Unfretted Purchase


A long time ago I read a guitar review for a fretless guitar in 1998. Like a lot of reviews you read it is often difficult to track the instrument down in an actual shop. Living near Liverpool all the local shops would say is "You'll have to go to London to find something like that." So I went to London and did not find anything there.

You could say this put the project on a back burner for a while, but it did provide a very good stock reply to the guitar shop assistant who asks if you need any help: "Have you got a fretless guitar?" responses have varied from "They don't make them." to "We'll not have your sort around here" or "We can order you one". We can order you one, this makes me mad, I can order one myself, I know about the Internet, it will arrive on my doorstep the next day.

So time went by, and I did get to realise one thing, no shop you walk into is going to have one of these beasts. Trouble is I really wanted to play one before purchasing. Guitars are like that for me, you know when you play it that it is going to be right for you. For instance I really like Rickenbackers' sound and looks, but I've never liked playing them, I just can't get used to the neck, its stupid personal stuff.

Finally I found a really good guitar shop, and after a few visits felt optimistic enough to enquire about a fretless guitar; "We had a Glissentar once." said the assistant, I could tell from the tone of his voice that they had had a Glissentar once and possibly for a very long time before they managed to sell it in a sale with a large label saying massively reduced, unique oportunity to own, last ever made, etc.. What about getting one in for me to try? In a more than my job's worth voice he said he would ask the boss.

Six days later a call to my mobile announced they had found the only fretless guitar in Europe, come down and give it a go. So with unreasonable haste I did, it was nicely made, seemed to work, and a few hundred quid cheaper than the internet enquiry I'd made some weeks back. And it came with a case, "Sold to the gent with more money than sense" was ringing in my ears as I drove home in the Manchester rain.