An axe fit for a Bard…

With the Band of Bards developing fast, Michael asked a question: what instrument might represent an Ancient Order in a modern setting, and bridge those times?

He looked to the Celtic Harp or ‘Cruit’ whose musicians (the crythor) were held in great regard – both Bards and Cruit players were required by law to sit with the nobility at banquets, not with the common entertainers. How about fusing that with an acoustic-electric guitar, a modern ‘people’s instrument’ and an age-leveller?

How about a Harp Guitar?

Harp guitars was developed in the 1700s and have experienced a quiet rennaissance in the past thirty years, with a number of notable players including Muriel Anderson, John Doan, Andy McKee and also Jimmy Page (who used a Gibson Style-’U’), and one of Michael’s favourites, Stephen Bennett.

Michael’s harp is a hybrid instrument with a set of bass strings (Michael specified an extra to make seven in order to reach a bottom E, but swears he still needs one more) as well as the normal six of the everyman axe, which he tunes in various ways. He commissioned a customised build from Emerald Guitars in County Donegal, Ireland – a Synergy X20 – itself a combination of old and new, precision-engineered from carbon-fibre and topped with plantation-grown Harborica wood. Beautiful in design, shape and technology it is one strand of a Celtic triple-knot that forms our latest project – an English musician with an Irish-crafted instrument in a Welsh setting.