the Amish Harp

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Project by mountain934 posted 04-27-2012 01:53 PM 1966 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well it`s been awhile since i did such a unique instrument as this one. It all started with buying an old washboard at the local thrift store. Sittin in my shop and staring at it … thinkin…now what can i make out of this…lol. Then it started…a stringed instrument ! there`s 11 strings in all, bottom- 4 string dulci, middle-6 string harp, top- 1 bass string drone. It has 4 rod piezo`s in the bridge and a magnetic pickup under the metal part. Seperate input jacks so i can use 2 amps at once. The body was the bottom of an old silverware box..17” x 12” x 4”. The frame is doubled up 1×2 red oak. The fretboard is exotic Bocote and is screwed in place, i will be doing another fretboard later with a guitar fretting so i can switch them in and out. It turned out super nice for just the 3 months it took me to build it. A very unique sound and i`m very happy with it !

-- R.S.Bretz, Pa.

15 comments so far

View Dallas's profile


3570 posts in 1576 days

#1 posted 04-27-2012 02:12 PM

Yeah, it looks good but can you play “Wipe Out” on it? LOL.

Just kidding, I think it’s pretty cool!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View drbyte's profile


665 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 04-27-2012 02:19 PM

The ultimate home-made, stringed contraption!! Need a couple extra hands so you could play rhythm along with the strings on the washboard!! Great job. by the way, how are all those strings tuned?

-- Dennis, WV

View mountain934's profile


107 posts in 1725 days

#3 posted 04-27-2012 02:34 PM

I tuned the dulci to GCG and tuned the harp by ear to that. It really adds a nice sound to the dulci. Yeah it`s an on going learning instrument…lol. But since i finished it last nite i can`t stop playing it. Today i want to plug it in to one of my bigger amps and try some effects with it. It really is a fun instrument.

-- R.S.Bretz, Pa.

View amagineer's profile


1402 posts in 1686 days

#4 posted 04-27-2012 03:09 PM

Now thats my kind of instrument. Very original. Would love to here it play.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View helluvawreck's profile


19499 posts in 1955 days

#5 posted 04-27-2012 05:02 PM

That’s really very nice and quite unique. I’d love to hear it.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View nonickswood's profile


501 posts in 1476 days

#6 posted 04-27-2012 10:42 PM

UNIQUE is the word.
After you get practiced up you’ll have to put up a video
so we can all hear it!
Very nice job!

-- Nick, Virginia,

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

5867 posts in 1469 days

#7 posted 04-28-2012 08:27 AM

I really want to see a video of it in action.


View Doe's profile


1178 posts in 1919 days

#8 posted 04-28-2012 08:54 AM

Me too. It’s a beauty!

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View patron's profile


13422 posts in 2430 days

#9 posted 04-28-2012 09:00 AM

great build
a real winner

like to hear it
and see the costume
you come up with
for the big show

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View rejo55's profile


178 posts in 1331 days

#10 posted 04-28-2012 12:44 PM

My kinda thinking—my kinda instrument! Who woulda thunk it?
I see the star-shaped holes on the washboard. All you need now are some LED’s that pulsate when you get your costume on and make the vid.LOL
Beautiful job. Fine craftsmanship.
Have a good’un


-- rejo55, East Texas

View smithy's profile


95 posts in 1417 days

#11 posted 04-29-2012 02:31 AM

I am achin’ to hear that, as well!

-- Kevin, Indiana

View mountain934's profile


107 posts in 1725 days

#12 posted 04-29-2012 09:54 AM

There`s a magnetic pickup right under the metal part of the washboard, and 4 rod style piezo`s in the bridge. The first part of the vid is acoustic only, then the mag pickup, then the bridge. It really does have a unique sound, but it`s more of a learn as you go type of instrument. Once i get fairly well on it i`ll have my wife [ she plays guitar and sings ] do a duet with me to really show how the build sounds. It took me 3 months to build this, more of figuring out how to make it work…lol.

-- R.S.Bretz, Pa.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

5867 posts in 1469 days

#13 posted 04-30-2012 02:29 AM

That’s a crazy instrument, thanks for the video.


View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 1454 days

#14 posted 09-08-2012 12:00 PM

Love that mountain music sound. Thanks for the demo.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


969 posts in 2209 days

#15 posted 10-22-2013 10:58 AM

what a unique instrument

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

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