Larson Brothers 1912 Patent Harp Guitars

by Gregg Miner
Updated June, 2019

This page includes all the specimens and images I have found of the distinctive "Picasso" harp guitars. It is now clear that there were two distinct body shapes. Type 1 is similar to the patent drawing (with the necks slightly diverged) and is seen in double-neck versions and hollow bass neck versions.  Type 2 is very similar, but does away with the larger bass body protrusion.  Some have the Maurer label (or were presented with that assumption) and at least two have a Stahl label or stamp. Strangely, not all of these actually have the internal "parlor guitar" inside (I know - why build such a thing without the patent inner body?!). It could be that the internal body specimens were made for Stahl, and the non-internal body instruments were labeled "Maurer" (this warrants further investigation!).   

The 1912 Patent 

This entire row has 6 sub-bass strings.

This specimen appears to be most consistent with the patent, yet it has no second internal body. The bass side of the body is increased. The arms arm slightly diverged. The lower body differentiation is eliminated. The bass side is again large. A fancier bridge is used. The body proportions may be partially due to camera angle.
The necks are parallel or inclined towards each other. The necks are slightly diverged. The necks are very diverged.
It has the internal body.

The lower body again follows the "guitar-within-a-guitar" outline. The bass side body profile is close to the original patent, but extends in a hollow arm, as in Dyers and Knutsens. A custom Stahl with 10 sub-basses, obviously inspired by the Gibson.  It has the internal body.

See: The One That Almost Got Away

12 sub-bass strings - though I don't know where they hid the tuners! The "necks" are parallel. 8 sub-bass strings with very custom tuners on a marvelous headstock. The "necks" are diverged.  Internal sound chamber, Stahl label.


Just three (that we know of) have the internal body. Curiously, one of these (top row, far right) is of the Type 2 body shape which wouldn't seem to lend itself to including the correct small parlor guitar body inside. Its label remains hard to read. The two Stahls with internal bodies are seen in bottom row; neither is in the double-neck patent configuration.

The Stahl label appears in the hollow arm. No patent stamp appears, which is why Bob Hartman has dated this "circa 1909" (when the patent was filed).

The Gibson-style instrument has the "WM. C. STAHL" hot stamp and patent stamp on the inside of the 6-string body's back.

The internal body


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