23 string Harp Guitar
Behold, the Harp Guitar! This very special instrument (that I designed myself) is available for Concerts and House concerts - for 'listening' audience events (e.g. not for background music).
For a truly unique listening experience I offer performances on an amazing and very rare instrument - a 23 string 'Harp Guitar.' This wonderful instrument has to be seen and heard to be believed!
Harp Guitars can have any combination of fretted and un-fretted strings and have been around for many centuries - longer than 6 string guitars in fact, and have a rich and varied but elusive history all across the globe.
They have a sound all of their own - bigger, richer and more resonant than any 'normal' guitar - and a wider range with lower sub-basses and higher super-trebles. The extra strings open up new worlds of musical possibilities and sonic scope.
This instrument has a normal 6 string guitar neck, but also 7 low 'sub-bass' strings (like a Theorbo) and 10 high 'super-treble' strings which sound a little like a zither.
I designed this modern incarnation of the instrument myself (inspired by other similar versions) and had it made by renowned UK luthier Stuart Mewburn - a lengthy and challenging process that took nearly 5 years, but that's another story...
I compose new and original music for Harp Guitar and that was my main reason for creating this instrument. As a composer I draw inspiration from people, events and places I have known and tend to write in a semi impressionistic way, often trying to capture the mood or spirit of a particular place or person.
I also play works by other Harp Guitar composers who have inspired me and also arrange existing guitar repertoire (Bach works well) and popular songs for it.
To hear how it sounds, have a look at these videos below.
Harp Guitar Videos
Londonderry Air (O Danny Boy) arr. J Pickard
"The Princess & The Walnut" by Jon Pickard
Down By The Salley Gardens (Yeates/Britten)
"Scallywag's Breakfast" by Jon Pickard
"Wayfarer On The Path To Holy Cross Abbey" (John Doan)
"Beating Heart" by Jon Pickard (Harp Guitar)
Interview for Frome FM
La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (Claude Debussy), arr. J Pickard
"St Patrick In The Spirit" (John Doan)
"Prelude / Ave Maria" J.S. Bach, arr. J Pickard
"Bonny Portmore" Trad. Irish. Arr. J Pickard
Herm Trilogy i. "St. Tugual's Retreat"
Herm Trilogy ii. "The Old Spine Road"
Herm Trilogy iii. "Tides At Alderney Point"
"Resting On Jacob's Pillow" (John Doan)
Harp Guitar CD
"Metamorphia", by Jon Pickard
CDs now available.
Also available for download in 2 formats - mp3 versions (smaller files) and high definition "lossless audio" WAV files (larger files).
This is my first Harp Guitar album. It is the result of 3 years learning, growing, writing and producing.
I recorded this whole album 3 times before I was happy with it, and before that spent months and years putting the compositions together so that you the listener can have the best possible experience.
It has been a process of gradual but constant change and 'morphing' for me as a musician as I get to grips with the new possibilities, challenges and scope of this incredible instrument. My musical brain now works a little differently than before, as do my fingers as they play.
I am now forced to think and practice in new ways, to try to make real some of the potential that this 'new' genre of Harp Guitar music offers. I say "new" but actually Harp Guitars have been around for centuries, when I finally got this one they were new to me as a player.
I am enthralled by Harp Guitars in general and hope to play a small part in their ongoing future.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me, bought the album, made a donation. I couldn't have made this album without you. So to you, a huge THANK YOU!