Organology

Harp Guitar: Other Forms
by Gregg Miner

New or unique configurations that do not fit any of the 11 sub-forms.

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

January,2013: I was asked to remove the remarkable photo of his instrument.  Serious researchers may contact me for information.

Unknown

I suppose this is technically closest to Form 3a (hollow arm), but is really more of a giant zither with attached guitar neck!

Rafael Vallejo, Granada, c.1790

A "neck slab harp string attachment" form. Closest to Form 4.

Wulschner/Regal, c.1900

A famous, extremely short-lived "neck slab" harp guitar

There are three separate split-off companies of the original Emil Wulshner company. Strangely, the clues point to all three being involved in the production of the strange Regal harp guitars with the short bass strings. At least some of these instruments are believed to be Larson built.

More great photos at Frets.com

Unknown
(home-made), American, c.1900
Orville Gibson, c. 1898

His first harp guitar is a wonderful intermediary between Form 3a (hollow arm) and Form 4 (body)

"Kytar"
Dieter Hopf, 1970s

Custom instrument designed with Ekkehard Reisser, called a "kytar." It has a hollow neck and upper portion, like a Schenck, except that there is no arm - the hollow and fretted neck portions are one.


Unknown (Russian?)

Sort of a cross between a Form 4 (body) and a Form 5 (frame)

Lerro "knee-activated sympathetic string guitar," 1898, Pat #600,586

Technically, this is a form of harp guitar, as the internal sympathetic strings can be separately plucked - with levers actuated with the knees!

Towell, Arkansas, 1941

Patent # 2,250,402

Abel, France, 1979

Patent # 2,415,853


These next instruments incorporate assorted attachments to standard 6-string guitars.

William Cumpiano, built for Sean MacLean, 1989

The "Remora" is a solid sub-bass harp string attachment that attaches to a standard guitar (like a remora to a shark). 

James Holcroft,  2000

By contrast, the "Harp-a-bout" is also a solid sub-bass attachment with a large open body section to fit around a standard guitar.

2006:

Now with add-on trebles!

Hirokatsu Takei plays a this amazing "koto harp guitar."


These first three are more or less solid-body versions of Form 3a. 

Mickey Fisher Pentasitar Dubreuille, France Gibson

I don't quite know what to make of this one! It's a fretless all-harp strings harp guitar.


It's not surprising that modern electric harp guitars won't be falling into any convenient categories.
Or will they?
These, I call "Floating Theorboed Headstocks."

Steve Klein Steve Klein

A Floating Theorboed Headstock with an extra treble bank

Ellie Erickson Ellie Erickson A & I

 

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What is a Harp Guitar?

To

Harp Guitar Family Tree

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Photo Reference Library of Examples.

 


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