Review: Bumblefoot and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron Thal on his
Vigier Fretless guitar
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 07:31PM by:
Guitarist and producer Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal spoke with me recently
about that one piece of gear he uses to obtain his signature sound.
Ron is a very versatile musician and the list of people he's played
with reads like a veritable who’s who in the rock/metal world. As
the current guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and his solo project,
Bumblefoot, Ron relies on his gear to get the job done. Here's what
he had to say about his Vigier Fretless guitar.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain
your signature sound?
Ron: Hmmm, I'd have to go with the Vigier fretless
What about it makes it so important to you?
Ron: The tone, the way the notes are expressed,
it's a subtle-but-unique difference in sound from a fretted guitar.
What are the major pros and cons?
Ron: Pros are the dissonance you can create, to be
able to slide with every finger. And the Vigier's have a metal
fretboard (fretless board?) that gives more sustain than wood does.
The challenges come with finger intonation, like on a violin or
cello - since there are no frets your fingertips have to have
precise placement, which can get tricky with the chord shapes we're
accustomed to playing on a fretted guitar. With a little practice
all is fine.
How long have you had it, how do you use it
and would you ever change it?
Ron: I've been playing them for a dozen years. I've
done a lot of touring and recording with it, a lot of guest solos
for other artists. Vigier built me a custom fretted/fretless
double-neck that I use; I do a bit of 'neck hopping'.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Ron: If you get a chance to check one out at a
music trade show (NAMM, Musikmesse, etc.) or at a boutique gear
store, definitely do it - they're a lot of fun to play!