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Updated September, 2018

Harp Guitar Tunings Harp Guitar TAB Harp Guitarist Lost & Found Dept.

Harp Guitar Sightings

All contents  by Gregg Miner, unless otherwise noted
Contributors to this page: Frank Doucette

Disclaimer: is not affiliated with, nor endorses the music of, nor necessarily shares the
philosophical, political or religious views of any of the artists on this page.


Featured Harp Guitar Player

Combined Feature: Players, Luthiers & Instrument of the Month:
A Short History of the Modern Archguitar

After Six Player's Tips

Harp Guitar Instruction Resources, Part 2

Harp Guitar Player Archives

After Six Index

Update, March, 2016:  At this point, there are several hundred harp guitar players at all levels out there.  This page includes those who perform with a harp guitar regularly, or, at minimum, have recorded with some form of harp guitar more than a single time.  These players include full-time harp guitar-exclusive players, full-time musicians who utilize harp guitar for a small to large part of their material, and various part-time players (who may or not play the instrument exclusively). 

The majority of these musicians play the most recognizable basic form of harp guitar – one which contains sub-bass "harp" strings to the left of the standard neck.   An increasingly common form adds "super-treble" harp strings on the opposite side of the neck, while other experimenters may add additional banks of strings.   Inclusion on this page requires that these players all utilize (i.e. play, by distinct, individual plucking) the various harp strings of their instruments.

The Music page includes albums by additional amateur and professional musicians who have recorded at least one track on a harp guitar. 

We first highlight players who have become most visible through the annual Harp Guitar Gatherings, organized into three general groups.  Players of contemporary music are listed next, followed by players of historical music, then kontragitarre players, with a final link to historical harp guitarists.

Players of the Harp Guitar Gatherings, Part 1
(Regulars, i.e: multiple-time concert performers)

Don Alder

A months-long illness at age 14 brought the guitar into Don Alder’s life.  His mother gave him the instrument to help pass the time during recovery.  An insatiable musical appetite led Don to teach himself the skills needed for work as a studio musician, sound engineer, and sideman in a variety of pop, funk, blues, country and folk acts.  These influences, and more, have manifested themselves in a number of unusual techniques Don uses in his solo guitar work.  He describes his playing style as a “mutated Clawhammer technique.”  A quick listen will reveal that as only a part of the Alder “wall of sound.”  He has received numerous awards and titles including a 1st place win in the 2007 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship contest.  A number of his compositions have been used in television, film, theatre, and radio productions.  Don now continues to further expand his horizons with various Dyer-style harp guitars. - FD

Muriel Anderson

Muriel is an artist with a slew of CDs, videos, and instructional books to her credit. She’s logged many miles on the road and one of her CDs has even traveled as far as outer space, accompanying shuttle astronauts on a mission. She won the National (USA) Fingerpicking Championship in 1989, and remains the only woman ever to hold that title. She founded the Music For Life Alliance and is host and founder of the "Muriel Andersons All Star Guitar Night" concert series. Her main instrument has been a Paul McGill classical guitar, though she has been bitten hard by the harp guitar bug.  Her harp guitars include a nylon-string harp requinto from Mike Doolin and a nylon-string Doolin with steel super-treble strings.  She has also recorded and performed with numerous other harp guitars, both steel and nylon strung.  Muriel’s arrangements and compositions cover a wide stylistic range. Her teachers have included Chet Atkins and Christopher Parkening. -FD

Drew Baldwin

Drew goes by the stage name Bad Drew Baldwin, though that seems to be at odds with the humor, grace, and musicality expressed with his voice and 5-bass Dyer harp guitar.  With more than 3 decades performance experience, at home and abroad, Drew has developed a unique approach to the instrument based in blues and other traditional American musical forms.  His original works fit seamlessly alongside interpretations of classic Americana .  Drew performs solo and with harmonica virtuoso Juke Joint Johnny. -FD

Stephen Bennett

Widely regarded as one of the world's finest harp guitarists, Stephen Bennett has developed a highly melodic style that manifests itself in his original compositions and his arrangements of jazz, pop, and traditional tunes. He has excelled in incorporating the harp strings in a way that seems entirely natural and not at all a novelty. Stephen applies this same skill and care to his 6-string work as well. He is a past National (USA) Flatpicking Champion (1st place 1987) and National Fingerpicking Champion (3rd place 1985). Stephen came to embrace the harp guitar upon discovery of a 1909 Dyer that had been owned by his great grandfather. He still plays the old Dyer as well as a new Kathy Wingert instrument.  Stephen is the founder of the annual Harp Guitar Gathering and he holds the position of Gathering Director on the Harp Guitar Foundation Board of Directors. This event brings harp guitar players, builders, and enthusiasts together from points around the world. -FD

Nate Blaustein

Nate, a Gathering regular from the very beginning, performs and records with a Hewett harp guitar with added super-trebles, releasing his first all harp guitar recording in 2012. -FD

Pete Bradshaw

Pete Bradshaw says he can’t remember a time when he didn’t want to make music.  Classical piano lessons with Rachmaninoff protégé Boris Lang began at age 4.  When his 4th grade teacher offered guitar lessons, piano studies were soon left behind.  Pete’s next teacher set the groundwork for what he views as his path to the harp guitar with a Rachmaninoff prelude featuring a prominent descending bass line.  Years later, Goran Sollscher’s arrangements of Bach cello suites for 11-string guitar provided the next step.  It all came together when Pete heard instructor Stephen Bennett play harp guitar at one of Mark Hanson’s Accent On Music Guitar Seminars.  Pete is the proud owner of three Kathy Wingert harp guitars (all with 7 sub-basses).  Maestro Bennett provided Pete’s harp guitar debut with a performance slot at the 5th annual Harp Guitar Gathering.  His recording debut soon followed with a track on Harp Guitar Dreams.  Pete’s music is inspired by classical and folk sources with a special focus on the Hawaiian slack-key guitar tradition. -FD

Mike Doolin

Mike is primarily known for his skill and innovation as a luthier.  He impressed us at the 4th annual Harp Guitar Gathering with his third harp guitar, an electric archtop with 11 sub-bass strings, and the fact that he could play it like an old pro!  It turns out that Mike has more than 25 years experience as a professional guitarist and bassist.  He began building solid-body electrics to use in rock and funk bands.  Influences such as Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny, and Stephen Bennett have since had their impact on Mike’s music and luthiery career.  Mike continues to perform and record in a variety of settings and musical styles.  The harp guitar has, thus far, seen use for solo jazz work and in backing wife Nancy Conescu’s interpretations of traditional Irish songs. Mike hosted the 6th annual Harp Guitar Gathering and is on the Harp Guitar Gathering Board of Advisors for the Harp Guitar Foundation. - FD

Frank Doucette

Like many, Frank first heard harp guitar in the hands of the late Michael Hedges.  A few years later, in John Stropes’ fingerstyle guitar program at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Frank jumped at the opportunity when Stropes offered harp guitar lessons.  With the first affordable instrument found, an early 20th century Viennese kontragitarre, Frank became a test subject for Stropes’ famed transcription of Hedges’ Because It’s There.  Due to the instrument’s frailties, it fell out of favor after graduation.  Interest in harp guitar was revived upon meeting Gregg Miner and hearing music from him and other contemporary players.  Frank has been involved with and Harp Guitar Music from their inception, and is vice president of the Harp Guitar Foundation.  He plays the first Kathy Wingert harp guitar.

Stacy Hobbs

As has been the case for many, Stacy Hobbs’ introduction to the harp guitar came through the music of Michael Hedges. It was a Stephen Bennett concert in 1998, however, that Stacy credits with opening his eyes and ears to the possibilities allowed by the instrument. He soon sold his only two guitars to purchase a harp guitar and devote himself to mastering it. The influence of Celtic music and old-time American music can be heard in his compositions and his arrangements of traditional and pop melodies. Stacy has performed and recorded with vintage Dyer harp guitars along with a Duane Noble and a vintage Stahl. -FD

Brad Hoyt

Brad Hoyt is a composer, pianist and harp guitarist who has performed and recorded frequently around the world. Brad graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelors degree in Telecommunications and an associate’s degree in Jazz/Commercial Music. Part of his studies included classical guitar lessons and private piano lessons with renowned jazz pianist Frank Puzzulo. Also while attending Ball State, he performed with the school’s big bands, small jazz groups and with his own rhythm and blues band. After graduation, he moved to New York City and made his living by performing regularly as a solo pianist and ensemble musician. Later, Brad performed and recorded extensively in Europe during a three-year period while living Prague, Czech Republic. More recently, Brad has composed new music for his 30 string harp guitar, the arpa viola capira and released 2 CDs featuring it alongside his piano in collaboration with numerous instrumental musicians and other harp guitarists. -FD

Claude Laflamme 

Gregg Miner

To call Gregg Miner a multi-instrumentalist seems a gross understatement. When putting together his two Christmas CDs in 1995, he accomplished his goal of playing all of the 100 instruments in the Miner Museum of Vintage, Exotic, and Just Plain Unusual Instruments. The stylistic scope of the music allowed by the instruments, and executed by Gregg, is vast indeed. The harp guitar family of instruments is a specialty of his in his instrument collection, performance, and in his historical research. Today Gregg is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the history of the harp guitar. Gregg has performed and recorded with a number of vintage and modern harp guitars. Gregg is the founder of the Knutsen Archives,, Harp Guitar Music, and is President of the Harp Guitar Foundation.  He is affectionately known in the harp guitar community as “Sir Gregory.” -FD

Dan Pease (with Bettie Swarts)


Dave & Tone Powell

Originally known as "Rex James," this is the duo of brothers David Rex Powell and Anthony (“Tone”) James Powell.  Their original music incorporates folk, new age, bluegrass, jazz, acoustic rock, classical and country styles.  They are also well versed in traditional music.  The brothers are known for their vocal harmonies and for the unusual instruments they build and play.  David is a 6 & 12-string guitarist and dobro player now focused on his harp guitar.  Tone plays violin, mandolin and harp mandolin. Their father’s work renovating a 100 year old house, and salvaging some finely aged high quality mahogany, inspired Tone to study luthiery. The brothers together now own and operate Tonedevil Guitars. -FD

Tom Shinness

Tom Shinness was born into a musical family. His father and older siblings would often play Dixieland music around the house. Tom’s father’s multi-instrumental talents proved to be a primary influence. Tom received his first 6-string guitar, and formed his first band, in the third grade. He took up the cello in fifth grade, played drums and bass in school bands by 7th grade, received a school award as outstanding vocalist in 9th grade, and developed an original piano style in high school. Tom continued to add new instruments to his arsenal to satisfy his insatiable desire for new sounds. He developed a particular fondness for, and skill with, the 1913 Gibson harp guitar highlighted on "Translucent Harp," one of his many recordings that showcased original instrumental music with jazz, folk, pop and ambient elements. Tom was one of the earliest and through the years, most popular, Harp Guitar Gathering Performers.-FD, GM

See: Gregg's Blogg: Tom Shinness Harp Guitar Memories

Randall Sprinkle

His older siblings Ventures and Beatles records got Randall hooked on the sound of the guitar.  Guitar lessons at age 12 introduced him to Chet Atkins’ music and fingerstyle playing.  Though also a big Leo Kottke fan, Randall found himself distracted by success in rock and country bands for many years.  He played electric guitar in a rock band that toured the western US and Canada and a top 40 country band that lasted 20 years.  It wasn’t until 1990 that he decided to focus on acoustic fingerstyle guitar.  The harp guitar forced its way into Randall’s life in 2008 after he attended a Stephen Bennett workshop at the Swannanoa Gathering.  Today, Randall plays harp guitar in a highly regarded wedding band called Musically Yours with his wife Jayne (harp) and their friend Diane (cello).  His 2011 Tony Karol harp guitar made its recorded debut on their Christmas CD, A Light in the Wilderness, and he currently plays a 2008 Beardsell harp guitar.  He also uses the instruments in solo performances. Randall hosted the 13th Harp Guitar Gathering in Mooresville, NC. -FD

Hirokatsu Takai

Hirokatsu Takai (also known as TakainoMoheji) has a real can do attitude.  With a broken collarbone and little knowledge of the English language (except for the lyrics to all Beatles’ songs), Hiro left his native Japan to join us as a special guest at the 7th Harp Guitar Gathering.  The connection came to be when Hiro entered and won a Japanese guitar competition where Stephen Bennett was a guest judge.  The instrument Hiro used then was also a testament to his spirit.  It began life as a double-neck Alvarez acoustic guitar.  He attached a small koto to the top of the 12-string neck to create a one-of-a-kind koto harp guitar.  Due to his irrepressible good humor and musicality, Hiro has also been a featured guest at the 10th and 15th Harp Guitar Gatherings.  He now plays a 36-string instrument (6 guitar, 7 fretless bass, 12 koto, and 11 super-trebles), made by Benoit Meulle-Stef, that has been dubbed King Gidorah. -FD

Andy Wahlberg

Andy Wahlberg is two performers in one. The one thing that these two personas have in common is the harp guitar. It is Andy’s main instrument. On the one hand, Andy is a musical comedian performing novelty and parody songs (sort of the Weird Al of the harp guitar?). On the other hand, Andy is a classically trained musician and composer who also finds influence in jazz, traditional music, blues, and popular music. His music has been used in the Smithsonian, on PBS specials, and in movie soundtracks. He is a touring artist in his own right and has toured as opener for artists such as Chicago and Billy Joel. Andy hosted the 4th annual Harp Guitar Gathering and is on the Harp Guitar Gathering Board of Advisors for the Harp Guitar Foundation. Andy plays vintage Dyers.-FD

Players of the Harp Guitar Gatherings, Part 2
(Featured Guest Artists, occasionally returning)

Lou Alano

Stanley Alexandrowicz

Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson received a classical guitar at a young age and obtained sufficient proficiency to be admitted into the classical guitar program at the HARTT School of Music.  This in spite of forays into bass, drums and fingerstyle guitar in teen years.  The lure of the stage proved strong and Alex left school to perform in a number of rock bands.  It didn’t take long for him to realize that fingerstyle was where his heart truly lied.  The harp guitar sealed the deal as it allowed Alex to combine his love of guitar, bass, and drums in one instrument.  In 2013, he sold his other instruments to buy a Holloway Dyer Style 8.  Alex is a Candyrat recording artist and released his first all harp guitar concept album in 2017.  He was a featured guest at the 14th Harp Guitar Gathering. -FD

Leon Atkinson

From the age of 3, when his father took him to the Apollo to see Josh White Sr., Leon Atkinson knew he wanted to play guitar.  His first instrument came 5 years later and shortly thereafter he won a talent contest on the Arthur Godfrey TV show.  By 17, he was a seasoned professional playing studio dates on bass and guitar and even found himself on that stage at the Apollo.  Leon helped break the color barrier on Broadway working the long running show Promises, Promises.  Soon, he left all of that behind to focus on his true love, classical guitar.  A trip to Spain to study with Andres Segovia brought rare and genuine praise from the maestro.  Leon made his Town Hall debut in 1974 and Carnegie Hall in 1975.  He has taught at a number of prestigious institutions and is currently head of the guitar department at Gonzaga University.  In addition to his beloved classical guitars, Leon now plays a Leon Atkinson signature model Tonedevil classical harp guitar with 6 basses.-FD

Travis Bowman

FRETMONKEY recording artist and winner of the 2014 Ernie Ball Acoustic Prodigy Contest and 2017 Winfield Fingerstyle 2nd Place winner.

Jason Carter

British born, and now residing in France, Jason Carter is truly a citizen of the world, having brought his music to more than 70 countries.  Labeled a “progressive classical” guitarist, he plays music ranging from Bach to his own multi-culturally influenced compositions.  The broad scope of Jason’s artistry has brought collaborations with a number of well known artists including Cliff Richard, Nigel Kennedy, Dominic Miller, Hossam Ramzy, and work for theatre and dance productions.  In the past he has enjoyed the expressive possibilities offered by Sedgwick and Brunner harp guitars, including the sounds created by playing the instrument with a cello bow.  He currently plays Sean Woolley nylon-string harp guitars. Given his performances, workshops, and work with peace initiatives involving music, Jason has become one of the harp guitar’s most visible ambassadors to the world. -FD

Andreas David

Berlin based guitarist Andreas David began playing at age 14, inspired by a school friend and by French fingerstyle master Marcel Dadi.  A couple years later, after hearing legendary 5-string banjo player Bill Keith guest on one of Dadi’s albums, Andreas decided to make the banjo his main instrument.  Ensuing years brought mandolin, tenor banjo, pedal and lap steel guitars, dobro, and ukulele to his arsenal of instruments though he maintained the 5-string banjo as his primary instrument.  A keen interest in playing bluegrass, western swing, and jazz induced one European bluegrass magazine to dub him “the Bela Fleck of the old world.”  As more people heard his guitar work, more wanted to hire him as a guitarist.  Andreas has performed, recorded, arranged, and written music for a variety of projects including bluegrass, country, folk, western swing, rockabilly, pop, rock, and jazz acts, as well as musical theatre and film soundtracks.  In 2003, Andreas was booked as a sideman for a highly regarded Germany country music band.  Famed singer Katja Brauneis was on the same bill.  The two soon began to work together on a regular basis which has led to their current work performing songs from the Viennese Schrammelmusik tradition.  In this context, Andreas uses a Schrammelgitarre (or kontragitarre) with 6 sub-bass strings.  He is unique among players of this instrument in adopting Stephen Bennett’s  standard tuning for the sub-bass strings. -FD

Alex de Grassi

Popular 6-string fingerstyle guitarist Alex has occasionally dabbled with the elaborate harp guitar creations of his friend, luthier Fred Carlson; he made his recorded debut with one such instrument in 2008 on Harp Guitar Dreams.  Alex was a featured guest artist at the 12th Harp Guitar Gathering where he debuted some striking new compositions for a more standard harp guitar.  Alex now owns a Holloway Dyer with six sub bass strings. -FD

Phil DeGruy

From his web site: After falling under the spell of Chet Atkins, deGruy, a native New Orleanian, began his tenure with jazz great Lenny Breau in 1976. By the early '80s deGruy began plucking an electric guitar behind its bridge and was compelled to incorporate that sounds into his music. Hank Mackie, Phil's extraordinary teacher, suggested fashioning the harp strings to sit on the body where the pick guard would be located, thereby extending chord voicings in one motion and evoking the illusion of a "limitless" guitar. Phil's custom "Guitarp" is an electric 7-string with 10 additional "super-treble" harp strings. - GM

John Doan

The harp guitar was lucky enough to have two champions arrive in the 1980s; one being the late, great Michael Hedges, and the other being John Doan. John is the acknowledged master of the distinctive 20-string harp guitar (additional super-treble strings as well as sub-basses). To this day, John remains one of the standard-bearers of the harp guitar. He initially studied classical guitar and lute before finding his true voice in the harp guitar. So, it’s no surprise that John’s music has a strong classical influence. As is the case with many classical composers, he also finds inspiration in folk traditions, Irish musical traditions in particular. John is a music professor at Willamette University in Oregon, a historian, and a multi-instrumentalist specializing in unusual vintage instruments. Unlike many contemporary players, the harp guitar is John’s primary instrument. John hosted the 3rd annual Harp Guitar Gathering. -FD

Tim Donahue

Tim Donahue is a pioneer in the development of the rare fretless electric guitar and the rarer fretless electric harp guitar.  He designed and built his own instruments in the 1980s and used some of those when studying jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  Since then, projects have included jazz, rock, progressive metal, and music for various film and television productions.  Inspired by the 4th annual Harp Guitar Gathering, Tim has recently focused attention again on solo work with his fretted harp guitar.  He has developed an unusual method of playing his electric harp guitars using his right hand to pluck the harp strings while his left hand taps notes on the neck.  Tim is a well known recording and performing artist in his adopted homeland, Japan. - FD

William Eaton

William Eaton is a musician and composer who draws on diverse world influences and mythologies.  He has composed music for solo and ensemble performance, including works for the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra, Amadeus Trio and the William Eaton Ensemble.  He has recorded 16 albums for Canyon Records including 8 collaborations with world renowned Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai.  William also designs and builds the instruments he performs with, including harp guitars and original multi-stringed instruments.   He is co-founder and Director of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona, helping to teach over 2400 graduates since 1975, including harp guitar builders: Rich Mermer, Michi Matsuda, Paul Robinson, Bart Applewhite and others.

Philippe Fouquet

Fleet-fingered French fingerstyle phenom Philippe Fouquet has been referred to as the Pierre Bensusan of the harp guitar in reference to the passion and virtuosity his countryman brings to the 6-string.  Philippe lists Pierre and John Renbourn as primary influences and he has actually studied with Bensusan.  Still, Philippe is an award winning player with a style all his own.  He came to the harp guitar via a 1914 kontragitarre.  That instrument was featured on a track on Philippe’s 2nd CD Sophia.  The instability of the instrument soon led Philippe to commission the first Brunner Outdoor Travel Harp Guitar.  He has used this instrument on Harp Guitar Music compilations and his own HGM release Turning Point.  Philippe was a featured guest artist at the 8th Harp Guitar Gathering and runs a European division of Harp Guitar Music. He has recently entered the world of super-trebles with a new 20-string Brunner instrument. -FD

James Kline

James Kline is one of a small group of players specializing in the arch-guitar. The arch-guitar is the brainchild of player Peter Blanchette who wanted an instrument with a sound somewhere between a lute and a classical guitar. James took the idea further by deciding to have 8 of the 11 strings on the guitar neck and 3 bass strings suspended harp-like.  Later, he had a detachable bank of 8 super-treble strings added to his instrument This all makes James Kline the one and only master of the arch-harp-guitar. James is an internationally known performing and recording artist who has won numerous international prizes and awards for his artistry. His repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to the present day. -FD

Carter Lancaster

After hearing a friend play, at age 10, Carter Lancaster begged his parents for a guitar for Christmas.  A year later, his parents relented and left a shiny new Sears Saturn under the tree.  In a few short years, Carter had outgrown all the local guitar teachers This led him to expand his musical education with piano and clarinet studies until he had applied knowledge learned from these instruments to the guitar.  Carter’s father steered him toward jazz at an early age.  Though rock, bluegrass, and folk influences have seeped into his music over the years, jazz is still at the core of much of his work.  In recent years, Carter has found significant inspiration in the work of Don Ross and Stephen Bennett.  Hearing Stephen’s tune The Eye of God set Carter on the path to acquiring his two Dyer harp guitars (one with 5 sub-basses, and one with 6) in 2004. -FD

Ed Littlefield, Jr.

Ed Littlefield Jr. wears many hats in his professional life: one is as owner, producer, and engineer at renowned Sage Arts Studios (or is that 3 hats at once); another as multi-instrumentalist for the eclectic roots band Marley’s Ghost; another as a solo artist; yet another as head of the Sage Arts record label that releases music from Marley’s Ghost and other artists; and one is his signature tam o’shanter.  Inspired by Stephen Bennett, Ed has somehow found time to add harp guitar to his arsenal.  He has 2 Merrill harp guitars.  Stephen says Ed’s style is “similar to the way my great-grandfather used the instrument”, “something quite like the way most players historically have, particularly in America .”  Ed was a featured performer at the 9th Harp Guitar Gathering where he also made an indelible impression with his rousing bagpipe playing. -FD

Andy McKee

Andy McKee is the original YouTube phenom (his videos are among the most viewed in the site’s history) – the proverbial overnight sensation.  In short order, he went from being the guy who taught at a local music store to recording contracts, international tours, TV appearances, and magazine covers.  Originally an electric player, Andy made the switch to acoustic after hearing Preston Reed and then Michael Hedges.  He soon chalked up a series of awards, including wins at prestigious guitar competitions.  Andy even appeared on mega-star Josh Groban’s multi-platinum selling Christmas album, Noel and later toured with Prince.  He acquired his first harp guitar, a Ron Spillers Dyer copy, from then mentor Stephen Bennett in 2002.  In 2010, Andy took delivery of the first Michael Greenfield harp guitar and now also plays a new Dyer. -FD

Keith Medley

In August 2011, Keith Medley became one of the highest profile harp guitarists of all time.  A local Tennessee TV news station did a short piece on him and the 27-string instrument (9 sub-basses, 6 on the neck, and 12 super-trebles) he built for himself.  That segment was picked up by CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, internet news sites, international media outlets, magazines, and blogs/forums across the globe.  The instrument evolved out of a design Keith drew in the 1970s and made its debut on his 2011 CD Ride.  Keith lists ancestral lineages, faith, family, and friends as inspiration for his original music. -FD

Jon Mendle

Since making his Carnegie Hall debut at age 19, classical guitarist Jon Mendle is rapidly building a career as a performer, teacher, arranger, and composer. He has since gone on tour with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, and release his first album of solo guitar music, entitled “L’Infidele.”  Jon’s primary instrument is an 11-string Archguitar built in 2007 by Alan Perlman of San Francisco.


Kinloch Nelson

In a career spanning nearly 50 years, Kinloch Nelson has boldly gone where no one has, or could have, gone before. Classical studies with eclectic guitarist Stanley Watson, jazz with Gene Bertoncini, and work with a diverse roster of artists including Tom Paxton, Amos Garrett, Buddy Guy, and Danny Gatton, have all provided a wide and vibrant palette for Kinloch to work from.  Though he has performed in straight classical, folk, jazz, country, rockabilly, rock and R&B settings, his current performances feature jumps from one style to another in the course of a given piece, and also seamless blends of these styles into something new.  This adventurous spirit has carried over into Kinloch’s choice of harp guitar.  Not knowing what features he wanted, he decided to experiment by turning a cheap classical guitar into a harp guitar and found it worked quite well.  Kinloch was a featured guest at the 14th Harp Guitar Gathering. -FD

Paul Oorts

Belgian born multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts was inspired by friend Joe Morgan to add harp guitar to his arsenal.  Like Joe, Paul plays a Stephen Sedgwick harp guitar along with a vintage Dyer.  Paul is an expert in 19th century Belgian dance music, which he performs and records - along with Celtic and French music - in a duo with his wife (renowned hammered dulcimer player Karen Ashbrook) and in their trio Pavilion 3.  He can be found teaching this music and more on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and accordion at festivals around the world.  Paul also plays for contra and English country dances with groups Goldcrest and Gigmeisters, and conducts a dulcimer orchestra called Carillion.  He also teaches instrumental techniques and arranging for ethnic music, and French and Italian languages at Baltimore’s Peabody Music Conservatory.-FD

Don Ross

Canadian Don Ross has long been hailed as one of the most creative and innovative fingerstyle guitarist / composers around, using a variety of guitar family instruments from baritones to 7-strings and, most recently, harp guitar.  He was inspired to learn Michael Hedges’ piece Because Its There on a loaned instrument well before having his own.  Further exposure to harp guitar came from tours with Stephen Bennett and with Andy McKee.  Finally, Don talked luthier Marc Beneteau into making his first harp guitar, a 6-bass instrument with fan-frets.  This instrument made its recorded debut on Don’s 2017 CD A Million Brazilian Civilians.  Don was a featured guest artist at the 14th Harp Guitar Gathering.  He is also the only person to have taken 1st place at the International Fingerstyle competition in Winfield, KS twice, in 1988 and 1996. -FD

John Schneiderman

Multi-instrumental virtuoso John Schneiderman seems possessed of an insatiable musical curiosity.  From early studies in ukulele and piano, he found himself drawn to his mother’s guitar at age 9.  When she put it down, he would pick it up and teach himself what she had been studying.  Hearing Pete Seeger inspired John to pick up the 5-string banjo.  Soon, young John was performing bluegrass on banjo, guitar, fiddle, and bass.  Teenage years brought rock and jazz bands and an ever increasing interest in classical music.  Guitar studies with Frederick Noad and lute studies with Eugen Dombois set John’s career path.  Today, John is in high demand as a chamber musician and soloist specializing in 18th century lute music and 19th century guitar music (regularly performing on instruments with floating bass strings).  That curiosity expresses itself further in John’s exploration of little known music for these instruments. John was a featured guest at the 15th Harp Guitar Gathering. -FD  

Dan Schwartz

Had he done nothing else, the name Dan Schwartz should be known to harp guitar fans for his work in developing the detailed notation system used for John Stropes’ transcription of Michael Hedges’ famed harp guitar piece Because Its There.  Dan is also an artist in his own right - a composer, singer-songwriter, session musician, producer, recording engineer, educator, guitarist, lap steel player, and harp guitarist.  With influences from The Grand Ole Opry to American Bandstand, his music has a strong emphasis on melody.  Dan was a star pupil in Stropes’ old fingerstyle program through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and joined the faculty while still pursuing his degree.  He, and his 2000 Charles Hoffman harp guitar, were featured at the 14th Harp Guitar Gathering. -FD

Matt Thomas

At the second annual Harp Guitar Gathering, in 2004, Matt Thomas was dubbed the new young gun of the harp guitar world.  Not content to rest on those laurels, he has gone on to receive a number of awards, including 1st place in both the contemporary thumbpicking and open style categories at the “Home of the Legends International Thumbpicking Competition.”  Matt has enjoyed such prestigious gigs as Merlefest and the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention, and has performed with guitar heroes such as Richard Smith, Tommy Emmanuel, and Stephen Bennett. -FD

Oleg Timofeyev / The Zingaresca Duo

Oleg Timofeyev is a renowned recording artist, ensemble director, and festival organizer, best known for his leading role in the revival of the Russian seven-string guitar tradition, including those with extra bass strings. He performs solo and in various ensembles, including the Zingaresca Duo with Russian Gypsy musician Vadim Kolpakov.  Oleg was born to a Moscow family with a long-standing musical tradition.

Jeff Titus

Jeff Titus was something of a child prodigy picking up his mother’s ukulele at age 8 and landing the spot of bassist in the school jazz band, without ever having played the instrument before, at age 11.  He soon formed his own hard rock band only to then become seduced by the sound of the acoustic guitar.  Inspired by Paco de Lucia, Segovia, John Mclaughlin, Alex de Grassi, and Indian classical musicians, Jeff taught himself basic playing skills.  Lessons with Ronald Pearl, of the Grey/Pearl classical guitar duo, and fingerstyle master de Grassi, helped solidify his skills as a player and composer.  The harp guitar work of the late, great Michael Hedges, and Alex de Grassi’s sympitar playing, gave Jeff the idea to approach luthier Fred Carlson about making a harp sympitar.  The 24-string “Oracle” (6 guitar, 6 sub-bass, and 12 sympathetic strings) was dedicated to Hedges’ memory and completed on what would have been his 48th birthday.  “Taproot,” a midi-enhanced harp-sympitar built by Fred Carlson followed in 2012, and promises to offer unlimited musical explorations. - FD

Brian Torosian

Brian Torosian has a special affinity for the work of virtuoso 19th century (harp) guitarist and composer J.K. Mertz.  His doctoral dissertation was on Mertz, he lectures on Mertz, edited an anthology of Mertz music for Mel Bay Publications, and regularly performs music by Mertz.  Dr. Torosian uses a copy of a Scherzer instrument with 4 sub-bass strings, built by luthier Richard Brune, that is like an instrument Mertz played.  He is on faculty at DePaul University, head of the guitar program at Northeastern Illinois University, an instructor at the Mid-American Guitar Ensemble Festival, and a board member of the Chicago Classical Guitar Society.  Dr Torosian is also highly regarded for his performance of rare and standard repertoire from past to present day on a variety of instruments aside from his Brune. -FD

Players of the Harp Guitar Gatherings, Part 3
(past players with a long absence, or recent concert players)

Tony Barnard

Larry Berwald
Ed Dowling

Bill Dutcher

Mark Farley
Steve Farmer
Joe Giacoio

Brian Henke

Scott Holloway

Stephanie Jackson
Dan LaVoie
Tommy Loose
Kip Martin

Sean Martin
Mark Miner
Jake Murphy
Paul Price
John Riley


Contemporary Music Harp Guitar Players
Other Players Around the World

In the rapidly-growing world of harp guitar it has become all but impossible to keep track of all the new players and the extent of their activities.  Therefore, the Players list below makes no determination or distinction between which are professionals, amateurs or in-between; full- or part-time; nor to what extent harp guitar is actually used or showcased.  Some of these performers may be brand new up-and-coming stars while others have already retired from the instrument.

Brin Addison
Henrik Andersen
Andy Bacon
Don Bartlett
Adrian Bellue
Tim Bertsch 
Barry Bickel
Dusty Bohdan
Ken Bonfield 
Steve Borman
Gabriele Bortolato
Jay Buckey
Keith Calmes
Dale Campbell
Javier Rubio Carballo
Adam Carney
Gaëdic Chambrier
Joe Conklin

Edgar Cruz
Joachim Csaikl
Fernando Deghi
Dick Dilloff
Jim Dorman
Ilya Druzhinin
Michael Dunn
Antoine Dufour
Jamie Dupuis
James Earp
Jonathan Ebanks
Electric Harp Guitar Group
Charlie Faege
Francesco Faldani
Andre Feriante

Pino Forastiere
Jimmy Galloway
Jose Garmenzzi
Doug Geeting
Paolo Giordano
Joesf Glaude
Calum Graham
Todd Green
Echo Greywolf
Emmerich Haimer
Nate Hagen
Iwan Hasan 
Julien Heurtebise
Tom Hoelle
Keith Johnson
Andy Kasab
Kaki King
John Klingler
Harald Koll
Antonio Koudele
Don Kush
Martin Larose
Lester Levy
Tommy Loose
Eric Loy
Murilo Martinez
Stuart Masters
Rob Mastrianni
John McHugh
Tony McManus
Pat Metheny 

Joe Morgan

Joe Myers
Gerry Nelson
William Nicholson
Cameron Olson
Dave Pearson
Kim Person
Harald Peterstorfer
Jon Pickard
Martin Pleass
Federico Procopio
Kyle Reeder
Julien Régnier-Krief
Kevin Rones
Scot Ryder
Alex Samodum
Blas Sanchez
James Schaller
Tony Seeger
Rick Sky
Darrius Spangler
Robert Len Stallard
John Stropes
John Thomas
Roger Toye
Jan Vanek
Mark Vickness
Simon Wahl
Roger Wang
Adam Werner
Morihiko Yasuda

Mickie Zekley

Historical Music Harp Guitar Players


Stanley Alexandrowicz
Frank Bungarten 
Carlos Castilla 

Dennis Cinelli
(195? −2012)
Fabrizio Ferraro and Adam Marec 
Karel Fleischinger
Beppe Gambetta

Fabrizio Giudice
Smaro Gregoriadou
Cristian Guarinos
Tyler Hawkins
David Jacques
James Kline
Jon Mendle
Rolf van Meurs
Rui Namora

Petra Polackova
Christian Saggese

John Schneiderman

Raphaella Smits
Oleg Timofeyev
Brian Torosian
Robert Trent
Jan Tuláček
Brigitte Zaczek
Miodrag Žerdoner

Our Kontragitarre Playing Cousins

In Memoriam

Michael Hedges 

Michael Hedges is a name well known among harp guitar aficionados. The 1986 release of his composition "Because It’s There" can be credited with reawakening a great deal of interest in an instrument that had become little more than a pawn shop curiosity. Michael is also known for changing the way people play the guitar. He pioneered the use of slapped harmonics, percussive use of the guitar body, and 2-handed tapping techniques. He was always searching for new sounds with his 6-strings, his harp guitars, an even a few instruments without strings. Michael used Dyer harp guitars, a Knutsen and a custom made Klein electric harp guitar. Tragically, Michael was killed in a car accident in 1997. -FD

See: Featured Player of the Month, 2-06

Dennis Cinelli
(195? −2012)

The late Dennis Cinelli was inspired to pick up the guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix.  His direction changed to jazz after hearing players such as Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt.  He worked as a jazz musician for some years before performances by Andres Segovia and Julian Bream signaled another change of direction.   Dennis was known as a top notch classical guitarist, mandolinist, and lutenist, and an expert in the history of the lute and early guitar.  He was a consultant for, and endorsee of, La Bella strings.  Since 1989, he was on the faculty of Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He performed and recorded with a copy of an 1856 Scherzer guitar with 4 sub-bass strings.  He left, too soon, at the peak of a very successful career in classical music performance and education.-FD, GM

Tom Shinness
(1960 −2017)

Tom Shinness was born into a musical family. His father and older siblings would often play Dixieland music around the house. Tom’s father’s multi-instrumental talents proved to be a primary influence. Tom received his first 6-string guitar, and formed his first band, in the third grade. He took up the cello in fifth grade, played drums and bass in school bands by 7th grade, received a school award as outstanding vocalist in 9th grade, and developed an original piano style in high school. Tom continued to add new instruments to his arsenal to satisfy his insatiable desire for new sounds. He developed a particular fondness for, and skill with, the 1913 Gibson harp guitar highlighted on "Translucent Harp," one of his many recordings that showcased original instrumental music with jazz, folk, pop and ambient elements. Tom was one of the earliest and through the years, most popular, Harp Guitar Gathering Performers.-FD, GM

See: Gregg's Blogg: Tom Shinness Harp Guitar Memories

Encyclopedia of Harp Guitar Players of the Past

Updated December, 2013


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