Harp Guitar & Related Patents
by Gregg Miner
Updated January, 2011

(Note: Volunteers needed to collect European and pre-1890's U.S. patents!
Also German & French translators!)

Thanks to the many past individuals who alerted me to certain patents, especially Michael Holmes

This Patent List includes all instruments related to the study, history and organology of harp guitars, including hollow-arm and lyre guitars, sympathetic string guitars, multi-neck guitars, hybrid inventions and other stringed instruments in these forms.

Thorough analysis is often needed to decipher the maker's intent, in order to decide if we're dealing with a form of harp guitar, multi-neck, or new hybrid. Often, the inventor himself doesn't seem to have a clue. In fact, in many instances, it is doubtful whether the invention was even logistically capable of being built! Less often, we see a patent for an actual produced, recognizable instrument. 

Note: For best study options, most Patent page images are formatted as TIFF files. Each will therefore need to be individually downloaded to your computer's drive, and opened in whatever program you've set up as your image browser. There, you will be able to zoom and move around images. A better option is to obtain a CD of this site (available at cost to all subscribers), where all the Patents (some 200 files) will already be available locally (NOTE: In 2006, I have started to format these as PDF files).

D prefix = Design patent, as opposed to standard Utility patent.

Patent # Patent File Date Patent Issue Date Inventor City/State Patent Title Instrument Category Common (or affectionate) name

421,033
421,033b
421,033c

421,033 Jan 28, 1889 Feb 11, 1890 Shaeffer, Arling Denver, CO "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 4 Shaeffer "double body bank" harp guitar

Shaeffer's design fits two separate banks of treble strings on either side of a guitar body. While he mentions the sympathetic vibration and extra volume that these strings add during normal playing, the main purpose of these string banks was to allow the performer to play "difficult or impossible harp-like arpeggios." These arpeggios are created by a "simple sweep" across the extra strings, meaning, a glissando is actually performed, with the strings tuned to a chord. He discusses the options of using only one bank, tuned to the main chord of the piece, adjacent to the guitar's highest string. When the preferred two sets are installed, the second is tuned to one of the other commonly used chords (thus described, it is exactly how I use the two lower banks of my Knutsen "zither harp guitar."). However, he also mentions the option of tuning to a "diatonic or chromatic scale." Michael Holmes states that at least two were manufactured by Washburn (see the ad in Iconography provided by Michael). I also have seen at least one identical instrument made by Bohmann (see Makers). Both the Washburn ad and the extant Bohmann are the form of the patent's Fig.1 (Shaeffer also shows a version with longer parallel strings, and even a banjo version!). Several question remain: Who is Schaeffer, and why did both Lyon & Healy (Washburn being one of their brand names) and Bohmann (both Chicago makers) produce his instrument? And was Knutsen aware of these instruments?

459,932 Feb 3, 1891 Sep 22, 1891 Hansen, Hans J. Chicago, IL "Musical-Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 1b Hansen harp guitar

This appears to be the first American patent of a harp guitar as most of us are familiar with the instrument (having sub-bass strings). Hansen specifically calls his "invention" a "harp-guitar" (there's that original hyphen again). His patent features two inventions: the harp attachment, and a new bridge design (the strings do not go through the soundboard). He refers to the "fingering" of all the strings near the bridge, thus he intends a true harp guitar, not just extra resonant strings. The first specimen I am aware of turned up in May, 2005.
459,932   459,932b   459,932c


8918 full image
8918 (England) unknown 1891 Lindemann, Hermann England unknown Multi-neck guitars Lindemann "double fingerboard, finger- and-thumb-fretted guitar"

Here is an intriguing idea! Lindemann developed a guitar with eight strings, three of which traversed the underneath side of the fingerboard, which was also fretted - fingered with the thumb! His aim was to remove the difficulties found in fingering the strings over the fingerboard: "This invention not only provides for a more easy fingering but it also allows the strings to be stopped so that chords throughout all keys may be fingered and combined in a manner previously impossible on such instruments." He's correct there! The question is, was his guitar equally impossible to play? The construction was fairly complex, but appears to be logical. The underside fretted bass strings manage to appear from beneath the neck before reaching the body, and attach to the same bridge in the normal manner. Lindemann also states that his improvements "renders the instrument more suitable for solo playing, widens the range of harmony and also improves the volume and quality of tone." Tuning is not known, and I know of no examples. There is also another Lindemann patent of a twelve string guitar with various mechanical devices incorporated into it. Can anyone shed any light on this one?
My information for this instrument comes from a 1989 thesis by Stewart Button, The guitar in England, 1880-1924. I would be interested in obtaining a copy of this work (not surprisingly, most of Button's harp guitar conclusions, like those of most of my predecessors, I disagree with). I would be more interested in obtaining the original patent. See also the 1923 Pribyl patent below.


469,548
469,548 Apr 1, 1891 Feb 23, 1892 Dahlman, Henry Cambridge, MN "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 1b Dahlman harp guitar

Another fairly "normal" American harp guitar, with a rod supporting a simple sub-bass string extension. It is extremely similar in design and concept to Hansen's patent, filed only two months earlier. I'm not sure how this patent was allowed - unless it was the slight variation on the sub-bass headstock. Dahlman's patent even more specifically refers to plucking the bass strings - but plucking with the fretting-hand thumb! The sub-bass strings are even arranged in "the arc of a circle" to facilitate this. His sub-basses are tuned "in the usual manner" - whatever that is - "selected to be in harmony with the (main) strings." Dahlman does not mention a harp guitar by name. Many examples of this design are known, with slightly different sub-bass string configuration and tuners (see Makers). The instruments so far identified are labeled "Charles Akeson." The relationship of these two gentlemen is not yet known.

474,120 Oct 30, 1891 May 3, 1892 Ganss, Albert Austin, TX "Stringed Instrument" Lyre guitars Ganss "mandolyre"

Only in America. A Texan patents the typical French lyre guitar of a hundred years earlier. He even rips off the classic soundhole design seen on so many French instruments. Though copying it exactly, including the 6 standard guitar strings, he draws comparison to a lyre and mandolin, calling it his "mandolyre." What a numbskull.
474,120    474,120b    474,120c    474,120d

 
69,984

497,939a
497,939b
 497,939c

497,939 (US patent) Oct 24, 1892 May 23, 1893 Abelspies, John F.C. Glasgow, Scotland "Musical-Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 5 Abelspies harp guitar
69,984 (German patent) Oct 29, 1892 Jul 28, 1893 Glasgow, Scotland "Harfen-Guitarre"

Abelspies specifically refers to his instrument as a "harp-guitar." The neck has 5 strings, tuned (from high e string) e, b, g, eb and Bb. It has 11 harp strings tuned in a relative circle of fifths (omitting Bb), all centered around the low Bb on the neck. The German patent shows the unique tuners. No examples known.

508,543 Jul 24, 1893 Nov 14, 1893 Hay, William Scranton, PA "Lyro-Guitar" Pseudo-lyre guitars Hay "drum guitar"

This patent is only included here because of the inventor's name, and its (very) superficial resemblance to more typical lyre guitars. Another wacky attempt at improving guitar tone, Hay creates a simplistic guitar with a wooden drum for the body. This drum is floated in a frame with side posts and a yoke for supporting the neck. These simple "furniture posts" provide the "lyre" connotation. Interesting, but ultimately lame. No examples known.
508,543    508,543b


518,775

518,775b
518,775 Sep 7, 1893 Apr 24, 1894 Birrer, John B. Newton, KS "Musical Instrument" Hollow-arm guitars Birrer hollow arm & head guitar

Birrer scoops Knutsen for the first hollow-arm guitar in America by two years. It is not known if Knutsen was privy to any of the Schenck or other European hollow-arm harp guitars (nor do I suspect he was aware of Birrer's). But by the tuners at the top of the hollow head, it seems obvious that Birrer was influenced by a Schenck instrument. The hollow head and arm (for increased volume) is but one of three main intentions of the instrument. The first mentioned is the shortening of the strings and closer arrangement of frets ("fitting all on the neck") to make it easier to play. The second main feature is the square corner of the body ("for the arm to rest on, thus holding the instrument firmly'). This enables the guitar to be "operated with one hand." I doubt that any were actually produced.

 
9,054

88,772

9,054
(French patent)
  Aug 8, 1894 Rosenberger
-Margot, Jacob-
Damien
Lausanne, Switzerland "Guitare-Zither" (Zither-Guitar) Harp guitars, Form 4 Double-zither harp guitar
88,772 (German patent) Sep 22, 1894 Sep 30, 1896 "Guitarreähnliches Saiteninstrument"
(Guitar-like Stringed Instrument)

This is a remarkable instrument in many ways.  Although it may not look like it, it is a precursor to Knutsen's hollow-arm harp guitars with sub-bass strings and super-trebles.  That configuration was modified (in 1986)  into John Doan's prototypical Sullivan-Elliott "20-string harp guitar."  This previously unknown instrument (the patent came to me in Feb, 2006) claims to offer the same components, but with even more strings!  In the first place, there are seven strings on the fretted neck - the standard-tuned 6-strings, with an additional low C.  So (if built) Switzerland had a baritone harp guitar in 1894!  Next - though the left side "zither bank" may not look like it, these are the bass strings.  "Up to" 10 strings are specified (and 10 are shown on each patent drawing).  Due to the obviously short length, they would had to have been strung with extremely thick strings, or tuned higher than normal sub-basses.  Interesting that 10, and not 12 were used.  On the right are melody strings; 23 on the German version (20 are shown), and on the French version, "up to 26 in number" (12 are shown). The inventor very specifically describes the (true harp guitar) technique of either  playing the basses with the thumb, with the fingers plucking the fretted strings, or the fingers playing the melody strings while the thumb strummed.  No mention of how the strings would have been tuned, or if they were steel, gut, or a combination. The French drawing shows a floating palm rest on the lower left to more easily play all the strings; the German has a full length palm rest.  The German illustration already depicts a 37-string instrument - if one of these was built with the maximum stated strings, we would have a 43-course (10 + 7 + 26) harp guitar!  

4,388

8,458

4,388
(U.K. Patent)
Mar 1, 1894 Feb 9, 1895 Lindemann, Hermann Klingenthal, Germany "Improvements relating to Guitars and similar Stringed Instruments, and Indicators for Playing the same" Hybrid Instruments Lindemann's Autoharp-Guitar
8,458 (Swiss patent)   Aug 30, 1894

Lindemann's second invention (see Patent # 8918 above) is a fretless zither and Autoharp concept applied to (or attached to) a guitar form.  The guitar neck is fretless and (in the patent) contains 12 strings.  As Lindemann describes playing "any melody" without using a fingerboard (like a simple fretless zither), this is, in effect, a guitar played like zither (or harp), but is not a harp guitar, as it has no regular, fretted neck!  The main focus of the invention is a device (actually a couple options of the device) attached to the neck that acts exactly like an Autoharp's damping bars, so that chords can be formed while strumming across all 12 strings.  No examples known.


542,788
542,788b
542,788c
542,788 Oct 17, 1894 Jul 16, 1895 Almcrantz, Gerhard Chicago, IL "Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 2c Almcrantz harp guitar

Almcrantz, a creative designer and maker deserving of more study, patents the first American double-neck harp guitar (but does not refer to the term). The two necks share a common dovetailed heel and a permanently joined headstock. Patent applicants rarely mention other patents (wording their applications as if they thought of the most brilliant new idea, whether it was stolen or not) - here, Almcrantz specifically mentions Hansen's earlier patent (obviously similar in concept), claiming that his has new "novel features." Along with the extra neck (rather than simple rod) for the sub-bass strings, he is also patenting a bolt-on neck and a bolt-on bridge! No examples are known, and Almcrantz guitars and mandolins are extremely rare.


552,116

552,116b
552,116 Feb 20, 1895 Dec 31, 1895 Gaskins, Claude H. Shamokin, PA "Stringed Musical Instrument" Hollow-arms Gaskins "mandolin-harp"

Of some importance, as it predates Knutsen's hollow-arm "harp-" concept in America. As only one example is known, and no trade ads have been seen, I suspect that Knutsen was unaware of it. Gaskins' patent pictures a harp mandolin, and he labels it a "mandolin-harp." Yet it is titled "Stringed Musical Instrument," and the summation of the patent specifies only "stringed instrument" - the implication being that the concept could be applied to guitars and other fretted instruments. Thus, it technically predates Knutsen's 1896 "One-arm Guitar" patent, and also Livermore's 1896 harp mandolin patent. Presumably, the latter two were allowed as they were Design Patents as opposed to Gaskins' Utility Patent. One example, built by Martin (!), is known.


568,108

568,108b

568,108c
568,108 Feb 8, 1896 Sep 22, 1896 Brown, Carl E. Colombus, OH "Guitar" Harp Guitars in Name Only Grunewald "two-thirds" of a 12-string guitar"

Brown goes on quite a bit about how this combines the properties of a harp and guitar - for no good reason. What it IS a strange precursor to the later common 12-string guitar (of 6 doubled courses). This one has just the low 4 courses doubled - the extra strings are an octave higher (just like the later 12-string) and come out of the same bridge pin hole as the regular string, spaced by a little nail. Thus it is ten strings total, with an ungainly headstock of 6 tuners on the left, 4 on the right. Apparently, the fact that the thumb could simultaneously play two notes, an octave apart, created a similarity to a harp (?!). A key feature of the patent was a very tricky little mechanism that would hook just the 4 extra octave strings and pull them down and mute them - so the instrument could serve as a "normal guitar." Several examples (of standard guitar shape) have been seen, labeled "Grunewald."

D26,043 (U.S. Patent) Jul 23, 1896 Sep 15, 1896 Knutsen, Chris Port Townsend, WA "Design for a Guitar" Hollow-arm guitars Knutsen "one-arm guitar" or "1896 Patent-style harp guitar" (the latter is how I established it for the Knutsen Archives)
19,232
(U.K. Patent)
Aug 19, 1897 Nov 27, 1897 "Improvements in Guitars"

Knutsen does not use either his "One-arm" appellation or "harp guitar" in his first patent of a standard 6-string guitar with a hollow, resonant arm. The English patent wording is a bit different.  See the Knutsen Archives for all specimens known.
D26,043    D26,043b   19,232   19,232b

D26424 Oct 31, 1896 Dec 22, 1896 Livermore, Ernest N. Port Townsend, WA "Design for a Mandolin" Hollow-arms Livermore harp mandolin

As discussed in the Noe/Most book and on my site, Livermore was a witness on Knutsen's first patent, and clearly raced off to steal the idea for this mandolin version, and similar violin patent (D26,423). The implication is that Knutsen was forced to wait until December, 1910 to begin building his harp mandolins. Dyer apparently didn't wait that long. What a waste of a theft, as it's doubtful that Livermore ever had one of these built!
D26424    D26424b

586,032 Sep 9, 1896 Jul 6, 1897 Hartman, John Frederick Washington, DC "Stringed Instrument" Sympathetic string guitars Hartman "vibrine" hollow-neck sympathetic string guitar

16 sympathetic strings strung inside a second hollow neck beneath the fingerboard. Accessed through a removable back. A pretty imaginative way to utilize a hollow arm extension for full length sympathetic strings - Fred Carlson, eat your heart out! No examples known.
586,032    586,032b    586,032c

   

D28,300
  D28,300b

19,233  19,233b
D28,300 (U.S. Patent) May 17, 1897 Feb 15, 1898 Knutsen, Chris Port Townsend, WA "Design for a Harp-Guitar Frame" Harp guitars, Form 3a Knutsen "one-arm harp-guitar" or "1898 Patent-style harp guitar" (the latter is how I established it for the Knutsen Archives, named after the U.S. patent date)
19,233
(U.K. Patent)
Aug 19, 1897 Nov 27, 1897 "Improvements in Stringed Musical Instruments"

Note that in Knutsen's infamous 1898 patent, he never refers to a "harp guitar," but always and only to his "harp-guitar frame." Further, he refers specifically to the "harp-shaped arm" (in ads, he will also use his "one-arm guitar" term separately, or in conjunction with, "harp-guitar"). The patent shows the 5 sub-bass nut configuration, now known from several specimens. Additional versions with 2, 3 or no sub-bass strings are all displayed in the Knutsen Archives. Note also that the U.S. patent was written and submitted 3 months prior to the slightly differing English patent (see Knutsen's Patents for full details).

The English patent for Knutsen's second design includes a new drawing with a 3-sub-bass configuration (instead of 5 on the U.S. patent). More importantly, it lists a mysterious co-inventor! Text is again modified a bit. While granted 3 months before the U.S. patent # D8,300 below, it was submitted (and written) 3 months later (see Knutsen's Patents for full details). 


D28,061
D28,061 Apr 9, 1897 Dec 21, 1897 Levin, Herman C. New York, NY "Design for a Frame or Body for Musical Instruments" Multi-neck guitars Levin guitar & mandolin double-neck

Levin designs an interesting guitar/mandolin combo that was advertised (in a catalog) as being possible for two players to play it at once!  (see Iconography: Relatives)  Shortly afterward, another fellow was able to use the design for his Utility patent of the exact same instrument, with all the logistical details included (see #616,908 below).  Levin later relocated to Sweden where his company produced "Scholander-lutes" and harp guitars (information provided by Paul Holland and Wouter Blees).  A couple examples are known.

   

600,586
600,586 Sept 30, 1897 Mar 15, 1898 Lerro, Angelo Raffaele Philadelphia, PA "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form: Other/ Sympathetic string guitars Lerro "knee-activated sympathetic string guitar"

Internal sympathetic harp strings mechanically plucked by knee-operated levers! 3 strings are threaded from the headstock inside the neck, within the body to the end block. There is also a spring-loaded lever on the headstock which pulls a nut down onto the extra strings, changing their pitch by a step (in theory!). Apparently all this just to make the guitar slightly louder. As the strings are probably tuned to pitches of the standard strings, this is probably more of a sympathetic string guitar. Nevertheless, 3 additional drone strings can be plucked (mechanically, and if the player is good with his knees). No examples known.

613,540 Nov 9, 1897 Nov 1, 1898 Ward, George Cooper Fort Worth, TX "Guitar" Multi-neck guitars Ward "Harpo-Guitaret"

A sort of triple-tuning, "split-fretboard" concept, with the higher frets appearing only on either side of the main neck! Though Ward obviously believes it is (he refers to it as a type of "harp-guitar" and specifically compares it to Shaeffer's "double body bank" harp guitar.), it is not a true harp guitar, as the extra string banks are provided with frets and are design to be played - though don't ask me how. No examples known.
613,540    613,540b    613,540c    613,540d    613,540e

D29,666 Oct 6, 1898 Nov 15, 1898 Hagberg, John Tacoma, WA "Design for a Guitar-Body or Similar Article" Hollow-arm guitars Hagberg "trumpet-arm guitar"

Surely Hagberg, who was in Knutsen country, got his idea from Knutsen's hollow-arm guitars. Hagberg tries to make his even louder by opening up the end of his hollow "harp" arm, much like a trumpet. No examples known.

D29,666    D29,666b

616,908
616,908b
616,908c

616,908 Feb 28, 1898 Jan 3, 1899 Englund, John Minneapolis, MN "Combined Guitar and Mandolin" Multi-neck guitars/ Sympathetic string guitars Englund "Combined Guitar and Mandolin" (with sympathetic strings)

Englund discusses his invention as an "improvement" to similar instruments - presumably the design by Levin of two years earlier, of which this is an exact copy: a guitar body with two soundholes and two necks - one guitar, one mandolin. Englund includes a standard guitar neck, but a triple-course mandolin (for increased tone). For additional "increased tone," he adds sympathetic strings (four are shown) inside the guitar, tuned by keys at the tail end. His bridge idea is very clever: the standard guitar bridge (screwed, rather than glued to the top) also serves as the string anchor for the mandolin strings - as it occurs about where a mandolin's body would normally end. The long metal "trapeze" tailpiece which holds the mandolin strings then also serves as a hand rest while playing the guitar section. The mandolin then has its own separate bridge where it would normally occur, supported by a post underneath. All in all, pretty well thought out - one wonders how it sounded!  No examples known. 

D31,918 Nov 1, 1899 Dec 5, 1899 Smaw, Walter H. New York, NY "Design for a Mandolin-Body" Hollow-arms Smaw "semi-lyre mandolin"

A strange design, with fat, fairly short arms, and an extremely thin, basically flat, top & back. The term of patent is only 7 years. No specimens are known.

D31,918    D31,918b

D33,685 Apr 23, 1900 Dec 11, 1900 Joseph Henderson Behee Leavenworth, KS "Design for a Guitar-Body" Hollow-arms "Behee Harp Guitar"

A modern "lyre guitar," ironically marketed by the Lyric company as a "harp guitar," instead of the obvious "lyre guitar."  A few were made (see the Hollow-arm Gallery).

D33,685   

D34,476 Apr 15, 1901 May 7, 1901 Nordwall, Aron Chicago, IL "Design for a Musical-Instrument Body" Harp guitars, Form 1b Nordwall "reverse harp guitar"

No stringing is shown or described, only the physical design of the instrument. It appears to be an unusual harp guitar with the "harp" strings (theoretically sub-bass, as they would be slightly longer than the standard strings) on the treble side of the guitar neck. No tuners for either set of strings are shown, nor does it look like there is enough practical room - thus I suspect that Nordwall never actually built one of his designs.
D34,476    D34,476b

16,352

711,203 (U.S. Patent) Jul 24, 1902 Oct 14, 1902 Flemmings, Robert F. Melrose, MA "Musical Instrument" Sympathetic string guitars Flemmings "internal sympathetic strings-tuned-by-
mechanical-
plucking" guitar
16,352 (U.K. Patent Jul 24, 1903 Jul 23, 1904 "Improvements in Musical Instruments"

Flemmings incorporates a complex crank-operated assembly (borrowed from his earlier patent) in order to pluck internal sympathetic strings - solely to sound them for tuning! After tuning, the crank-plucker is not utilized. Too bad - we would've had another mechanically-plucked harp guitar, instead of just another badly-designed sympathetic string guitar. No examples known.
711,203    711,203b    711,203c    711,203d    711,203e

745,241 Aug 22, 1903 Nov 24, 1903 Rossi, Giacinto Philadelphia, PA "Musical Instrument" Lyre guitars Rossi "devil-head lyre guitar"

Rossi's lyre guitar has two "resonating chambers" - the reduced body with extra arms, and a shallow shell in the shape of a face. The "increased volume" is supposedly due to all the multiple soundholes: the creature's mouth, holes in the arm tips, two f-holes and pretentious initials of the inventor. Despite all that, with the reduced, interrupted body area, I doubt this thing had much tone at all. I also imagine that the visual might tend to limit the appropriate repertoire. No examples known.
745,241    745,241b    745,241c

751,880

751,880 May 9, 1903 Feb 9, 1904 E. S. Stevenson Eldorado, KS "Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 3b Stevenson "foot-operated, sub-bass pitch-changing, dual-hollow arm harp guitar"

Stevenson has ingeniously (but perhaps unnecessarily) given us a harp guitar that only needs three sub-basses to yield a full fifteen chromatic notes.  This is achieved by adding two foot-operated cams above the bass strings (each cam working all 3 strings at once) that can rock in either direction, to press the strings against one of four frets.  With 4 foot pedals and the appropriate linkage, all 4 fretted positions are covered, thus allowing the 3 open strings to be fretted chromatically to achieve 15 total notes.  Who knows if this would've been practical or musical, but in theory, it makes sense.  I really like the double arm design (though there doesn't look like a lot of room for the left hand), and the fact that it is all mounted permanently in playing position (I assume...not sure who actually sits like that) - with pedals, stool, the works!

766,339

766,339 Jan 2, 1904 Aug 2, 1904 Funk, Charles M. Sedalia, MO "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 2c Funk "sliding-plunger-operated, chromatic sub-bass harp guitar"

Funk states that his invention "applies to harp-guitars."  It is a seemingly very simple mechanical means of pulling individual sub-bass strings back against a half-step fret.  If you ask me, he was on the right track over a hundred years ago...  If I wanted to be able to quickly sharp my sub-basses, I'd want something like this, not harp levers on the front of the headstock.  On the other hand, one still needs one's thumb free to be able to operate them!  But in this case, Funk simply makes them available to pre-set for different keys.  Not sure why he shows 9 basses, when only 7 would theoretically be necessary. No examples known.

767,023 Jan 27, 1903 Aug 9, 1904 Turturro, Nicola New York, NY "Musical Instrument" Hollow-arms Turturro "mandolira"

This very distinctive creation is clearly a copy of Calace's lyre mandolins, introduced in Europe by at least the late 1890s. Turturro adds flashier ornamentation, including a base and the double soundholes. At least two examples are known.

767,023    767,023b    767,023c

812,049 Dec 23, 1904 Feb 5, 1906 Krueger, Amandus M. Bellville, TX "Musical Instrument" Hollow-arms Krueger "Lyralin"

Cadenza ads suggest that Krueger first advertised under his own name, and then formed the "Lyralin Mfg. Company" of Brenham, Texas. According to ads, they produced the instrument in mandolin, guitar, and apparently harp guitar versions! Another basically flat-top and back mandolin, one feature unique to this design is a hollow section connecting the top of the two arms, allowing resonance throughout the entire body. While obviously not a success, they claim much success for 3 years running in Cadenza. One photograph, featuring the Woods Sisters was published in The Cadenza in 1909, though no extant specimens are known.
812,049    812,049b    812,049c

860,137 Dec 17, 1906 Jul 16, 1907 Inskeep, Childs Hinkle St. Joseph, MS "Stringed Musical Instrument" Guitars, other Inskeep "45 degree neck rat maze guitar"

Although the only intent of Mr. Inskeep was "increased volume of sound," he coincidently seems to be very crudely revisiting Pacquet's 1784 guitar-harpe! Besides the strange 45 degree floating fingerboard, the main invention is an overly-elaborate set-up of stacked sound-channeling boxes attached beneath the top which send the sound through a brief maze before shooting it out the instrument's rear end. No examples known.
860,137    860,137b    860,137c    860,137d

937,121 Dec 5, 1905 Oct 19, 1909 Turturro, Nicola Mount Vernon, NY "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, other Turturro "Harp Guitar-on-a-stick"

Turturro invented an overly-elaborate device to attach to a guitar to transform it into a fully adjustable chromatic harp guitar.  The 3 sub-bass strings are plucked and clamped and damped with an incredibly complex mechanism that defies belief.  No examples known.
937,121


964,660
964,660 Nov 9, 1908 Jul 19, 1910 Laurian, George D., Assignor to Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company Kalamazoo, MI "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 1b Gibson Style U harp guitar

This of course is the new Style U design with floating "trapeze" tailpiece, introduced in 1908 and built into the 'twenties.  Laurian was the head engineer at the time.  Improvements include the visible turnbuckle support bar and two additional internal wooden struts inside the body to support the string tension (some earlier models had one support).  We could probably debate whether the downward pressure bridge was a tonal improvement over the original attached scroll bridge, but on a carved, archtop guitar, it certainly makes sense.

1,022,031 Jun 2, 1909 Apr 2, 1912 Larson, August Chicago, IL "Guitar" Harp guitars, Form 2a Larson/Maurer "Picasso" harp guitar

This is the well-known "Picasso" model Maurer, featuring a guitar within a guitar. Literally, a second parlor-size guitar body is constructed within the larger body, sharing only the top and one sidewall. Despite it's strange appearance (I also call it the Larson "goiter guitar") it's actually a great idea - and having played Bob Hartman's specimen (a one-shot variation with a hollow arm), I can vouch for it's success. The 6-string portion sounds like a parlor guitar, while the sub-bass strings sound quite beefy and strong. At least 4 or 5 examples are known. Note that the patent specifically refers to the instrument as a "harp guitar."
1,022,031    1,022,031b

D45,566 Feb 14, 1914 Apr 7, 1914 Longobardi, Catello Schenectady, NY "Design for a Musical Instrument" Hollow-arms Longobardi harp mandolin

This seems to be patterned after earlier European body shapes, with the tuner arrangement borrowed from Schenck's ca. 1850 harp guitars. One example known with maker's label "Frederico Gardelli."

D45,566    D45,566b


1,128,217

1,128,217b
1,128,217c
1,128,217 Oct 28, 1911 Feb 9, 1915 Bohmann, Joseph Chicago, IL "Musical String Instrument" Sympathetic string guitars Bohmann "internal tone rod" instruments

A fascinating concept! In place of guitar strings, Bohmann attached thin metal rods inside the instrument from the neck block to the end block. These are then tuned, via wing nuts, to specific pitches, in order to vibrate in sympathy when played. He even figured out the best materials to use - copper for G, brass for D, steel for C, and German silver for F (what else?!). The side walls are 1/4" thick and the top and back are assembled last, bowed under extreme tension (as most of Bohmann's guitars were). The concept was to be applied to "A-shape" mandolins, guitars and "harps" (harp guitars). At least three examples are known - some described as having internal "strings," which are actually these same tone-rods.

 
1,131,564
1,131,564 Mar 29, 1912 Mar 9, 1915 Shutt, Albert Topeka, KS "Double-Bass Guitar" Harp guitars, composite form Mando-Bass-Harp-Guitar

In his continuing attempts (in vain) to compete with The Gibson Co., Shutt invented a combination of a mando-bass and a harp guitar - specifically, an answer to Gibson's own 10-sub-bass harp guitar. By altering the tuning, he was able to arrange the four sub-bass harp strings that coincided with the mando-bass E-A-D-G directly over a second fretboard. His ingenious creation thus could be played as a harp guitar or as the first non-upright bass guitar (pre-dating the Fender bass by several decades). At least one was made, played by Shutt himself.

1,168,153 Sep 23, 1914 Jan 11, 1916 Boswell, Nathaniel R. & Wilber, Edwin D. Delanson, NY "Stringed Musical Instrument" Multi-course guitars The Tonaharp

The Tonaharp is included here because it could easily be mistaken for a harp guitar (in fact, I was rather hoping it was when I obtained mine). Instead, is a pre-electric era "triple-neck steel guitar." In other words, a Hawaiian guitar with 17 strings, tuned to three open tunings! Once I figured that out, I was excited about trying it out in this configuration, but in practicality, the tension of the strings (I didn't even get them close to full tension) would've bent the neck in half!
1,168,153    1,168,153b    1,168,153c    1,168,153d


1,183,369
1,183,369 May 24, 1915 May 16, 1916 Gardie, Paul Chicago, IL "Guitar" Harp guitars, Form 3a Paul Gardie's "Orchestral Harp-Guitar"

This is the infamous Harmony-built instrument that still boggles our minds.  Three or four specimens survive, the most notable example being featured in the BMFA "Dangerous Curves" exhibition and book.  Despite its ungainly appearance, those who have played it (including Stephen Bennett) claim it sits pretty comfortably in the lap!  My name is actually Gardie's own, as stated at its debut at the 1915 Guild Convention.


1,188,983

1,188,983b
1,188,983c
1,188,983d
1,188,983 Oct 30, 1915 June 27, 1916 Nonfri, Oddo New York, NY "Combined Guitar and Mandolin" Multi-neck guitars Nonfri "Improved Combined Guitar and Mandolin"

Absolute insanity. Our friend Mr. Nonfri has somehow figured out a way to place a set of mandolin strings and frets on top of a set of guitar strings - on the same side of the same neck! Somehow, either set of strings can be independently used, so even though it has one neck and one fingerboard, it functions as a "multi-neck instrument. A strange hourglass-shaped body provides a "mandolin section" and a "guitar section," with bridges for each. I've been all over the drawings, but just can't seem to figure out the exact logistics. There are some sort of depressions for the guitar strings to disappear into (how they avoid their own frets is a mystery), and the mandolin string bank rides partially above the guitar strings, this to provide string bank separation for the picking hand. But even if a luthier could figure out the complex math to build such a Frankenstein's monster, there's no way anyone could possibly play it! No examples known - are you surprised?

D50,545 Aug 21, 1916 Mar 27, 1917 Vaughn, William T. Fort Smith, AK "Design for a Mandolin" Hollow-arms Vaughn "doughnut" lyre mandolin

One of the silliest ideas for an instrument body I've ever seen. The body is essentially a circle, with a giant hole through the middle, effectively reducing the capability of producing sound to a minimum, even with the chubby, equally doughy arms. No examples known (thank God!).
D50,545    D50,545b

1,241,639 April 7, 1917 Oct.2, 1917 Luis, Harry G. San Quentin, CA "Combined Mandolin and Guitar" Harp guitars, composite form Luis "harp guitar-mandolin"

An extremely elaborate "combined mandolin & guitar." A third neck with ten or so open bass strings makes this a form of "harp guitar-mandolin." The guitar neck is shown with 11 strings (a separate, guitar-only version is shown with 10 strings). The alleged tonal improvements form the crux of the patent - even the very specific preferred woods to use are given! Other sound enhancing features are the body scroll "echo chambers," and the novel use of a closed u-shaped tube beneath the center (mandolin) bridge which exits out the center soundhole. What a unique tone this instrument must have had! The patent makes clear that many experimental specimens must have been built, but none have ever been found. 
1,241,639    1,241,639b    1,241,639c    1,241,639d    1,241,639e    1,241,639f

D52,539 Jun 14, 1918 Oct 8, 1918 McVey, George J. Lincoln, NE "Design for a Musical Instrument" Hollow-arms McVey harp mandolin

The body shape is a virtual copy of Knutsen's harp mandolins, introduced at least eight years earlier. The arm shape is slightly different. One example, with a somewhat different shape, is known. What is the meaning of the 3-1/2 year patent term?

D52,539    D52,539b

312,840 (German patent) Jun 9, 1918 Jun 13, 1919 "Harmonie" Cassel, Germany "Mandolinenhnliches Saiteninstrument"
(Mandolin-like Stringed Instrument)
Related Instruments Zither-Mandolin

Pretty simple, if impractical.  A thin, flat-back mandolin (or mandola) combined with a 24-string zither.  No examples known.  312,840

337,166

349,307

337,166 (German patent)349,307 (addendum) Jun 20, 1920 May 25, 1921 Wichmann, Gottfried Magdeburg, Germany, Stettin, Germany "Saiteninstrument nach Art einer Gitarre" (Stringed Instrument Like a Guitar) Harp guitars, non-specific forms Gottfried's pitch-changing sub-basses harp guitar

Gottfried's very unique harp guitar designs are, amazingly, not the focus of his patent. In fact, they are not discussed at all, but appear to just be fanciful hypothetical examples to illustrate his true invention - the elaborate sub-bass pitch-changing and muting apparatuses. Here's the gist: At the top of the bass arm is a "bridge-like" capo-device that raises all basses a half-step via a lever. The picture doesn't show very well how this device ("n") would tilt up to touch the string, but it obviously does. Below that is a device for raising individual basses a more substantial interval; you simply stretch and slip the string under a stationary hook lying just under the strings, which pulls the string against another nut ("h"). Lastly, there are rubber stoppers near the bridge; as with the hooks above, you stretch and slip the string under the stationary rubber pad to mute any individual strings you choose to.  This is all very clever and practical! No examples known.

346,447 Nov 6, 1920 Jan 2, 1922 Lührs, Johann Rüstringen, Oldenburg "Harfenlaute" Hybrids Lührs Harp-lute

Not to be confused with the Light harp-lute family, this is a unique guitar-lute with a different form of theorboed bass extension than the standard forms. A pillar supports the 7-sub-bass extension. The back is bowl-shaped as in the hybrid guitar-lutes. No examples known, but a somewhat similar Harfen-Lauten (with either 9 or 12 basses!), likely under this patent, was sold by the Otto Windisch company.

346,447

354,922

354,922 (German patent) Aug 10, 1921 Jun 16, 1922 Rehbach, Rudolf Nürnberg "Bassgitarre" Harp Guitars, Composite Forms Rehbach's "multi-task sub-bass" harp guitar (Fixed version and Multi-angle, removable version)

Rehbach offers some very interesting inventions in this patent - I hardly know where to start!  The one on the left is more straightforward - it is a combination guitar and bass double-neck mixed with a harp guitar.  There is a normal guitar neck on the right, a 6-string fretted bass neck on the left, and 4 floating basses in-between.  One can play just the guitar neck, or just the bass neck, tuned (low-to-high) D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb.  The 4 remaining sub-basses are G#, F#, C#, B.  Thus, the combined total of all ten bass strings provide most of a chromatic scale, and - with the fretted basses doubling as harp guitar sub-basses, all ten strings can be used as harp guitar sub-basses while playing the guitar neck.  Rehbach calls this technique his "sound realm" invention.  The necks are permanent on this model.  The instrument on the right has exactly the same stringing, but the bass section (all ten strings, fretted and unfretted) is not only removable (so that the instrument can just be used as a 6-string guitar), but it can be cantilevered out to any angle (the lowest string being moved furthest from the soundboard).  I'm not sure why - but it would be interesting to try to play something like this!  Finally, common both instruments is a strange device (one single unit on the left model, two separate units on the right) patented separately under 340,568 as a "Rotating Mechanism."  This curious device consists of "flip-up" levers that "fret" the strings at very locations near the bridge - acting as a new saddle and shortening the string and raising the pitch for "quick changes."  Well, this might be fine for the floating strings, but obviously it could not be used with fixed frets!  Clearly, they were used in conjunction with a complex set-up for alternate frets shown on the 340,568 patent - calibrated somehow to keep the whole scale intonated for each string at any new pitch!  Quite a complicated affair - could it possibly have worked?!  No examples known.

552,532

552,532 (French patent) Apr 25, 1922 Jan 24, 1923 Anfossi, Jean-Pierre Seine, France "Instrument musical dérivé de la guitare" (Musical Instrument derived from a Guitar) Harp Guitars, Form 2c Anfossi "super-guitar"

I thank Daniel Phillips, of the U.K., who read in this space my request for a translation of the French patent, and supplied a very good one (I have made slight edits).  The gist of this new harp guitar (which Anfossi boldly names the "supergitarre") include 4 specific aspects.  First is the strange body shape, designed to make possible the layout of the strings. Second is the placement of the (floating) bridge so that all ten strings (6 standard and 4 sub-basses) remain centered on the body ("displacement of the bridge to the right"). Third is the attachment point of the strings to the soundboard (using "buttons" which I suppose are bridge pins inserted directly into the top), which puts the highest string's termination closest to the bridge and the lowest pitch string furthest away for best soundboard vibration ("founded on a profound acoustic calculation"). Lastly, there are 3 "keys" operated by the thumb that flip down to "fret" the string, presumably at the half, whole, and 3 half-step position for each string, providing a full chromatic scale. The details of this mechanism, are sadly missing both in description and illustration. No examples known.

1,489,710 Jun 27, 1922 Apr 8, 1924 Olsen, Anton Gustav Drammen, Norway (U.S. patent) "Tone-enriching Device for Musical Instruments" Sympathetic string guitars Olsen "insertable internal sympathetic string board"

Assuming you want a hinged or screwed-on back on your guitar, you can insert Olsen's sympathetic board (12 chromatic strings) for extra volume and sustain. Make sure you tune it before you close up!

1,489,710    1,489,710b

1,472,991

203,630

378,099

96,262

553,933

1,472,991 (U.S.) Jul 16, 1922 Nov 6, 1923 Pribyl, Jaraslav Prague, Czechoslovakia "Guitar and the Like" Multi-neck guitars Pribyl "double fingerboard, finger-and-thumb-fretted guitar"
203,630 (U.K.) Mar 20, 1923 Sep 13, 1923 England "Improvements in Guitars and the Like"
378,099 (German) Jun 24, 1922 Jul 3, 1923 Prague "Zupfinstrument" (Plucked Instrument)
96,262 (Austrian) Jun 28, 1922 Sep 15, 1923
553,933 (French) Jul 13, 1922 Jun 1, 1923

Pribyl's eight-string guitar seems directly based on the 1891 Lindemann patent above. Pribyl’s two sets of strings (4 + 4, rather than 5 + 3) overlap at the headstock, then diverge towards two tailpieces arranged in juxtaposition on the belly. Pribyl (like Lindemann) believed that the overlapping of strings made it more convenient for playing with the thumb, and greatly enlarged the compass of the instrument. On Pribyl's the nut for the lower (thumb) strings is placed to increase the string length by one semitone over the upper set. No examples known.

1,618,626 Nov 10, 1923 Feb 22, 1927 Altpeter, Franz W. Chicago, IL "Fretted Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 2a Altpeter "removable neck harp guitar"

One of my pet favorites, which I discuss at length in a special page on Altpeter (under Encyclopedia of Makers). The sub-bass neck can attach to either end of the body, and the sub-bass strings are on the treble side of the neck strings. No examples are known of either this version or an advertised "Double Bass Guitar," but a "Double Bass Uke" is known (I'm the lucky owner).
1,618,626    1,618,626b    1,618,626c    1,618,626d    1,618,626e

D72,433 Jun 14, 1926 Apr 12, 1927 Montfort, Adolph Chicago, IL "Design for a Stringed Musical Instrument" Multi-neck guitars Montfort triple-neck guitar-mandolin-mandola

Montfort's very cool triple-neck appears to include guitar, mandolin and octave-mandola. No examples known.

D72,433    D72,433b

445,860 Jul 8, 1926 Jun 18, 1927 Köthe, Emil Bayreuth "Zupfinstrument" ("plucked" instrument) Multi-neck guitars Köthe's triple-neck

Köthe's less-than-cool triple-neck appears to have similar scale lengths , with 10 strings on the longest neck. I have yet to translate this patent to analyze the mechanical features.

445,860

1,684,467
1,684,467b
1,684,467c

1,684,467 Apr 30, 1923 Sep 18, 1928 Boothe, Albert Colfax, IA "Stringed Musical Instrument" Harp guitars, Form 4 / Hybrid instruments Boothe "sirelin"

A strange guitar and zither combination. Boothe includes 3 "bass or accompaniment strings" on the body, which can be played open or fretted like a zither. He states that it is played "like a Hawaiian guitar" - presumably this refers to playing flat, on the lap, in zither fashion - although I think he also allows for standard guitar playing position (I may be wrong - there are so many conflicting, poor descriptions). Coincidentally, there are only 4 strings on the neck, tuned in fifths, zither-fashion - so this is a genuine new "hybrid" - a sort of zither/lap dulcimer/harp guitar. However, it is much more complicated than that - as there are two bridges for both sets of strings, which can apparently be fretted and plucked at various locations between the assorted nuts and bridges. I gave up trying to figure it out. The Patent Office couldn't believe it either - it took them 5 years to grant his patent. No examples are know - if any finds a genuine "sirelin," let me know! 

1,828,315 Feb 28, 1931 Oct 20, 1931 Cavicchioli, Dante New York, NY "Stringed Musical Instrument" Multi-neck guitars Cavicchioli body-baffle double-neck

This is an otherwise standard double-neck instrument - the patent shows an example of a 6-string guitar combined with a 4-string tenor guitar - with the exception of a fairly silly partial wall that rotates up underneath either side of the top, or hangs straight down bisecting the body somewhat between the two "sections." The intent is to move the flap to quickly allow a change of body air volume and thus, tone, when switching between the necks. No examples known. 
1,828,315

 
1,895,383
1,895,383 May 4, 1932 Jan 24, 1933 Sullivan, Roy M. Atlanta, GA "Stringed Musical Instrument" Related Instruments Sullivan steel guitar with changeable accompaniment chords

Sullivan's patent is extremely complicated - so good luck! What he's done is to create a very complex steel guitar wherein one can play lead on the 3 melody strings (with the first and second fingers), while strumming accompaniment chords and bass with the thumb. It gets complicated because the chord section is a sort of poor man's acoustic version of a pedal steel guitar - i.e.: a vast amount of chords can be obtained by pressing chord-shifting buttons with the third and fourth fingers, and pitch-changing every other course of chord strings (strung doubled or tripled) by sliding a lever with the knee! Oh, there's also a wrist-controlled damping bar for the chord section. All this while playing all the parts, mind you!

 
403,822
403,822 Aug 14, 1933 Jan 4, 1934 Richardson, Edward Nottingham, U.K. "Improvements in Stringed Musical Instruments" Multi-neck guitars Richardson "Duo Guitar" (double-neck 6-string/steel guitar)

Actually, this is so obvious I'm surprised I've never seen one. Richardson combines a standard 6-string guitar neck and a standard 6-string steel guitar neck on one instrument. The bridge and nut are higher on the steel (left) side. Both necks utilize raised metal frets, the steel neck as markers only. Richardson claims that this is the first double-neck guitar with a single headstock, and the first double-neck with one set of strings raised for steel playing. It may be true, for all I know! Surely there must be an example out there somewhere...
Update, May, 2008: There are examples - this is from the grandson: 
"I thought you might be interested to see these pictures of a Ricardo Duo Guitar Patent 403,822. My great grandfather was Edward Richardson and I have had one of the original guitars handed down to me, I believe there are others which other relatives may have including the original made by Edward himself (he was a cabinet maker by trade, as well as a music teacher). I understand from my grandmother that all of the Duo Guitars made, were made for his students, and we think less than 20 were made although the number on mine is 62 we believe that he stuck the stickers on for higher numbers, as my uncle has the first 20 or 30 stickers unused, but I can not confirm the number made. I'm afraid it's not in brilliant condition as the photos show. But I hope it is of some use to you. I feel I should send you these photos as it was because of your website I was easily able to find the copy of the patent, many thanks. If you have any questions I'd be more than happy to try and answer them for you, my grandmother who was the youngest of Edwards children was taught by him and I believe has photos of him playing in a band with the guitar and so probably has more information that I could get. Regards, Simon Noakes, Nottinhamshire, UK"

2,250,402

2,250,402 Aug 26, 1940 Jul 22, 1941 Towell, Thomas E. Hot Springs, AR "Guitar" Harp guitars, Form: Other Towell's interlacing out-of-the-soundhole sub-basses harp guitar

I don't know what to call this thing. It looks really cool, but could it be built, and more to the point, played?  The 10 sub-bass stings are attached to a long open frame that is inserted through the soundhole of the guitar at a steep angle.  The bottom of the frame is secured to the inside back bottom edge, while the head is supported by an attractive harp-like bracket (seen in profile). The sub-basses activate the soundboard by a typical bridge on the underside of the top.  Now it gets interesting.  For everything to fit of course, the standard 6 strings and the sub-bass strings must be staggered where they cross. So between each of the 6 strings is a bass string (2 between the D and G)!  In this way, one can theoretically strum or play the guitar strings over the soundhole unencumbered by any bass strings in the way (except of course, for all these strings slapping together and banging like crazy).  One then simple moves up a bit to play the sub-basses (while fretting underneath them!  It goes without saying that having the first sub-bass way the hell past the high E on the neck would be the last straw...  No examples known - would love to see this one!

945,899

945,899 (German patent) Jul 27, 1954 Jul 19, 1956 Rösler, Philipp Erlangen, Germany "Saiteninstrument mit mehreren Griffhälsen" (Stringed Instrument with Several Necks) Multi-neck guitars Rösler double-sided quadruple-neck guitar

Outrageous! Combining two double-neck guitars on one body - two necks for each side!  What a handful!  The string count is 6, 8, or 10 for each neck - no idea what tunings would have been used.  Note the brackets joining all the headstocks, presumably for strength. No examples known.

1,184,425

1,184,425
(French patent)
Oct 16, 1957 Feb 2, 1959 Mouroux, Louis Seine, France "Cithare perfectionnée" (Improved Zither) Harp guitars, Composite Form Mouroux open-arm pneumatically-capoed sub-bass harp guitar

This amazing creation features an abbreviated hollow-arm, chopped off to allow sound to emanate into the players chest I suppose.  The more interesting part though are the pneumatic foot-operated "capo-bellows" (my term)!  There are three foot pedals attached by tubing to the bass neck; each inflates a separate bellows that forces the three sub-bass strings down against a fret, changing the pitch by either 1, 2 or 3 half-steps.  No examples known of this rather recent and creative French invention. 

D186,688 Jun 22, 1959 Nov 17, 1959 Cogdell, Nelcie S. Orange, CA "Stringed Musical Instrument Body" Multi-neck guitars Cogdell electric triple-neck guitar-mandolin

A triple-neck patented in 1959, in Orange County - coincidentally Leo Fender's neighborhood. Fender rip-off? Looks like 2 guitar necks, 1 with a Fender-ish headstock, the other fairly standard, along with a mandolin neck - all on an obvious solid body. No examples known.
D186,688

3,636,809 Jul 7, 1970 Jan 25, 1972 Ezaki, Hideyuki Hamamatsu, Japan "Stringed Musical Instrument" Multi-neck guitars Ezaki's double-sided double-neck

Ezaki is not the first (nor the last) to try a double-sided guitar, with a neck on each side. His features the headstocks connected at the ends for support, and mainly the two "soundhole plugs" - which can be inserted or removed on either side for altering the tone of the currently played side.  Or you can leave them both out so that the back side set will vibrate sympathetically out the front.  Clever!  No examples known.  3,636,809

D224,841 Mar 18, 1971 Sep 26, 1972 Dawson, Calvert A. East Baton Rouge, LA "Stringed Musical Instrument" Multi-neck guitars Dawson electric guitar & mandolin double-neck

Your basic electric (kind of Gibson SG-shaped) with 12-string guitar and mandolin necks. Many makers have since produced similar versions.

D224,841

3,392,618

1,797,328

3,392,618 Mar 18, 1966 Jul 16, 1968 Pelensky, Walter J. Philadelphia, PA "Multirange Fretted Guitar Type Instrument" Multi-neck guitars Pelensky's kobza-guitar
1,797,328
(German patent)
Sep 13, 1968 Feb 17, 1972 "Gitarrenartiges Musikinstrument mit Bünden für mehrere Tonlagen"

A unique multi-neck that reminds me a bit of the 1898 Ward "Harpo-Guitaret" above - as it uses a similar split-fretboard concept. Pelensky frequently refers to the Ukranian kobza in describing this instrument, so I imagine that was his main (or preferred instrument).  He mentions drawbacks of the kobza and (unfretted) bandura, and his answer - an improved, chromatic "multi-range instrument.  He describes the 3 registers of each neck (bass, tenor and soprano) and the many instrument tunings that might be used for these various necks - banjo, cittern, guitar, mandolin, mandola, and of course, kobza.

2,415,853

2,415,853
(French patent)
Jan 26, 1978 Aug 24, 1979 Abel, Roger Alain France "Dispositif complémentaire destiné à augmenter l'étendue d'une guitare" Harp guitars, Form: Other Abel's two-by-four sub-bass attachment

I apologize for being so derogatory in choosing a "popular name" for this invention, but that's what it reminds me of.  A plank of wood, held off the back of the guitar and secured (unlikely) by a tailpiece connection and headstock brace.  The 7 (shown) sub-bass strings are then strung over the guitar to mount only to this attachment, tuned via zither or piano pins.  One advantage I see is that one could have almost unlimited length for the sub-bass strings!  I haven't translated this yet - I may be missing something!  No examples known of yet another strange (and fairly recent) French invention.

2,565,016

2,565,016(French patent) May 25, 1984 Nov 29, 1985 Sternheimer, Jl France "Instrument à cordes, du type des guitares, pour la modélisation acoustique des particules élémentaires" Sympathetic string guitars Sternheimer Sympathetic String Guitar

Co-invented with Philippe Flejo, Jean-Pierre Favino and Jean-Claude Trebuchet, this attractive modern guitar has a bank of sympathetic strings running diagonally under the main strings. If the patent (working on translation) describes plucking these strings musically, then we elevate it to harp guitar status. I haven't yet seen this exact guitar, but several makers have incorporated the concept in various ways.

8,501,179 MAr 8, 1985 Aug 14, 1986 Salomão, Paulo Cesar Brazil "Instrumento Musical" Multi-neck guitars Salomão Electric Double-neck Mandolin

Another electric double-neck - this one combining a double-course and single-course mandolin.
8,501,179

2,643,182 Feb 16, 1989 Aug 17, 1990 Artru, Regis     Multi-neck guitars Artru's double-sided multi-neck

2,643,182

I believe this is a guitar with two sets of strings, strummed at one time.  The second set runs under the fingerboard, and it looks like strings are fretted by depressing buttons with the thumb - am I right?

2002 / 0162442 A1 Oct 30, 2001 Nov 7, 2002 Bryan, Harvard Jasper Magnolia, AR "Stringed Musical Instrument With Soundbox Extension" Related Instruments Bryan's Lyre Mandolin

Boy, they just don't give up!  After all the many lyre guitars and lyre mandolins through the ages, Mr. Bryan decides to re-invent the lyre mandolin. He mentions the famous Gibson lyre mandolin, and also that no lyre mandolins were ever put into production (many were, but so far, I haven't seen his!). 2002 / 0162442 A1

                 


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