Archive for the ‘Historical Makers’ Category

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Dyer Harp Mandolin Monograph

Yes, I’ve finally committed it to print!  (But don’t worry, only an extremely small run, just in case we discover something new tomorrow…!) I’ve published my Dyer Mandolin Family article as a full color book, while at the same time adding a nice 2-page sidebar spread from Bob Hartman himself. Physical book or magazine format […]

First Harp Guitar to the South Pole Wins

I recently finished the book I mentioned picking up at AMIS: A Stowaway Ukulele Revealed: Richard Konter & the Byrd Polar Expeditions by Larry Bartram with Dick Boak. The story is both interesting and entertaining, as is the story of the story – how the authors met, found mutual interest in seeing this through, and […]

Bohmania!

I think I’ll call this the Summer of (Joseph) Bohmann… …as that’s how long it’ll likely take you to get through two brand new articles and four updated major articles related to the celebrated Chicago harp guitar maker. All can be accessed through this new page. This all came about after the release of Sheri […]

Early Gibson Guitar Strings By Way of the Harp Guitar

Time for a shout out to the Guild of American Luthiers, of which I seem to perpetually find myself a member. Believe it or not, I have never built a guitar – nor do I repair my own instruments – I only do the simplest of tweaks for setup or easy repairs. Yet I have […]

AMIS, 2019 in Greenville, SC

Greetings! I’d here to report on my lovely trip to the 2019 Meeting/Conference/Symposium of the American Musical Instrument Society. As always, click on (most) photos to expand for details. This year’s was held in Greenville, South Carolina, hosted by Tom Strange (pictured) and staff at their wonderful 1-year-old Carolina Music Museum. The impressive collection consists […]


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