1835 Triple Necked Harp Guitar

Triple-necked guitar in the style of Bernard Enzensperger.

Bernard Enzensperger was a luthier based in Vienna, Austria back in the early 1800's. His instruments were of fine, handmade quality and carry noterity in the world of handmade musical instruments of the century.

This harp guitar is labelled with: 

'1835 K.K. privilegirte Akustik-gitarre No E 1584 Bernard Enzensperger bürgerlicher Guitarrren und Geigenmacher in Wien nächst dem Theater an der Wien'

Which roughly translates to:

'1835 K.K. privileged acoustic guitar No E 1584 Bernard Enzensperger 
bourgeois guitarist and violin maker in Vienna near the Theater an der Wien'

This harp guitar was featured in an exhibition 'The Guitar and Mandolin Through The Ages' in 1994 by Provinciaal Overijssels Museum (POM) in Zwolle, Netherlands. Publication by Alex Timmerman NL in his book 'The Guitar and Mandolin Through The Ages' also in 1994.

To understand the need for a triple necked guitar we have to take a step back further into the 1700's. Back to when the 'Baroque Guitar' was the most common instrument found in someones home. The 'Baroque Guitar' in contemporary ensembles took on a role of a 'Basso Continuo' instrument and players would be expected to improvise chordal accompaniments. It is assumed that these were played in pairs with one taking the chordal lines and the other playing the bass register. These duo's would also be accompanied by other instruments such as lutes or mandolins playing melodic or high register notes.

Move on 100 years and Vienna is one of the most prominent cities for musical instrument production. Mainly in the orchestral sector. However at this time there was a surge of experimental instruments coming out of this area of the world. The experimentation of multiple register instruments was getting increasingly popular and this harp guitar is a shining example with 3 registers or 3 octave range over 16 strings. 

Part of our private collection at WM Guitars. 


Back: one piece 
Ribs/Bracing: Sycamore
Table: Spruce
Soundhole: Multiple Purfling
Fretted Neck: 17 Frets joins body at 12th Fret 6 Strings
Fretless Bass Register 5 Strings
Fretless Octave Register 5 Strings
Shaped Headstock that joins all 3 necks
Original Machine Heads with Ivorine Thumb Knobs
Handmade Ebony Pins 

Measurements Total length: 975mm; width: 452mm; waist: 333mm; soundbox deepness: 147mm; string length: 612mm.


Written by:
Walter & Ryan Havinga