Shanika (2016-03-04). "Advantages & Disadvantages of a Fretless Guitar". TakeLessons Blog. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  2. Demasi, Vincent (February 2006). "Fretless guitar". Guitar Player. 40 (2): 100, 101, 102, 104.
  3. 1 2 Prasad, Anil (December 2008). "David Fiuczynski". Guitar Player. 42 (12): 76, 78, 80, 82.
  4. "Fretless Architecture: Towards the Development of Original Techniques and Musical Notation Specific to the Fretless Electric Guitar - Music and Practice" . Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  5. "Godin Sponsors NYC Fretless Guitar Festival". Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  6. "History 2000's – Unfretted" . Retrieved 2019-04-16.