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Re: fretless looping guitars

Stephen wrote:
>Wouldn't it be of advantage then to have a harder fingerboard surface?
>Glass might for sure be very hard, but wouldn't it resonate in a much
>different manner than good ol' wood?  Secondly, one would probably get a
>kind of fretless bass sound out of the lower strings, wouldn't one?  Just 
>few thoughts.

The sarod is a fretless lute from Northern India which incorporates a steel
plate along the neck to increase its resonance.  The playing technique
involves stopping the strings with the fingertips for individual notes, as
well as gliding the fingernail over the string along the metal plate for 
typical Indian "meend" (smooth, multiple-note glissando).

The late virtuoso sarod master Pandit Vasant Rai used to perform on what he
called the "sur-guitar" which was simply a very inexpensive classical 
with the frets removed and a steel plate similar to that of the sarod
installed on the neck.  He tuned the 6 strings openly (very much like sarod
or sitar) and it sounded wonderful.  He was able to execute all the graces
and nuances of Indian classical music on this instrument, with a very rich
and warm tone.  There are recordings of 2 pieces using this modified guitar
on the fusion albums that he'd recorded on the Vanguard label in the 70s 
early 80s.  I don't know whether these have made it to the digital realm.