11/01/2015

2000s Harmos Carbon-Fiber 8-String Lap Steel Guitar




Space age! Bizarre! Wonderful! That's what this is. Aside from the words given to me by the owner of this instrument, I gleaned my information off the web (the most succinct info from Elderly Instruments) as Harmos instruments are no longer in production. Apparently the plan of attack was to make a compact, responsive, super-clean-toned, no-dead-spots, gorgeous-sounding lap steel that would both "hang up" just fine for standing and playing and "sit down" just fine as well. Hey -- it works -- and it's Star Trek crazy to boot. The sound is lush and just about as clean as you could want from a lap steel sporting two single coils. Jerry Douglas was seen playing one of these -- and that's a good enough endorsement as any for a steel!

The "body frame" is made of carbon fiber rods put together "atomic fashion" and bookended by flamed maple "body plates." To these are attached Lollar-made pickups on one end (and titanium saddles and nuts) and wacko finger-lever tuners on the other end. The board itself appears to be some sort of synthetic with pearl designs inlaid and ivoroid binding.


While we're looking at the tuners and "nut" I might as well tell you that this is currently strung for C6 tuning -- ACEGACEG -- low to high.


 


How do you like those "hovering" Lollar pickups? The "neck" pup is a Stringmaster (Fender) copy and the bridge at first appears to be a "Chicago steel" variety but on closer inspection is build more like a Jazzmaster pickup. 

The knob "on deck" is a volume one for swells.




The electronics are covered up but easily accessible. This had dirty pots and I was worried I'd have to replace a bunch of stuff, but after shooting them all out with electronic cleaner it now functions nicely.


Tone control is on the right and a 4-way pickup selector switch (bridge, in-phase parallel, out-of-phase, neck I believe) is on the left. the hardware is gold-plated and there are two strap buttons on the rig that let you "Dobro-ize" this for standing and playing.


The finger-lever tuners are nice and accurate and certainly hold tension well It does sometimes get hard to adjust them with the fingers but they adjust quickly and efficiently with a screwdriver -- so I'd suggest keeping a short one in the case to do this job -- makes it faster than normal guitar tuners as they don't skip around at all.




An original gigbag comes with it.

2 comments:

Ed Baptist said...

Amazing!

Jake Wildwood said...

Yeah, it really just is. I'm shocked at the tone that comes out of this.