Rich Mermer 6-string Bass/Baritone Thinline Harp Guitar
Killer Electric/Acoustic Semi-Hollowbody with 3 String Banks!
This may be my favorite Mermer harp guitar yet - though I admit I would be hard-pressed to do it musical justice!
It is cutting edge in every possible way: design, construction, electronics, concept and tuning.
And it sounds really cool.
Rich brought this to the 7th Harp Guitar Gathering, where we all went "huh?!" Then he plugged it in (in our Luthier Demo room) and we all went "whoa!"
What the heck is it? Well, it starts out as a 6-string bass guitar - tuned an octave below the guitar - inspired, Rich says, by the Danelectro "shortscale" electric bass guitars (30" scale).
Then he added two harp string banks on either side, one a super-treble (high melodic) bank, and the other a mid-range melodic bank (as he already had the bass end covered).
The instrument features a stunning curly redwood top and a curly koa back on a mahogany rim, with koa, ebony, and turquoise appointments (don't you just love his signature turqoise trim?). Fit and finish are standard Mermer quality (impeccable).
The three string banks are captured by three separate pickups (a custom PUTW system). Tone is incredible when plugged in (being that of an amplified acoustic guitar using piezo technology). It includes a custom cable that splits into 3 male XLRs. Electronics require three channels of phantom power as no batteries are onboard. Rich can supply a mini mixer if needed.
The 8 mid-range strings (on the bass side) have fine tuners anchored in the bridge, as does the bank of 8 super-trebles on the opposite side. String gauges and tunings can obviously be changed to suit your creative whim (range, scales, chords, etc.) but are currently set at:
Bass: E-A-D-G-B-E (.080-.074-.056-.044-.034-.024w)
Mid-range (all wound): E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D-E (.056 x 2, .046 x 2, .036 x 2, .026 x 2)
Super-trebles (all plain): E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D-E (.017 x 2, .013 x 2, .010 x 2, .008 x 2)
During the Gathering, young harp guitar virtuoso Matt Thomas went off to a quiet spot and played around with it for a bit, only to come back, plug it in, and play a full-on fingerstyle multi-part Stevie Wonder medley on it. Surprisingly, it wasn't too muddy at all used in this extreme (a fingerstyle bass guitar!), and the mid-strings and trebles he threw in here and there were a hoot.
Lots of potential here for a creative bassist or guitarist. Rich suggests that it could be also optionally strung as a baritone guitar, which could likely open it up to an even wider clientele.
That could be you.
Comes with full warranty. Currently in Rich Mermer's possession - please contact either of us if you have any questions.
- Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
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