One of my favourite weapons – my Vigier Excalibur fretless guitar. It took some learning but I love playing it! In this video it is going through my Blackstar HT 40 direct to the recording unit with a touch of chorus & delay added post production. I’ve used it on my latest album on a couple of the tracks. My favourite tuning (as used in the video below) is – (Low To High) C#, G#, C#, F#, A#, D#. Basically a semi – tone flat and the lowest string a further tone flat.
Playing a fretless guitar is a little different to a regular guitar. The strings are not pressed against a fret as there aren’t any. Instead the player places a finger where the fret would usually be on a fretted guitar – placing your finger where you would usually press a note against the fret results in a flat note. General intonation is an ongoing battle on a fretless guitar and I have developed my phrasing accordingly so I am always sliding one way or the next to avoid a ‘do or die’ situation where I could potentially sound very out of tune.
Tone-wise this is a very sophisticated sounding guitar, loaded with DiMarzio pickups – humbuckers at the bridge and neck, single coil at the middle position. For this video I have the middle pickup set all the way through the solo which I find a very nice selection. As I’ve said my phrasing has developed to incorporate sliding into every facet of my fretless playing to make the most of the unusual nature of the instrument. I like to play fretless often as it keeps my playing fresh by adding a different challenge to my phrasing and creativity and I always include a fretless solo or two in any album or E.P. that I put out and even have a fretless only musical project which I must return to at some point and will post on soon.
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