No, it’s not a newly discovered strain of Knutsen harp steel (those, I covered last month). I’m talking about the fully modern harp guitars from Woodley White, a long-time luthier who happened to relocate from Portland to Hawaii recently, where he seems intent on making harp guitars Hawaii’s next major export to the mainland.
OK, that’s obviously hyperbole, but the fact is that Woodley went from a single Sullivan-Elliott style “copy” for a Portland customer (at left), to a second, more elaborate instrument, and – thanks in part to the retirement of his old harp guitar-building friend, Mike Doolin – already has another 3 commissions. That’s quite a ramp-up!
Two weeks ago, I was able to see his HG#2 firsthand (commissioned by an L.A. neighbor who remains anonymous for the time being…he first wants to figure out how to play it!). That prompted what was to be a quick blog, but turned into a featured Luthier article on the permanent site (and about time – my planned “Luthier of the Month” series barely sees one a year…and if you think that’s another nagging reminder of the necessity of volunteer authors, you’re right!).
So, taking a cue from GAL’s American Lutherie (where Woodley himself just interviewed another builder), let’s “Meet the (Harp Guitar) Maker”!