"Fretless Wonder"?

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by guitarplayer, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Junior Member

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    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!
     
  2. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail V.I.P. Member

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    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 .
     
  3. SludgeBurns

    SludgeBurns Senior Member

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    Yeah, I don't like the fretless wonder frets either. I hope that helps and good luck with the search.
     
  4. Boleskinehouse

    Boleskinehouse Senior Member

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  5. SludgeBurns

    SludgeBurns Senior Member

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    Fitting, no?
     
  6. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    I love fretless.
    The fretless-er the better!
     
    chriseskew24 likes this.
  7. Lurcher

    Lurcher Senior Member

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    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.
     
  8. Xavier_32

    Xavier_32 Senior Member

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    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? :shock:
     
  9. Boleskinehouse

    Boleskinehouse Senior Member

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    I certainly hope so. :laugh2: New M00000n. :shock:
     
  10. blakem

    blakem Senior Member

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    took off the Fretless wonder frets and refretted with medium jumbos, best thing I ever did, the guitar plays itself now...
     
  11. SludgeBurns

    SludgeBurns Senior Member

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    :naughty:
     
  12. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    this dredging of old threads is becoming a habit of late....
    ...and here I am commenting on it
     
  13. diceman

    diceman V.I.P. Member

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    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.
     
  14. BillB1960

    BillB1960 Senior Member

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  15. JimmyAce2006

    JimmyAce2006 V.I.P. Member

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    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.
     
  16. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    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...
     
  17. DonP

    DonP Senior Member

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    +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.
     
  18. JimmyAce2006

    JimmyAce2006 V.I.P. Member

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    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.
     
  19. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    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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