Fretless wonders.........

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by OldSchool, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    Never played one. Being offered one.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages? Easy to chord but is it hard to bend? :confused:


    Thanks for any help/opinions /experiences. :)

    Its a 82 Les Paul Custom BTW if that helps.........
     
  2. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    I played a LP Fretless Wonder just like you described at Chelsea Music in the 90's. I actually went around and played 12 different LP's looking to buy the best.

    Out of them all I liked the FW the best but felt I'd have to get it refretted if I bought it. I was really unhappy when doing bends, but my chops are up a little now from where they were then so maybe I'd feel different about it today. The tone and sustain were fantastic though.

    If it sings and the price is right I'd get it and refret it.
     
  3. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    They aren't too hard to bend I think. They do capture a little more subtelty of your playing. Remember a lot of big-bender/vibrato guys used low-wide fret les pauls. Robert Fripp used fretless wonders, Jimmy Page had his pauls refretted for this.
     
  4. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    I had a Les Paul Custom early 70's once briefly. I hated the low frets and string buzz and had I kept it would have had it refretted to high wides and a new nut, but instead unloaded it.
     
  5. ?&!

    ?&! Member

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    I had a '72 LPC with the low, flat frets, and it was amazing. It's not really harder to bend, just different. If you can't adjust, just re-fret it. Good luck!
    :)
     
  6. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    Cool. Thanks for the replies so far. Do you think when going from this guitar to some of my other guitars with bigger frets its gonna be a problem?
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    It will depend on you fingers. Mine say 'keep away." YMMV. TRY ONE!
     
  8. sleepingtiger

    sleepingtiger Supporting Member

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    My friend has one...I can't play it!
    My suggestion: Either play B4 you buy, or be willing to re-fret, IF necessary. YOU might love it.

    Tony
     
  9. planetal

    planetal Member

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    If you're playing in a jazz style and not bending strings a lot (or mostly a rhythm player) if the guitar is properly set up, it will make it a bit easier to play quickly (especially if you play with a light touch). If you're looking to do more of a blues thing and want to dig into the strings during solos and prefer heavier strings, the frets will work against you (especially if you like vibrato during bends). If you use really light strings (like page), then it's less of an issue. Try it.. it really does depend on your fingers and style of play. All guitars can be refret to be whatever you feel comfortable with, if you like the sound and feel of a guitar, it can always be made more comfortable in terms of frets
     
  10. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Ya gotta keep the fingernails on your left hand REALLY SHORT!

    I'm not kidding, really.

    Dana O.
     
  11. zenfreud

    zenfreud Member

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    You know, I remember seeing the term "Fretless Wonder" and never knew the term referred to a specific fret size. Was this an option for dealers to order or were specific models like Les Paul Customs only available as FW versions some years?
     
  12. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Mine's from about the same year. I struggled with those frets for 20 years - and they were getting shorter and shorter - because the guitar itself had such a good tone (kind of Mick Taylor chewyness), The other problem is intonation because they are so wide.

    Eventually I gave it to Jimmy Somma who refretted to 6105's - kind of like going from Twiggy to Sophia Loren (Eh? did I really write that). It's still got that tone and is a lot easier to play.....

    Best, Pete.
     
  13. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I think they suck (the frets, that is.)

    I don't know WHAT Gibson was thinking, but intonation blows, because you can't get a good reference point on any of the frets. It's near impossible to get a decent crown on them, and they've been ground down so much, there's not much left to play with...

    If I found one that SOUNDED good, I'd rip those frets out of there in a New York minute, and put 6105s on there.
     
  14. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    I have a '56 LP Custom that I bought about 15 yrs ago. With the stock frets it was unplayable. With a pro refret the playability became fantastic.
     

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