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fret +‎ -less


fretless (not comparable)

  1. Of a stringed instrument, not having frets on the fingerboard.
  2. Without worries.
    • 1895, Virginia Reed, Daily Cheer for All the Year, Philadelphia: G.W. Jacobs & Co., →OCLC, page 18:
      You would live longer and happier if you would only be quiet and fretless.
    • 1907 August, J. W. Foley, quotee, “The Menace of Reform”, in Texas Medical News, volume 16, number 10, Austin: Texas Medical News Publishing Co., →ISSN, page 525:
      Will the fretless world be happy or will restless nature shout / For some old-time fret or worry just to rave and kick about?
    • 1913, George Lincoln Walton, Calm Yourself, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, →OCLC, page 7:
      Is it not worth while to try and approximate, if we cannot hope to attain, the ideal of fretless, fussless, and unworrying poise?




fretless (plural fretlesses)

  1. A stringed instrument without frets on the fingerboard.
    • 2003, Jim Roberts, American Basses, San Francisco: Backbeat Books, →ISBN, page 150:
      Read's creations have covered just about all of bass-dom, from vintage-style 4-strings to 32-position fretlesses to 25-fret 8-strings tuned F♯BEADGCF.
    • 2006, Adrian Ashton, The Bass Handbook, San Francisco: Backbeat Books, →ISBN, page 47:
      No other machine can produce sounds which are so often described as 'singing', 'purring', 'humming', and 'ringing'. But this array of mellifluous notes doesn't come cheaply: even those who have mastered the fretless to moderate levels of proficiency have been obliged to spend many hundreds of hours on techniques which fretted-bass players either take for granted or simply do not require.
    • 2008, Jonathan Hererra, “ASK BP”, in Chris Jisi, editor, Bass Player Presents The Fretless Bass[1], Milwaukee: Backbeat Books, →ISBN:
      Many fretlesses, especially less expensive models that mimic a fretted counterpart, have fretted-bass nut slots.