Harp Guitar

2 1/2 years ago Don Ross approached me asking if I would consider taking on a Harp Guitar project. Though my first inclination was to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction, I soon warmed up to the idea and was pretty excited about the challenge involved.

As usual Don gave me a lot of freedom on the design side but had a few details that he wanted to incorporate. The body size would be based on an SJ Jumbo, the same as every guitar that I've built for him and he specified 6 sub bass strings as well as a pinless bridge (a really long one!). Being a Fanfret the main neck used 25.4" treble and 26.25" bass scales.

Originally I had planned on using a beautiful Quilted Mahogany for the sides and back but had to abandon it when the side material absolutely refused to handle the tight waist bends without fracturing! For plan #2 I chose African Padouk, a wonderful responsive tonewood that also looks great. For the top wood I was lucky to find a very old piece of Sitka Spruce that even had some cool bear claw figure.

The project took two years to complete including much R&D in the beginning and seat of the pants design work, especially in regards to the top bracing. After breathing a large sigh of relief I must say that I am pleased with the results. Don now has the guitar in his very capable hands and I am really looking forward to hearing what he comes up with.

One other challenge of this project was what to do about a case since you can't buy one of these off the shelf! I was fortunate to find a keyboard flight case that was just about the right size. The learning curve included making the interior out of foam and gluing in the velour lining. More skill learning but, again, decent results!

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