Rich Mermer 2008
All photos copyright Rich Mermer, except where noted
Is that a great redwood top or what?!
Another one-of-a-kind creation (his previous instrument here) by master luthier Rich Mermer, who has become a permanent fixture in the escalating harp guitar movement.
Rich has built many stunning acoustic steel guitars and creative doublenecks (Acoustic Eidolon's Joe Scott tours with a custom Mermer). He has some interesting ideas about guitar design, (including his recurring offset soundholes) - and is always thinking about improved modern harp guitar design as well. I am often struck by his color design sense, and this is my new favorite, with captivating combinations of rich golden brown redwood, bubinga, exotic snakewood (price is no object where Rich's "playable art" is concerned) and turquoise (the real deal, crushed and inserted in the rosettes).
Rich builds about 12 instruments a year - usually client commissions; his harp guitars he has so far created for the love of it - and I'm thrilled to be able to offer such one-of-a-kind instruments through Harp Guitar Music. There is no hype when Rich says that he strives in every project for "an individualized, handcrafted, work of art."
To get a sense of this process, I asked Rich to write an article for Harpguitars.net on the construction of what fellow luthier Benoît Meulle-Stef quickly nicknamed "Thor's Hammer." I wish I had this luxury on every instrument we offer, so that shoppers could see everything that goes into these custom instruments to help inform their decisions (thank you, Rich).
The 6 phosphor bronze sub-bass strings are (currently) tuned F-G-A-B-C-D from low to high (gauges: .080-.072-.068-.062.-060-.055). Like any modern harp guitar, the tuning and playing options are limited only by one's creativity.
Rich debuted this instrument at the 6th Harp Guitar Gathering in October, 2008, where I got a chance to play and hear it firsthand, as did many others. We immediately noticed how deep it looked, but then noticed the "Manzer wedge," which allows a comfortable feel for playing while still having a very deep soundbox.
Playability: Great, according to Don Alder (and myself).
Tone: A very balanced instrument across all twelve strings. I noted that, surprisingly, it was not quite as loud or "open" as a Dyer (but, hey - it was a day old!).
Bottom line: Absolutely one-of-a-kind and distinctive in every way. A collector's harp guitar and a player's instrument. Consider it blessed.
-Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
The instrument will ship from Mermer Guitars in Florida, with a generous week-long trial period.
Offset soundholes in the top for the audience and port hole for the player!
The snakewood fretboard alone is worth the price of admission, let alone those turquoise touches.
Pinless bridge for the neck, bridge pins for the subs. More snakewood!
DVDs by Stephen Bennett, John Doan, Muriel Anderson, Andy McKee,
Stacy Hobbs, Tom Shinness, Dan LaVoie, James Kline, Larry
Berwald, Bill Dutcher, Gregg Miner, Pasquale Taraffo
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