…While Historical French Harp Guitarists Continue to Surprise

…the title being a continuation of yesterday’s blog.

Here’s another treasure from friend of Harpguitars.net, Les Cook (Grass Skirt Records):  Sheet music of “Rapid’ Eclair,” a “java” musette (a type of fast waltz, according to Les) played by the virtuoso accordionist M. Defaye, with uncredited guitarist.

The guitar player (who Les is trying to track down) plays a guitar banjo (common of course for the style), and has a very interesting new harp guitar specimen.

Is it French?  Or is this another transplanted Italian with his Italian harp guitar, a la Gino Bordin and Alex Manara?

Ignoring the pickguard (which looks like a later addition), the bass extension (though not the slotted headstock) looks somewhat Gazzo-like, wouldn’t you say?  But how many subs?  It looks like tuners go all the way around it! Or are there really only 3 or so on the far left?  Looks they could pass through that possible white slotted nut there?  And run down to the saddle, then tail?  (and is the body end attachment original, or just a later modification for steel strings?)

I think I see the subs running below the bridge, but I can’t see them above at all (perhaps not strung?).  At the headstock, it looks like a bunch of strings – but I think that’s just the dots of the printing, at a coincidental angle…

All in all, a great piece of ephemera, albeit with frustrating resolution.  I’ll be on the lookout for a surviving instrument by whomever built this one…and more harp guitars in  French music.

  1. Benoit Says:

    Ok here comes Ben to help you: The guitar is metal strung (silk and steel to be precise), and like many Italian and French makers the guy just used his Gut strings bracing and bridge BUT added a tail-piece and attached the strings to the back of the instrument. It’s probably original and quite commune, Brassins used a 6 strings guitar like that… I think the maker is: Carmelo Catania or Giacinti…

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