Worland Custom Guitars

The lyra harp guitar project

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Started Jan 2005

This shows the construction of a lyra harp guitar inspired by the design of William Eaton's Lyraharp guitar. The design of this lyra harp guitar was done in close collaboration with the customer to suit his needs and his style.

Here is a preliminary sketch where the customer and I worked out some of the details. The final concept is for a 24 string (10 bass-6 guitar-8 treble) keeping the overall size fairly compact. This sketch shows sharping levers which we decided not to use because the lyre necks became to wide and bulky with them.

The top, back and sides will all be koa. The necks will be mahogany capped with ebony and bound in curly maple.



Once we decided on a final design I made a quick prototype out of styrofoam and plywood to see how the harp guitar would feel size wise and to help visualize the final guitar.



The koa sides were bent over a hot pipe and assembled on a work board. This is a tricky operation when there are a lot of points that have to come together.



Here the linings are being glued on in the usual manner, with clothes pins.




The completed rim with attachment blocks glued in place where the necks will join the body.




The rosette is made up of mother of pearl stars in an ebony background. Lots of precise fitting as my shop cat relaxes below my workbench.



Body with the neck in place.




The lyra necks are formed from laminated mahogany strips and glued together and clamped in a mold. Once the glue dries I sanded them down to the proper thickness and cut the ends off cleanly to match where they join the body.



The laminated lyra necks in place. The whole of the lyra design is now begining to take shape.




Here is a view from inside the body showing the bracing. There are 3 rosewood bridge plates. The bracing is a combination X brace and fan bracing. There will be a total of 24 steel strings pulling on the top so I want to make sure it's strong enough. The concept here is to direct as much of the stress up into the upper bout where there is a big mahogany block providing structural support.


K&K Sound made a custom pickup with 12 pickup heads based on their Pure Mini pickups. The pickup heads attach to the underside of the bridge plates with cyanoacrylate glue. The 6 melody strings are wired to one channel of the stereo output jack and the bass and treble strings are wired to the other channel.



I've added a 1/16" veneer of ebony to the lyre necks and bound them in curly maple. The ebony bridges which are 3 seperate pieces are temporarily mounted and will also be bound in maple. This will give the illusion of one continuous line for the lyre "neck".



All of the components which bolt together have been completed and will be finished separtately.




The lyra harp guitar all assembled and ready for finishing.




The final result.





Worland Guitars - 810 North First Street - Rockford, IL 61107 - 815.961.8854


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