#1 resource for Cigar Box Guitars, Free Plans, How-To, Parts & More!
Cigar Box Nation is sponsored by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, your one-stop-shop for Cigar Box Guitar parts and accessories!
So, I'm just getting back into the world of acoustic blues playing after some 12 or so years in which I didn't pick up a guitar. The CGB world has got me excited to play again. I'm interested in the differences between fretted and fretless CGB's before I buy one. I only ever played fretted before. Whats the pro's and cons between the two types?
To be frank, playing slide, it doesn't matter whether it's fretted or fretless - a fretless guitar isn't necessarily better for playing slide, but some people do 'clunk' the frets with the slide if the action is really low. Having frets does mean that you can accurately play conventionally (not using the slide) for chords, bass figures and solos.
Fretless is easy to make, and if set up with a sufficiently low action, you can get some great mellow ones from a fretless guitar, particularly with heavier strings.
If you want to make a guitar, no question, go fretless first time.
Good advice from John and Tea. Go fretless the first time. Later do frets.
I prefer frets. The best of both is fretted with low enough action to finger and not so low as to clunk the slide on the frets.
Thanks for the advice so far. Much appreciated. Probably best for me to go with "the devil I know" and get a fretted one where at least I have experience rather than go with the fretless and get discouraged with it.
Fretless is certainly easier to build. Without fret, the challenge is placing your finger accurately so to be in pitch. You also need to apply a bit more pressure so the notes ring true without noise. Complex chord changes are next to impossible over multiple strings. It is quite obvious due to the popularity of frets that they are more effective for playing. In my mind, both instruments offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Enjoy, Keni Lee This video should help to clarify this:
Keep in mind that there are different tunings people use on fretted and unfretted guitars. If you know standard guitar chords you'd tune the fretted CBG like a normal guitar (EAD, GBE whatever). For slide playing you could use different tunings (open tuning, major chords etc.).
Notes with the fingers on the unfretted board will sound different - you can play it like an Oud (African, Arabic instrument) or Saz (traditional Turkish instrument).
Now my dilemma is this. There's a couple of CGB's out there I really love the sound of. You've guessed it they are both fretless. I've yet to find a fretted one that has a sound that does it for me...
Try. Then decide.
Use the CBN magic - you may not afford a fretless guitar, but you can build one easily...
Then - you keep it, you fret it or you sell it. Or just discard or hang on the wall...
Is playing fretless very easy? Nope. Kazoo is easy... Is it rewarding? Yes. Is it cool? You betcha...
One day you'll look back at your life: "I played fretless and fretted instruments. I know for sure I hated fretless...."
Go fretless ,since you're already an accomplished guitar player , fretless will force you to play in a new way ! My 2 cents !!
I agree with Sharecropper. Going fretless forced me to learn how to use the slide.
Well the deed is now done. I'm going fretless. I've just ordered CBGitty's #4 Big Macanudo. I loved the sound of that one from the moment I heard it.