intage Harp Guitar Photographs, 
Postcards, Cabinet Cards, Advertising & Ephemera

Unidentified European Instruments   

There are very few instances of artists painting actual harp guitars. Clearly this was based on an real instrument. A young Luigi Mozzani holds a standard guitar. Unknown player with a non-Mozzani instrument And close-up Postcard of Benedetto di Ponio, Italian harp guitarist Postcard of Alpinolo Nunzi, Italian harp guitarist
Postcard of Italian virtuosos Silvio Casale and Mario Bosio A wonderful group of Italians in costume, c.1880(?) with three different harp guitars. One has removed the sub-bass strings from his instrument.

Another Italian instrument similar to one of those above

The Costantino Quaranta orchestra from Brescia, Italy includes an unidentified Italian harp guitar. The others play Embergher instruments (see the wonderful new site on Embergher mandolin history, Embergher.com created by Alex Timmerman). 

The "Karalis Quartet" from Sardinia; Giuseppe Piroddi is the harp guitarist.
Courtesy of Marco Piroddi
No idea what country this group or the instrument hails from....

This interesting hollow-arm harp guitar looks like an Italian instrument, though the group is Australian.  This is the Melbourne Hawaiian Club with Les Adams on steel guitar, c.1939.

The harp guitar on the right may be American-built, but looks vaguely Italian or ?  From a Washburn catalog.

Photo taken in Minneapolis, yet the instruments look European
Courtesy of The Musical Eye, www.musurgia.com
Austrian, German?
Courtesy of The Musical Eye, www.musurgia.com
What country?


Another German/Austrian instrument
This photo can be purchased from Superior View.

And similar

 More European instruments of unknown origin.

This is an extremely unusual European instrument with separate necks and reverse Stauffer-style headstocks
This photographic postcard may have been reversed or not Presented as a right-handed model... An unusual artistic studio shot where the instrument is "front and center"

Postcard sent from Sweden, 1910

From the decoration, chunky bridge and the rosette shape, guitar expert James Westbrook identified this as a German instrument made in Markneukirchen. The tuners are made by Wettengel also of Markneukirchen.

Not a lute-guitar, despite the oval outline - this is a strange harp guitar with a very strange headstock and even stranger tuners. 2 sub-bass strings. At right is  the same instrument, now with one string. Researcher/guitarist Andreas Stevens identified the player as Willi Meier-Pauselius. He says the strange instrument "is possibly his own creation. He and his father were violin makers and he announced in Der Gitarrefreund an instrument he had created." Andreas further adds. "Willi M-P was living in America in the 'twenties, and toured quite a lot. I received this information through one of his pupils." Addendum: 8/08: the instrument appears to indeed be original, but not his invention - it is a close copy of a recently discovered J.G.Stauffer.
Update 3/12: And now it appears that it is an original J. Georg Stauffer! (per Stauffer & Co).
(both images from the Mozzani book)

Godfred Christensen.

Courtesy of Erling Moldrup, from Guitaren: Et eksotisk instrument i den danske musik.

An Italian or Greek instrument played by a Gypsy

A Greek band with a harp guitar of unknown provenance.
The santouri player is a well-known Greek musician named Giakomis Mondanaris. 
Copyright and courtesy Tony Klein / Arko Records

L-r: Iánnis Dávos (mandola), Andónis Dalgás (harp guitar), unknown singer, Dimítros Sémsis (violin), Dimítros Kallínikos 'Arapákis' (santouri) c:a 1930
Copyright and courtesy Tony Klein / Arko Records
In Austria, "contra" or "bass" guitars eventually became known as "Schrammel" guitars - named after a general style of popular yet refined music developed by the Schrammel brothers. See Iconography: Identified European Instruments.
This illustration depicts a Schrammel group that the clarinetist Georg Dänzer (of the original Schrammel Quartet) played with (Nov 12, 1882) A garden party (with the same group?)

Here are some more formal Schrammel groups and other ensembles with Austrian, Bavarian or German harp guitars.


A very fancy wappen-shape harp guitar.
Courtesy of The Musical Eye, www.musurgia.com

And a very unusual wappen harp guitar Danish player.      

F. Schult, with no less than 5 very different models, including a nice cutaway!
Both courtesy of Erling Moldrup, from Guitaren: Et eksotisk instrument i den danske musik.    

Boris Perott

Still from the 1944 Austrian movie, "Schrammeln"

Modern performer Eduard Reiser.
(Courtesy of photographer Aram Voves )

Here are more casual players and groups:

This series of four c.1950 German  photos shows the same harp guitar-playing gentleman.
3 with the same Schrammel type guitar, and 1 (upper left) with a different, theorboed version.

An informal group in Berlin A very early album cover of Roland Neuwirth & Extremschrammeln
Schrammel groups of the more tourist-geared Lederhosen variety...

2 different postcards of the same photograph

  This Viennese harp guitar is particularly unusual.
(image courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries)

From a Wilhelm Kruse Markneukirchen catalog, c.1914

While 6-string guitars of this uniquely-shaped guitar are somewhat well known, no harp guitar specimen is known to me

Koos (or Jacobus) Speenhoff (1869-1945), a Dutch cabaret singer

(Thanks to Job A. Gorree)

A balalaika and domra ensemble with an unusual harp guitar This woman plays a wappen-shaped 7-strings-on-the-neck Russian harp guitar

If you enjoyed this article, or found it useful for research, please consider making a donation to The Harp Guitar Foundation
which supports Harpguitars.net, so that this information will be available for others like you and to future generations. 
Thank you for your support!

Harpguitars.net Home

The Harp Guitar Foundation

History          Players         Music         Luthiers         Iconography         Articles 

 Forum                 About                Links                Site Map                Search               Contact

All Site Contents Copyright © Gregg Miner,2004-2020. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright and Fair Use of material and use of images: See Copyright and Fair Use policy.