Organology: Harp Guitar "Relatives"

Note to the casual reader or researcher: This Reference Gallery features historical instruments that are not harp guitars, but “relatives” or distant “cousins” – presented on for historical and organological comparison.

"Harp Guitars" in Name Only
by Gregg Miner

See bottom of page for image copyright information

Arpi-guitare, Pacquet ca. 1784 Harp-Guitar, Edward Light, 1798 Harp guitar (or guitar-harp), Joseph Mast, 1827

To confuse things further for us, Mast appears to have also built a true "harp guitar" version of this instrument!

Scherr’s Patent Harp Guitar, E. N. Scherr, 1831 Double harp-guitar, J. F. Grosjean, ca. 1840

Brown Pat # 568,108, 1896
& Grunewald The Harp-Guitar, ca.1896

10 strings - the 4 lower courses are doubled, an octave higher (thus "sounding like a harp").  Morphed into Grunewald 12-string "harp-guitar."

Additional image

See The Birth of the American 12-string Guitar

Trademark Harp Guitar, J. F. Stratton, c.1890
6 strings only. Only the medallion on the back marks this as a "harp guitar" - likely due to the "tone."
Harp Guitar

Of course, this isn't a guitar at all, but one of hundreds of types of early American fretless zithers. Many use "harp" in the name, some use "guitar" - so it was unavoidable that someone would combne the two! Made by the Harp Guitar Mfg. Co. 150 Liverpool Street East Boston, MA.


What is a Harp Guitar?


Harp Guitar Family Tree

Back To

Photo Reference Library of Examples.

The Harp Guitar Foundation            The Harp Guitar Gathering®

History          Players         Music         Luthiers         Iconography         Articles 

 Forum                 About                Links                Site Map                Search               Contact

All Site Contents Copyright © Gregg Miner, 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright and Fair Use of material and use of images: See Copyright and Fair Use policy.