Group photo by Linda Morgan

Captions by Gregg Miner

Trip Report: The 2nd Annual Harp Guitar Gathering 
by Fred Carlson

New performers this year included:

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Brian Henke (Ohio) brought his new "Dreamcaster" and ad-libbed a tune, as I insisted he play those super-trebles! Kip Martin from Baltimore impressed us with his Hedges covers and played the Bach Cello Prelude for the audience.
 In action: the incomparable Tom Shinness from Nashville. Bill Dutcher (Ohio), who also graced our new CD compilation.
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John Doan Stacy Hobbs Andy McKee Dan LaVoie Larry Berwald 
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Andy Wahlberg (playing blues harp/harp guitar) Muriel Anderson Gregg Miner (myself) - solo, and in a new Harp/Hawaiian guitar duo with Larry. And of course, Stephen Bennett, who played Beatles tunes for Sunday's show with Tom on cello.
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The Water is Wide finale - Saturday night and again Sunday

Rehearsing for the tune, Fred Carlson and Benoit Meulle-Stef discover an easier way to play harp guitar...


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Saturday, 9:00 sharp: Last years "young studs" Dan LaVoie and Andy McKee showed us the difference a year makes.... Newcomer Tom Shinness plugged in and showed that an amplified and slightly enhanced vintage Gibson can sound truly gorgeous.  Several pros discussed their methods for beginning harp guitar.

John Doan told stories about the filming of his new DVD project, "In Search of the Harp Guitar." Karla Fisher, the producer and editor, showed us a wonderful 2-minute preview "teaser."

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Bob Hartman and I did a Question/Answer on the Larson brothers instruments. Trying to answer "What is a Harp Guitar?" A poor student... This year's Luthiers Panel: Bob Alexander, Pat Podpadec, Fred Carlson, Benoit Meulle-Stef, Steve Sedgwick and Mike Doolin. Bob Alexander discusses his new creation. Pat Podpadec chats about his first harp guitar, a custom instrument for Brian Henke.

Round Robin

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How many Beatles tunes can we play without stopping? Bill Dutcher and Tom Shinness Matt Thomas, a new "young gun" from the area.

Bill paying rapt attention.

Bob Hartman Up close and personal with John.

New Instruments

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Steve Sedgwick (England) delivered two new instruments. Stephen Bennett is playing Kim Person's, Joe Morgan is holding his new cutaway. Stephen played a couple tunes on Joe's instrument for the audience. The proud builder with Kim's new prize.

Steve tricked me into posing for a "Gregg Miner endorses Sedgwick Harp Guitars" photo - but I foiled his plan with the sleepy and stupefied expression which I wore most of the weekend.

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Norman LeDonne took delivery of Mike Doolin's second harp guitar - this one with super-trebles. Muriel tries out Doolin #2. Another proud builder.

Andy Wahlberg tells us about his brand new harp guitar built by Florida classical guitar maker Eddie Vila.

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Certainly nothing was as unusual as Brian Henke's new "Dreamcaster." The builder, Pat Podpadec also attended. They were still working with stringing and tuning options for the treble bank. The 7-string baritone neck sounded incredible (all that extra wood and strings?). Karla Fisher brought the new "student model" harp guitar built by Benoit Meulle-Stef. We all agreed that the name should be changed - while simple and inexpensive, it is a great instrument! Still available from John Doan.

Stephen gave a demonstration of both Ben's and a Sedgwick - simultaneously!

Bob Alexander surprised everyone with his first harp guitar creation.

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I brought my new c.1920 Mozzani, as almost no one had seen one in the flesh (Ben had just got one himself, and compares to this one).

It made the rounds the whole weekend.

And a brief appearance in the concert.

Hotel Jams

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Stacy Hobbs brought four harp guitars, including this vintage German instrument. As you can see, we freely switch harp guitars. I didn't want to relinquish Andy Wahlberg's brand new hg by Eddie Vila. Stephen gets free cello accompaniment yet again.


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Joe & Linda Morgan, Stephen & Linda Bennett, Fred Carlson and Benoit Meulle-Stef. Larry Berwald, Benoit, Myself, Rick Frieden, Muriel Anderson, Kip Martin. Chuck Thompson, Brian Henke, Pat Podpadec, Nate Blaustein, Gary Dawson and Matt Thomas. Gregg Miner & Steve Sedgwick - fellow harp guitar historians and fast friends.

The trio of Spillers harp guitar owners - Larry, Dan and Andy. 

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Andy McKee and Nate Blaustein Larry Berwald and I made our debut as a harp guitar and Hawaiian guitar duo. Oh no - "the hat" has multiplied! Frank Doucette, Benoit, Fred and I spent a glorious relaxing day wandering around colonial Williamsburg on Monday.

Photos by Larry Berwald, John Birchak, Nate Blaustein, Fred Carlson, Mike Doolin, Brad Hoyt, Gregg Miner, Linda Morgan, Steve Sedgwick, Benoit Meulle-Stef

Additional photos and remembrances by Mike Doolin

Don't miss HGG III! - in a new location: Salem, Oregon
September 3 & 4, 2005, hosted by John Doan


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