Entries in weissenborn (2)


David Dart Style 1 Hawaiian Weissenborn-style guitar

I've been doing some consulting work which has yielded some "fun money," so I've been able to pick up a couple of new lap steel instruments recently. The first was the 1930 National Tricone Squareneck I grabbed at the Philadelphia guitar show in November. Following with my growing interest in the lap steel, I've been wanting a Weissenborn-style guitar as well, and luckily one just fell into my lap (pun intended).

David Dart* is a California luthier who began building in 1966 and has made a few hundred instruments in that time, including guitars, mandolins, and Hawaiian lap steel guitars. His clients have included Ben Harper and David Lindley, and I just stumbled into a used Style 1 Hawaiian (i.e., "Weissenborn-style") all-koa guitar at an amazing price.

Update (3/13/15): Here's an interview with David Dart from the Fretboard Journal.

Read more about this history of Weissenborn-style guitars herehere, and here.

*I bought the guitar used from a shop in Los Angeles and have not met or spoken with Mr. Dart. This info comes from his website and other sources I found online. If you are looking for a similar guitar, I encourge you to commission one directly from him since (a) supporting independent luthiers makes for good karma, and (b) his instruments don't hit the market very often.

Update (2/8/15): As I've been doing more reading on the history of Hawaiian guitar I'm coming to understand that calling these "Weissenborn-style" instruments is inaccurate, although that term is commonly used. Although Hermann Weissenborn certainly made (relatively) many guitars in this style, the design of these instruments was not original to him. Read more here, and also check out the book by Noe & Most (1999), Chris J. Knutsen: From Harp Guitars to the New Hawaiian Family.


What I'm GAS-ing for, fall 2014 edition

A couple of years ago I posted on "what I'm GAS-ing for..." (i.e., what Guitars I wished I could Acquire, which is a bit of a Syndrome). Here's an updated list of what I'm currently lusting after:

  • A Weissenborn-style lap slide guitar. Mission accomplished.
  • A 12-fret dreadnought, like a D-18S or Collings D1, or a Gibson Roy Smeck-style guitar (converted original, or Fairbanks/Kopp take on this model). July 2016 update: found a nice Santa Cruz RS, all stock specs except for a European spruce top.
  • I'd like to play a Collings CJ35. I'm not necessarily jonesing to buy one, but I'm really intrigued by this guitar.
  • I have a tenor guitar incoming from luthier David Cavins, which should be here in a couple of months, and I'm looking forward to that a lot. It's here!
  • A case or gig-bag for my banjo (update: I ended up getting a Reunion Blues Continental bag). The case it came with is crap. I should probably get a better case for my vintage National Tricone Squareneck too, but I don't see taking that with me to jams much, so that's less pressing.

Ben Harper and his Weissenborn.Surprisingly, that's about it. I've pretty much satiated my desire for guitars, other than what's above. I have a banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and a couple of resonators, so I'm pretty much flush. At least until I take up the fiddle :-)

It's interesting to see that the 2012 and 2014 lists are pretty different. It's not that I've aquired everything (or anything, for that matter) from the 2012 list. But tastes and interests change. As much as I'm first and foremost a guitar player, my interest in banjo and resonator guitars has taken center-stage recently. That being said, all of the stuff on the 2012 list is still appealing to me. I was seriously considering a Martin OM-18 Authentic as my 40th birthday present, but ended up going for a Collings D1ASB instead. Would still like that Authentic, though.