Organology

Harp Guitar Composite Forms
by Gregg Miner

Includes or combines two or more harp guitar forms on one instrument, or can combine harp guitar forms with non-harp guitar families (such as sympathetic strings, or a second, mandolin neck).

NOTE TO RESEARCHERS:  Please understand that many of the instruments on this page were not originally referred to as "harp guitars."
To understand why they are classified as such today, it is imperative that you first thoroughly read and comprehend the site author's thesis.

See bottom of page for image copyright information

Composite of Forms 3a and 4
Certainly the most common combination of forms - both in 1897-1914, when Knutsen first developed it, and today, after harp guitarist John Doan commissioned the first modern version of the concept, now widely copied.

Knutsen, c.1897-1898 Knutsen, c.1897-1899 Knutsen, c.1906-1908 Knutsen, c.1913 Knutsen, c. 1913

I call this Knutsen's "zither harp guitar." He swaps out the normal sub-bass strings on the hollow arm for two more banks of chord strings!

See also The Knutsen Archives

Sullivan-Elliott
(for John Doan)
Additional images: 2, 3, 4
These images show this historic instrument in 1986 when it was new.  The 6-string neck and sub-bass tuners were all Schallers - later every other one was switched out for ease of tuning.  The super-trebles are all 5th banjo tuners.
John Westling Sandpiper Sandpiper Milburn brothers Charles Shifflet

Stephen Sedgwick, U.K. Stephen Sedgwick, 2005 Mitsuhiro Uchida, Japan

(6 [bass] +6
+12 [diatonic])

"Player" Oct. 1995, photographer: Tomuji Ohtani

Mitsuhiro Uchida

(6 [bass] +6
+15 [diatonic], Terz scale)

Mike Doolin, 2004

(6+6+8)

Chris Fraser, Australia, 2008

meulle-stef_25-string-bms.jpg (67909 bytes)
Dan'l Terry Jim Hewett Jim Worland Davide Castellaro, 2006 (Italy)
(7+6+5)
Nathan Sheppard, England Benoit Meulle-Stef, Belgium, 2009
(7+2/7[fretless,fretted]+7)

Similar, but with two banks of body strings.

(Form 3 with Form 4 twice)

 


 

Jim Worland

A solidbody, "Flying V-ish" version of the Doan concept

Mark Kaiser

(for Eric Loy)

Jim Hewett

(27 strings, for Jose Luis Garmenzzi)


At right, the same concept applied to a modern Mozzani-style creation.

(Form 3c with Form 4)


m-s_mozzani.jpg (51462 bytes)

And applied to a simpler double-neck construction.

(Form 2c with Form 4)


And with theorboed headstock.

(Form 1a with Form 4)

Benoit Meulle-Stef, Belgium, 2007
(7+6+8)
Benoit Meulle-Stef, Belgium, 2005 Rich Mermer, 2007 Chris Fraser, Australia, 2008
(customized 6-string)

Other composite forms
Nearly all these others are unique combinations, rarely do we seem the same combination more than once.

Unknown
(Brussels MIM)

Form 1a with a wonderful variation on Form 4/5

Unknown

Apparently the previous instrument was not just a one-shot!

Alan Perlman (for James Kline)

Form 1c & Form 4 "sidecar"

Alan Perlman

Form 1c & Form 4

Pierre Lamour, 2006

Form 1a & Form 4

Additional image


Mouroux, France, 1959
Patent # 1,184,425

Form 2 with Form 3 (chopped off)

Gianni Pedrini, 2004 (Italy)

Form 1a with Type A Hollow arm
Additional views


Linda Manzer

Form 2a & Form 4 several times!

Michael Menkevich (for Fred Vandenberg)
Form 3a & Form 4 with an extra tiny Form 5
Fred Carlson "Harpouditar"

Form 4 with 2 extra "5-string banjo-like" drone strings

Mickey Fischer

Form 2c & Form 4


This row by William Eaton - his are always a challenge to categorize!
  Form 2c with a little of Form 1? Form 1 or 5 with Form 4 Form 5 twice Form 5 twice Form 5 1-1/2 times

Other composites of Harp Guitar Forms with other Families

Multi-neck Guitars with Harp Guitar forms

Gallego Guitarpa, 1851

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 4

Savains "double arch-guitar"
Paris, c.1783

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1a (on both necks)

Moutron, Paris, 1785

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1a (on both necks)

Unknown

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1a & Form 4

Unknown

Multi-neck Guitar/Mandolin with Harp Guitar Form 4

Unknown

Multi-neck guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1a

(See also Fretted Harp Guitars)


Shutt, c.1912

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1b or 1a

Mando-Bass-Harp-Guitar, Style "O, No. 3."

Luis, 1917
Pat #1,241,639

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1b

Note the similarity to the Shutts at left.

Rehbach, Germany, 1922
Pat # 354,922

Multi-neck (and/or fretted sub-basses) Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1


Peter McGilton

Multi-neck Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 5

Patrick Podpadec, 2004 (for Brian Henke)

Multi-neck Guitar (6-string and 7-string baritone) with Harp Guitar Form 4

This John Paul Jones-style triple-neck with an extra treble bank of harp strings showed up at the 3rd Harp Guitar Gathering in Portland in 2005. Owner and maker unknown.

Sympathetic String Guitars with Harp Guitar forms

Bohmann, c.1915

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1c

The sympathetic "strings" are actually tuned metal rods. See Frets.com

Bohmann, c.1915

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 2a

The sympathetic "strings" are actually tuned metal rods.

Bohmann, c.1915

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 2a

The sympathetic "strings" are actually tuned metal rods.

See The Harp Guitars of Joseph Bohmann

Fred Carlson Oracle

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 3a

Fred Carlson The Flying Dream

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 3a & Form 4

Glenn Wilson

Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 1c

Arul (India)

Percussion Sympathetic String Guitar with Harp Guitar Form 4 and two drums plus standard guitar on the reverse!

Additional image

To

What is a Harp Guitar?

To

Harp Guitar Family Tree

Back To

Photo Reference Library of Examples.

 


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