Dominik Wurth grew up in a small rural village located at the edge of the Black Forest in Germany. He discovered the guitar in his early twenties. After some time and technical progress he became dissatisfied with the sound of his beginner’s guitar and needed a better instrument. To get a deeper insight into the differences in quality and to be better prepared to buy the right instrument, he started reading about guitar building. After reading several books, the idea of not buying a guitar but building one grabbed him and after a very long and hard ordeal he finished his first guitar. In order to give his chosen path a direction, he matriculated at the world’s only university for string instruments in Zwickau and completed his studies in 2012. During this time he received the title “Master of the Plucked Instrument Maker’s Handicraft”.
This particular harp guitar is based on the Larson brothers’ Dyer Type 2 harp guitar, a steel-string guitar with five additional bordun strings. W.J. Dyer was born in London in 1841 and came to America with his family in 1869. He first worked as a music teacher and later on he opened a music shop together with his brother. The business flourished, and the Dyer company grew in size. Together with the Minnesota Conservatory of Music he founded the first music school in the country, provided classrooms for orchestra rehearsals, and ran the Dyer Music Hall, which was used for small concert performances. He probably sold mainly pianos and organs, but also the whole range of orchestral instruments and numerous accessories, reaching a company value of 500,000 dollars in 1891.
The Larson brothers, Carl Johann Ferdinant Larson, born 1867 (l.) and Peter August Larson (r.), born 1873, emigrated from Sweden to America, working first in a drum factory in Ravenswood, Illinois. After a heavy fire destroyed the factory in 1893, the two brothers had to look for a new job and ended up at Maurer & Co., who mainly made guitars and mandolins, and where they were not only employed as workers but soon became partners in the company. In 1901 the brothers were commissioned by W.J. Dyer to build more harp guitars in his name to meet the ever-increasing demand. At first, they copied the Knutsen design with the Larson-Dyer Type 1 (1901-1904), but after some time they changed the design and the Larson-Dyer Type 2 (1904-1920) was born, the most successful harp guitar model, which so many guitarists love and appreciate today. The Type 2 model, of which about 500-600 copies were made, was later divided into five styles.
The sound is simply amazing, with strong treble voices and a never-ending sustain, paired with the deepest basses you can wish for on a steel-string guitar. It is a real pleasure to play on this harp guitar, also because these models are not easy to find, especially in Europe. In terms of craftsmanship, this harp guitar by Dominik Wurth is of the highest standard, also considering the rather complex construction with all its bindings and inlays. The reverb effect created by the additional basses is very inspiring and it is almost hard to put this wonderful instrument out of your hand.
|Body and sides:||Mahogany|
|Air resonance frequency:||G#|
|Tuners:||Rubner & Scheller|