June 16th, 2012, 08:10 PM
Ok so I've been building a parts caster and decided to try and put a fretless neck on it and see what happens if all else fails i can just get a fretted neck on there. Basically the necks on and the strings are on but the problem is the notes on the b and high e string don't really ring out close to the nut then they get better further up the fretboard depending on how i set the action. So I'm assuming my problem is to do with action at then nut. I think that i need to file down the nut ? anyone know how much i need to file it down I'm sure i read somewhere it should be filed down so much that you could just about get a piece of paper under the string ? Anyone know anything about this or built a fretless before ?
June 16th, 2012, 08:28 PM
For fretless, the nut and strings need to be very, very low, almost touching the board. The neck needs to be dead straight and the fingerboard needs to be even.
I have a fretless set up on one guitar. I'm not very fond of it. I miss the sustain of frets, especially on the plain strings. It's pretty tough to intonate higher up. I can see why fretless is mainly for basses. I'll have that guitar refretted one of these days.
June 16th, 2012, 09:04 PM
My colleague Garrett is right on the money with his answer. If you think about how a fretted guitar works, you're only pressing down far enough to stop the string against a fret. If the fret's not there you're pressing the string down a lot further, so near the nut they tend to go very sharp, and the higher strings sound dead. An unwound G on many guitars sounds lifeless, on a fretless it can sound positively plunky.
Take the nut slots down by degrees, you'll probably find you need to lower the slots about the half to three quarters the height of the frets that were on the guitar. Just at a guess, you'll probably end up with the bottom of B and e slots about .025" above the fretboard.
June 19th, 2012, 07:06 PM
Wanna hear how cool a fretless guitar can sound in the hands of a master? Check out the tune "San Ber'dino" on Frank Zappa's album "One Size Fits All":
June 19th, 2012, 07:31 PM
June 19th, 2012, 11:03 PM
Yeah, FZ, Govan and Vai were my inspirations to give it a try. I think the metal or glass fret boards would be the way to go. Similar to a slide tone, but obviously with more versatility.
June 20th, 2012, 12:19 AM
I have a few guitars setup fretless. I haven't practiced on them too much. One thing to try to get more sustain and clarity out of the unwound strings is to try using your fingernails instead of the tips of your fingers.
Mostly, I just accept the plunkiness as part of the instrument and go with it.