Thos. Harper Guitars

y steel string instruments are built for fingerstyle playing. They are light instruments and I strive to develop a balanced sound across the entire range of the instrument. My instruments are typically in the 00 size, and use rather light bracing, requiring light gauge strings. An instrument targeted for heavier strings can also be created.

The standard instrument uses Indian rosewood for back and sides with a Sitka or Englemann top and mahogany neck. The fretboard is typically ebony, but I am also trying other woods due to the scarcity of good ebony these days. Other top and back woods are available if desired.

Standard scale length is 24.9 inches (632mm). The standard neck dimensions are 46mm wide and 21 mm thick at the nut. Any of these dimensions can be altered to suit the player.

Finish is French polish. French polishing is a long, exacting process, but is best for the tone of the instrument.

Design elements will be discussed with the player. I make my own rosettes and can either use interesting woods, such as burls, or spalted maple, or more traditional Spanish style rosettes. The colors and patterns used can be replicated in the tie block and purflings.

I have recently begun using a wonderful design of Jeffrey Elliott's that was developed as a crossover instrument for classical players wanting a steel string sound. It is a 650 mm scale instrument using both a floating X brace and classical fan bracing system. The result is a very large voice with great balance and much more tonal color than is typical for a steel string instrument.