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  #1  
Old 12-30-2010, 05:42 AM
green614 green614 is offline
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Default Holloway Harp Guitars

I read a post about these guitars and was wondering if anyone on the forum received one for Christmas. They seem like a great value if they play and sound good. Here is the link if you are interested.
http://www.hollowayharpguitars.com/harp_guitars.html
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:38 AM
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The concept intrigues me, but I'd like to play one before investing in a harp guitar...
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:43 AM
EllenGtrGrl EllenGtrGrl is offline
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I've always thought they sounded cool. I found some YouTube videos of the Holloways, and they sound as good as the vintage ones. I'm surprised that somebody is making one for around the price of my Ric 360. All of those I've found online, are vintage instruments that cost thousands more. Still, like an 8-string guitar, I'd like to play one first before I spend money on one.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:23 AM
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I grabbed one of the 1st batch, and I know a few others who also got them, so we've been comparing notes. These are very well done, and quite a deal if you're wanting to try out a harp guitar. You can see Stephen Bennett playing one of them on various You Tube demos. If he's happy, they're good enough! The main question is just whether you want to invest the effort in learning a somewhat different instrument. So far, I'm finding it a bit challenging - lots of strings to keep track of! - yet easier than I expected. The sound is very cool, and the overall playability of the instrument, aside from the new challenge of the harp strings, is very good, much more than you'd expect for the price.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:41 AM
EllenGtrGrl EllenGtrGrl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I grabbed one of the 1st batch, and I know a few others who also got them, so we've been comparing notes. These are very well done, and quite a deal if you're wanting to try out a harp guitar. You can see Stephen Bennett playing one of them on various You Tube demos. If he's happy, they're good enough! The main question is just whether you want to invest the effort in learning a somewhat different instrument. So far, I'm finding it a bit challenging - lots of strings to keep track of! - yet easier than I expected. The sound is very cool, and the overall playability of the instrument, aside from the new challenge of the harp strings, is very good, much more than you'd expect for the price.
Hmmm, it sounds like you have to use the same mindset you use for playing a 7 or 8-string guitar, with regards to using the extra strings on a harp guitar. I've been playing 7-string electric guitars for about a year, and have dabbled in playing 8-string electrics. It sounds like the harp guitar would be similar in many ways playing-wise. My main issue is that like an 8-string, I really don't know how much use application-wise I'd get out of a harp guitar. They're tempting at the price Holloway charges, but I'd hate to even spend that much money, just to wind up with a one-trick pony guitar (which is one of my main reasons for not getting an 8-string electric - I know more than a few players on the 7-string guitar forum, who sold their 8-strings, because, they felt that the 8-stringers didn't fit into their musical style). I'll need to do some more thinking, and hopefully (although it's not very likely) get a chance to play a harp guitar.

Last edited by EllenGtrGrl; 12-30-2010 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:00 AM
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I bought a Holloway as well and I'm very pleased with it. I'm a big Stephen Bennett fan and I've started working on some of his arrangements. Getting a feel for the harp strings is a bit challenging, but I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

Playing SB's HG arrangements is a very different style for me...they tend to be much sparser in notes with more "air" than most of the 6-string tunes I've played over the years.

As Doug mentioned, it's almost like starting on a new instrument but I'm finding it to be a lot of fun....and the guitar is a great value for the price!
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:15 AM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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interesting-- what does the case look like -? and are their upgrade available .Im assuming this an Chinese made instrument . i

The top is listed as spruce- but it doesnt say solid spruce and the back and side just say mahogany -is this primarily a plywood instrument ?
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:26 AM
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The guitar is all solid woods and the case is beautiful. It's big, rectangular (about 20" x 43") with a plush forest green interior. It reminds me of some of my nice TKL hardshell cases except for it's size. :-)
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl View Post
Hmmm, it sounds like you have to use the same mindset you use for playing a 7 or 8-string guitar, with regards to using the extra strings on a harp guitar.
I'd say it's a bit different. I've tried 7 string, and that changes your concept of chord shapes and fretting hand. With the harp, (speaking from my vast experience of several days :-), it seems the focus is more on the picking hand, since you don't fret the harp strings. The guitar part stays the same, but you're bouncing around a lot, or making *really* big stretches with your picking hand.

Yes, the guitar seems to be very nice quality, solid wood. The 6 string tone is a bit dry, but all in all, sounds much the same as I recall Stephen Bennett's Dyer sounding. The bass strings are stunning. You could rent the hard shell case out as a spare room :-) There are some upgrades you can do to the guitars, at least for the 1st batch, they suggested upgrading the tuners and bridge pins, and they'll install a pickup for you. I resisted upgrades on all fronts, the whole idea to me is an affordable way to see if this is even something I'd want to play, no sense getting caught up in bells and whistles before I even figure it out. Plenty of time to go all out with a really nice harp guitar by Kathy Wingert, Duane Noble, or Fred Carlson if I get hooked :-) This one is perfectly playable, sounds very good, and won't break the bank.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I grabbed one of the 1st batch, and I know a few others who also got them, so we've been comparing notes. These are very well done, and quite a deal if you're wanting to try out a harp guitar. You can see Stephen Bennett playing one of them on various You Tube demos. If he's happy, they're good enough! The main question is just whether you want to invest the effort in learning a somewhat different instrument. So far, I'm finding it a bit challenging - lots of strings to keep track of! - yet easier than I expected. The sound is very cool, and the overall playability of the instrument, aside from the new challenge of the harp strings, is very good, much more than you'd expect for the price.
I've been on the fence about buying one of these. I've been interested in finding a reaonably priced harp guitar, that is playable and has good sound. I had an opportunity to pick up an old Gibson harp guitar, but was beaten to the punch. With the comments on this thread so far, it sounds as if it may be a good value.

Doug and Hoink-other than (I assume) a set up, the overall quality of build is acceptable? Perhaps you would be willing to go into a little more detail?

And if you would provide a little more detail on the tone of these instruments (subjective as it may be) it would be appreciated.
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  #11  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tele1111 View Post
Doug and Hoink-other than (I assume) a set up, the overall quality of build is acceptable? Perhaps you would be willing to go into a little more detail?

And if you would provide a little more detail on the tone of these instruments (subjective as it may be) it would be appreciated.
I think the build quality is fine, no complaints at all. If you've seen some of the other chinese-built guitars, like Recording King, etc, you're in the ballpark. These are fairly basic, but they're modeled after the Dyer's which are also bare-boned instruments. Mine is a "black" one, satin finish, stained dark chocolate brown, so it has a very utilitarian look. Action is medium, and feels good to me. I won't do a setup on mine, it's fine as-is. Intonation is good. Fairly beefy, rounded profile neck. I probably should have taken them up on the improved tuners, the harp strings seem to slip a bit, but I have nothing to compare it to - maybe the banjo-style tuners on extra heavy strings are just like that. They stay in tune once I get them there. The string spacing on the 6-string part is a bit odd, 1.8' nut width, paired with a 2 1/8 saddle spacing, which to me, produces the feel of a narrow neck. I assume this is copied from the Dyer.

Tone is hard to report on. As a six-string, I personally go for a somewhat richer sound, but it's not fair to compare a Ryan to this guitar. The tone is dry, and direct, tho the harp strings tend to resonate with the 6-strings, giving it a bit of a reverby sound in a unique way. The bass strings are amazing, like hitting the low notes on a piano.

Listen to Stephen Bennett play one on You Tube, this seems like very natural recording that captures the tone I hear well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0BNUgM0Vtc

I'll post some recordings someday, after I learn to play something on it :-)
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  #12  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:54 PM
green614 green614 is offline
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Thanks for all of the information. These guitars seem like a reasonable option, especially with the solid woods. Stephen Bennett is a master and can make any guitar sound amazing.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:10 PM
Teleplucker Teleplucker is offline
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I have a model 4 (serial #5). It is a fun challenge to try to play. It is fun and the bass strings do sound great. You can get a lot of Stephen Bennett
arrangements from his website, trying to play his songs is where the work really starts.
A few notes about the quality and setup:

Right out of the large case you have to get a different set of bass strings if you want to use the Stephen Bennett bass tuning.The original strings are too heavy. The banjo tuners required a little bit of adjustment in order to get them to hold the pitch. There is screw that you can tighten for this.
The fret job on the six string neck was pretty bad. There were high frets and multiple sharp edges on the side of the fretboard.
I took my guitar to my local repairman and he filed the edges and had to seat the 14 fret. Not that you would be playing a lot in the area on this guitar, but my 14 fret was very high.
The bridge pins are very crappy. When I changed the bass strings several of the orignal bridge pins were cracked and fell apart. I bought two sets of ebony bridge pins from Stew Mac and replaced the original. They look much better and sound better also.
The case is very large and it appears to be well built. It does have a very funky smell. Supposedly this is because of the glue used in the Chinese factory. Thankfully ths smell is going away with time.
My biggest concern with my particular guitar is that it has developed a crack in the top. It doesn't appear to be completely through but it is definitely a crack. I have spoken with the folks at Holloway and we are trying to figure out the best way to deal with this issue. Apparently mine is the only guitar that has developed a problem like this. I guess I'm just lucky!
So having said all that, I still think it's a cool guitar. Considering the price that you pay and the price for the upgrades that you might need it's still a pretty good deal if you are interested in harp guitar.
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  #14  
Old 12-30-2010, 06:54 PM
Hoink Hoink is offline
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I bought the SB Model 4, from the first batch of 50. There were no issues with build quality or set up for me. The guitar played well right out of the box. The stock bass strings seem fine in Bennett's tuning (GABCDG). The guitar is dry sounding but since I'm a mahogany fan this really isn't an issue for me. The bass strings sound huge!

I had a dual stereo K&K system installed by Holloway and it sounds great plugged in.

There was a bit of slip with the banjo tuners and I decided to go ahead and order a set of Waverly's as an upgrade. I just installed them and they do seem to work somewhat better. I don't think this is an requirement but the Waverly's are a plus for accuracy and convenience.

thanks,

Hank Alinger
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
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The stock bass strings seem fine in Bennett's tuning (GABCDG).
Yeah, I'm also using Bennett's tuning (might as well start by following the master at this thing) with the stock strings with no problem.
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