Archive for the ‘fretless’ Category

The McMurdo Session – Xenharmonic Gang of Five

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

xenharmonic_gang_of_five Left to Right Andrew Heathwaite, Aaron Krister Johnson, Jacob Barton, Dan Stearns and myself

These recordings are totally unrehearsed improvisations that took place at my home. As a consequence there is wandering and going down paths that were discarded. I attempted to curate the best parts of an all day session. Much of the music wouldn’t make sense without enduring the development before something jelled. Two pieces of this session were previously released and are included here to complete the session. Instruments – voice, trombone, udderbot, clarinet, 15 edo, 17 edo, 19 edo, 20 edo, 22edo guitars and fretless banjo, guitar and bass, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, DIY erhu, 31 edo bouzuki, various electronics and percussion. We freely mixed tunings and our compositional goal was to have a good time! We hope you enjoy these recordings.

The Gift of Structure

I Forgot Your Hat

Racetrack Playa

vacuum energy jello

La Mystique des Quinze

Carry On

The One True Tuning

A Single Cloud – ambient fretless guitar

Thursday, June 16th, 2016


A Single Cloud is an ambient fretless guitar piece in two tracks – the first track laid down was the ebow driven (mostly) drone. Then I improvised an ebow (mostly) melody over that with the intent of sticking to just intervals over the drone. The title and icon come from my feeling of solitude while performing the piece. The fretless guitar was made by defretting a Fender Squier stratocastor copy. You can see me playing the guitar in this video.

Just and Due Debt (19 equal – for voice, fretless electric guitar, and synthesizers)

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Just and Due Debt (19 equal – for voice, fretless electric guitar, and synthesizers)

Just and Due Debt (19 equal – isolated fretless electric guitar)

fretless guitar tuned to 7-limit just intonation – practice session

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

A video of me playing my DIY fretless guitar. It is from October of 2012 but it seems it didn’t make an appearance on my blog when I checked after I ran into the video while clean up my hard drive.

you may have a better experience by viewing on youtube or you can grab just the audio

C = 1/1, G = 3/2, ~Bb = 7/4, D* = 9/8 + 2/1, G = 3/2 + 2/1, C** = 2/1 + 2/1
* error one in video credits: A is actually D
** error two in video credits: C is actually 2 octaves up, not three

For those wanting to try this – go to your local guitar retailer and pick up a used Fender Squier and loosen the strings until you can push them aside (or cut them and plan on putting on a new set). The with nips gently, but firmly pull out each fret. Then use plastic wood to back fill the fret slots. Wait until the plastic dries and then lightly sand with 400 grit paper to remove the excess plastic. Be careful not to ruin the fretboard by sanding so much you create an uneven fret board whech will lead to buzz. Restring, reduce your action and play! – the plastic will show you where the frets used to be – a nice point of reference.

The Sound of my Name (harmonic series, ambient)

Saturday, October 25th, 2014


The Sound of my Name is a sound collage with all components retuned or originally tuned in a harmonic series segment.

Stargazing Into Your Beautiful Mind

Sunday, July 20th, 2014


Stargazing Into Your Beautiful Mind is a loop based solo for fretless electric guitar featuring a bit of percussion.

In Memoriam of Cambrian Cnidaria

Thursday, June 26th, 2014


In Memoriam of Cambrian Cnidaria is a fretless guitar solo with effects using ebow and finger picking.

Please see the comments for a clarification – I used a non-representative photo that I took at a museum and actually depicted a stalked echinoderm (Echinodermata), not a Cnidarian.

Untitled for theJar5 in Subharmonic Tuning

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Click Screenshot to enlarge – and see the instrumentation plus effects and waveforms as well.

Untitled for theJar5 – is an ambient commission to fulfill a wish theJar5 had to have one of my ambient pieces without a suggestive title or photo. Tuning below:

  0:   1/1   0.000000   unison, perfect prime
  1:   24/23   73.680654   vicesimotertial minor semitone
  2:   12/11   150.637059   3/4-tone, undecimal neutral second
  3:   8/7   231.174094   septimal whole tone
  4:   6/5   315.641287   minor third
  5:   24/19   404.441985   smaller undevicesimal major third
  6:   4/3   498.044999   perfect fourth
  7:   24/17   596.999591   1st septendecimal tritone
  8:   3/2   701.955001   perfect fifth
  9:   8/5   813.686286   minor sixth
 10:   12/7    933.129094   septimal major sixth
 11:   24/13   1061.427339   tridecimal neutral seventh
 12:   2/1   1200.000000   octave

Behind the Future

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


(the music make take a bit of time to load before playing)

Behind the Future is a multi-track improvisation on fretless baritone tuned electric guitar in somewhat classical Indian style tuned on the fly in just intonation.

I was asked by a friend to provide the individual tracks w/o effects – so you can have them too. I’d like to hear what you do with them, if anything.

Fretless Classical Guitar Improvisation

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


Fretless Classical Guitar Improvisation – to be honest I didn’t think the guitar was going to have as much sustain on fingered notes as it did and I ended up having quite a bit of fun playing with various JI intervals and a touch of 24 edo. The guitar cost only $20 at my local Guitar Center because it had Grateful Dead stickers plastered over it, perhaps in an attempt to hide the slight impact on the soundboard. But for that price I can remove stickers, live with cracks and gleefully remove the frets. This will probably end up being a harmonic series fretted guitar. I just put on new strings the day before so I have to tune the guitar a little here and there during the performance. The tuning I used is a modified Dante Rosati tuning of CGCGCC – the duplicated C’s on top are because the high tension string set just wouldn’t make the high G without breaking. Luckily breakage is a lot easier to deal with on a classical. You can see from the above pictures that I back filled the kerfs (fret slots) with plastic wood and sanded. It looks sloppy but that excess is actually filling in the slight dents in the wood – I used a straight edge to remove the excess plastic.