1914 Gibson Style U

 

The most iconic of all American harp guitars, this beautiful instrument is highly prized by collectors. Orville Gibson began making harp guitars in his one-man shop in Kalamazoo, MI as an accompaniment instrument for his patented mandolins. When the Gibson Company was formed in 1902, harp guitars were among the headliner instruments on offer until 1925. This example is very similar to the one played by Robbie Robertson at the end of The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese's documentary of the final concert of The Band.

1896 Knutsen Slipper

Not technically a harp guitar because it lacks floating strings, this instrument became the prototype for Christopher Knutsen's hollow arm harp guitar designs, which deeply influenced other builders and became the most common format for nearly all subsequent instruments. This Slipper was on display at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California for their Floating Strings exhibition of 2017-18.

2001 Wishnevsky

This instrument by Winston-Salem, NC luthier Stephen Wishnevsky reflects his unique rustic approach to instrument building. Tuned to a massive three octave double dropped-D configuration, it has an enormously resonant voice and is a favorite among audiences.

1890's F.W. Walton

This is the only known example of an otherwise unknown luthier's craft. Influenced by the designs of Chicago luthier Joseph Bowman, this heavily ornamented instrument shows evidence of sophisticated building techniques. It is a baritone instrument with a 29 inch fretboard scale.

1914 Dyer

Built by the legendary Larson brothers in Chicago, the Dyer harp guitar was based on the designs of Christopher Knutsen. Highly sought-after by players for its beautiful tone and resonance, this Style 4 is the same model as the one discovered in a guitar shop in Texas by Michael Hedges, who launched the modern renaissance of the harp guitar.

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1922 Coulter

Created by the eccentric Portland, OR luthier Frank Coulter, this beautiful instrument features a violin-style scroll at the top of the hollow arm and over 200 triangular pieces of mother-of-pearl outlining the rim of the body. A very fragile instrument, it is currently undergoing a restoration process.

Early 1900s Bruno "Hula Lula"

This Bruno harp guitar, one of only two known to exist in a six-string main neck configuration, was most likely a special order from this instrument maker that began in Macon, GA just after the Civil War. Heavily modified over the years, it was given to me by Nancy Bennett, wife of famed harp guitarist and founder of the annual Harp Guitar Gathering, Stephen Bennett. It's nickname, "Hula Lula," comes from the hula girl scene painted on the back.

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Late 1800s Harwood

 

This instrument is the only known surviving example of the J.W. Jenkin's Sons Company "No. 9" harp guitar. It was long thought to be a one-off modification of a standard guitar until a picture of it turned up in an 1899 Jenkins catalog.

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2015 Muelle-Stef Steampunk

 

This beautiful one of a kind steampunk-themed instrument was built by Belgian luthier Benoit Muelle-Stef as an example of his craftmanship. After being exhibited at guitar shows around the world, I bought it in 2019 to be the crown jewel of my harp guitar collection.

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2014 Wishnevsky Prototype, "The Beast"

Stephen Wishnevsky built this prototype design inspired by the early 20th century designs of Italian luther Luigi Mozzani. I completed the instrument, adding both electric and acoustic pickup elements as well a supertreble strings and a tree of life fretboard decoration.

2019 Timberline T60 with Muriel Supertrebles

The Timberline harp guitar is the first true production line instrument since Dyer and Gibson stopped manufacturing them in the 1920s. Starting at just $999, this makes owning a harp guitar much more affordable. Timberline offers eight different models with two body sizes and several tonewood options. The detachable supertrebles were co-designed by renowned harp guitarist Muriel Anderson and Swiss luthier Luke Brunner.