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View Poll Results: Harp Guitar: Pointless or World of difference?
Pointless 22 18.97%
World of difference 56 48.28%
dont care 6 strings is enough 38 32.76%
Voters: 116. You may not vote on this poll

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  #31  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:02 AM
JRB JRB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trion12 View Post
Not a harp guitar but this one by Linda Manzer for Pat Metheny is pretty wild!


A composite harp guitar, made up of a composite of Forms 2a and 4.

Really.

http://www.harpguitars.net/history/org/hgorg2.htm

Yes, I take this stuff way too seriously. I should spend more time with a guitar in my hand, rather than my hands on a computer keyboard.
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  #32  
Old 07-05-2011, 12:00 PM
JRB JRB is offline
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Wade,

I've almost completed this post several times, only to have my computer lock up at the last minute. I'll try agan...

Al's guitar was unlike any guitar I've ever played, even the few harp guitars I've played. The bass strings are nylon, which isn't too unusual (for example, Viennese kontraguitarres). The volume is even across the strings on the standard neck and the harp strings. The harp strings are ascending, rather than descending like the majority of harp guitars.

You'll notice that the harp soundbox has a soundport, as does the tube/neck that connects the regular soundbox with the harp soundbox. The neck connecting the two is fairly narrow (I believe it was a result of the size of the wood Al had around to build the guitar). Because of the narrow neck, their was a distinct separation of the sound from the harp soundbox and the regular soundbox - the result being a really cool "stereo" effect. It is as if the bass strings are being played off to the left. The sound blends nicely when listening in front of the player, but as a player the stereo effect makes you want to play for hours.

Regardless of the stereo effect, it is a fine-sounding guitar.

Al playing it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oDQ1Ajp9So

Here's a link to Ken Bonfield's site. Ken has another Al Carruth harp guitar; the organic design is very striking. I didn't get a chance to play it but I heard Ken playing it. Also very nice.

http://kenbonfield.com/harp-guitar-diary/

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  #33  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:48 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Very cool. Thanks for the link to Al Carruth's video there. The photo of this more elaborate Carruth harp guitar is very striking, as well:




With the way that instrument curves around itself it reminds me of some of those pieces of furniture made from redwood driftwood. You can imagine it in a stand in a room furnished like this:








I'd be afraid to own and play a guitar like that, for the simple reason that I can see where I'd be engrossed in playing some tune, when all of a sudden Gandalf would show up and drag me off on some perilous quest to Mordor....


Wade Hampton "No, No, I'm COMFORTABLE Here In The Shire!" Miller
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  #34  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:36 PM
hermithollow hermithollow is offline
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I like harp guitars. I built one similar to a kontraguitar type with a removable neck that fits inside the body through a port in the tailblock. It is a "travel" harp guitar. The body is about the size of a Martin 0000, but maybe a little deeper. It has 7 subbasses tuned E to D. With the neck removed and stored inside the body I think you could take it as carryon luggage on a plane.
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  #35  
Old 01-15-2012, 05:41 PM
Smurf Smurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRB View Post
Al Carruth playing his true harp guitar (with an actual harp soundboard, constructed like an actual harp, and everything), built for around $100:

WHERE can I get one for $100!?


I have been looking into small custom builders just to see how much I would need to get one built. I have tried out a few Elloree Guitars over the last year, and was really impressed with his Herald model. Tho it looks way out of the ordinary it had such a smooth, full-range tone all over the neck I almost went $600 in debt right there....

The last few months I have been listening to some Harp Guitar music and have become interested in them. After looking at the prices it was pretty clear that there was NOT one in my future!!

I then ran across Wishnevsky String Instruments and see that you can order a standard model Harp for $600, and regular 6 string for...$300!

Does anyone know anything about this builder? I might run across some info as I continue my search thru the threads, but I wanted to stop and post this before I moved on.....
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  #36  
Old 01-15-2012, 06:35 PM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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I'm not sure about most harp guitar players - seems most of the ones Ive heard, players just play a drone bass note every now and then - i dont need a harp guitar to do that - playing in DADGAD and picking the notes on the twelfth fret gives me a harp like tone on my Goodall -that is about all I need .
I wonder if most players just have a harp guitar becasue they looks cool -and they really dont play them to their full potential . Im also curious about their quality of sound - do you need to spend alot to get decent sound ? Ive heard some not so nice things about those chinese copies - whats out their thats affordable thats quality ?
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  #37  
Old 01-16-2012, 11:55 AM
jeanray1113 jeanray1113 is offline
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I saw Andy Mckee play a harp guitar in concert and it had a very different, unique voice. Haven't seen him mentioned much here, btw. He is a young artist who is very talented, if you haven't heard of him check him out on utube. Getting back on topic, though, I think in the right hands, they have unique capabilities. Me, I have enough trouble with 6 strings!
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  #38  
Old 01-16-2012, 11:58 AM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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John:
Thanks for the mention.

I, too, thought that they looked more like zither-guitars than harp-guitars when I first saw them in the 'Dangerous Curves' exhibition at the Museum on Fine Arts in Boston years ago, and I started thinking about how you could make a 'true' harp guitar then. Finally, between the lack of orders due to the recession, and the '$100 Challenge' on the MIMForum a couple of years ago, I took the plunge. It came out OK.

I'll note right off that the only way to get one like that for less than $100 is to build it yourself, and not pay yourself for the time! Even then, the way it's set up in the pictures it would cost a lot more that $100: it orginally had the cheapest possible tuners on the guitar head, and autoharp pins for the sub-bases instead of the banjo 5th string tuners in the pic. The B&S wood is padauk that I got for $5 a board foot and re-sawed myself, and the soundboard wood was some reject stock Martin gave to Carleen Hutchins back in the '70s, and I inherited on her passing.

One problem with 'real' harps is that they _hate_ steel strings! I think it has to do with the very high pitched, and fairly powerful, longitudinal waves (the 'zip tone') in steel strings, that is communicated to the soundboard because of the way they pull on it. Rather than spend a lot of time messing with brass or bronze sub-bases, I took the path of least resistance and used wound nylon. They sound good, but have a different timbre than the steel strings on the guitar, so the experiment was not a total success in that respect.

Structurally it worked out great. It's also definitely ''different'; almost as individual as some of Fred Carlson's stuff. Since he's one of my lutherie heros, I'm happy to be in the company.

A number of features were dictated by wood size: I didn't have anything long enough (for either of the two HGs) to wrap all the way from the tail of the guitar to the top of the harp. The 'two chamber' effect was serendipitous, but welcome, and I think I'm stuck with the arm bevel of Ken's HG for the rest of my life: everybody likes it too much.

Anyway, I really enjoyed making that 'true' harp guitar, and enjoyed playing it 'way too much. That's one reason I sold it to Greg Miner for the museum: I wasn't getting any work done! At some point, in my copious free time, I'm going to make another the same way, that will be a little less of a kludge as a design, and use nylon strings on the guitar for better tonal balance.
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  #39  
Old 01-16-2012, 12:02 PM
DrBromiAndufEwd DrBromiAndufEwd is offline
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This is my only experience with harp guitars...

To me...totally worth it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeld-...B3C&lf=mh_lolz
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  #40  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:57 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Carruth View Post
Anyway, I really enjoyed making that 'true' harp guitar, and enjoyed playing it 'way too much. That's one reason I sold it to Greg Miner for the museum: I wasn't getting any work done! At some point, in my copious free time, I'm going to make another the same way, that will be a little less of a kludge as a design, and use nylon strings on the guitar for better tonal balance.
I think the fun part would have been taking it to your nearest Guitar Center store and asking:

"Hey, you guys have a CASE that will fit this guitar?!?"




whm
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  #41  
Old 01-16-2012, 03:36 PM
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Dan Carey Dan Carey is offline
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There's a whole world of different tunings available for the Harp Guitar.
Standard, DADGAD, Hedges, Bennett. Basically, it's an OM with a big gourd and six sub-bass strings sticking off the side. Actually not cumbersome at all.
Ask me how I know...see my sig
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  #42  
Old 01-16-2012, 05:43 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I have a new appreciation for the harp guitar since I have heard Stephen Bennett perform live several times now and have played harp guitars by both Kathy Wingert and Mike Doolin. Plucking those deeper bass strings brings in a whole other dimension that, like anything else, takes some practice to put to good musical use.

Best,
Jayne
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  #43  
Old 01-16-2012, 06:28 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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What Al Carruth neglected to mention is that this is his "backpacker" harp-guitar model - you ought to see his full-sized version!





Just kidding.....

By the way, has anyone besides me noticed the striking resemblance Al's harp-guitar bears to the Starship Enterprise?



I've always felt that there's a.....how do I say this?....otherworldly sort of intelligence at work whenever I read Al's posts. He's definitely not your average terrestrial, that's for certain.

Maybe this harp-guitar design has unwittingly given us a clue or two as to where Al's true origins may lay....

Live long and prosper!


Wade Hampton "That WOULD Explain It!" Miller
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  #44  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:46 PM
Smurf Smurf is offline
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Thanks for all the info Alan!

And back to my original question...Wishnevsky String Instruments....

Does anyone know anything about this builder?

Thanks!!
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  #45  
Old 01-17-2012, 03:44 AM
ocarolan ocarolan is offline
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I have played a couple of "harp guitars" by UK maker Dave White.
http://www.defaoiteguitars.com/page10.htm

In particular, the baritone harp guitar (at bottom of page linked to above) is a stunning instrument with potential capabilities limited only by the players imagination and sill. Have a listen to the soundclips at the bottom of the page. As with many harp guitars, the low, unfretted strings are best used, not in any particular fixed tuning, but tuned as appropriate for the piece to be played.

Even when not playing the "extra" strings, the sound from the "normal" fretted strings is hugely enhanced by the extra soundbox capacity and by sympathetic resonances from the "extra" strings.

I wouldn't want to own one, but they are serious instruments, and in the right hands can produce some lovely music. Very far from pointless!

Keith
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