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Unread 06-25-2007, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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"Fretless Wonder"?

All,

I am new to the Les Paul world although I've been playing for years.
I've always wanted to own a Les Paul - after all it's THE classic Blues/Rock
guitar on so many great classic songs!

Anyway, I've been playing several locally and looking online and I really like
the looks, vibe and tone of the early 70's to early 80's (since I can't really
afford anything older than that Anyway I've seen a couple of beautiful looking original LPs.
One is a '72 "Custom" with the tiny frets (Fretless Wonder) and the other is
a '80 Deluxe with mini humbuckers (and larger frets). Is there a general
consensus concerning the Fretless Wonder regarding playability. I play
mosting classic blues and rock and being able to easily bend is very
important for playability. The '72 has a solid Mahogany neck and I'm sure the
tone is fantastic. I'm only concerned about the playability with the
tiny frets. The '80 Deluxe has the larger frets and might play better but
it has the maple neck and mini HBs so the tone would be totally different.
I realize the tone thing is subjective but can anyone give me some advice
on finding an older great sounding and playing LP. thanks!
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Unread 06-27-2007, 03:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Don't assume because of the age and the mahogany body that they all sound good .
I've played some REAL Dogs .

I hate the Fretless wonders frets. If you refret them some can be nice if the sounds there.
There are so many things wrong with those frets, its hard to list.
You can't bend strings well or have a nice vibrato with out difficulty.Also since they're really flat, frets won't last long. It's not like normal frets that you can easily level or dress if they're worn or the neck / fingerboard changes from climate . Another thing, I've always found them almost impossible to set the intonation on correctly .

I'd pick the guitar that felt ,sounded and played the best.
If it's the fretless wonder and it suites your taste then who am I to say.
If I liked the sound of it compared to the deluxe, I'd have it re fretted.

Don't ignore the Deluxe. I've played some sweeeeet Deluxes that surprised the hell out of me .
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Yeah, I don't like the fretless wonder frets either. I hope that helps and good luck with the search.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarplayer View Post
All,

I am new to the Les Paul world although I've been playing for years.
I've always wanted to own a Les Paul - after all it's THE classic Blues/Rock
guitar on so many great classic songs!

Anyway, I've been playing several locally and looking online and I really like
the looks, vibe and tone of the early 70's to early 80's (since I can't really
afford anything older than that Anyway I've seen a couple of beautiful looking original LPs.
One is a '72 "Custom" with the tiny frets (Fretless Wonder) and the other is
a '80 Deluxe with mini humbuckers (and larger frets). Is there a general
consensus concerning the Fretless Wonder regarding playability. I play
mosting classic blues and rock and being able to easily bend is very
important for playability. The '72 has a solid Mahogany neck and I'm sure the
tone is fantastic. I'm only concerned about the playability with the
tiny frets. The '80 Deluxe has the larger frets and might play better but
it has the maple neck and mini HBs so the tone would be totally different.
I realize the tone thing is subjective but can anyone give me some advice
on finding an older great sounding and playing LP. thanks!
Fitting, no?
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

I love fretless.
The fretless-er the better!
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Well I loved the two I had with the low frets. No problem with bends, sustain or any of the quoted things. I found them much faster to play on that the super jumbos everyone likes these days.
Tone-wise? Well you really have to check them out for yourself. Mate of mine had a Goldtop Deluxe with those minis and it sounded pure class.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SludgeBurns View Post
I hope that helps and good luck with the search.
Good luck with the search... from 2007. Am I missing a gag here? You're making fun of someone else's necro post, right? Right?
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Mines done got sausage too! Maple, Pancakes and sausage!
From now on, mini humbuckers shall be known as sausages.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

I certainly hope so. New M00000n.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

took off the Fretless wonder frets and refretted with medium jumbos, best thing I ever did, the guitar plays itself now...
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Unread 04-14-2010, 01:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xavier_32 View Post
Good luck with the search... from 2007. Am I missing a gag here? You're making fun of someone else's necro post, right? Right?
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Unread 04-14-2010, 02:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

this dredging of old threads is becoming a habit of late....
...and here I am commenting on it
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Unread 04-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

I love old threads! It reminds me of some great personalities we used to have around here.

Hal / Holy Grail was the Pre-Jonesy tone pimp. I've gotten an armload of caps off of Hal. Nice guy.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 02:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

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Unread 04-14-2010, 04:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher View Post
Well I loved the two I had with the low frets. No problem with bends, sustain or any of the quoted things. I found them much faster to play on that the super jumbos everyone likes these days.
Tone-wise? Well you really have to check them out for yourself. Mate of mine had a Goldtop Deluxe with those minis and it sounded pure class.
Low frets does not mean fretless wonders. Fretless wonders are low AND skinny. The 72 custom model he refers to would have had fretless wonder frets; the early 80s LP would have had the low wider frets (not fretless wonders but still low). It is easy to bend on the wider ones even though they are low. But it is not easy to bend on the fretless wonders.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 04:12 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

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Originally Posted by JimmyAce2006 View Post
Low frets does not mean fretless wonders. Fretless wonders are low AND skinny. The 72 custom model he refers to would have had fretless wonder frets; the early 80s LP would have had the low wider frets (not fretless wonders but still low). It is easy to bend on the wider ones even though they are low. But it is not easy to bend on the fretless wonders.
I've got an original "fretless wonder" and it's well-nigh unplayable for anything modern. I guess if you were doing jazz chords all day it would be okay. But forget anything but moderate fretwear before contemplating a refret. The '70's series "fretless wonder" customs were one of three guitars that Gibson reintroduced at the time. First out was the P90 gold top, which no one was really dying to see in the late '60's. Then, after customers ranted about wanting humbuckers, Gibson dropped the gold top with the mini humbuckers. Then the fretless wonder custom. By that time the faithful were getting loud, so they finally showed up with the one everyone had been waiting for -- two real humbuckers and serious frets. The poor Gibson salesmen spend a lot of time picking arrows out of their butts in those days, running out of dealerships...
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Unread 04-14-2010, 04:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillB1960 View Post
+1

I wonder if the OP is still trying to decide?

My first LP was a Black 1972 Custom "fretless wonder". It sounded great but I hated the low frets. Sold it. Regretted it. Tried a 1972 Custom at GC. Hated the low frets.

Still regret it.

Since then (1988) I've learned never to sell any guitars.
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Unread 04-14-2010, 04:29 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dspelman View Post
I've got an original "fretless wonder" and it's well-nigh unplayable for anything modern. I guess if you were doing jazz chords all day it would be okay. But forget anything but moderate fretwear before contemplating a refret. The '70's series "fretless wonder" customs were one of three guitars that Gibson reintroduced at the time. First out was the P90 gold top, which no one was really dying to see in the late '60's. Then, after customers ranted about wanting humbuckers, Gibson dropped the gold top with the mini humbuckers. Then the fretless wonder custom. By that time the faithful were getting loud, so they finally showed up with the one everyone had been waiting for -- two real humbuckers and serious frets. The poor Gibson salesmen spend a lot of time picking arrows out of their butts in those days, running out of dealerships...
The Custom came out in 68 at about the same time as the Gold Top, although the first gold top may have been sold before the first custom.
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Unread 04-15-2010, 11:18 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: "Fretless Wonder"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyAce2006 View Post
The Custom came out in 68 at about the same time as the Gold Top, although the first gold top may have been sold before the first custom.
You might be right -- but the store that I was working at in the midwest didn't see a custom until well after the gold tops with the P90's appeared (though we had a standing order for first shot at whatever Gibson solid body guitars might be introduced). The first P90-equipped guitar that showed up in town went to my guitar player (I opened the case, shut it, and put it in the back with my name on it). The first mini-humbucker-equipped guitar, ditto. He still has that one. The fretless custom sat on the wall for a very long time.
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