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HARP GUITAR

    The harp guitar project is now well under way.    I have obtained the wood for the top, the back and the sides, and have  joined one of the tops (no photo yet) (I am making two instruments) and  the backs.  The soundhole rosette is in the top, they have been sanded to final thickness.  The mold is done.  (see photos below).

Of greater interest, a customer who collects harp guitars brought in his latest acquisition - a Dyer harp guitar which was presumably made very early in the company's history.   (It was made in St. Paul, MN.)  From my perspective the real "treasure" is that it has the back off (it is generally in terrible condition) so that I can look very carefully at the interior construction.  There are some photos below.  This has already given me several important insights which will improve the instrument.

wpe2.jpg (7256 bytes)wpe3.jpg (10309 bytes)wpe4.jpg (3095 bytes)   wpe5.jpg (4592 bytes)

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  The following photos are thumbnails - click on the photo to see the full size image.

wpe1.jpg (12608 bytes)Here the top (one of the two I will use) has the main rosette inlayed, the top sanded to thickness and roughly profiled.  I have also done the same for the backs.   The side wood is sanded to thickness, but no more as of yet. 

 

 

 

wpe1.jpg (14147 bytes)I have completed the mold.  This was in itself a bit of a design problem because of its size and because of the configuration of the "peghead" on the harp extension.  It is angled down and this causes it to interfere with the mold.   I believe that I have figured a way to deal with all of this.  The other problem with the mold is that it weighs a ton.  Unavoidable if it is to be rigid.  

 

 

 

 

wpe2.gif (81490 bytes)I have begun (albeit, slowly) the actual construction.  The sides are cut to size and have been  bent to shape.   I have also placed the  end blocks, and have cut the dovetail joint in the body.

 

 

 

 

wpe4.gif (35146 bytes)I have begun to brace the back.  The first step (for me) is to glue on the center strip.  I made the clamping jig shown many years ago, and it continues to work well.  An alternative used by many makers is a go bar deck, but I wasn't even aware of that method when I first started building and so never have used one.  

 

wpe5.gif (61628 bytes)  This is the butt wedge, a purely decorative element that is put in to hide the joint where the two sides meet.

 

 

 

 

wpe4.jpg (12977 bytes) I have started -- and completed -- bracing the tops.  As shown here,  the bracing for these instruments is carefully carved and scalloped to bring out the best sound. 

 

 

 

 

wpe4.jpg (7108 bytes)    This is the neck block.  This is a difficult part of the instrument to design.  The old Dyer Harp guitars had an elaborately curved block to accommodate the side of the harp extension.  While this is a fine way to build the instrument, it is very complex and time consuming.  My method is based on the method common in classic guitars where the sides are glued into slots cut into the neck/neck block (which is one piece in most classic guitars.)  I think that this is a strong solution and will have the added benefit that the access to the neck in the upper ranges will be slightly improved. 

 

There is more progress on the harp guitars, but it will be largely shown on the pages relating to building a guitar.  I will try to put links here to the relevant sections and photos. 

This website and all of its content, text and images are copyright 1997-2011 by Charles A. Hoffman.  All rights reserved.

2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN. 55404

hoffmanguitars@qwestoffice.net or choffman@hoffmanguitars.com

(612) 338-1079