At first, I thought FretPet was a virtual fret interface with MIDI output to your favorite soft synths. And so it is. But closer inspection reveals a lot more.

This Mac tool, newly available for OS X with an expanded feature set, is a unique way of exploring pitch and chords. If you know nothing about theory, you could use it to adventure through pitches in new ways, just by fiddling with your guitar. If you are into theory, you can get deep into harmonic relationships and creating your own custom guitar tunings. As a composer who’s struggled a bit with guitar tunings as a non-guitarist, it has yet another dimension.

At the center of the program is an insanely-deep virtual fretboard, with the ability to route MIDI to a soft synth like Kontakt. But that’s just one palette: there’s an interactive-color coded palette for exploring scales, a way of turning chords into sequences and sequencing picking patterns, guitar frames, and more.

It’s a totally different way of approaching pitch on guitars. I may have to write a new piece for solo guitar now! Guitarists, I’d love to hear what you think of this, especially if someone wants to do a review.

FretPet X (Mac only)

In case we didn’t have enough reasons to love this developer, they’ve developed drivers for old serial Wacom tablets, in case you’re using them as a musical tool. Oh, and more sources of endless Zork frustration, for something completely unrelated.