As you’ve often heard me say, one of the biggest perks of this harp guitar hobby is unearthing some wonderful new historical photograph captured a hundred or so years ago and now revealed.
And so, could there be anything cooler than an image that features not just a maker I study, or a style of instrument I might own, but the actual instrument in my collection?
I can’t begin to compute the odds, but obviously it’s not impossible. Here’s a new image discovered by my mandolinist colleague Paul Ruppa. The Foundation immediately obtained a scan and use rights (thank you, donors!). Paul of course knew it was a harp guitar, but not that it was a Bohmann, and certainly not my own custom Bohmann Contra Bass Harp Guitar!
As readers may recall, mine came from the family of the owner, a fellow named Linscott, about whom the family knew virtually nothing – nor had they photos or records of any kind.
And here he is! It must be him, as the harp guitar stayed in the family, and is in the same configuration as when I acquired it. There is his homemade metal bridge support strap, just as I found it (which Kerry Char successfully removed during restoration). The somewhat crude and overkill custom inlays are all present and accounted for (he’s missing one – a few others would go missing by the time I got it several decades later.).
This photograph was taken in 1933 in Madison, Wisconsin in the home of the group’s bandleader Clarence Fehling (who remains unidentified in the photo). What’s unusual of course is the lineup – an unusual jazz age combo with trumpet, tenor banjo, accordion…and a giant antique c.1900 harp guitar. Still, Linscott’s Bohmann is one of the loudest acoustic harp guitars I’ve heard and am thrilled to see that for Linscott old habits died hard. But after all, the group is called “Clarence Fehling’s Old Timer’s Orchestra.”
I’ve just added the above to my Bohmann CBHG article, along with another stunning discovery – a near duplicate of Mickie Zekley’s incredible Bohmann CBHG. This one turned up shortly after I published my August, 2016 article, and was missing only the neck tuners. The owner then installed some and eBayed it unsuccessfully for about a year until Bohmann historian Bruce Hammond managed to acquire it for the right price just last month. Check it out! He’ll be providing us with new photos and additional details in the future as well.
What’ll be next in our Bohmann Bonanza?!