Saturday, to coincide with a Stephen Bennett concert near San Clemente, home of both Holloway Harp Guitars and Pete Bradshaw, we had another roughly annual mini-Gathering, coordinated by Frank Doucette.
I went down early, to visit Scott Burwell at his home for a bit, and check out a few different guitars (6-stg, harp, other). He had been at Stephen’s workshop that morning and was still working on SB’s assignment, his Andy Griffith Theme arrangement (grade TBD).
We then headed down to his massive Skateboard/Holloway factory/warehouse, which was an impressive work-in-progress, to say the least. I found Holloway prototypes undergoing check-out, set-up or pickup experiments in almost every room (I was there to choose a few more to take back for Harp Guitar Music).
At one point, I noticed some huge, strange instrument on a top shelf and had Scott bring it down. It was a Wishnevsky fretless harp bass, the first Wishnevsky I’ve ever seen in the “flesh.” Turned out it was the first harp-something Scott ever bought – for $300 on eBay a few years back (when the guy who commissioned it bailed). I found it fascinating. Some part of the tailpiece was busted for the main string bank, but the bass harp strings sounded pretty good (though lord knows what one was supposed to do with them). I’ve had this very instrument up on the site for a while, but had no idea of the size. It has a 34” scale, so is pretty darn big for an all-acoustic harp instrument. Design is fun and folksy, with craftsmanship and finish taken only so far as to make something playable while avoiding splinters – you gotta love it! And for the price, it can’t be beaten for bare-bones functionality.
The boys (Dave & Tone Powell) came over to help Scott identify what was what for me, which took a while, because every time one of them so much as touched a tuned instrument, they would immediately have to start playing it, like true harp guitar geeks. Incorrigible, I tell you.
Eventually, we loaded up and headed off to the get-together at Pete’s (Scott had to bail, behind on his work).
We were the last ones to arrive – SB was there, Frank had driven Jaci, and Chris Bucklen drove up from San Diego with his 12-string Deering banjo (his new favorite, it seems). Surprisingly, Chris – a longtime Harpguitars.net Forum user and Foundation supporter – still doesn’t own a harp guitar! That’s actually an example of what I’d love to see more of. A lot of people think they need to either own and/or play a harp guitar in order to enjoy or join the growing harp guitar community. Not true! All you need is an interest or an appreciation for what the site offers.
Chris trying out Dave’s Tonedevil HG with the 12-string neck.
Kathy Wingert was late, driving down with 2 friends, so met us at a nearby Thai restaurant.
L-R: Pete, me, Jaci, Kathy’s friend Jane, Frank (behind), Dave, Kathy, Tone, Coleen (other Kathy friend), Chris
We had to bolt the last of our meal, pay and race off to the concert, as we had 2 of SB’s guitars. Made it with 5 minutes to spare.
The usual wonderful show (2 nights as part of the Lord of the Strings series)
After-concert celebration (where did Bucklen disappear to?). Speaking of celebrations, it was Kathy’s birthday, and they would head back to Pete’s for cake. Jaci, SB & I had to head back north, crash (bed, not the road), and then say our goodbyes to Stephen early next morning.
A great time was had by all…
What a wonderful evening that must have been. I am especially glad Chris was able to attend. He has wanted to go to a gathering for along time now and I’m sure this was an evening to remember for him. Makes me happy..thanks Gregg.