Muriel Anderson's Harp Requinto

Muriel Anderson was looking for a harp guitar that would be practical to take on the road - an instrument of reasonable size and weight, and with nylon strings. She specified that the scale length be that of a 66 cm classical guitar capoed at the 3rd fret. This made the tuning of the neck strings G-D-Bb-F-C-G top to bottom, (like the Mexican requinto); the harp strings were to continue down the G minor scale from there, F-Eb-D-C-Bb-A-G. She also specified 20 frets on the fretboard, so the range of the instrument was to extend from the Eb at the 23rd fret of a standard guitar, down to the G on the low E string of a bass.

The resulting Harp-Requinto is pictured below. Woods include Engelmann spruce for the top, Madagascar rosewood for the back and sides, Spanish cedar for the neck and harp headstock, an ebony fretboard, a Brazilian rosewood bridge, and boxwood binding. The instrument is equipped with a stereo B-Band pickup system.

Harp Guitars are by nature highly custom instruments, and many variations are possible. Base price for a Harp Guitar with sub-basses only is $7500, and $8500 for sub-basses and super-trebles; sharping levers, electronics, inlays and other options cost extra. Click here to see my 20-string Harp Guitar.

I included as many of my trademark features as possible, including my spiral rosette, my Adjustable Neck Angle System, my headstock, bridge and fretboard-end shapes, and of course the Doolin Double Cutaway.

Bill Nichols created the Celtic Knot and Dove inlay, a larger replica of an inlay he did for the truss rod cover on another of Muriel's guitars.

Muriel requested sharping levers for the harp strings, which allow any string to be raised 1/2 step. These allow tuning the harp strings to any of 8 keys from Bb (two flats) to B (5 sharps). Other modes are also possible for the harp strings, such as harmonic minor or pentatonic scales. I designed the levers to be engaged with either hand, so she could change the pitches of the harp strings with her left hand while playing them with her right, or engage a lever with her righ hand while holding a chord on the neck with her left. The neck tuners are gold Schaller classical, while the harp tuners are gold Schaller mini steel-string with brass caps to increase the shaft diameter to that of classical tuners.

Muriel also requested an arm mute for the harp strings, to allow her to dampen all of the harp strings at once while playing the guitar neck. I made the mute detachable: it is held to the body by an imbedded magnet and two registration pins, making it easy to remove and store in the case's accessory compartment. The arm is spring loaded so it hovers over the strings, until depressed with the right wrist to dampen the strings.

Hear Muriel play this Harp-Requinto...

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