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All contents  by Gregg Miner, unless otherwise noted

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The Harp Guitar of Boris Perott
January, 2014

After Six Player's Tips

Harp Guitar Instruction Resources, Part 2

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Archives

After Six 
Index

See Music for available recordings from most of these artists and others. 

Note: There are undoubtedly many hundreds of 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 one more than once. The Music page includes albums by additional amateur and professional musicians who have recorded at least one track on harp guitar.

Contributors to this page: Frank Doucette

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Harpguitars.net 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.


Contemporary Music Harp Guitarists

Today's contemporary players are separated into three main groups:
"Conventional,"  "Non-conventional," and “Honorable Mention.”
Please note that placement within the three categories is my own, sometimes arbitrary decision,
and is not based on musical style or skill.

I have also added an additional fourth group of so-called Wikipedia "Notable" Entries. With apologies to those who use and contribute to that source seriously.

The first group we may consider "conventional" harp guitarists. Generally, these musicians all play the most  recognizable basic form of harp guitar - that which contains sub-bass "harp" strings below the standard neck. An increasingly common form adds "super-treble" harp strings on the opposite side of the neck, while some bold individuals add additional banks of strings. These players include full-time harp guitar-exclusive players, full-time musicians who utilize harp guitar as a small to large part of their material, and various part-time players (who may or not play the instrument exclusively). The commonality is the general type of instrument mentioned previously, and the fact that these players all utilize (i.e. play, by distinct, individual  plucking) the various harp strings of their instruments.  We first highlight those players who are most visible through the annual Harp Guitar Gatherings; consisting of two sections, they include the "regulars" (those who come frequently or consistently) and one-time or first-time special guests (whom we hope to see again!).

The second group of players includes those who may be considered "non-conventional" or "peripheral" harp guitarists. The former may include players of more esoteric and unfamiliar forms of harp guitars, while the latter may include players of  harp guitars who use the "harp" strings of their instruments in a much more limited capacity.

The third group (Honorable Mention) includes players (most often, high profile artists) whose use of harp guitars is either extremely rare, and/or whose use of their instrument’s harp strings is minimal, absent or unconfirmed.

Separated into the fourth group are those from the third group that wind up in Wikipedia, where an unsuspecting public may take their inclusion on faith (unfortunately, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone with a computer).  Their position is hopefully more accurately presented here.

I have also added separate pages, the Harp Guitarist Lost & Found Department
and
Harp Guitar Sightings, for some loose ends.


Conventional Harp Guitarists

Players of the Harp Guitar Gatherings, Part 1
(The Regulars)

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 harp guitars, including a Duane Noble (pictured), and recently a Spillers. - 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 guitar arsenal includes a Dyer-inspired steel-string from Del Langejans, a parlour guitar-sized steel-string from David Taylor, a nylon-string harp requinto from Mike Doolin, and a nylon-string Doolin with super-treble strings.  She has also recorded with a steel-string BMS harp guitar. 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 worlds 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. Holloway Harp Guitars offers a Stephen Bennett signature model harp guitar. 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


Larry Berwald

In the 1970s, Larry played lead guitar for the classic Southern Rock band Wet Willie. A few years as a Nashville session player followed. More recently, Larry has chosen to focus on fingerstyle guitar music. His music includes arrangements of Celtic, jazz, blues, pop tunes, and a few original pieces as well. He plays 6-string guitars (flat-top and resonator) and a Ron Spillers harp guitar. Larry has composed and published a collection of sacred music for soprano voice and piano, and is now working on a collection of hymns arranged for guitar. -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 two Kathy Wingert harp guitars (both 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


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.  He is now enjoying the expressive possibilities offered by both Sedgwick and Brunner harp guitars, including the sounds created by playing the instrument with a cello bow.  Given his performances, workshops, and work with peace initiatives involving music, Jason has the potential to become the harp guitar’s most visible ambassador 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


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


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 Harpguitars.net and Harp Guitar Music from their inception, and is vice president of the Harp Guitar Foundation.  He plays the first Kathy Wingert harp guitar.


Bill Dutcher

Bill Dutcher started off with classical guitar studies at age 10. Soon after that, he discovered the music of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until after college that Bill rediscovered acoustic guitar music. He still performs in classic rock bands in addition to performing and recording solo guitar music. Bill counts the percussive style of Bill Whiteacre as the primary influence in his original solo work. Bill plays a Dyer-inspired J. Thomas Davis harp guitar-FD


William Eaton

William Eaton is a musician and composer drawing on diverse influences from India, Africa, and the Middle East to Appalachia and the American Southwest. He is particularly well known for his collaboration with Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai. William also designs and builds all of the instruments he uses. He is a co-founder of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Arizona. He has invented several unique and beautiful instruments, many of which are highly original variants of the harp guitar. -FD


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 and now uses a Duane Noble instrument. -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. Recently, Brad has performed and recorded extensively in Europe during a three-year period while living Prague, Czech Republic. Brad is currently arranging new music on his 30 string harp guitar, the arpa viola capira and is recording tracks for a music CD featuring piano and harp guitar.


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. Carter also endorses Holloway Harp Guitars. -FD


Claude Laflamme 

 

Dan LaVoie

Dan LaVoie began his obsession with the guitar at an early age, even teaching the instrument by age 15. He cites many different singers and instrumentalists as influences, but was inspired by Michael Hedges to switch his focus to the harp guitar. He hasn’t looked back since. Today, Dan uses the instrument in a solo instrumental setting, as backing for his singer/songwriter activities, and in the award-winning band "Beyond". The trio uses Dan’s skills on harp guitar and voice, in combination with a percussionist and a violin/mandolin player, to fuse elements of jazz, funk, rock, bluegrass, and traditional music. Dan’s original music has even won an endorsement from a major string manufacturer. He exclusively uses Spillers harp guitars. -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.  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. -FD


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, Harpguitars.net, Harp Guitar Music, and is President of the Harp Guitar Foundation.  He is affectionately known in the harp guitar community as “The Pope.” -FD


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 has a 13-string harp mandolin and is turning his attention to a harp guitar he completed in 2007.  Their father’s work renovating a 100 year old house, and salvaging some finely aged high quality mahogany, inspired Tone to study luthiery. -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 continues to add new instruments to his arsenal to satisfy what seems an insatiable desire for new sounds. He has shown a particular fondness for, and skill with, the 1913 Gibson harp guitar featured on his CD "Translucent Harp". His recordings showcase all original instrumental music with jazz, folk, and pop elements. He is currently working in a duo with daughter Jasmine (also a multi-instrumentalist). -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.  Harp guitar (and 6-string) master Bennett has acted as mentor to Matt.  Matt now endorses Holloway Harp Guitars. -FD


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.  This unique instrument allows Jeff to explore musical ground unavailable to any harp guitarist to come before him. - 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 and endorses Holloway Harp Guitars.-FD


Players of the Harp Guitar Gatherings, Part 2
(Once- or First-time Guest Artists)

Nate Blaustein

Nate, a Gathering regular from the beginning, performs and records with a Hewett harp guitar with added super-trebles. -FD

 


Scott Burwell

Scott Holloway Burwell is the founder of Holloway Harp Guitars, the first company to take a serious stab at bringing quality, low-cost harp guitars to a mass market.  These are in the Dyer style.  As a player, Scott studied classical guitar on scholarship at the San Francisco Guitar School and later with sometime harp guitarist John Schneiderman.  His fingerstyle training has come from masters Alex De Grassi, Pierre Bensusan, Michael Hedges, and current harp guitar studies with Stephen Bennett.  Scott, and other Holloway artists, can be seen and heard at the Holloway Harp Guitars YouTube page.


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


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. -FD


Joe Giacoio

Joe Giacoio is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, harp guitarist, and guitar historian.  He is in demand as a performer and lecturer throughout the eastern United States , presenting his Gibson and Dyer harp guitars in both an historic and modern context.  Joe has numerous songwriting awards to his credit, including 1st prize in the lyric category at the 2006 Great American Song Contest.  The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival has noted his “guitar ninja heroics” with several featured slots on their “Guitar Gods and Goddesses Stage.”  Preston Reed and Michael Hedges have been primary influences on Joe’s guitar style.  Crossroads Magazine says: “Some people seem to have the ability to create music that is at the same time funny, serious, and incredibly clever.  Joe Giacoio is one of those people.”


Brian Henke

 Brian Henke has played guitar for more than 35 years.  He was an award winning rock and blues guitarist.  Then, in 1994, he made the switch to solo acoustic work.  He is now an award winning acoustic guitarist.  Brian cites Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, and Beethoven as influences.  His main inspiration, however, comes from the beauty and majesty of the natural world.  An avid hiker, Brian usually carries a guitar with him to capture a direct reaction of his experience and interaction with nature.  A chance meeting with luthier Patrick Podpadec, at a winery festival, has led to Brian’s first harp guitar.  Podpadec developed some of Brian’s rough ideas into the one-of-a-kind “Dreamcaster”.  The instrument has two necks (one 6-string, the other a 7-string baritone) and 15 harp strings fanned across an extended upper bout.  The harp strings are meant to be tuned chromatically, though Brian has considered tuning them to three or four open chords.  Brian has brought his music to a national audience with a very busy touring schedule averaging about 300 shows per year. -FD


Stephanie Jackson 

Stephanie Jackson is a restless soul.  Though classically trained (including master classes with legends Andres Segovia and Leo Brouwer), the ongoing search for new inspiration has brought a widely varied repertoire including rock, pop, Latin, jazz, show tunes, and original compositions as well as the classics.  It has also brought her to the harp guitar.  Stephanie plays the first (2009) short scale Mike Brittain harp guitar, a model called The Traveler after one of her compositions.  It is a Dyer-style instrument with 5 sub-basses and is designed to be tuned to concert pitch or terz tuning.  The instrument made its debut on her 2009 Hymns CD.  Stephanie performs over 200 dates per year across the U.S. -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


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


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.  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


Hirokatsu Takai

Hirokatsu Takai (also known as Hiro-moheji) 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 annual 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 plays is 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 former 12-string neck to create a one-of-a-kind koto harp guitar.  We look forward to hearing more from him and this unique instrument in future.


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


Conventional Harp Guitarists: 

Other Players Around the World

Michael Hedges 

(1953-1997)

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

NOTE: It has become increasingly difficult in the rapidly-growing world of the harp guitar to keep track of all the new players and the extent of their activities.   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.   Additionally, while most players have communicated with us, some  never respond to queries, so status and content of their harp guitar activities is unclear.

Tim Bertsch

Tim performs and records with several guitars, including three vintage harp guitars. 

Ken Bonfield

 

 

Adam Carney

Adam began playing guitar at a young age, often sneaking into his older brother's room to steal some practice time on his Stratocaster. He spent well over a decade studying guitar and performing in numerous styles until eventually falling in live with the acoustic sound.  In 2006, Adam became enamored with the capabilities of the harp guitar, and in May, 2009 released his first solo harp guitar CD, recorded on his Lark in the Morning instrument.


Joachim Csaikl

Edgar Cruz

If you’ve flipped through a guitar magazine at any point in the past 20 years, you probably know the name Edgar Cruz.  A versatile guitarist with a wide ranging repertoire, he is perhaps best known for his detailed solo arrangements of rock tunes like Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody."  Edgar plays more than 200 concerts per year throughout the US , Europe and South America .  The instrument gaining more and more use in his sets is a nylon-string requinto (tuned a third higher than standard) harp guitar built in 2009 by the late Oklahoma City luthier Carroll Cox.  The instrument is based on Stephanie Jackson’s Brittain harp guitar.  Edgar has developed a sub-bass tuning based on the cycle of fourths which he says eliminates the potential of hitting a wrong note. -FD


Antoine Dufour

Antoine Dufour is a name that has become well known to fans of fingerstyle guitar.  His YouTube videos have accrued well over 25 million views (a number likely far obsolete by the time you read this).  A further testament to his growing international regard is the sheer number of YouTube videos of fans trying their hand at Antoine’s compositions.  Early influences were Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, and Don Ross.  Further inspired by Stephen Bennett and Andy McKee, Antoine has added a Duane Noble harp guitar to his arsenal.  The instrument first appeared on the Still Strings CD.

Charlie Faege

Charlie Faege is a man with hand in many different pies, so to speak. He is a storyteller and novelist. Musically, he considered him self a singer first, performing in various rock formats. His more recent instrumental music is a cross-pollination of genres inspired by spiritual themes and experiences. Charlie plays a variety of stringed instruments including 1908 and 1910 Gibson harp guitars. He also runs URTH Studios (Upward Reaching to Heaven) which specializes in music for films. -FD


Jose Luis Garmenzzi

Jose is a Los Angeles area  soundtrack composer who plays a multitude of stringed instruments, including a four-bank Hewett harp guitar of his own design.  

Doug Geeting

Doug Geeting is a singer, guitarist, and wilderness pilot in Talkeetna, Alaska.  He bought an old Gibson harp guitar, more than 20 years ago, after seeing Robbie Robertson play one in the film “The Last Waltz”.  Doug became firmly hooked on harp guitar after seeing Michael Hedges perform on a PBS/Windham Hill program.  The Gibson was used for two tracks on Doug’s second CD “The Alaskan Mile”.  Another track on that same CD received Alaska Public Radio’s 2001 award for instrumental song of the year.  Doug is now working with a Merrill Brothers harp guitar.  He is finding it to be good company when the Alaska winter keeps him indoors. -FD
Doug shares a personal Hedges story with us here.

Paolo Giordano

Paolo resides in Italy though he regular tours and performs throughout Europe with various acoustic guitars, including acoustic and electric harp guitars built by David Castellaro.


Joesf Glaude

Joesf (pronounced Joseph) Glaude has used a variety of instruments (guitar, tenor guitar, banjo, tenor banjo, mandolin, harmonica, melodica, flute, dulcimer, bass, and violin) in many settings including classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk and punk rock.  In 1999, he left his position as Head Guitar Instructor at Oral Roberts University to focus on a career as a performing and recording artist.   Joesf's first exposure to the harp guitar came from Michael Hedges.  Glaude worked closely with luthier Glen Morgan on an original harp guitar design, taking delivery of the instrument in 2002. -FD

Echo Greywolf

Echo Greywolf is a Native American guitarist who "delights in composing moving and whimsical fingerstyle pieces". He is entirely self-taught, initially inspired by his Sunday School teacher’s son who played bluegrass. Echo then decided to take up the guitar after a dream in which he saw a guitar floating in mid-air with glittering stars flying off the fretboard. The harp guitar he commissioned from luthier Jim Worland was modeled after the guitar of his dreams. Much of Echo’s music is inspired by spiritual experiences, showing Celtic, classical, and new age influence. -FD


Nate Hagen

Nate plays an instrument built by Benoit Meulle-Stef patterned after the 20-string instrument of his harp guitar teacher John Doan.

Iwan Hasan

Iwan Hasan is the main force behind the Indonesian symphonic progressive / jazz rock fusion / world music band Discus. In addition to other instruments and voice, Hasan plays harp guitar. His is a 21-string instrument modeled after the 20-string harp guitar of his teacher John Doan . While studying with John, Iwan won Willamette University’s Outstanding Music Student Award and was a semi-finalist in the 1991 Portland (Oregon) Classical Guitar Competition. His current work with Discus is truly bringing the harp guitar where none has gone before. - FD


Eric Loy

Eric Loy has led a double life as the guitarist for the progressive fusion trio "The Hipperoos" and as a solo acoustic artist. He has performed with a harp guitar for some years now. He initially used an old Gibson (c. 1910). Then, in 2001, he commissioned a new custom instrument from luthier Mark Kaiser. This is based on the Dyer design but features 8 sub-bass strings, 5 mid-range harp strings, 5 super-treble strings, and the standard 6 strings on the neck. This unusual instrument is used to play equally unusual music.  -FD

Sean Martin

Sean holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition/Theory and Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University.  He performs original instrumental compositions on vintage Knutsen and Dyer harp guitars.

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



Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan has played guitar from a young age but it wasn’t until college that he found his primary influence in the music of Doc Watson.  In addition to guitar, Joe has gained proficiency on banjo, mandolin, and hammered dulcimer.  He was inspired to add harp guitar to his arsenal after hearing a Stephen Bennett performance.  As co-organizer of the Winter Festival of Acoustic Music in Irving, Texas, Joe was quick to book Stephen for the event.  Stephen, in turn, tapped Joe and his wife Linda to help run the first Harp Guitar Gathering, where Joe eventually commissioned a Sedgwick harp guitar in 2004.  Since 1995, Joe has performed in a duo with champion hammered dulcimer player David Moran.  The duo play an eclectic mix of originals, traditional, pop, funk, jazz, Latin and other styles, and have become featured performers and instructors at festivals from coast to coast. -FD

William Nicholson

William performs Hedges-influenced instrumental compositions on a Harry Eibert harp guitar.


Kim Person

Kim is well-known to the harp guitar community as the peerless recording engineer behind all of Stephen Bennett's CDs.  She is also a singer-songwriter-guitarist, who has added a Sedgwick harp guitar to her playing.

Kevin Rones

KEV (Kevin Rones), a solo acoustic performer who added a Dunae Noble harp guitar to his act in 2008,  is the founder of the San Diego Guitar Society.   He is known for his high energy acoustic performance and his enthusiasm in promoting acoustic music. 


Blas Sanchez

Blas Sanchez began his musical studies at age 6 in his hometown of Ingenio on Spain’s Gran Canaria Island.  His first instrument was violin and he was performing as an orchestral soloist by age 16.  By the time he received his degree from the Professional Conservatory of Tenerife, the violin had taken a backseat to the guitar.  Blas commissioned his first harp guitar, or guitarrarpa, from Kiko Dohër in 1973.  The current version was built by Manuel Contreras.  The guitarrarpa features 7 strings on the neck and 6 sub-bass strings.  Eventually settling in France, Blas became a professor of guitar and music at the Municipal Conservatory of Vitry sur Seine.  He has composed approximately 2000 works for a variety of instruments and ensembles.  His performance experience has included work with violinist Jascha Heifetz and poet Pablo Neruda.  Blas is also responsible for the Blas Sanchez foundation which sponsors and international guitar festival and competition in Ingenio.

Dan Schwartz

Dan Schwartz is one of only six people in the world to hold a degree in American Finger-Style Guitar Performance (from the late, lamented University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee program), and one of only two people to own a Charles Hoffman harp guitar.  This instrument made its debut on Dan’s 2003 CD, “Acoustic Relaxation”.  Dan has released two acclaimed singer/songwriter CD projects, and his solo guitar work has been featured on several compilation CDs.  Dan’s current focus is on writing, performing, and producing music for Compass Productions’ Lifescapes Series, a line of recordings distributed through Target stores.  He is also in demand as a producer, studio musician, and backing performer for a variety of acts from the busy Minneapolis music scene.  Dan has been on the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and worked with the Milwaukee Foundation for Guitar Studies and Stropes Editions, Ltd..  -FD


Tony Seeger

Tony is co-creator of the Seraph harp guitar, along with fellow Englishman Nathan Sheppard, the builder of the instruments - which Tony  begun demonstrating in 2008.

Robert Len Stallard

Robert writes and performs with several guitars, including a Lark in the Morning harp guitar.


Simon Wahl

With years of work into trombone studies, Simon Wahl became enchanted with the guitar at age 13.  In 2008, this young German artist’s focus shifted from classical guitar to fingerstyle after hearing sometime harp guitarist Andy McKee.  Simon received his Sedgwick harp guitar in 2010 and was soon playing concerts with the instrument.  His first recordings of the instrument were released on his 2011 CD Déjà vu.  Michel Lohr of Akustik Gitarre magazine says Simon “is a very talented composer with a gift for both lyrical ballads and funky, groovy acoustic rock.” -FD

Morihiko Yasuda

Michael Hedges’ harp guitar playing brought the instrument to Morihiko Yasuda’s attention.  Upon hearing John Doan’s “Departures” recording, Mori was hooked.  He is now the proud owner of not one, but three harp guitars from revered Japanese luthier Mitsuhiro Uchida.  The first, completed in 1994, is a 24-string (6 sub-basses, 6 on the neck, and 12 super trebles) instrument modeled after John Doan’s 20-string harp guitar.  1997 saw the birth of the 18-string (6 on the neck and 12 super trebles) Mignon harp guitar.  Mori then welcomed a 27-string (6 sub-basses, 6 on the neck, and 15 super trebles) Terz (tuned a third above normal pitch) harp guitar in 2001.  The 24 and 27-stringed instruments each feature a different dual soundboard design.  These have a secondary soundboard, that extends into the body of the instrument, for the sub-bass range.  Mori composes original music that is inspired by the wonders of everyday life, and is a conscious reflection of his Japanese identity and heritage. -FD


Conventional Harp Guitarists, continued....

These players include those who have dabbled in harp guitar from time to time, some who are up & coming, and some possibly semi-retired from the instrument

Michael Dunn
John Klingler
Don Kush
Joe Myers
John Stropes

Adam Werner
Mickie Zekley

Other Recent Web Discoveries
.
Henrik Andersen
Barry Bickel
Dale Campbell
Dick Dilloff
Jonathan Ebanks
Francesco Faldani
Emmerich Haimer
JRJ
Harald Koll
Antonio Koudele
Martin Larose
Lester Levy
John McHugh
Gerry Nelson
Kyle Reeder
James Schaller
Rick Sky
John Thomas
Roger Toye
Mark Vickness
Roger Wang

Non-conventional or Peripheral Harp Guitarists

Abaji

Born in Beirut, and now living in France, Abaji comes from a long line of musicians. He combines the influence of his Armenian, Lebanese, Turkish, Greek, and Syrian ancestry with blues and French song influence. He plays many instruments including harp guitar, sitar-guitar (sometimes played with a violin bow), bouzouki, lute, various winds, percussion, and voice. He is an internationally know performer and recording artist. - FD
Benoit Meulle-Stef informs us that Abaji plays an old Schrammel guitar (the Schuster in the Form 2c Gallery) - but he replaces the 11 sub-bass strings with super-trebles! As this is still a true harp guitar, he is included here. However, the harp strings are primarily strummed as a sitar-like effect. - GM

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


Electric Harp Guitar Group

EGG is made up of William Eaton, Anthony Mazzella and Fitzhugh Jenkins performing on three new electric harp guitars (a matched set) created by Eaton. - GM

Todd Green

Todd Green does not play the harp guitar as we know it. The closest, in his vast collection of stringed instruments, are two custom built instruments from Fred Carlson. One is called the "Guitarangi da Gamba". This instrumental oddity can be bowed like a viola da gamba or plucked like a guitar. It features 6 strings on the neck, 10 sympathetic strings that run through the neck and over the top of the instrument, and 14 strings across the bass side of the instrument that can be used as sympathetics or plucked. The other is an instrument Fred Carlson calls a "Harpouditar". He sees it as a combination of a wire-strung harp or zither (15-treble strings across the lower bout), a Middle-Eastern oud (bridge set-up and fingerboard configuration), and a classical guitar (tuning used for nylon-strings on the neck). These are but two of a dizzying array of stringed instruments, winds, and percussion that Todd uses. Todd performs all original music influenced by musical traditions from around the world. - FD


Tomasz Martyniak

Polish multi-instrumentalist Tomasz Martyniak has been collecting accolades and awards across Europe on his own and with the improvisational fusion trio The Mechanical Cat.  He also took on the role of luthier in creating his “Electroharp.”  The instrument, completed in early 2005, consists of a 6-string electric guitar with two banks of 6 harp strings.  Tomasz explores a variety of techniques on the instrument, primarily tapping with the left hand on the guitar neck and playing chords with the right hand on the harp strings.  He cites Pat Metheny’s Manzer Pikasso guitar as his main inspiration in building and playing the Electroharp.  Other musical influences range from Mozart to Jaco Pastorius to Metallica.  Outside of The Mechanical Cat, Tomasz enjoys composing music for animated films. -FD

Rob Mastrianni

Rob utilizes a sitar-guitar as a harp guitar by creatively plucking the sympathetic strings.


Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny’s love of jazz music began at an early age. He made his debut performance at age 15. He studied in the jazz program at Miami University but was soon chosen to teach their new electric guitar course. A year later, at age 19, he was asked to join the faculty at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Pat developed a distinct style combining elements of jazz and rock music but sounding very different from the fusion style popular at the time he started recording. He has remained unrelenting in his search for new ways to expand and build upon his musical vision. He recorded some tracks with a 15-string Gibson harp guitar in the 1970s and has experimented with other guitars and guitar variants since, including a Linda Manzer 42-string Pikasso (harp) guitar. - FD

Rajan Spolia

Born in India and raised in England, Rajan Spolia began playing music at age seven. His music fuses elements of Indian Classical music, jazz, and blues. He is most commonly heard playing guitar in duet with a tabla player. Unlike most Indian guitarists (who have a fluid micro-tonal lap-slide technique), Rajan plays with a pick. This attack allows him to find a certain angularity in his melodic lines. Rajan plays an arch-top guitar fitted with 2 banks of sympathetic or strummed strings across the top. It was built in England by Oakwood Guitars and is based on a design by William Eaton. - FD


Honorable Mention

Bob Ault

Bob Ault, who sadly passed away in 2012, was an acknowledged musical historian with a focus on the ragtime era.  He was a known ragtime pianist and composer who also performed on a variety of other instruments, including his rare 12-bass Gibson Harp Guitar.  Bob was the lone harp guitarist performing in a recreation of a classic Clef Club Orchestra performance at Carnegie Hall in 1989.  -FD

Bob Brozman (1955-2013)

Known for his huge collection of vintage Nationals, the late Bob Brozman also owned Dyer and Knutsen harp guitars. He used the Dyer for rhythm playing on a couple of his older albums, and also created a great solo on his Knutsen harp-Hawaiian guitar for David Grisman’s Tone Poems III. -GM

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. -GM


Hans Haider

Now retired, Hans built his own 13-string "lute-guitar" to play his own unique compositions.  He used his first instrument - a true harp guitar with 3 floating strings - for live performances, while a second fully-fretted instrument was used on all his recordings. -GM

Emmylou Harris

In 2006 Ms. Harris commissioned a "Mini-Harp" Guitar with an unfretted low A drone from luthier Julius Borges.  A second is planned. -GM

Steve Howe

Steve’s impressive collection of guitars, including a Gibson Style U, along with other harp guitar-like instruments, can be seen in his book, The Steve Howe Guitar Collection. He also played the harp guitars of the Scott Chinery collection on Masterpiece Guitars, along with Martin Taylor.  -GM


David Lindley

Way back in 1967, in the groundbreaking group Kaleidoscope, David used a scroll-bridge Gibson harp guitar on the group's first 2 albums. He tuned the sub-basses chordally. -GM

John McLaughlin

One of the more infamous "is he or isn't he?" harp guitarists, I agreed to add John after watching him perform with his 1975 band Shakti on DVD.  His famous Wechter "Shakti" guitars were originally intended as having only vibrating sympathetic strings, but the sound was not pronounced enough - so John instead incorporated frequent strumming of them within his playing. -GM

Martin Taylor

Martin has made two forays into harp guitar – one playing a Gibson Style U on David Grisman’s Tone Poems II, the other with Steve Howe, playing the harp guitars of the Scott Chinery collection on Masterpiece Guitars. -GM


Ben Verdery

Ben has only played harp guitar once – a Dyer for one track of his Some Towns and Cities CD project. A tour de force, one wishes the classical virtuoso would do more with the instrument! -GM

George Winston

George, while known for his piano playing, also dabbles in many other instruments, including guitar. On a number of recordings and performances he has used either a Martin with a retrofitted 7th floating "C" string, or a custom 8-string Erwin Somogyi harp guitar (2 floating sub-basses). These are tuned for, and used mainly for Slack Key music. -GM


"Notable" Wikipedia Harp Guitarists

All it takes is for a rock star to pose with a harp guitar and they are immediately added to the fabled Wikipedia Encyclopedia.Harp Guitar entry as a "notable harp guitarist."  I no longer even try to police or edit that absurd listing.   Instead, this  list will highlight the completely arbitrary and amateurish quality of the aggravating site.  There is no fighting it.  You delete any of these and they just pop up again - with no explanation, references or sources.  While the Wikigeek Police like to bust you for every little site format infraction, they are clueless about this instrument and its music.  So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!   While none of our "Honorable Mentions" above should realistically be added to any "notable harp guitarist" list (their fame or popularity notwithstanding), these below are singled out as "poorest choice for a Wikipedia 'Harp Guitar' entry."

Note: For the benefit of the Wikipedia "editors" who continually add these names, let me spell it out for you.  The growing community of harp guitarists (many more than yet grace this page) are committed to playing the instrument in a credible  manner (utilizing harp guitar techniques) with some percentage of repertoire.  This community does not necessarily consider a celebrity who takes a harp guitar out of his collection and strums it in a video a "notable harp guitarist."  A well known or even famous guitarist who has used a harp guitar in some legitimately musical way, yes.  And we encourage any activities that bring the harp guitar to more people's attention.   Many of us respect and enjoy the music of these various artists - we just wish to keep things in perspective. 

Michael Lardie

Michael Lardie?  Yes, he of the rock bands Great White and Night Ranger.  After several years of me seeing his name on the Wiki page with no idea why, a reader of my site pointed me to the video of Great White's "Save Your Love," in which Lardie "plays' a Gibson.  It is presumably only a visual prop. -GM

Jeff Martin

Jeff Martin, lead guitarist of the popular Canadian group The Tea Party,  uses numerous stringed instruments on the band's CDs, including a 1916 Gibson harp guitar.  I checked all the recordings and clips and saw him hit one sub at the end of a song.   He recently added a resonator guitar with a floating 7th string by Andrew Ellis of Perth, Western Australia.   This is, indeed, a "meets minimum requirements" harp guitar, and I will be curious to see  his use of it. -GM


Jimmy Page

Page has appeared in a video with a Gibson harp guitar.  It's on YouTube and I suppose is a cool video as far as it goes (better than Lardie's, shown above).  -GM

Corey Petryschuk

This guy has been on the Wiki page for awhile now.  According to one source, he is "a former American football player who played for the Milwaukee Iron of the Arena Football League. He is also a notable harp guitarist appearing on the Christian Punk band Left Out's 2002 album Left Out. He retired on January 4, 2011 due to loss of playing time and to focus on his music career as his band has reformed."  I've yet to learn what the instrument (or its use) might have been, but anxiously await his continuation of "harp guitar notability." -GM

Robbie Robertson

I admit it - arguably the highest profile use of a harp guitar ever - and unfortunately one of the least legitimate - was the last scene of the 1976 Scorcese film The Last Waltz - where Robbie Robertson of The Band used a large scroll-bridge, 10-sub-bass Gibson to play the Theme. Like Lindley, he appears to have tuned the basses chordally (as he begins with a "sub-bass" strum!) -GM


Historical Music Harp Guitarists

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.


Beppe Gambetta

Since the 1970s, Beppe Gambetta has built a reputation as one of the world’s premiere flatpicking guitarists.  He has fused this American style with influences from his Italian homeland, and beyond, to create his original musical voice.  Beppe has worked with many of the top names in acoustic music including Dan Crary, Gene parsons, Tony Trischka, David Grisman, Tony McManus, Mike Marshall, Norman Blake, and Don Ross.  He has more recently developed a passion for the revival of Italian music from the early 20th century, especially that of his native Genoa.  To this end, Beppe formed a duo with Carlo Aonzo, mandolin player from La Scala Orchestra in Milan.  For this project, luthier Antonello Saccu built a 14-string harp guitar (8 sub-bass strings), for Gambetta, that is based on one used by the great Italian harp guitar virtuoso Pasquale Taraffo and others.  The duo has produced two recordings, Serenata and Traversata (with mandolinist Grisman), and has performed this music to an international audience.  The duo were also involved in the creation and performance of a musical theatre production, also titled Traversata.  Beppe continues to perform and record in traditional and contemporary acoustic settings. -FD


Tyler Hawkins

High school vice-principle by day, Canadian Tyler Hawkins has become the foremost exponent of the ultra rare 17-string guitar (there are only 4).  The instrument, designed by educator / composer Ted Lebar, was built by Sergei de Jonge in 1985 and features 8 strings on the neck and 9 sub-basses, ideal for lute and theorbo repertoire.  Hawkins began classical guitar lessons at age 8.  A love of 10-string guitarist Narciso Yepes’ recordings of Bach lute suites eventually led Tyler to pursue extended range guitar studies with Lebar at York University.  In addition to an honors degree in music performance, an interest in education led to a teaching certificate and soon a teaching position in the Northwest Territories.  Fear of what the cold north might do to his prized instrument and the lack of a classical music community in NWT prompted a temporary move to 6-string playing in a local country band.  Today Tyler is again focused on bringing historical music to life on the 17-string and has recently co-founded The NWT International Lute Festival. -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


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.


Christian Saggese

Award winning classical virtuoso Christian Saggese has been dubbed “The Second Coming of Taraffo” in reference to the legendary early 20th century Italian harp guitar master.  Taraffo archivist Franco Ghisalberti suggested that Christian study Taraffo’s techniques and compositions.  Christian is the first to be able to accurately reproduce Taraffo’s music and has gone beyond to add his own voice to the maestro’s music.  Christian’s first harp guitar was a 3-bass Mozzani acquired in 2006.  He also has used a Hinz kontragitarre, a Priano (modified by Antonello Saccu to an 8-bass instrument), and is now focusing on a 2011 9-bass harp guitar by Saccu. -FD


John Schneiderman

John is a virtuoso player of all forms of lute, and now plays a 7-string guitar (similar to Coste's "floating 7th bass string" instrument), with a Coste CD completed. He is also having a 10-course instrument built, with four strings (D,C,B,A) off the fingerboard. 


Raphaella Smits

Raphaella is considered one of the world's premier performers of the 8-string guitar (an extended range, standard classical guitar). She also plays a c.1830 Mirecourt "romantic guitar" with a floating 7th string, recently completing a CD of virtuoso works by Legnani and Mertz. -GM


Oleg Timofeyev

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. He was born to a Moscow family with a long-standing musical tradition.


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


Robert Trent

Robert Trent holds the distinction of being the first person ever to receive a Doctorate of Musical Arts, in guitar, from the prestigious Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.  By age 21, he was already Director of Guitar Studies at Westminster Choir College-Conservatory and Trenton State College.  Today, Dr. Trent is Director of Guitar and Lute Studies at Radford University in Virginia.  He enjoys introducing his students to his 2000 Gary Southwell copy of a vintage Scherzer 10-string guitar (with 4 sub-bass strings), and regularly uses the instrument in performance.  As an acknowledged expert on 19th century performance practice, Dr. Trent has applied the works of the 19th masters to the instrument.  More modern works, including ones composed by Dr. Trent, have also found a comfortable home on the Southwell.  Dr. Trent’s performances have received several national and international honors. -FD


Brigitte Zaczek 

Brigitte Zaczek’s path began at age 10 when her aunt, virtuoso guitarist/composer Luise Walker, provided guitar lessons.  Brigitte went on to receive degrees in guitar performance, theorbo, renaissance and baroque lute performance, and master class study with Andres Segovia and Alirio Diaz.  She has been a professor of classical guitar at the Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna since 1972.  Today, her attention is focused on the interpretation of guitar music of the 19th century.  To that end, she has amassed a fine collection of period instruments, including 3 that we may label as harp guitars (1837 Stauffer with 2 sub-bass strings, Reis circa 1840 also with 2 sub-basses, and an instrument made by an unknown Viennese luthier around 1860 that has 4 sub-basses).  Brigitte has recorded with her Stauffer, Reis, and a borrowed 1855 Lacote Heptacorde (with 1 sub-bass string).  She has performed and given master classes across Europe and South America. -FD


Other Recent Web Discoveries

Fabrizio Ferraro and Adam Marec
Karel Fleischinger
Smaro Gregoriadou
Petra Polackova
Jan Tuláček


Our Kontragitarre Playing Cousins
Updated May, 2010


Encyclopedia of Harp Guitar Players of the Past

Updated December, 2013

 

 

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