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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A Christmas Collection 25th Anniversary!

And to celebrate, free CDs for my entire readership! Wow, has it really been that long? For those unfamiliar with my story, you’re only reading this now because of this album. It’s what “put me on the map” in 1995. Before that, I was just your typical anonymous closet musician with a bunch of random […]

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The James Shaw Family: A Hawaiian Musical Dynasty

Dedicated readers of Harpguitars.net have seen many images and features over the years on Harp Guitars in Hawaiian Music. Well, that’s what this current one was supposed to have been…a quick week or so of work – done, fun, next! Except… A STORY dropped into my lap. One of those no one has ever heard […]

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That Old Black Walnut Magic

Note, 11/13/2020: I revamped this post after receiving much feedback from luthiers about black walnut examples. I hope here to better clarify the intent of this post – which is not about the varied “pretty walnut sapwood color and figure” but about confirming the wood used in an Orville Gibson harp guitar, which – due […]

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The Cigar Box Stoessel Lute and Other Stringed Inventions

I’ve been meaning to do a little story on Rich Eberlen’s “guitar conversion” inventions for years, but just never got around to it. His latest project inspired me to do so now, as I was just so captivated by it. The name alone is worth the headline: the “cigar box Stoessel lute”! But what is […]

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Franco and Gregg: A Love Story

Today – October 15 2020 – we learned that our dear friend Franco Ghisalberti passed away. He was 93 years old. We are deeply saddened for his family and his oh so many friends – many of whom also felt like, and were treated like, family. That is certainly the case for Jaci and me. […]

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