Along with drums and flutes, strings are one of the oldest known sound-producing techniques. The first simple stringed instruments originated from hunting bows. Subsequently stringed instruments continued to develop in almost all cultures, becoming more and more adapted to the corresponding musical needs and fashions.

The Longboardharp is a new addition to the family of stringed instruments.

While pretty much all acoustic stringed instruments combine the static and sonic function in one body, the design of the Longboardharp separates these two functions. The strings are held by the solid wooden frame, while the soundbox stands freely on the strings via a bridge.

With the Longboardharps I, II and III, the soundbox is located exactly in the middle of the strings, resulting in the string sections on both sides of the bridge sounding exactly the same. When the strings on one side are excited, the strings on the other side resonate. Longboardharp IV features the possibility to mount the soundbox to one end of the strings, resulting in an one octave lower pitch. Longboardharp V allows for one more position of the soundbox: in the 1/3 position the strings are divided in a 1:2 ratio, making the strings on one side sound an octave higher than on the other.

The 6 to 8 strings made of piano wire with different diameters can be tuned to any tone system above the fundamental G (corresponding to the fundamental D with the soundbox in the 1/3 position). The strings are played with bows, mallets and by plucking. Markings on the string show the vibration nodes. By touching these points and simultaneously exciting the string, the overtones of the strings can be played. It is also possible to use a slider in combination with bowing or plucking.

Longboardharps can be used as semi-acoustic instruments. Electromagnetic pickups (humbucker type), can be attached at both sides of the instrument. The acoustic sound and the electrically amplified sound have different characteristics. While the wooden soundbox amplifies both string vibrations and tactile sounds (plucking, bowing), the pickups register solely the string vibrations. The pickups can be used for amplification and recording. By using two pickups, a stereo sound can be produced.

The Longboardharp can also be played by two musicians simultaneously, with one musician on each side of the instrument. Both musicians have basically the same, but mirrored, musical possibilities.

The Longboardharp was developed in 2016, presented to the public for the first time in 2019, and has been under constant technical and sonic development ever since. After initially using plywoods, the soundboxes are now made of thin solid woods, using materials and techniques from classical instrument making.

The aim of the Longboardharp project is to further develop this new instrument and to constantly improve its acoustic and musical potential.

project Longboardharp

string instruments  /  experimental music project

Longboardharp IV   2021

Longboardharp I

Longboardharp II

Longboardharp III

Longboardharp IV

Live performance for the opening of the exhibition Dzwieki Pierwotne (Primal Sound)

in the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum Gdansk (PL),  17.05.2019

The recording is a mix of the direct recording from the pickups and a natural ambient recording.

Session recording at Studio Lastadia, Gdansk PL 2022

Longboardharp V

Concert at NOMUS Nowe Muzeum Sztuki (New Museum of Art), Gdansk PL, 22.10.2021

Longboardharps III & IV and electronics

Recording made for the exhibition NN Kunstpreis (Kunsthaus Nürnberg)

Longboardharp II, natural recording 21.06.2020

Longboardharp V

More videos on my YouTube channel

project Longboardharp