How To Get One
Videos and recordings only go so far. To get the full Kite guitar experience, you need to get your hands on an instrument. You can buy one, rent one, or convert one.
Order one from us
We have several Kite guitars in stock. Prices do not include shipping. Cases sold separately. In addition to what's listed here, all rental guitars are potentially for sale. If you ever want to sell your Kite guitar, we will buy it back, or help you find a buyer.
Before you buy: Just so you know, the Kite guitar doesn't work if tuned to the usual EADGBE. All the familiar chord shapes create wolf 5ths and even wolf octaves. So you have to use either an open tuning or an all-3rds tuning. The latter is best for playing in all keys, and really unlocks the modulational freedom of 41edo. As a result:
1) There is a significant learning curve. You won't be able to just pick up a Kite guitar and play it as usual. You'll have to learn new chord shapes.
2) Tuning in major 3rds reduces the range of the open strings, and a 6-string guitar will range not from E to E, but from say E to B, or from A to E (as if one of the strings were missing). This is why we generally recommend 7 strings. That said, some people don't mind the smaller range.
We also have these guitars on hand ready to convert to the Kite fretting.
(Not shown: a 7-string Cozart electric)
Order one from others
We only convert existing guitars, we do not build them from scratch. Luthiers who have built a Kite guitar:
Furthermore, Microtone Guitars makes a high-end classical guitar with a removable fretboard. You can have a Kite-fretted fretboard and a 12-equal fretboard, and swap them in seconds.
If you are in or near Portland OR or Boston MA, we have a library of guitars that rent for $10-20/week sliding scale (cable-tie guitars are $5-10/week). In addition to what's listed here, all for-sale guitars are potentially for rent. You can exchange one guitar for another as they become available.
To help with the learning curve, we offer Kite guitar instruction (live or video-chat) for $0-80/hour sliding scale. That's not a typo!
Convert your own instrument
Order a conversion from us
We can convert your guitar to the Kite fretting for $600-750. Converting a 6-string guitar to a 7- or 8-string is a possibility, if the fretboard is wide enough.
Convert it yourself, or hire a local luthier
We sell pre-slotted, pre-inlaid fretboards. Prices start at $100-$150. Woods available are padauk, ebony, maple, canary wood, purple heart, Indian rosewood, or Bolivian rosewood (pao ferro). If you have the tools and experience, you can install the frets, remove the old fretboard, carefully position the new one, and do the set up. Or you can hire a local luthier, who we can advise on the process for free.
Luthiers who have converted a 12-equal guitar to a Kite guitar (besides us):
- Char Guitars -- Kerry Char, Portland Oregon
- Starrett Guitars -- John Starrett, Denver Colorado
- JLJ Instruments -- John C.L. Jansen, Takoma Park Maryland
Fretboards are usually custom made to order. But we do have in-stock an ebony fretboard for a 27" scale guitar. Radius is 12". Width at nut is 2 7/16". Abalone inlays. $100 plus shipping.
Interested, but not yet ready to commit to the expense? A cheap DIY conversion can give you a taste and help you decide.
Use cable-ties (zip-ties)
Defret the guitar, then wrap numerous cable-ties tightly around the neck. Yes, the sound quality suffers, but this is still the easiest way to make a Kite guitar. Has the advantage that you can quickly and easily explore other equal divisions of the octave.
Fretlets are tang-less frets that you attach to the fretboard with two-sided tape. (The tang is the part of a fret that fits into the fret slot.) They can be full-width, or they can be narrower, often only 1 or 2 strings wide. They are usually used as additional frets on a standard 12-equal guitar, but to make a Kite guitar you would of course defret the guitar first and use only full-width fretlets. You can buy fretlets from John Schneider (fretlet.com). Or you can hire a local luthier to radius and de-tang a length of fret wire for you. Or you can do that yourself, if you have the right tools. The frets may need to be leveled to avoid fret buzz.
(all prices subject to change without notice)