Following up on the Regal harp guitar story of yesterday:
I’ve always held Wulschner/Regal responsible for their strange (even silly) c.1900 harp guitar experiment, but now I wonder if they actually copied it.
One of the first harp guitar finds of our Cadenza research project (something that holds much yet to blog about) was this incredible image, from the Jan/Feb, 1895 issue:
The Imperial mandolin, guitar and banjo orchestra of Kansas City, H.W. Adams, director
At first glance, I thought “Cool – a Regal and a Harwood harp guitar together!” On second glance, I realized that nearly all the mandolins, guitars and harp guitars were actually Harwood instruments (easily identified by the last marker inlaid with a bone rectangle, stamped “Harwood”). So the slimmed-down “Regal” was really a Harwood!
I also realized that this photo was early – much earlier than the 1898-introduced date I had as the previous oldest for Harwood harp guitars. These instruments would have had to have been built by the end of 1894 (before the photo was taken for submission to The Cadenza, printed the next month), and likely earlier. So now I’ve got to update the whole Harwood page again…
But back to our topic. So the J. W. Jenkins Company (they owned and made the “Harwood” brand, and were also in Kansas City, where the orchestra above was formed) made a “slab neck attachment” harp guitar well before Wulschner it seems. Coincidental? I doubt it. Perhaps one of those responsible for the Regal line saw this very image and eventually combined the large size of the jumbo 12-bass Harwood with the smaller 6-bass “slab neck” to create what they thought was the optimum harp guitar.
Not a good idea.
Still – more wonderful harp guitar history that makes me want to get up each morning and go discover!