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Introducing myself Newbie just saying hello :-)

#1 User is offline   Be.eM 

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:51 PM

Hello all,

I'm new here, and new to playing fretless guitar. I found this forum while googling for answers to my "fretless guitar" related questions, and I'm pretty sure to find some competent help here :)

It didn't happen intentionally, I haven't been looking for a fretless guitar, but then I was lucky and got a chance to buy this baby:

Posted Image

This is a completely original 1991 (Newburgh) Steinberger, the upper neck is probably the only lined fretless guitar neck ever installed on a Steinie ex works. At least the available sources say this. I was very, very curious how it would feel like, and after the first little shock (wow, I didn't know I can play THAT wrong) I'm meanwhile making little progress.

The most basic question right now is: what string gauges do you guys use on your fretless guitar? The Steinie came with new .009s on both necks, and I've got the feeling that's a bad choice for a fretless guitar. I almost don't feel the high B and E string, and both are almost impossible to play in a way to get some sustain (except when pressing them with my fingernails). Then I've heard Guthrie G. talking about the Vigier fretless guitar, which comes with a .012 set. From my current understanding this sounds plausible, because I'd expect a little more "tone" from more mass. Is that your experience, too?

Bernd
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#2 User is offline   jahloon 

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 12:06 AM

Wow, that instrument is a nice find.

The Vigiers do come with wound 12's but they are usually tuned 2 semitones down. (recommended by Vigier)

You really have to find out what is right for the guitar and you, all strings are different. As a starting point I would try a fairly heavy set of flat wounds (with a flat wound 3rd or G string), say 11's or 12's (Check what will fit your nut) and tune them down until they feel comfortable. Start at two semitones down, you should be able to control the strings better. If you are loosing sustain on the top two strings, get heavier gauges.

9's are difficult on the higher strings. Some players really like them, but I have not found a fretless suited to them.

Let us know how you go, and Welcome!
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
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#3 User is offline   Be.eM 

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 01:06 AM

View Postjahloon, on 01 December 2011 - 12:06 AM, said:

You really have to find out what is right for the guitar and you, all strings are different. As a starting point I would try a fairly heavy set of flat wounds (with a flat wound 3rd or G string), say 11's or 12's (Check what will fit your nut) and tune them down until they feel comfortable. Start at two semitones down, you should be able to control the strings better. If you are loosing sustain on the top two strings, get heavier gauges.



Thanks, that helps, confirming that heavier strings might solve some problems. For now I've ordered some sets of (calibrated) LaBella double ball end 11s. These would allow to keep the TransTrem functional, and while it's most likely nonsense to have a trem on a fretless guitar, it enables me to lock it in a transposed position, e.g. two semitones down, and back to regular tuning in no time. Might be helpful, too.

Regarding the flatwound strings: do you recommend them for reduced noise, or do they have other advantages, too?

Bernd
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#4 User is offline   WolfV11 

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 01:25 PM

Wow! What a beauty!

Some players like very thin strings. I have a feeling, however, that that's a rare exception.

Go heavy.

11s aren't bad.

My 7 String Fretless has 12s (roundwounds) on and is tuned to standard with a Low B and sometimes an A. I found this to be a very large improvement over the 11s.

I'm contemplating a jump to 13s when I change the strings.

What's the fingerboard made of? That might change your stance on whether or not to use flatwounds or roundwounds. There are also halfrounds which are in between.

Welcome to the Village!
12 Ain't enough...
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#5 User is offline   Be.eM 

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 02:30 PM

View PostWolfV11, on 01 December 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

Wow! What a beauty!


:)

View PostWolfV11, on 01 December 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

What's the fingerboard made of? That might change your stance on whether or not to use flatwounds or roundwounds. There are also halfrounds which are in between.


As on all old USA Steinbergers, it's a (carbon) composite neck with a phenolic fretboard. As mentioned before, for the TransTrem to work correctly, I'd need special calibrated double ball end strings. These are only available with gauges up to 11s. However, when using the Transtrem only locked as a fixed bridge, I can use any other brand or gauge (in conjunction with a string adapter), even single ball end strings. There's no limit regarding a nut, because the guitar doesn't have one. There's the headpiece holding the strings, and a zero fret.

View PostWolfV11, on 01 December 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

Welcome to the Village!


Thanks :)

Bernd
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#6 User is offline   WolfV11 

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 02:23 AM

Sounds like the fingerboard should be tough enough for roundwounds.

I'd recommend locking the bridge too. Back when I used to play with frets, I was a die hard whammy bar guy, but for fretless there isn't really a need for it and you would still have the trem on the fretted side. Go for 12s!
12 Ain't enough...
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#7 User is offline   Bapman 

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 04:36 AM

Super nice guitar !!
I have a double neck with 0.11 on the fretted neck and 0.08 - 0.38 halfrounds on the fretless neck
i find that i get way more sustain from thin gauge and halfrounds than thicker roundwound but the same sound

see

Yggdrasil
and

Strings



Posted Image
swimming with a hole in my body
"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch
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#8 User is offline   Be.eM 

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 11:51 AM

View PostBapman, on 03 December 2011 - 04:36 AM, said:

I have a double neck with 0.11 on the fretted neck and 0.08 - 0.38 halfrounds on the fretless neck
i find that i get way more sustain from thin gauge and halfrounds than thicker roundwound but the same sound


Hello Gunnar,
well, obviously contradictions add some spice to life :D I see now that there's no way to find out "my" truth other than testing a whole potpourri of gauges, brands and types myself. I will definitely keep you updated with my findings… once the ordered strings arrive from USA, which takes its time.

View PostBapman, on 03 December 2011 - 04:36 AM, said:



Wow, now this is one special guitar, too. Cool. I've never seen a better matching name for a guitar… or early medieval steam punk weapon :thumbup:
That's an R-Trem on the fretted part, and an ABM bridge on the fretless part?

Bernd
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#9 User is offline   Bapman 

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 03:52 PM

View PostBe.eM, on 03 December 2011 - 11:51 AM, said:

View PostBapman, on 03 December 2011 - 04:36 AM, said:

I have a double neck with 0.11 on the fretted neck and 0.08 - 0.38 halfrounds on the fretless neck
i find that i get way more sustain from thin gauge and halfrounds than thicker roundwound but the same sound


Hello Gunnar,
well, obviously contradictions add some spice to life :D I see now that there's no way to find out "my" truth other than testing a whole potpourri of gauges, brands and types myself. I will definitely keep you updated with my findings… once the ordered strings arrive from USA, which takes its time.

View PostBapman, on 03 December 2011 - 04:36 AM, said:



Wow, now this is one special guitar, too. Cool. I've never seen a better matching name for a guitar… or early medieval steam punk weapon :thumbup:
That's an R-Trem on the fretted part, and an ABM bridge on the fretless part?

Bernd


Your'e right about the strings
I've found that either really thick ones or really thin ones gives the sustain that's ness.
but i would suggest trying halfrounds since a fretless neck played with the fingers without nail stops
gives you a duller tone and so does flatwounds , the halfrounds have the same tone as round ones and the
flat glide of a flatwound

and the trem is a steinberger r-trem and the bridge is a Abm a zero fret on the fretted and a ebony nut on the fretless to get the same tone from open strings
the headless I've always loved and on a double neck it makes it even better 'cause of the balance of the guitar.
try the slider shoulder strap http://www.amazon.co...k/dp/B0002CZSX0
the name , well since i'm a viking and the description fits the world tree Yggdrasil it made sense.
3 wells out into 9 worlds or on the guitar 3 sets of strings into 9 microphones
an acoustic version is under it's way.

good luck

and if you ever need mastering or mix send me a mail.
swimming with a hole in my body
"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch
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