Name: Fretless Guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitars > Modified.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Inventor: Vassant Rai [b. 1942 d. 1985]
Tuning: B / F# / B / F# / B / E
Region: South Asia.
Description: This particular approach to the concept of the fretless-guitar modification was invented by Vassant Rai. Unlike the scalloped guitar the fingerboard of the classical guitar was removed and a metal plate from a sarode has been glued on . One can use the same strings as a classical guitar.
Tuning: Vassant Rai tuned his modified guitar by keeping first two bottom strings of the highest pitch being the B string and E strings. The G string is lowered to a half step to F# [म shuddha ma]. In the following order the fourth, fifth and sixth strings are tuned to B / F# and B.
Playing Techniques: The use of the this type of any fretless guitar can be utilized to achieve the techniques fundamental to Hindustani [North Indian Classical Music] such as the use of meend [glissando], murki ornamentations. [Authors input] Alternatively one can achieve this modification by the use of a commercially available fretless guitar such as the “fretless Godin model” or have the frets removed by yourself or have a professional luthier do this modification for you. Either way, you would be able to achieve this style of playing on a fretless guitar.
Citations: Websites: Youtube: Vassant Rai performing Alap in Raag Darbari Kanada, 1981 ;