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Encyclopedia > Harp guitar

The harp guitar (or "harp-guitar") is a stringed instrument with an incredibly rich history of well over two centuries. While there are several unrelated historical stringed instruments that have appropriated the name “harp-guitar” over the centuries, the term today is understood as the accepted vernacular to refer to a particular family of instruments defined as "A guitar, in any of its accepted forms, with any number of additional unstopped strings that can accommodate individual plucking."[citation needed] Additionally, in reference to these instruments, the word "harp" is now a specific reference to the unstopped open strings, and is not specifically a reference to the tone, pitch range, volume, silhouette similarity, construction, floor-standing ability, nor any other alleged "harp-like" properties. To qualify in this category, an instrument must have at least one unfretted string lying off the main fretboard. Further, the unfretted strings can be, and typically are, played as an open string.

This family consists of a virtually limitless variety of different instrument configurations. Most readily identified are American harp guitars with either hollow arms, double necks or harp-like frames for supporting extra bass strings, and European bass guitars (or kontragitarres). Other harp guitars feature treble or mid-range floating strings, or various combinations of multiple floating string banks along with a standard guitar neck.[2]


Harp guitar players

Historical harp guitar players include the great Italian virtuosos Pasquale Taraffo, Mario Maccaferri and Luigi Mozzani. Viennese and French virtuosos who often played instruments with extra, floating bass strings include Carulli, Coste, Giuliani, Mertz, Padovec and Sor.[3]

Contemporary harp guitarists considered notable by the harp guitar community[weasel words] include Muriel Anderson, Stephen Bennett, John Doan, Tim Donohue, Stacy Hobbs, Dan LaVoie, Andy McKee, Gregg Miner, Tom Shinness, Andy Wahlberg, and the late Michael Hedges.[4]

A Dyer Style 8 harp guitar, circa 1915.[1]
A Dyer Style 8 harp guitar, circa 1915.[1]

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (301x700, 29 KB) An example of a harp guitar. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (301x700, 29 KB) An example of a harp guitar. ...

Notable harp guitarists

Image:MurielLineArt. ... Michael Hedges 1953-1997 Michael Hedges (December 31, 1953 – December 2, 1997) was an American acoustic guitarist born in Enid, Oklahoma. ... Andy McKee (1979, in Topeka, Kansas) is an American acoustic guitarist. ...

See also

  • Archlute
  • Multi-string classical guitar
  • Theorbo
  • Moonlander, 18 string electric theorbo guitar

An Archlute by Matteo Sellas, Venice, 17th century The archlute (Italian arciliuto, German Erzlaute, Russian Архилютня) a European plucked string instrument was developed around 1600 as a compromise between the very large theorbo, the size and re-entrant tuning of which made for difficuties in the performance of solo music, and... A Multi-string classical guitar is a musical instrument with more than 6 strings, usually between 7, 8, and 10. ... Theorbo A theorbo (from Italian tiorba, also tuorbe in French, Theorbe in German) is a plucked string instrument. ... Ranaldos Moonlander, Yuri Landman, 2007 The Moonlander is a biheaded electric guitar with 18 strings, 6 normal strings and 12 sympathetic strings. ...

External links

Visit the Guitar Portal

  Results from FactBites:
Harp Guitar Home (339 words)
Aside from his work on the six-string guitar, Stephen is also one of the world's premiere performers on the Harp Guitar, an instrument he indirectly inherited from his great-grandfather.
The image of Stephen Bennett embracing his harp guitar is the one that tends to linger.
The fact that Stephen is only too happy to champion the cause of the harp guitar may inadvertently obscure his abilities on the six-string instrument.
  More results at FactBites »



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