Guitar Design

It is my intent to build, with the help of an expert luthier, a guitar neck that will have frets to play only the notes and frequencies we have identified in this exploration.

It won’t be able to play in every key – it will sound out of tune with equal-temperament instruments like piano and normal guitars.  But it will be acutely in-tune with what I feel to be the harmony of the universe and that is a lofty enough goal (don’t ya think?).   And I’ll be able to play with fretless instruments such as fretless bass and stringed instruments such as violin and cello.  With high-end digital keyboards, it is even possible to tune every key to the magic frequency – although I’m not a big fan of digital.

The ideal instrument will probably have bent frets, like the True-Temperament instruments here.  But there goal is apparently not the creation of commercial instruments for Just Intonation (AKA harmonic resonance).  They are focused on being completely and accurately in Equal Temperament.

I, on the other hand, don’t have commercial aspirations – or I do, but they involve changing the whole musical outlook of the planet.  So, until I get my act together, and produce my own neck with bent frets, then I am stuck with three options:

  1. Fretless – way too hard unless you’re Guthrie Govan, and basically, he doesn’t attempt to play chords
  2. Split  frets – like Tolgahan Çoğulu – but then you can’t bend – and what fun is that?!
  3. Straight frets which are placed in harmonically correct places – but which will probably require changes to the guitar tuning to keep it in tune not just to each string but to a fundamental frequency such as B-flat.

The best compromise for me is option 3 – and I found these necks by Jon Catler which position the frets accordingly.

Below, I have done an analysis of how I would need to tune the guitar to get the maximum “hits” on the neck – frets on specific strings which will give the frequencies we tabulated in the main page.

Catler Harmonics