Women in Harp Guitar History: Schrammelgitarristinnen!

We last celebrated the (mostly) American women who played those amazing Gibson harp guitars from about 1905-1925. Now we travel to Central Europe to look at the wide variety of musical groups where women took on the role of accompaniment on their many forms of kontragitarren, i.e.: “contra guitars,” sometimes called “bass (or contrabass) guitars” […]

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Women in Harp Guitar History: Gibson Gals

Harp Guitarists in Women’s History Month continues from last episode’s hollow arm harp guitar players to the world’s most famous and historically popular harp guitar of all time: The Gibson! And, if anything, the proportion of female players of these instruments was even higher – despite the instruments being dramatically larger. Much has already been […]

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Women in Harp Guitar History: Dyer and Knutsen Players

We continue celebrating Women’s “Harp Guitar” History Month with past players of what has become today’s most popular vintage HG: the W. J. Dyer & Bro. Symphony harp guitar!  As I’ve found just four female players to date, I’ll follow them with the related Dyer predecessors – the Knutsen hollow arm harp guitars. (All but the […]

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Women in Harp Guitar History: Introduction

Welcome to the first in a series as I celebrate Women’s History Month with an incredible collection of almost one hundred images of women playing harp guitars throughout history. I have so much to catch up on! I’ve been collecting and posting images of historical harp guitar players for 17 years now. The variety and […]

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The Invincible Four

Looking for something to celebrate 2021’s Black History Month, I went back through my files to see if there was anything harp-guitar-related that I might have somehow missed. Indeed there was. It was this second image of the “Greater Invincible Concert Company” that I had neglected to add with the other stunning image of the […]

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James Shaw: First Rewrite

…which I know won’t be the last! Shortly after publishing my epic 3-part article “The James Shaw Family: A Hawaiian Musical Dynasty” barely two months ago, I finally received a high-resolution scan of a crucial piece. Yes, the rare, smoking gun trade card of the Volcano Singers – the first to perform in America at […]

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…and Happy New Year!

…following up on our theme for this December…

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Merry Christmas!

Coming up with this year’s card was a nice long distraction from the crushing drama of 2020. I could only think of the theme of “nostalgia” – imagining a better, safer, more innocent time. Which made me think of perhaps my favorite holiday film…and Ralphie’s many tribulations, which pale in comparison to today’s! We found that […]

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Theorboed Guitar Re-creations

Welcome to this follow-up to my previous article where I presented a complete-to-date overview of the first two centuries of possible theorbed guitars (the earliest form of harp guitar). Since 1976 when Robert Spencer initiated the topic with his 3-page article (Early Music, Vol. 4, no. 2), a growing number of Baroque and historical guitar […]

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The Earliest Harp Guitars

Since creating Harpguitars.net 16+ years ago, one of the most frequent questions I routinely get is along the lines of “What was the first (or earliest/oldest) harp guitar?” I’ve never answered this, and am not about to try now. However, I think it is finally time to give a little nutshell history lesson. I’ll then […]

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