On to the second day of the 13th annual Harp Guitar Gathering! After a late Friday night – (who could possibly go to bed with that kind of party?!), we all set our alarms bright and early…
First presentation was by Canadian Don Alder, who we hadn’t seen for some time. He played some new (and old) tunes on a Holloway Dyer signed with some unusual signatures. He explained it in his accompanying “Career Highlights” slide show – performing at an event with Astronaut Chris Hadfield and William Shatner (who said something typically Shatnerish about his HG…something along the lines of “Cool man, that would’ve fit right in on Star Trek.”). Also Alice Cooper. What a unusual trio/group!
We got the story of his remarkable 17-string invention – a sort of continuous “limitless guitar” that he now expands even further with a digital “whammy bar” that can scoot the 10 super-trebles up in pitch to the stratosphere.
We then did a harp guitar 180 to the Zingaresca Duo and authentic Russian gypsy harp guitar music. It was amazing how much bass they got out of their two antique Russian instruments, as they traded melody and accompaniment. Vadim Kolpakov (left) played insanely hot plectrum-style Gypsy solos with his fingers.
Partner Oleg Timofeyev was the more sedate player, though of course as accomplished as ever. Some of the group remembered Oleg from HGG10, where he surprised us with a new concept of “harp guitar”: the Russian guitar, with 7 strings on the neck, was tuned to open D specifically to allow more open note cross-string arranging – to sound more harp-like than the standard 6-string. This year’s presentation focused on the “folk” (Romany) style of Russian guitar (which also used the “harp guitar” version of the instrument).
There was a sudden lull, so while no one was looking (most were out eating) I took the opportunity to practice. Doing some trick sub bends…and of course, you all know about my patented “sub-bass fret snare,” I assume.