Luthier of the Month Michael O’Brien

I just updated the Luthier page on, adding 14 new builders and over 40 new instruments (sorry I’m this far behind, but I really need volunteers for  If I missed you, please let me know. One of the new entries is Michael O’Brien, who I introduced briefly last month by way of his […]

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The Tale of Drew Baldwin’s First Harp Guitar

I first met Bad Drew Baldwin when we featured him (with his occasional partner, Juke Joint Johnny) at the 7th Harp Guitar Gathering in 2009 (at left). His reputation had preceded him, but he had to be seen to be appreciated. An iconic bluesman, songwriter, comedian and natural harp guitar player all rolled into one. […]

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New CDs from HGG17

Here’s a quick news release about some great new harp guitar music. These are four new CDs I picked up at the 17th Harp Guitar Gathering 2 weeks ago. (I already mentioned the new Stephen Bennett and Hirokatsu Takai CDs on a previous blog.) In no particular order: HGG regular Claude Laflamme sadly didn’t make […]

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The Paul Gardie/Harmony Orchestral Harp Guitar

Nine years after I first wrote about this instrument, I saw one of those old photos popping up on Facebook, with the multitudes there mostly ignorant of the fascinating true story behind it. And so, I collated my 3 blogs about it, added some new photos and material and have a new Harp Guitar of […]

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An Emotional HGG17

Last weekend was the 17th (!) Harp Guitar Gathering. Jaci and I had a lot more time to relax this year, as we continued the transition towards others taking over the work (more on this in 2020). Of course, this just then gave me more time and freedom to wallow in the emotional grief of […]

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U Got 2 B Sharp: Adding Sharping Levers to a Timberline Harp Guitar

Today’s blog is a wonderful, in-depth guest article by a very thorough and articulate gentleman (Phil Schappert, PhD, of Nova Scotia, also a fine fingerstyle player and composer) who successfully (and easily, he says!) just finished adding sharping levers to his Timberline harp guitar. I’ve been waiting for this first experiment to be completed ever […]

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New York State of Loud

Two weeks ago, I took an impromptu drive to Phoenix for the last weekend of their The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon exhibit. This last weekend, I decided to continue this combo theme of Waiting ‘til the Last Minute and By the Way, You’re Not Getting Any Younger. I found a decent flight on […]

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Knutsen Harp Bandurria No. 2

There’s nothing I love better than over-the-top Knutsen eccentric esoterica, and this about takes the cake. Knutsen put his hollow arm on just about any instrument that caught his fancy, and the Spanish bandurria apparently did.  And so, back in 2003 the first Knutsen harp bandurria turned up, owned by Alan & Rachelle Frazier. It […]

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Phoenix Musical Road Trip

I’m typically not a procrastinator, but yes, I was planning for the last 10 months to get to MIM (The Musical Instrument Museum) in Phoenix AZ to see my pal Lynn Wheelwright’s collection in their special exhibit The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. When I realized that its last weekend was eminent, I had […]

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HU45 – the Fancier Fanciest Known Knutsen Harp Ukulele

When my friend and fellow collector John Vonk called in the spring of 2018 to say he had just seen the fanciest Knutsen harp ukulele ever, I didn’t believe him.  I owned the Knutsen with the fanciest trim known, the sole surviving example. What he was describing didn’t exist…did it? Fortuitously, it was just down […]

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