Possibly viewing this video will help you compare the two:
Fretted instruments have simply become more popular because it removes the challenge of placing your finger in the exact location to produce a true tone. The frets pretty much do that automatically. Single notes or two notes (doublestops) are not bad, but 3 finger chords get almost impossible. So it mainly comes down to what you want to do with the instrument and your playing style.
Form follows Function
Enjoy, Keni Lee
Howdy Keni - Thank you for your interest in helping this here 'newbie' to the 3-string CBG. I appreciate it.
I just ordered the 3 Cd's that I believe will help me the most in getting started on this journey.
Those CDs that I just ordered are #1, #4, and Good & Evil.
Thank you for doing what you do, in having these CDs available to us to learn from.
You indeed are a 'contributor' to society.
Keni - Ya gotta be kidding me, amigo....I just ordered 3 of your CDs ( #1, #4, and Good & Evil) and they were delivered all the way out to AZ today! Great service....thank you!
I have a 3-string CBG on it's way to me in a couple of weeks from Eric at 'Tobacco Road Guitars'.
Like I posted earlier....I am a complete newbie and I am not even sure that I ever held ANY guitar. (Nor read music.)
It should be a very interesting journey.
Thank you Keith for your comments. Glad to be of help. Please feel free to write if any questions arise as you work through the lessons. Most of all enjoy your practice, Keni Lee
some are built just built for slide .. no fingering . no frets needed .
some are fretless , but you can finger on the fretboard with a slightly muted sound .
frets allow you to finger with a clear sound , or both (slide too) . with a higere action .
some build a slide only because they deem it an easier build , or are going with tradition of the depression era where access to tools / frets .. supplies were limited ,.. and it has a unique sound .
some build fretted maybe with a slight higer action to have choice slide also .
some just build a fretted "normal use " guitar .
personal choice is the main factor here .
For me, fretted guitars are easier to play and have a brighter fingered note sound. Fretless guitars, however, have a unique sound that's kinda muted by the flesh of your finger, and they are more difficult to play; I prefer fretless and can using both fingering and slide, I can do pretty much anything but blues shuffles that are not open, I can do barre chords with the slide and 3 string fingered chords if not blocked at the same position. Fretless is more challenging, but also more satisfying for me, and I constantly change my mind whether to fret my next git or not. My customers always want frets, though. Keni Lee covers both pretty well in his CD's, check with him about which to get.
From a building standpoint, some people are intimidated by the fretting process, so they opt to go fretless on their first couple of builds. Fretting is not difficult, and I put a beginner's fretting video on my page here to help new folks out.
For someone who does not know how to play guitar already, it is my opinion that learning to play slide first does not necessarily make things easier, though lots of other people disagree with me.
Get one of each and see where that leads you.
I would highly recommend building a fretless first. I did'nt enjoy fretless much until I built a short scale fretless and tuned the strings down a step. A little less tension makes it more fun to play with your fingers.You can even get some bends if you get the tension just right. Lower tension also gives a little more growl and deeper tones if you ask me.
I made a fretless for my first because fretting seemed outside my skill set. You dont want to end up with a guitar that can't be played in tune. I have enough problems playing the guitar. The fretless came out great and isnt as hard to play as I thought it might be. I have recently bought materials to make my next guitar fretted, i.e., a fret saw. And there are plenty of people on this site who show you the 411 on how to do a fretted neck.
Thanks Brenden. I have just ordered a Fretted 3-string CBG....vamos a ver (We will see.)
Well yer gonna want more than half a dozen guitars eventually, so.......
I am fretting about this thread!