PDA

View Full Version : Fretless



Ken Franklin
03-07-2017, 11:15 PM
Here's my latest uke. It's a tenor body with a 5 string fretless banjo style neck tuned to open C at present.

983979839898399

Rrgramps
03-08-2017, 02:04 AM
Really innovative on both counts. I haven't seen many ukuleles w/banjo 5th sting tuner peg; well, I haven seen any ukuleles with 5th string banjo tuning peg. Umm, I haven't seen many fretless ukuleles; well, I haven't seen any fretless ukuleles. ;):D:D

Croaky Keith
03-08-2017, 04:00 AM
Are you so experienced on uke that you don't need frets, or is it for some other reason?

That fifth string is kind of an interesting feature as well, what is the purpose, as against a normal string going to the headstock?

jcalkin
03-08-2017, 04:24 AM
That's a very elegant looking uke. I like to frail a high G uke. Having the 5th string would add a whole new dimension. Without the frets I'd be afraid the sound would be weak, like a plucked violin. So, how does it sound?

Ken Franklin
03-08-2017, 05:33 AM
Really innovative on both counts. I haven't seen many ukuleles w/banjo 5th sting tuner peg; well, I haven seen any ukuleles with 5th string banjo tuning peg. Umm, I haven't seen many fretless ukuleles; well, I haven't seen any fretless ukuleles. ;):D:D
Thanks Trent. When I was approached with this concept I did some internet searching (probably not enough) and I could only find one old soprano ukulele with a fifth string banjo peg.


Are you so experienced on uke that you don't need frets, or is it for some other reason?

That fifth string is kind of an interesting feature as well, what is the purpose, as against a normal string going to the headstock?
I'm definitely not experienced enough to play a fretless uke so it's not for me but I've fiddled around on it some.

That was my initial question but I think I've figured it out. To get that drone 5th string up to pitch from the headstock the string would have to be quite thin and might lack the presence the player was looking for.

Aside from the unique tone you get, an advantage of the fretless design is that a note can be bent by sliding back and forth instead of pulling up and down. The player intends it to be a solo instrument and being a ukulele instead of a banjo it is more portable.


That's a very elegant looking uke. I like to frail a high G uke. Having the 5th string would add a whole new dimension. Without the frets I'd be afraid the sound would be weak, like a plucked violin. So, how does it sound?
Thanks John. It's louder than I thought it would be but certainly not as loud as my fretted ukes. The owner plays a lot of fretless gourd banjo and the sound is similar though not as eerie. I've added a K&K pickup in case the he wants to be heard in a larger group setting but unplugged it has a sound unlike any of my other ukes. I don't have a clip and you wouldn't want to hear me struggling on this but I'll try to get one from him when he picks it up. I had other players help me with suitable tunings for the instrument but I'm sure the owner will find something different that he likes.

greenscoe
03-08-2017, 05:34 AM
Its a good looking instrument (as are the other ukes on your site). I struggle to play a conventional uke so this wouldn't be one for me. But there are lots of very musical people out there that can make great music on all sorts of instruments. Here's just one take on the theme, whilst we are wondering how this instrument will play/sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYPjOo5HUsE

Written whilst the reply above was being posted!

RPA_Ukuleles
03-08-2017, 05:36 AM
Absolutely cool!

Croaky Keith
03-08-2017, 05:45 AM
Thanks for the answers, Ken.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-10-2017, 09:36 AM
Very nice Ken. I have planed on making a fretless uke for a while now due to my love of traditional turkish, indian and middle eastern music

Recstar24
03-10-2017, 10:28 AM
For those of you that are kind of unclear why you would even want such a thing, the video below is of Michael Miles playing a fretless banjo, which should give you a good idea of what the instrument above may possibly be used for or what it could sound like. Michael is probably the best banjo player I have ever heard (check out his CD of the Bach Cello Suites on Banjo!), and I took a class with him last summer in Chicago. The fretless board really adds a distinct sound that I find very "organic" and seems to suit very well a clawhammer style with lots of hammer ons and slides.


https://youtu.be/rTHdc6vDPgU

Recstar24
03-10-2017, 10:30 AM
Here's another one of his:


https://youtu.be/vD6rL03jMWI

rubykey
03-11-2017, 10:03 AM
Here's my latest uke. It's a tenor body with a 5 string fretless banjo style neck tuned to open C at present.

983979839898399

Putting new meaning to the term "Frank-ken-uke"😄

Ken Franklin
03-13-2017, 05:48 AM
Its a good looking instrument (as are the other ukes on your site). I struggle to play a conventional uke so this wouldn't be one for me. But there are lots of very musical people out there that can make great music on all sorts of instruments. Here's just one take on the theme, whilst we are wondering how this instrument will play/sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYPjOo5HUsE

Written whilst the reply above was being posted!
Thanks greenscoe. This shows how you can bend the notes without pulling down the strings.


Here's another one of his:


https://youtu.be/vD6rL03jMWI
Thanks for the links Recstar24. This is a more mellow sound that is similar to my uke with carbon strings. Of course the tuning has to be in a higher key for a uke.


Putting new meaning to the term "Frank-ken-uke"😄
LOL

Ken Franklin
04-10-2017, 01:47 PM
I finally got a clip of this fretless ukulele at the Reno Ukulele Festival. This is Jesse Fichman of Blue Summit. It's tuned CGCFG for Cluck Old Hen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBYY3ktCfpc