Man, has this been a long time coming.
I had almost forgotten that it was 17-18 years ago now that I first heard of the “Harwood” brand. That was when my friend, the late Dan Most (of the Knutsen book), obtained the amazing double-soundhole Harwood HG for me, which I of course used on A Christmas Collection. This wasn’t all that long ago, and yet there were very few guitar books and no Internet. Nearly all my information (much of it wrong) came from fellow collectors, musicians and guitar stores, the old Frets magazine, and not a whole lot else. Here’s the blurb from my 1995 CD booklet. Looking at the page again (which I just updated), I see that I learned from Mugwumps in 2002 that Harwood was a brand of the Jenkins company (whoever they were).
When I started Harpguitars.net in 2004, it included from the beginning my page on Harwood Harp Guitars, which was all I (or anyone else, for that matter) knew at the time. I would add to it as bits of info, historical photos, or other harp guitar specimens came in from other collectors. And yet I always received more questions than answers through the years.
This was the state of affairs when the son (Bob, at left) of the last Jenkins associated with the business (amazingly, all the way up to 1972) started this thread on the Mandolin Cafe forum. As you can see, February, 2008 is still recent history!
I subsequently found a bunch more stuff (I blogged about a major find at the beginning of the year), and was trying to find time to update my Harwood page (which I recently did), when I heard that Bob Jenkins had finally finished his initial research, the results of which have just now been presented by his collaborator, Bill Graham, in the Fall, 2011 Fretboard Journal.
So – what is the secret of the “New York” stamped Harwoods? I’m not going to tell you! – I’ll let you first read Bill’s article (I’m sure all of you have received it in the mail by now, as I’m sure you’re all subscribers, since I’ve only mentioned it about a thousand times now on the Forum and this blog).
You can see some of the new clues on my own page, but if you own a Harwood instrument, you definitely need the Journal. I’ll also update my own article eventually.
Meanwhile, thanks Bill and Bob!
(p.s. It’s Harpguitars.net, not .com…how did the FJ editors miss that one?!)