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Gibson Multiharp Pedal Steel Guitar

Item #676
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This very rare vintage Gibson Multiharp pedal steel guitar is from the late 1950s, and is the most expensive instrument that Gibson made during that decade. Electronics tested and working, otherwise untested.

Here's some info on the Gibson Multiharp, from the Gibson website:

In 1956 Gibson’s offering was augmented with the Multiharp, which could be described as the fusion of an EH-620 with a Console Grande – resulting in a triple-neck console with six pedals. The middle 8-string neck was similar to that of the EH-620, while the two outer “passive” necks were meant for treble and bass settings. Taking into account the chords available with the EH-620, the Multiharp was promoted as “the equivalent of more than nine necks”. The argument was deemed so powerful that the first catalog entry of the Multiharp omitted to specify that the instrument was also equipped with the new humbucking pick-ups. All three necks were mounted with 8-pole humbuckers, with separate volume and tone controls for each neck, “du-wah” and “audio cut-off” controls and a four-way neck switch (1-2-3-All).

The Multiharp was built around a metal frame covered by a maple casing shaped like a reverse trapezoid prism, i.e. its bottom edges were shorter than the upper edges. The body received a lustrous ebony livery, possibly meant to streamline visually its large size – 36-3/8” long, 14-5/8” wide and 4-3/8” deep. For a better contrast the fret-boards were done in different shades of gold with a lighter hue on the outside necks. At $895 (including case), the Multiharp instantly became Gibson’s most expensive instrument, at a time when the top Spanish guitar, the Super 400CESN, listed for $760! With such unprecedented features and price, the Multiharp was dubbed “one of the most exciting developments in Gibson’s history of electronic firsts”. Despite its price tag, it sold fairly well in its first full year, as no less than 44 units were delivered in 1957.

To capitalize fully on the momentum for pedal steels, the Multiharp would be followed in 1957 by a budget model, the EH-610, heralded as “the right answer for the student of 6 string steel guitar who wants to create all the fine sounds of a pedal guitar without getting into the 8 string tuning”. Built of laminated oak, the 6-string EH-610 was equipped with four pedals and a regular humbucking pickup – which explains why it is now difficult to find EH-610s with their original electronics, given the top money commanded by original “patent applied for” humbuckers! Although it listed in July 1957 for half the price of the 4-pedal Electraharp, the EH-610 never became a volume item, and it sold only marginally better than its bigger siblings, the EH-620 and EF-630. It nonetheless enabled Gibson to boast a range of four different pedal-operated steel guitars.

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