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Thread: Harp Ukuleles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Kirishima, Japan
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    78

    Default Harp Ukuleles

    Hi! I'm thinking about getting a harp ukulele (when I save up enough!) I am ideally looking for a tenor size with 4 to 6 harp (bass strings).

    I understand there are very few makers and Anuenue no longer makes one. I heard people are happy with these, but some people worried about quality control from certain distributers... I guess not an issue any more as they are not made any more.

    Other makers I found include Ziegenspeck (a German maker - the web site looks good - haven 't heard a sound sample yet), Duane Noble (I can't find any information), Jay Buckley (he has a website, but his videos on Youtube don't give enough play sample to know what they are really like), and Emerald guitars (carbon fiber - their harp guitars look wonderful on Youtube - but couldn't find samples of their harp ukulele).

    Does anyone have good suggestions about a good harp ukulele maker? I am not concerned about cost as I plan to save and get something nice.
    Last edited by timothypfox; 11-07-2016 at 10:05 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Just FYI - Master luthier Pete Howlett from Wales, UK was the original designer of the ANeuNeu harp ukes, and they licensed the design from him and to manufacture them. As per recent info over the past few yrs, Pete is approaching retirement due to the progression of his Parkinson's disease.

    https://youtu.be/PiDabFoa0uk

    Also, in a recent HMS Podcast on SoundCloud, another highly regarded luthier, Beau Hannam, in Colorado, USA had mentioned that he basically will build whatever people will pay him to build and that he has on his wait list several Harp ukuleles.

    https://soundcloud.com/theukulelesite/ep-10-beau-hannam

    Both of these guys are ACTIVE members here on UU and post frequently in the Luthiers lounge section of this forum.

    Maybe you could send each of them a PM and see if they can help you get what you want?

    I have no experience with either of these guys nor their instruments, and am just passing on info, so I cannot make a specific recommendation from personal experience.

    Hope this helps
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Kirishima, Japan
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    Default

    Thanks for your reply Booli. I'm going to drop both of them a line and see what I can find out. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
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    Default

    I have never played the Emerald harp ukulele, but I have played on some of their guitars. Alistair and crew put out a very good product...A lot of their stuff is like functional works of modern art. I can vouch for that company. Great product and great service. They are kind of a "If you can dream it, we will make it happen company." Of course if you order something that is super rare, the price keeps going up as well as the wait time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Wales, UK
    Posts
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    Default

    Tom is your man. His degree master-piece was almost faultless....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kirishima, Japan
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    Default

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I'll post a follow up when I get in touch with an instrument maker and decide what to do!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Did you get a harp ukelele yet? I have my heart set on playing one, but have never seen one other than virtually! Was wondering, too, if it would be possible to rent one - just to see if it is what I am actually looking for. I play several string instruments but am looking for a small, light, travel-size instrument relatively easy to play so that I can travel and play into my late senior years. Am a newcomer to playing the uke and miss those low bass notes that fill out a chord and give some oomph when playing solo. Ideally, I envision a tenor harp ukelele with six added bass strings, a cutaway shape for a longer fingerboard, a spruce top or something that gives the biggest, brightest, fullest sound (not sweet and muted), amplified, and I wonder if anyone has ever made a harp ukelele with sharping levers on the bass strings.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Kirishima, Japan
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    Default

    Just wanted to give an update to those who took the time to post and give me advice here.

    I was in touch with Tom who Pete Howlett kindly referred me to. His harp ukulele looks wonderful (the best there is out there just as Pete Howlett said), but at this time - though I have the money - I couldn't get my family behind me to start a building project. So, I wrote Tom my apologies and that I would be in touch if my circumstances change. He's definitely my first choice.

    Songsforall, I noticed in another post on the forums you mention something about J. Buckley harp ukuleles. His ukuleles are the cheapest harp ukuleles I've seen out there, but they are built in a factory in the Ukraine according to his specs I believe and not by hand or at least not by him or under his guidance or quality control. His video samples show a slight buzz on some strings (the ukulele part - not the harp part) and I'm not sure whether that is his playing (as he appears to be more of a guitar player - plays his harp guitars nicely), or simply a matter of set up. It's hard to tell. So these things are something to consider. In the hands, of a good player - I may be totally wrong, but that is what I found from the Youtube videos.

    Tom builds by hand with a wood of your choice and any features you may want, and the Emerald Harp Ukulele (if you don't mind the aesthetics of carbon fiber - though the sound is probably excellent) also builds if not by hand - at least under very tight quality control on site in their factory.

    Songsforall, maybe we should both start one of those crowd funding projects for a harp ukulele? LOL

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Mandeville, Louisiana
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    Default

    I think Duane Heilman was the first fellow to reproduce these instruments. His work is highly recommended and I've always thought it seemed like a real bargain as well. You might want to contact him. Here's some pics:

    http://blackbearukuleles.net/detail.html?itemid=195
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    26

    Default

    I have a Jay Buckey harp ukelele. Are you still looking for a harp uke?

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