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Unread 05-28-2011, 01:34 AM   #1
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Fretless guitar, eBow... now needing learning materials for Turkish/Arabic music!

First off: I have absolutely *no* idea what the appropriate forum for this would be. It touches on a few things, including bowed instruments, wind instruments, and traditional Turkish/Arabic music. If a mod decides that it is better served elsewhere, please move it.

----

I've been GASsing for a fretless guitar for a while, but I lucked out when I stumbled upon a used fretless Agile at Guitar Center. The person who set it up had adjusted it out of easy playability, so I wound up getting a bargain with easily correctable flaws.

It's been my intention to tune it in fifths, and to use it with an eBow for cello/viola/violin parts and flute parts. I already use my other electrics in much the same way, and am comfortable with eBow use, but I wanted to be able to slide into and out of pitches, something which is impossible with a fretted neck.

So, I was on YouTube, looking to see if anyone is already doing what I want to do, and I ran across this:



It's interesting in its own way, although most of the examples I found of such music treat the instrument as a one-string, vertically played instrument.



I figure that I'll have to put myself through a bunch of ear-work to get a handle on it, but does anyone know of sources for learning traditional music of this sort?

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Unread 05-28-2011, 01:52 AM   #2
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This is such an awesome idea.

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Unread 05-29-2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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I recently ripped the frets out of a dean 7 string that I have for this purpose exactly. I have a slight background with Indian classical music so I've been going off of my knowledge of that. Loving the results.

I'd suggest doing a little research into some Anatolian folk music, find some artists in the genre (I have some great old recordings of Tanburi Cemil Bey), and let their playing guide your style if that's what you're into. Only way to learn something is by example.
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Unread 05-29-2011, 03:33 PM   #4
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This looks like a decent place to start: Arabic Maqam World. Also, check the Wikipedia entries on various Turkish instruments; some of them may link to useful informational/instructional resources, or even basic info pages that then link to more comprehensive sites (that's how I found the above).
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Unread 05-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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What's been said before. Check out maqam stuff.

Arabic Music Maqam Theory | The Oud ?????

If you're in a culturally diverse area, you might be able to find a maqam teacher. I had a professor who took lessons from an oud player. He couldn't afford an oud, so he defretted a guitar. Sounds familiar, huh?



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Unread 05-29-2011, 07:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

I've spent quite a bit of free time with the guitar, eBow and Korg Pandora, playing along with whatever we've been watching on instant Netflix. I want to develop my ear, especially since I've not played any fretless bowed instruments in a while.

I may use this approach for the new music, too. There's something to be said for really learning how things fit together by ear, so I think I'll invest some time in programming some scale exercises in these tunings (straight, skipping intervals, etc.), and then playing along.

----

The one thing which I foolishly expected to change was the oboe-like tone of an eBow. I am used to it sounding this way through actives, but expected the passives to have a different tone. Apparently it's more the eBow than the pickups. Ah, well....

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Unread 05-29-2011, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
The one thing which I foolishly expected to change was the oboe-like tone of an eBow. I am used to it sounding this way through actives, but expected the passives to have a different tone. Apparently it's more the eBow than the pickups. Ah, well....
Have you experimented with using a neck pickup and positioning the eBow over the fretboard around the 12th fret area? I find it mellows out the tone quite a bit.

You can also control the harmonics which usually happen when you fret in the really low position - first 4 or 5 frets - by holding the eBow 12 frets higher than the fretted note (suppresses harmonics instead of creating them.)

My personal favorite eBow application is on steel-string acoustic guitars using a slide - definitely doesn't have the "oboe" tone you get on electric.
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Unread 05-30-2011, 12:34 AM   #8
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Yeah, I experimented with different positions and such, and normally use the neck pickup anyway for quicker activation (with or without the bridge), but those were great suggestions.

I normally palm mute at the bridge to control harmonics. It also allows me to really dig in when quickly starting notes.

You're right about the eBow sounding different on acoustic instruments, without the reinforcement of the odd harmonics in the sound. I've sometimes debated installing one of those humbucker pickups in the soundhole of an acoustic, plugged in but with the volume turned all the way down, just to have the benefit of the instantly starting tone, but with only the acoustic live sound being audible.

----

Normally my signal chain when using an eBow, and I use one *a lot*, winds up using a POG2's filter, but I was hoping I'd be able to go with something more naked.

It doesn't matter, though, For bowed instrument sounds, I really like the tone of my G.I. Fuzz through the POG2, then through a Boss AD8 to get a real body resonance on it. The main difference I was looking for was the lack of frets, and that is now mission accomplished.

I've been doing some reading on the fretless guitar forums, and it looks like most of these guys wind up using reverb at minimum, and other effects as well. I shouldn't have been surprised that I'd still have to retain a signal chain.

I am inspired, though, to see how close I can come to my normal chain's sound by just using a Korg Pandora. I was thinking of using this for the emulative work I sometimes do when doing music for friends' art performances, instead of carrying a lot of gear, and if I can make do with a Pandora and a portable stereo Boss acoustic amp, I'll be pretty happy.

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Unread 08-05-2011, 03:59 AM   #9
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Yeah man this is cool. It sounds like a moog synth, really maybe even like a woodwind instrument.

Feel free to check out some of my Rock/Jazz Music In the link below. If you want to check that out, here is my soundcloud account:

http://soundcloud.com/tom-coovert
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