Harp Guitar Special Delivery

specialdeliveryNo, it’s not the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story (although I do feel like I’ve won a “major award”)…

It’s just the largest – or longest – harp guitar I’ve yet to receive.

Or so I hope.

So let’s take it inside and open this sucker!

(Careful with that crowbar – you’ll poke your eye out)

 

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Hmmm…I seem to have opened it from the bottom; I wanted to open at the top.

(turning around…)

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Wait a minute…this is the bottom too!

(fully unwrapping…)

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What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks….!?!?

Yes, it can only be…

…the “push-me-pull-yu

…Harmony

……Orchestral

………Harp

…………Guitar!

 

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Seeing this beast in the flesh is a whole new experience (it’s over 50 inches long)!

With its unique history – told in two blogs (“Three-part Harmony” and “More Harp Guitar Harmony”) – and outrageous, seemingly nonsensical appearance, this acquisition is obviously a major coup for The Miner Museum of Vintage, Exotic & Just Plain Unusual Musical Instruments.  It could even be the new poster child.

It’s one of extremely few surviving instruments (possibly between two and four, of just eight produced), this being the Hart family specimen (seen with previous owner Jeff Hart’s cousin Stew in the blogs), which has been in the family since originally receiving it as a gift from their relative, the very same Schultz who founded the Harmony company.

More to come after I fully examine it, including looking for signs of a “Harmony” stamp and the patented hollow neck.  It’s gorgeously appointed and in surprisingly good condition (in original case!).  It’ll need a fair amount of work (mainly on the guitar section’s top), so after restoration I’ll re-string it and do a new feature on it.

I am indebted to Jeff Hart for deeming my collection the ideal home for this delightfully ungainly treasure.  The instrument itself was pulled out of storage in Maine, and the sale and crating was kindly handled by Jeff’s old Caribbean sailing buddy Dennis Mortimer, director of the Alberts-Langdon Asian Arts Gallery in Boston.

Needless to say, I feel like Ralphie on Christmas morning!

  1. Dan Carey Says:

    I may just have to come out there so I can hear it!

  2. PF Says:

    Bravo Gregg!!!! ENORMOUS!!!! Can’t wait for your next post.
    P

  3. Dan Pease Says:

    O-o-o-oh FUDGE!!!!

    I AM jealous. . .but the Bruno 4/12 is coming along nicely, so say my luthier pals, and we will have it ready to go in Idaho!

    Until then, all I can do is lie there like a slug. . . .It’s my only defense!

    GZR Dan

  4. Fred Carlson Says:

    Gregg….

    OH MY GOSH!!!

    I had no idea there was more than one of those made (yes, yes, I’ll have to read the blogs, I know!), and it never occurred to me it would end up in the hands of an actual person that I know!

    That thing is simply the most bestest, bizarrest, greatest thing. I do want one!!

    Fred

  5. Michael Schreiner Says:

    I saw one of those in a Wurlitzer music store window in Chicago about 1982. I was in town for the NAMM show and the store was located next to the “L” (elevated train). I thought “that is the perfect item for a store window”. I didn’t think it could be played in any practical sense.
    Michael

  6. Gregg Says:

    Michael, that’s a really important clue, as that would not be either of the 2 specimens I’ve cataloged, but a 3rd intact specimen. Had you only had your smartphone back then to have snapped a pic! Eventually, someone will spot these posts and something will turn up I expect.
    And of course, now you know exactly how to play it! (Yes, it’s top heavy, but has strap button, and is meant to be played classical style as Gardie did.)

  7. David Usher Says:

    I wondering if we ended up with the one that was in the Wurlitzer store in Chicago. If ours isn’t that one, there is probably another one of these beasts out there somewhere.

    My mother got it from an older fellow in Chicago who used to work for the Burlington Northern Lines and played railroad tunes on it. So I do the “Dummy Line” on mine, which is a hilarious tune about the old CB&Q line (now part of Burlington Northern). That song was collected by Joe Hickerson, who used to run the Folk Archives at the Library of Congress. The tune has a lumbering walking bass that the “Stereosauraus” was built to play.

  8. David Usher Says:

    Actually, now that I think of it, ours is not the one that was in the Wultitzer store. Mom got ours in about 1970. So there is probably another “Two-holer” out there somewhere.

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