Fender Stratocaster Fretless

John used this guitar briefly on BSSM to record the solo on Mellowship Slinky in B Major. He bought the guitar just prior to recording the album, and it apparently had really bad frets. He took the guitar to a local guitar shop to replace them with new ones, but was unsatisfied with the result and asked for the complete removal of frets.

Well, the frets on this guitar were completely shot, so I took it to Nadine’s [a L.A. music store]. Actually, I took it in for something else, but the guy says, “Man you gotta get new frets.” And he put on these huge frets. Jumbos. Which were like shit. So wimpy. When I play, I press down hard on the strings. And when I did that with the jumbos, it didn’t even sound in tune. So I just told him to make it fretless.

Guitar Player, October 1991

The guitar was finished in sunburst and featured a rosewood neck. John referred to it as a ’57 Stratocaster in an interview, but that’s most likely not the case since it doesn’t have a maple fretboard (all Strats prior to May 1959 had one). It was either an original 60s Strat or a reissue model.

I also have a ’57 Strat, which someone had screwed up by putting on those big stupid frets that everyone uses these days. I vomited and told them to make it fretless. That’s what I used for the “Mellowship Slinky” solo.

Guitar Player (USA), October 1991


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