4 blocks west of Halsted St.
Bohmann Harp Guitar

© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF

There's room for just about any adjective you'd care to use in describing this big 'ol harp guitar. (I won't enumerate the ones that come to mind as I look at it.) Likewise, it's creator was a pretty "interesting" fellow. Primarily a violin maker, he claimed to be the fastest in the world, in addition to advertising that his were the very finest available.

Apparently, old Joseph Bohmann used to give "speed violin making demonstrations." Makes me wonder about his record time. . .

Well, just look at this item, which. by the way, is the smaller version of his harp guitars. Check out the book on the Chinery collection if you'd like to see the big boy.

Please click the small image

As I look over the amazing peghead, I'm impressed by the special cast tuners, clearly made for this instrument.

The back and top are very highly arched, as you can see by the side depth at the center.

What looks sort of like a tremelo
bar is actually a hand rest.

Bohmann had a number of patents
on various player's aids.

Inside the body, there are (were)
six sympathetic steel rods, which are tuned by these nuts at the end of the body.

This little nub is actually a rod that actuates a damper lever. It's in the "down" or open position right now.

Here's the inside anchorage of the sympathetic strings at the neck block.

This is the damping lever, with its felt top, now in the damped position.

Looking aft, we see the sympathetic strings as they exit the end block, and the simple top bracing, along with the spruce pad reinforcing the area under the "tailpiece."

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