Hopelessly Microtonal – Neil Haverstick

Hopelessly Microtonal, The Musical Instruments of Neil Haverstick – Neil Haverstick

Hopelessley Microtonal Neil Haverstick


About the Introduction

2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Keefe introduces the book in style, touching on the cornerstones that anchor this book and Neil’s extraordinary journey to now.

About the author

Neil Haverstick is one of the most respected microtonalists on the planet, he is a prolific composer, performer and author. He organises the Microstock festival held each year in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1951 Neil started playing guitar in 1965. Living in Denver he describes himself as a guitarist / composer using microtonal tunings of 19, 22, 24, 31, 34 and 36 tones. He uses Fretless Guitar with pure tunings from the harmonic series.

He won Guitar Player’s Ultimate Guitar competition (experimental section) in 1992 with a 19 tone piece “Spider Chimes” He won the 1996 Arts Innovation Award in Denver for his 19 tone song “Jimmy & Joe”
Neil has written three other books, “The Form of No Forms” (1984) , “19 tones: A New Beginning” and “Harmonics and Spirals”.

Neil Haverstick at DFGF 2
Neil Haverstick playing his 7 string Fretless Guitar

About the book (review)

Hopelessly Microtonal, The Musical Instruments of Neil Haverstick

Well titles can be deceiving and this book is so much more than would be described in the title. It is full of entertaining stories, in a style that is very personal, almost as if he is in the room with you explaining the hows and whys in a basic easy to understand manner.

However we are 22 pages in before we see some of Neil’s fabled instruments, these pretty normal 12 TeT axes. By page 34 we are onto the more formidable 19 TeT instruments and how they behave. There is a handy graph for each iteration showing where almost normal notes would fit.

Neil explains the concept of alternative scales very well and that is the deceptive quality of the book itself, Yes it is a treatise on the instruments he owns yet it is also a treatise on the Man himself and his approach to Microtonality.

There is a great fretless section, almost worth getting the book for, and the eighty or so pages are packed with information and anecdotes. If you are a Haverstick fan, this is the book for you and if you are even casually microtonal you will not be disappointed.

Review – Jahloon, December 2018


A few words about Haverstick
Thank you to….
The Luthiers
Music and Instruments
Tedesco’s Lesson
What Is Tuning
Reading the Graphs
12 Tone Equal Temperament
19 Tone Equal Temperament
34 Tone Equal Temperament
24, 31 & 36 Tone Equal Temperament
Harmonic Guitars, Saz
Fretless Guitars, Banjo, Bass, Oud

Available from:

Box 150271, Lakewood, Colorado, 80215, USA


www.microstick.net (Neil Haverstick’s website)

Harmonics and Spirals (Neil’s book of Microtonal Knowledge)

The Oud Ancient to Modern  (Neil’s article for Vintage Guitar – November 2015)

Fretless Stickman (Unfretted review of Neil’s Fretless Guitar album)


More Book Reviews More Neil Haverstick

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