New Instruments, Part 1

OK, I’m starting now on my backlog of new luthiers and their instruments…I figured I’d “start small.”

Going through my files, I quickly came across 2 more new harp ukulele designs – adding these to the three new builds last year by Duane Heilman, Harry Eibert and Michael Dunn, we ended up with a whopping five new and different harp ukes, all with sub-bass strings!

I’ve now added all these to the “Harp” forms of Related Stringed Instruments Gallery, and also to the vastly expanded Harp Ukulele article.  When I originally wrote that for the Ukulele Occasional in 2003, I included just 3 new instruments – all that were known at the time.  The updated web article now includes harp ukuleles– with and without extra basses – by eleven modern builders.  A pretty substantial trend, I would say!

Of the remaining instruments built last year, one is by Pete Howlett, of Wales.  You may remember him from his “Sharp Guitar” with the short, pointy horn.  He’s also done a more traditional Dyer-style harp guitar.

The new harp uke is a tenor scale with 4 subs, which he considers a prototype.  He demos it on a series of videos.  Pete also plans to offer a Dyer-style harp uke, and is dialing in these plans.

Ken Miller of Tallahassee, Florida has also done his own distinctive harp uke, with 3 subs.  Pretty sweet!  It was completed about a year ago and sold fairly quickly.

To finish up these updates, I also made sure all 5 gentlemen are now represented on the Luthier page, with these (and other) instruments).

Phew! So harp ukes are caught up – now to get at the couple dozen new harp guitars!

  1. Ken Bonfield Says:

    These little guys really intrigue me. While I’ve always loved uke, I find it missing something as a solo instrument-unless your name is Jake Shimabukuro that is. Could be a very cool ‘novelty’ instrument for a solo guitarist, and easy to fly with too. Always a good consideration.

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