Strange Instrument #9: Self-Tuning Harp Guitar

Vleb showed me an instrument that has to be featured in the Strange Instruments category because of its two main characteristics. First, it is a double-neck harp guitar, and second maybe it was not complex enough, so it is equipped with the TransPerformance self-tuning system. Let me summarize this: a double-neck guitar hybridized with a harp that you can automatically tune and detune by pressing a button… Yep! This is the Strange Instrument #9.

Let’s check on the Self Tuning Harp Guitar tested by William Eaton (musician and luthier specialized in harp guitars conception).


The Harp Guitar

History of harp guitar began during the 19th century, and two centuries later it is quite rare to meet such beautiful and weird instruments in your local store. However, there are many luthiers building harp guitars, and musicians to play them. The harp and guitar words association describes a family of guitars featuring any number of additional “floating” unstopped strings. These extra strings can be plucked as harp strings. Such instruments open a wide range of tone possibilities because of these additional strings that add several bourdon like tones.

Some harp guitars:


Some harp guitars feature sympathetic stings specifically intended only to resonate, and not be plucked or strummed. I guess it should extremely fun to play a harp guitar though I think my entire lifetime wouldn’t be enough to learn how to play it correctly.

transperformance_tuning_system_les_paulTransPerformance Self-Tuning

This rather complex name is also explicit. It is a self-tuning system featuring a mini computer that controls motors linked to each string. A button or a footswitch controller activates the motors in the transperformance bridge/tailpiece that will adjust the tension of each string. The tuning change while playing gives unique feel. I guess it should be very hard to use, but the range of possibilities opened must be great.

Let’s check a demo of the TransPerformance Self-Tuning in action.


To read further:

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

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