The Gibson Harp Guitar is one of the most fanciful looking instruments the Gibson Company (or any other company) ever made. It debuted in the year 1902 in four different versions – some of which had only 6 bass strings and one (the original version of the Style U) had 12 bass strings, but the version that survived until 1939 was this, the Style U which was re-designed in 1906 to have only 10 bass strings plus the normal six-string neck. This is a huge instrument, measuring around 19” in body width, the upper bout is around 14 1/2"; the total length is an impressive 46” in. The guitar neck is short scale, being 24.5” from nut to saddle. We weighed it, and believe it or not the weight seems to be only 10 pounds 3.9 ounces. There are Les Paul guitars heavier than this.
The large oval soundhole, measuring around 5 ¾” by 3 1/4” is bound in crème ivoroid, and surrounded by a fancy rosette comprised of two outer rings of checkerboard (alternating crème and black) pattern, with a large inner ring made up of diamonds split by a crème line and inlaid against a background of black. On the bass side of the huge structure that contains the tuners for the harp neck is a small scroll with a large pearl dot, and then etched-diamond, snowflake and etched diamond inlays. The guitar neck has the bulbous headstock sometimes see on Orville Gibson designed instruments (and we should point out that Orville Gibson’s visage peers back us through the mists of time on the excellent condition and fully intact oval paper black and crème interior label); tuners are the original open-gear, three-on-a-plate with floral etching and ivoroid buttons; the guitar neck is bound with crème ivoroid, and hosts 8 mother of pearl dotmarkers in 6 positions.
The guitar neck bridge on this instrument is a two-piece ebony adjustable replacement but the one-piece maple section is somewhat trapezoidal in shape. The tailpiece is original with a tortoise shell celluloid crosspiece but it is missing half its bridge pins and the other half are later replacements. The tailpiece has a double trapeze base section. The black tailpin is cracked at the bottom side. The guitar retains its original tortoise shell color celluloid pickguard but both of its side clamps are missing and so is the semi-circular celluloid platform to which one of them attaches.
When we received this bouncing behemoth we noted that it had a 14 ½” long crack running from the bass side of the oval soundhole down to the bottom side at around the 7 o’clock position. Our workshop of world-class luthiery wunderkind has professionally repaired that crack, likewise the split in the wood on the back of the guitar headstock has been glued. We should note that there’s a chip of wood missing from that area which we cannot, ourselves, replace. There was a crack that parallels the bass side of the fingerboard end over the body. This was cleaned out, glued and cleated; this next one is minor but there was a split in the soundhole crème binding that we will reglue; there are cracks in the ebony fingerboard that we will fill in with ebony paste – not considered a big deal. We reglued one loose internal brace. Although the price shown below does not include a hard shell case we can request a price with a custom case maker, such as Cedar Creek – and we can let you know what they quote. Having a case made, should the purchaser elect to have it done, will take around the same amount of time. One small issue is that we really cannot ship it to anybody without a hard shell case.
We have been told that this was formerly owned by the last owner’s grandfather, Mr. Carl Restino, who performed as a yodeling accordionist in Vaudeville. ( A yodeling accordionist - I sure wish my grandfather did that!) This guitar shows the normal signs of use and wear, including scuffs, scrapes, nicks, dings, chips finish crazing, incipient cracks and so forth.
This guitar commands the immediate attention of everyone in the room, the concert hall or the auditorium. It is shockingly big, wonderfully loud, notable in its ability to allow a player to accompany him or herself with bass notes, chords and melody. It is a symbol of its time (the early 20th) but in addition it is a symbol of American ingenuity, invention and industriousness, while still retaining more than a mere modicum of fun, digit-ny and panache. It is, in many wonderful ways, the musical instrument that can (finally) make your life complete. This has been priced at $8764 with a Cash Discount Price of $8500. HOWEVER:
This Gibson harp guitar is presently "on hold" for a purchaser.