Freenote 12-Tone Ultra Plus: The Microtonal Guitar

I was reading some threads on the French forum when I’ve found this interview of Jon Catler from Freenote Music made by a member of the forum. The interview is in English so you can read it there, and you should because it is very interesting as it gives a lot of insights on the micro-tonality question. I am still fascinated with micro-tones because  of the boundless musicality they open up (as long as you know how to use them well which I still don’t, unfortunately).

Jon Catler & 12-Tone Ultra Plus Guitar - Freenote Music

Reading this interview also allowed me to find about Catler’s brand: Freenote Music. The main product he makes is the 12-Tone Ultra Plus guitar. The instrument is fretted as following: 12 standard frets (i.e. 12 frets per octave), and 12 additional frets in between allowing to use the  harmonic seventh interval. Please don’t ask for more about theory because I’m kinda lazy lately, plus I decided to put theory aside for a while.

No, seriously… I mean it! If I’m posting about this guitar, it is mainly because of the following videos. Most people who are not familiar with microtonal  intervals will find it out of tune but it still emphasizes the possibilities opened by such a fretting system.  And I mainly think about textural playing possibilities rather than single note playing.  I don’t know if the swelling sort of effect that I hear is due to the fretting system of if it is an electronic effect but I find all this very interesting.


Even more interesting, you can watch this video of Catler’s Blues band, Willie McBlind, and the guitar played in a blues context… It is funny because I find that the result sounds like a slide guitar, and fretless guitar crossover. Edit: While I am watching this video again I’m figuring out that I was wrong! This is not the Ultra-Tone guitar but a fretless guitar that is played in this video. I really should watch videos late at night nor write posts pas midnight!


Note that the guitars are made on a G&L Stratocaster base or no name Stratocaster base, and Freenote Music also sells the neck alone. They also produce necks for bass with the very same fretting system.

For more information, go check Freenote Music.

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

One comment

  1. Intéressant ! a propos du slide Ry Cooder parlait justement dans une de ces interviews de la facon dont certains Bluesmen ne jouaient pas les notes piles au dessus de la frette mais parfois décalé: Justement pour approcher les 1/4 de ton qui peuvent paraître faux par moments mais pas toujours

    Ecoute bien Dark was the Night Cold was the ground de Blind willie Johnson ;o)

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