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  #1  
Old 10-18-2017, 10:39 AM
Dylan Dylan is offline
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Default Looking to dabble in Harp Guitar

I'm a big Michael Hedges fan and a Master's Student looking to write a lot on Hedges. I was wondering what the cheapest price I could pay for a decent harp guitar might be so that I could at least have the experience of playing one. I'm not looking to buy right now, I'd just like to know for future reference. I don't want to buy a junk one, but i also don't need something immaculate.

Thanks!
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:28 PM
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Gregg Miner often has multiple harp guitars for sale, you can check here and look at current and past stock and prices, http://www.harpguitarmusic.com/instruments.htm#sale I bought my S12 from Gregg, and he's put together a huge amount of great info on harp guitars on his sites.

I was asking more or less the same question before I got my S12, and the answer seemed to 2-3 grand, with Tonedevil being the main purveyor of really good quality and relatively inexpensive wood harp guitars. Emerald is in about the same range with carbon fiber harp guitars. My S18 was a custom job, but only a bit more, 3.5K. You can of course pay far more. You can pay much less, but then you've probably bought a cheap Asian knock-off that you won't be happy with unless it's just an interesting conversation piece to put on the wall.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:38 PM
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This is example of a cheap Asian import that you probably won't be happy with if you're a serious player, https://www.ebay.com/itm/Harp-Guitar...-/201063277022 Gregg Miner's site has a lot to say about these, http://www.harpguitarmusic.com/listings/hg-tm.htm, and note the photo in the Ebay ad is exactly the same one that Gregg shows.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:55 PM
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rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
I'm a big Michael Hedges fan and a Master's Student looking to write a lot on Hedges. I was wondering what the cheapest price I could pay for a decent harp guitar might be so that I could at least have the experience of playing one. I'm not looking to buy right now, I'd just like to know for future reference. I don't want to buy a junk one, but i also don't need something immaculate.

Thanks!
Your best bet is Emerald (carbon fiber) or tone devil. Nothing cheaper is worth even looking at. Under $3k and you get a pretty good instrument.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:08 PM
Gregg Miner Gregg Miner is offline
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Nothing cheaper is worth even looking at.
I would have agreed...until now. Rog sadly missed the Gathering (and we missed him!), so was not privy to the unveiling of the brand new (1 week old!) Timberline harp guitar: https://www.timberlineguitars.com/





If you're not familiar with Timberline (I was not a year ago), you can trust me on this, as I agreed to co-design the instrument and sell it direct - all to meet my line-in-the-sand challenge of $999 (which Rob did!).
That's stripped (no case or electronics, which are options), but gets you in the game.
I haven't got the page up yet, but we're taking $200 deposits now and will get first batch into production asap.
Yes, that IS a mahogany top (has all solid woods), which looks and sounds wonderful.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:16 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Originally Posted by Gregg Miner View Post
I would have agreed...until now. Rog sadly missed the Gathering (and we missed him!), so was not privy to the unveiling of the brand new (1 week old!) Timberline harp guitar: https://www.timberlineguitars.com/

If you're not familiar with Timberline (I was not a year ago), you can trust me on this, as I agreed to co-design the instrument and sell it direct - all to meet my line-in-the-sand challenge of $999 (which Rob did!).
That's stripped (no case or electronics, which are options), but gets you in the game.
I haven't got the page up yet, but we're taking $200 deposits now and will get first batch into production asap.
Yes, that IS a mahogany top (has all solid woods), which looks and sounds wonderful.
Hello Gregg. I want to chime in as I am also looking at jumping into the harp realm. First, big thanks for all you do in the harp guitar realm. I have been researching the realm a great lengths and your name comes up often.

I am very glad you posted this as I had nearly written of Timberline. I saw Jamie Dupuis is an endorsee and plays one, but could really find nothing else. I have generally not had good experiences with guitars made in Indonesia. However I am a firm believer in that it all comes down to how a factory or shop is run. If run well, there's no reason why any country couldn't put out a great guitar.

Can you provide any further information about the Timberline Harp Guitar or point me in the right direction? There's almost nothing on their website as of now. My main inquiry is;
-string spacing at nut and saddle?
-lower bout width?
-depth at the endpin?

I love the cutaway, that's a must for me. Thanks, I am very interested!!



Oh yeah, here is a great clip of Jamie playing a Timberline Harp guitar. Must have been a prototype, no cutaway and the video was posted 1 month ago.


Last edited by Kerbie; 10-25-2017 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:38 PM
Gregg Miner Gregg Miner is offline
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Originally Posted by Carbonius View Post
Hello Gregg. I want to chime in as I am also looking at jumping into the harp realm. First, big thanks for all you do in the harp guitar realm. I have been researching the realm a great lengths and your name comes up often.

I am very glad you posted this as I had nearly written of Timberline. I saw Jamie Dupuis is an endorsee and plays one, but could really find nothing else. I have generally not had good experiences with guitars made in Indonesia. However I am a firm believer in that it all comes down to how a factory or shop is run. If run well, there's no reason why any country couldn't put out a great guitar.

Can you provide any further information about the Timberline Harp Guitar or point me in the right direction? There's almost nothing on their website as of now. My main inquiry is;
-string spacing at nut and saddle?
-lower bout width?
-depth at the endpin?

I love the cutaway, that's a must for me. Thanks, I am very interested!!
My pleasure, Dylan. Glad my reputation continues to proceed me (you wouldn’t think so, if people actually scrolled through some of our after-hours Gathering photos).

I suspect Rob Smith (Timberline owner) will have specs up before long, but the ingredients you list are the same as the T20Ac 6-string.

My involvement in this is for the exact same reason I do everything. Because someone should, and, as “Sir Gregory,” I often have the means, so jump in (I’m not compulsive, only obsessive). Also, I needed something to offer on my web site mentioned above. I gave Rob the same challenge I’ve given everyone. Give me a good thousand-dollar harp guitar and we can blow this thing wide open. Much to my surprise, he did! I’m thrilled, as I was getting tired of all the “Doolin-rip-off” HGs selling like hotcakes on Amazon (and even getting good reviews from some owners…but then again, look at their aftermarket turnaround).

I wasn’t worried about Indonesian instruments – I just needed to know they weren’t going to use green wood that caused so many problems out of China. They actually have stiff penalties for any wood product coming back, so they go overboard in protecting their investment. Quality should be first rate at this price point. Rob busts their chops and I bust his!

Check my Testimonials page or ask anyone on this Forum about my singular combination of passion and bluntness. If a client’s Dyer sucks, I won’t say as much, but anyone reading between the lines of my listing will know what they’re getting with no surprises. Same here. This will kick Amazon, but will never be sold there, as it would have to be marked up to 2-3 grand. Rob calls this a “loss leader” and that apparently includes me!

The upshot: I sold Rob strings for a prototype HG for Jamie, then checked it out at NAMM last January. It sounded OK, was no beauty contest winner, but was an impressive first attempt from a small factory that had never touched one. Knowing that Rob was serious about the project and confident that I could improve it, I had an hour+ meeting with the head luthier and owner of the Indonesian firm. We hit it off, they (and Rob) agreed to let me re-design it from the ground up, and I did 50% of it right there. The final design and tweaks took a while, but I got 95% of exactly what I intended – pretty amazing, frankly.

Last edited by Kerbie; 10-20-2017 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Removed masked profanity
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Old 10-19-2017, 09:16 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Originally Posted by Gregg Miner View Post
My pleasure, Dylan. Glad my reputation continues to proceed me (you wouldn’t think so, if people actually scrolled through some of our after-hours Gathering photos).

I suspect Rob Smith (Timberline owner) will have specs up before long, but the ingredients you list are the same as the T20Ac 6-string.

My involvement in this is for the exact same reason I do everything. Because someone should, and, as “Sir Gregory,” I often have the means, so jump in (I’m not compulsive, only obsessive). Also, I needed something to offer on my web site mentioned above. I gave Rob the same challenge I’ve given everyone. Give me a good thousand-dollar harp guitar and we can blow this thing wide open. Much to my surprise, he did! I’m thrilled, as I was getting tired of all the “Doolin-rip-off” HGs selling like hotcakes on Amazon (and even getting good reviews from some owners…but then again, look at their aftermarket turnaround).

I wasn’t worried about Indonesian instruments – I just needed to know they weren’t going to use green wood that caused so many problems out of China. They actually have stiff penalties for any wood product coming back, so they go overboard in protecting their investment. Quality should be first rate at this price point. Rob busts their chops and I bust his!

Check my Testimonials page or ask anyone on this Forum about my singular combination of passion and bluntness. If a client’s Dyer sucks, I won’t say as much, but anyone reading between the lines of my listing will know what they’re getting with no surprises. Same here. This will kick Amazon, but will never be sold there, as it would have to be marked up to 2-3 grand. Rob calls this a “loss leader” and that apparently includes me!

The upshot: I sold Rob strings for a prototype HG for Jamie, then checked it out at NAMM last January. It sounded OK, was no beauty contest winner, but was an impressive first attempt from a small factory that had never touched one. Knowing that Rob was serious about the project and confident that I could improve it, I had an hour+ meeting with the head luthier and owner of the Indonesian firm. We hit it off, they (and Rob) agreed to let me re-design it from the ground up, and I did 50% of it right there. The final design and tweaks took a while, but I got 95% of exactly what I intended – pretty amazing, frankly.
Wow, that's really neat. Truly the biggest obstacle in people trying harp guitars is the price point and rareness of them. It's a catch-22. Without enough interest, low-priced production models don't get offered. Without that offering, people can try them... so there's little to no interest. Around and around it goes... I imagine most guitar manufacturers are scared to take the step into this seemingly niche market.

The specs for the T20Ac are unusual to me. I haven't seen a 14 fret short scale before. Will the harp guitar be a 24.9 short scale as well? I also don't see a 20" fretboard radius too often on steel string acoustic guitars. Perhaps harp guitars attract more classical players. I did play some Rainsong's with 20" and they felt fine. I'm very curious to see the final specs. I'm also completely unfamiliar with Indoneasen Red Mahogany's tone. I understand it's a bit softer than South American Mahogany. A tone between Cedar and Mahogany would be very interesting.

I use the entire fretboard and have very sensitive pitch. How is the intonation on these? I like having open strings ringing while playing chords into the 17th fret area. Poor intonation really shows up there!

I will certainly be watching and I'm very interested at this price point. Thanks again!

Last edited by Kerbie; 10-25-2017 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Edited quote
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  #9  
Old 10-20-2017, 02:37 PM
philjs philjs is offline
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Originally Posted by Gregg Miner View Post
I would have agreed...until now. Rog sadly missed the Gathering (and we missed him!), so was not privy to the unveiling of the brand new (1 week old!) Timberline harp guitar: https://www.timberlineguitars.com/

If you're not familiar with Timberline (I was not a year ago), you can trust me on this, as I agreed to co-design the instrument and sell it direct - all to meet my line-in-the-sand challenge of $999 (which Rob did!).
Oooh, pretty (and what a nice price point)! I want one...if, and I can't conceive of any reason why not, a full set of sharping levers can be added as an option. Sharping levers are a must for me...

I'll send you a note, Gregg, about getting in on the ground floor.

Phil
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Last edited by Kerbie; 10-25-2017 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:57 PM
Dylan Dylan is offline
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Default Possible Electrics

If I bought one of these Timberline guitars, and decided to put electronics in later, how much would that run me? In fact, where do pickups even GO on these???
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:43 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Oooh, pretty (and what a nice price point)! I want one...if, and I can't conceive of any reason why not, a full set of sharping levers can be added as an option. Sharping levers are a must for me...

I'll send you a note, Gregg, about getting in on the ground floor.

Phil
Hello fellow Canadian. I too was thinking about sharping levers. I think only 5 strings could accommodate levers, at least the standard levers I've seen online. It looks like there isn't enough room between the tuning post and where the headstock ends on the shortest harp string. At this price, the Harp guitars is truly is a loss leader for the Timberline brand. So I fully expect that Timberlines would not offer the lever feature. it would have to be an aftermarket add-on which would then void any warranty. Still, it's something I'm strongly considering
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:15 PM
Gregg Miner Gregg Miner is offline
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I too was thinking about sharping levers.
Interestingly enough, when I was going over my bass head designs with my assistant Frank Doucette, he said "you know, it might be nice if you could leave room for sharping levers..." And so I kept that in mind. It may not look like it, and they'd be crammed in there, but I think it could work. Yes, that's up to you and your luthier to add on. Even the professionals will tell you it requires skill and planning. You'd start with a nut post (sharpers don't work off tuners), which could be positioned to help locate your levers in the available real estate. I'm anxious to see someone try it, though wasn't in a particular rush - not having sharping levers has never been a deal breaker for the 99% of us without them. If it is, I know of a very nice Pellerin available for $20k you might want to consider.
PS: Pickup option will be a Baggs Anthem, according to Rob. He's installing them now in the 2 prototypes destined for a couple HG virtuosos.
Listing coming soon.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:43 PM
philjs philjs is offline
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Originally Posted by Gregg Miner View Post
Interestingly enough, when I was going over my bass head designs with my assistant Frank Doucette, he said "you know, it might be nice if you could leave room for sharping levers..." And so I kept that in mind. It may not look like it, and they'd be crammed in there, but I think it could work. Yes, that's up to you and your luthier to add on. Even the professionals will tell you it requires skill and planning. You'd start with a nut post (sharpers don't work off tuners), which could be positioned to help locate your levers in the available real estate. I'm anxious to see someone try it, though wasn't in a particular rush - not having sharping levers has never been a deal breaker for the 99% of us without them. If it is, I know of a very nice Pellerin available for $20k you might want to consider.
PS: Pickup option will be a Baggs Anthem, according to Rob. He's installing them now in the 2 prototypes destined for a couple HG virtuosos.
Listing coming soon.
Thanks, Gregg. My take on the levers, based on the photos, was that the nut pin would go to the left/up side of the tuner post. Some levers can be positioned remarkably close to the nut pins depending on whether they lift the string or push it down (there are even some that push the string to the side) so it might need some experimentation to figure out which levers to use and how closely they can be spaced with the placement of the nut pins. If the luthier is game to experiment with sharping levers then I'm ready to be a guinea pig, I guess!

Phil
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:14 AM
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JeffreyAK JeffreyAK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Miner View Post
I would have agreed...until now. Rog sadly missed the Gathering (and we missed him!), so was not privy to the unveiling of the brand new (1 week old!) Timberline harp guitar: https://www.timberlineguitars.com/





If you're not familiar with Timberline (I was not a year ago), you can trust me on this, as I agreed to co-design the instrument and sell it direct - all to meet my line-in-the-sand challenge of $999 (which Rob did!).
That's stripped (no case or electronics, which are options), but gets you in the game.
I haven't got the page up yet, but we're taking $200 deposits now and will get first batch into production asap.
Yes, that IS a mahogany top (has all solid woods), which looks and sounds wonderful.
Nice, Gregg! Sub-$1000 is great for a decent instrument, that may well lure in many new harp guitar players who don't want to spend $2500+ but want something that isn't junk!
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'79 Fender Stratocaster hardtail
'82 Fender Musicmaster bass
'15 Breedlove Premier OF mandolin
Marshall JVM210c amp plus a bunch of stompboxes and misc. gear

Last edited by Kerbie; 10-25-2017 at 12:18 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:00 AM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Thanks, Gregg. My take on the levers, based on the photos, was that the nut pin would go to the left/up side of the tuner post. Some levers can be positioned remarkably close to the nut pins depending on whether they lift the string or push it down (there are even some that push the string to the side) so it might need some experimentation to figure out which levers to use and how closely they can be spaced with the placement of the nut pins. If the luthier is game to experiment with sharping levers then I'm ready to be a guinea pig, I guess!

Phil
That's a good idea. I forgot that the string doesn't have to be in a straight line all the way from the tuner the saddle. I'm very new to the harp guitar realm but I've certainly seen many of them that have a post to the left of the tuner.

Since the Timberline wasn't designed to have posts, Would the harp side headstock be able to handle that much lateral pressure? I don't know how many pounds of tension are on a harp string, but I would be concerned about splitting the headstock if the post has a lot of pressure on it. I see the prototype Timberline that Jamie is playing in the video I linked does have the string at quite an angle around the post. However there also seems to be some buildup of wood in that area. Definitely need the expertise of a good luthier on the installation.
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