Harp Guitar Sightings . . .around the world!

Captions by Gregg Miner

November 9th, 2008: First Gathering of the growing Southern California HGG Chapter at the new Palmdale home of Jose Luis Garmenzzi, who cooked us a marvelous seafood dish I can't even pronounce, let alone spell.  It took us awhile to get the harp guitars out, as we first made Jose take out all of his couple dozen guitars and other odd strings which we passed around for quite awhile!  L-R: Me with Dyer, Kathy Wingert with Wingert #4, Pete Bradshaw with Wingert #3, Jose Garmenzzi borrowing my Knutsen (his Hewett was in the shop), Frank Doucette with Wingert #1 (do you spot a trend here?).  Not pictured: my wife Jaci and Frank's wife Christa.
July 19, 2008, New Plymouth, New Zealand:  Our own Harp Guitar Dreams' Tim Donahue (far left) cements his "rock star" status with a crowning success at a major new stadium guitar festival in NZ.  While all the other guitar gods (like Joe Satriani and Vernon Reid, above) played with full bands, Tim was all alone with his solo electric harp guitar - and survived!  Garry Sharpe-Young, the G-TARanaki Festival promoter is next to Tim. Summer, 2008 (various locales): John Doan continues to expand the audience of the harp guitar this year with his very visible appearances with the legendary Mason Williams (left).

Photo by Michael Simmons
August 17-19, 2007: Santa Rosa, CA: The Healdsburg Guitar Festival (Gregg Miner visiting with Fred Carlson).  I finally had an excuse to go to this great event when Duane Noble asked me to play his new harp guitar for his short demo concert. 
More photos here.

August 5, 2007: Los Angeles: Multi-instumentalist composer and new harp guitarist Jose Luis Garmenzzi stopped by  the house to meet Frank Doucette and me to show off his new custom Jim Hewett harp guitar with 27 strings.  The design and layout of the trebles was Jose's idea, after seeing Pat Metheny play his Picasso.
The three L.A. harp guitarists historic first meeting.


Jim demonstrates his remarkable "kit" arch harp guitar.


Fred gives it a spin.
April 13/14th, 2007: Mill Valley, CA Harp Guitar Summit!  Jeff Titus (left photo, far right) gave a special double bill concert with solo bass virtuoso Michael Manring.  My wife Jaci and I (Gregg Miner, at left) drove up to sit it on one tune.  Fred Carlson (holding Oracle, the harp sympitar he built for Jeff) made the show as well and we made a night of it at Jeff's place.  By dumb luck, French arch-harp-guitarist James Kline was in the area, having played his own house concert at Alan Perlman's (who built his instrument).  The next day we all got together for harp guitar playing, test-driving, and visiting (this was our first face-to-face with Jim). The month prior I had driven up with a Chinese gu zheng to lay a part down on Wood Dragon for Jeff's upcoming CD.  It's gonna be great!

March 27-28, 2007, Gregg & Jaci's home, CA: John and Deirdra Doan stopped over after John's Carlsbad Museum performance and other Southern Cal gigs.  He treated me to about half the Sor pieces from his upcoming harpolyre recording project and about half the tunes from his upcoming solo harp guitar CD (trust me, these are going to be two "must-haves" for guitar fans!).  More harpolyre pics on the Miner Museum Visitors page.  He also gave me a free nail maintenance session, which did improve my tone, to say nothing of our relationship.

Feb 9, 2007, Altadena, CA:  Acoustic Eidolon, the husband and wife duo of Joe Scott on guitar and Hannah Alkire on cello made a rare appearance in my neck of the woods (at the Coffee Gallery Backstage), and Frank Doucette and I finally had a chance to see and hear Joe’s unique “guitjo” up close and personal.  While not a harp guitar (nor Joe a harp guitarist), it is by no means a simple double-neck guitar either.  In practice, Joe plays his unique custom invention like a harp guitar about half the time – in that he taps and plucks the main 7-string open-tuned guitar neck entirely with his left hand, while his right hand plays melodies or arpeggio figures on the 7-string “harp” neck, which is tuned partly diatonically.  At other times he uses his left hand to touch the 12th-fret harmonics as he plucks the harp strings, occasionally fretting notes on this neck to fill remaining notes to play an entire melody.  It is quite complicated to watch, but beautiful to hear!  His new electric version, made by Rich Mermer (who attended HGG4), sounded almost like a harpsichord at times.  Hannah, a very versatile, classically-trained cellist, is a perfect fit with Joe’s colorful guitar and guitjo techniques.  You can see several video clips demonstrating this on their web site.


February 1, 2007:  An intimate harp guitar summit occurred when Andy McKee coincidently showed up in Los Angeles the very day of Stephen Bennett’s first Southern Cal concert.  Stephen and I were prepping for our Museum of Making Music gala opening night, while Mister-2-million-YouTube-hits McKee was in town for his appearance on the Carson Daly show.  The two seminal harp guitarists were also instrumental in a recent special event close to my heart.  Sorry - this is a Harpguitars.net Members Only Special Feature: The Miner Museum Acquires Important Rare Specimens

Oct 4, 2006; San Diego: During a private client demo at Fine Guitar Consultants, 6-string wiz Laurence Juber gave delighted listeners a demonstration of the unique Shimo harp guitar (in Gallery 6), which is being offered through Richard Glick’s service. November, 2006: Tim Donahue, back in Japan after his amazing debut at HGG4, gets back to work, playing on a live concert broadcast....but with a "normal" harp guitar!  Did we rub off on him, I wonder?

September 10, 2006:  Doc Watson tickles the super-trebles on John Doan's Elliott/Sullivan harp guitar while backstage at the North Park Theater in San Diego during the filming of "Primal Twang - The Legacy of the Guitar" PBS special.  After blazing through some incredible licks on the neck following with a thunderous bass line he stops abruptly and asks, "Where do you get one of these things?"  Soon after Doan plays a tune for Doc and he says, "I have no idea where I have been for the past several minutes!  What incredible music you make!"

Image 3

September, 2006:  This is not exactly a player, but a major harp guitar sighting nevertheless.  Giovanni Intelisano (author of the book on Mozzani) kindly sent these images of their latest exhibit in the province of  Ferrara, Italy.  His colleage, guitar expert Lorenzo Frignani, negotiated the acquisition of a permanent collection of 32 of Mozzani's  instruments, and they are undergoing restoration and then display in various locations as Le chitarre di Luigi Mozzani: un liutaio centese 1869-1943.

July 15th, 2006:  Alex de Grassi invited Fred Carlson to visit his Weekend Guitar Workshop to discuss his latest harp guitar creation with the students.  As my wife Jaci and I happened to be staying with Fred that weekend (I was picking up my instruments - see below), Alex agreed to let me crash the party, and then invited Jeff Titus to make it a whole harp guitar evening!

June 25, 2006: That's our own Joe Morgan playing his Sedgwick with partner David Moran at the Summer Solstice Festival in Calabasas CA.  I missed it, being up in Tacoma.  Frank Doucette attended with his wife Christa and my wife Jaci. June 22, 2006: While Jaci ditched me to stay home and visit with Joe (that's a vacation?) I went up to the GAL convention in Tacoma solo.  Fortunately I didn't have to get up in front of 300 guitar aficionados solo in Thursday night's concert - I shared with the stage with my friend and artistic guru Fred Carlson (playing the New Dream).  I just love this picture.
Photo by Jon Peterson, 2006. Used by permission of the Guild of American Luthiers. 

April 1, 2006: Muriel Anderson played the Pocahontas County  Opera House in Marlinton, West Virginia, and invited local boy Stacy Hobbs up to do some Dyer duets (two Style 7's that Stacy now owns). December, 2005: I received the following email from Tim Donahue in Japan. Nice to see him returning to his electric harp guitar!

Tim says, "...I've been terribly busy with harp guitar concerts in Japan (some pics attached), and things have been busy but great. The new fretless/fretted harp guitar music is otherworldly.
Season's Greetings from Japan, Tim Donahue

P.S. Update w/news about the recent harp guitar tour at: www.timdonahue.net"



| copyright 2004 | Wildner AG

October, 2005: For about a year now, I have been following a special recording and performance project by two “temporary” harp guitarists.

They are Christian Gruber and Peter Maklar, a virtuoso German classical guitar duo.  The project was spearheaded by Klaus Wildner, chairman of the Herman Hauser Guitar Foundation Board, and owner of the only two known quint bass guitars built by Herman Hauser I.  Discussed in my article Heinrich Albert and the World's First Harp Guitar Quartet, these are tuned either a fourth or fifth below a standard guitar and also have a 7th floating string.

Mr. Wildner’s passionate cause is to re-introduce these rare and obscure “quartet supporting instruments” as serious solo instruments.

From top to bottom, Gruber and Maklar are:


| copyright 2004 | Wildner AG


| copyright 2004 | Wildner AG

First trying out the two quints in January, 2005. (see Christian Gruber and Peter Maklar visit Heidi Schmidt and Klaus Wolfgang Wildner)

Recording the CD in February, 2005. (see Quintbass Story: Part One)

Performing for the public on these instruments in May, 2005. (see Quint bass guitars. First live performance in 75 years)

Thanks to Klaus Wildner for sharing his instruments on the Hauser site, my site, with live audiences, and coming soon, on CD!
In addition, an article on the duo appeared in
Akustik Gitarre, 4/05, where they talk about the quint’s “mad sustain!” (thanks to Michael Simmons for a copy).


doan_sweden-doan.jpg (63460 bytes)

September 29, 2005:  Karla Fisher  attended a house concert at the home of Mike Doolin in Portland. The event was centered around a new 19-course nylon string harp guitar built by Alan Perlman, along the lines of his previous arch-guitars for James Kline. Alan flew up from San Francisco (with the HG in its own seat by the window) so that John Doan and others could test drive it before it was delivered to the new owner on the East Coast. Pictured (l-r) are luthier Jeffrey Elliott, John and Alan.  Additional photos by Karla here. August 13, 2005: John Doan visits the guitar exhibit of the Nordic Guitar Festival (where he performed). Here, he holds an authentic c.1800 Swedish Lute, exhibited by Sällskapet Svenska Lutan, makers of the modern lute-guitar style Swedish lute. March 26, 2005:  Steve Sedwick sent in this photo of Dan LaVoie and Andy McKee standing outside the Troubadour in London. Steve writes: 

"They performed at this legendary club where Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and many others haveplayed. They were bloody amazing."


Dec 24, 2004

Our German friend Rainer Krause (a collector and owner of many harp guitars) sent this greeting for the Holidays:

"I want to wish you a merry, merry Christmas and a happy new year from Berlin. Here is a  photograph of  two friends, which was taken about two years ago (we are playing two Friedrich Schenk harp guitars). On the left side is a friend from Switzerland who has a Zithermuseum (Lorenz Mühlemann), and on the right side is a well known banjo player  and expert from Berlin (Heiner Thomas).
With kind regards,
Rainer Krause"

Dec 11, 2004: Andy McKee writes:

"Hey guys. I just got back from Taiwan a couple days ago and this time, I took a picture of the banner outside of the Open Strings music shop in TaoYuen. Also in the banner is Belgian guitarist Jacques Stotzem. Like I mentioned at the HG Gathering, about 11 million people live in Taipei county so the HG is definitely getting seen by a few people!
Rock on,
Andy"


Oct 17, 2004

Belgian photographer Lou Giroud has a gallery of his work where I stumbled across this photo he snapped of a busking harp guitarist - our own James Kline of France.

Oct 3, 2004

Bill Dutcher, Eric Loy and newcomer to the HG world, Brian Henke, just completed their first joint gig in Dayton, Ohio, shown here in a photo sent in by Bill, who adds:

"Brian played 3 compositions on the HG. He's still searching for a way to amplify it as he played into a mic at the show. It's a strange looking beast!
He coordinates a fundraiser for the homeless every year in December in Cleveland, Ohio called the Woodchopper's Ball. He has 12 players involved: 4 on stage at a time each going round-robin playing three songs each. It works out to 3 one-hour sets. Loy, Henke and I will be the only harp players involved. I've done it several times over the years and it's really a blast."

Bill has since relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona. Let's hope the Harp Guitar Mini-Gatherings can continue in both states!


Dec 28, 2002

The elusive Mickey Fischer, at the Sweetwater Saloon Saturday Open Mic in Mill Valley, CA

The site's caption reads: "Micky Fischer blew me away with his technique; he played the harp and guitar at the same time! He also played a tune on his zither. On top of it all he makes his instruments! Whoa!"

Fall, 2001

Fred Carlson at the 2001 Guild of American Luthiers Convention in Tacoma, WA.

Fred writes, “This is Mel Vessel's take on the one-armed guitar (though I imagine that Mel may never have known about one-armed guitars. This is a great example of creative innocence in action!). Sort of a "one-legged guitar," or maybe a "long-tailed guitar.”  No harp strings, just a funky six-stringer with a big ol' tail.  He made a case for it, too!”

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