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Featured Inventory Archives 1999-2012

Gruhn, 1915 Gibson Harp Guitar

1915 Gibson Harp Guitar


One of Orville Gibson's early instruments was an ornate harp guitar, and Gibson had high hopes for the instrument, predicting in catalogs that it would do to the six-string guitar what the piano did to the harpsichord.

It seemed like a great idea -- a rack of extra bass strings tuned chromatically to provide rich, open-string bass notes. Now, for the first time, guitarists could play easily in E-flat, playing the sub-bass string and alternating it with a three- or four-string chord on the standard neck.

The Gibson company started off with several different harp guitars in 1902 but quickly trimmed the line down to the Style U. Musicians gave the harp guitar a fair chance but its size, its expense and its limited stylistic range (unless, of course, you ignored the sub-bass strings and just used it as a guitar) doomed it. Gibson kept them in catalogs well into the 1930s, but few were sold after 1920.

This example was made in 1915 and sports Gibson's beautiful red mahogany stain finish. In excellent condition, with orignal hard case, it is priced at $5500.

This instrument is SOLD

For additional enjoyment...

Soundhole area

Body scroll

Angled view from bridge

Headstock

Sub-bass tuners

Back of headstock