“Fretless guitars are freeing. I’m trying to convince more bands to experiment with them. You can escape from whatever box you’re in”: Fretless guitars can change your perspective on the instrument – just ask Dead Poet Society’s Jack Collins

Jack Collins of Dead Poet Society opens for Badflower at Circolo Magnolia on December 15, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
(Image credit: Roberto Finizio/Getty Images)

Boston’s Dead Poet Society have come to be defined by their quirky use of fretless guitars, putting a fresh spin on gnarly, fuzz-drenched alt-rock riffs. When they bear their teeth, the riffs sound like Queens of the Stone Age’s evil twin, with hook-lavished indie vocals a devilish partner in crime.

But it almost didn’t end up that way – as guitarist Jack Collins’ teenage DIY guitar mod resulted in carnage. “When we were 15, me and my best friend had an idea to shave the frets off of my $400 Schecter Diamond Series seven-string that I bought from the mall,” the band founder explains.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.