About HavocHarpa

How HavocHarpa came to be

In 2018 I heard my first Talharpa, like many people it was through Wardruna. I immediately fell in love with the sound and spent some time researching the instrument. Though I had not played an instrument in over 15 years, I was inspired to pick this one up.

I spent a number of years frequently considering purchasing one but there were so many all over Etsy and I had no idea what I was looking for; either quality or sound wise.

Being a person who makes things for a living (knives, specifically; HavocWorks.com) and owning most of the tools I would need already, I decided I would just make one and see how it went!

In 2022 I sat down and created a CAD model of a talharpa, modified from various plans I had found on the internet. Then in July I made my first one:

I am not a traditionalist at heart. I used Viola strings, I used scrap carbon fiber for the bridge and tailpiece, along with bass tuners instead of pegs. Primarily I wanted something that sounded good and that I could just pick up and play whenever I had time, be it 5 minutes or an hour. I got pretty lucky and had a good sounding instrument right off the batt.

I spent a lot of time experimenting with different bridges, 100’s of dollars of different strings, bow hair, you name it. I also spent an immense amount of time playing; not really practicing in a structured way but just improvising and experimenting. I work from home, if the CNC machine was running, I was playing. If I needed a break from assembling knives, I was playing. I REALLY love these instruments.

I received a lot of positive feedback on my playing and made progress very quickly. As long as I was a little better than the day before I was happy.

In June of 2023 I designed and made a “Mini” bass talharpa, using 1/8 scale cello strings. I was happy with some aspects of it and not others 🙂 BUT some of the design aspects I felt were adaptable to the original talharpa design. Most importantly, the “nut” and it’s ability to let me pretty precisely mark the note locations on the instrument.

I’m a visual player be it guitar, piano, whatever. I can mostly play the talharpa without visual aid now but I still prefer to have it. There are a lot of people interested in these instruments and if I can help get people playing them, I am happy to do so.

Over the last year and a bit I have had a number of people ask if I would make instruments to sell and while I very much enjoy making them, I couldn’t justify turning it in to a business; my primary business has a large backlog of orders to fill more often than not…and frankly is more profitable!

I really enjoy designing and experimenting with these. Unfortunately I can’t end up with a house full of instruments and neither can I afford to just build them constantly. So HavocHarpa will be my attempt to sell some of them, to fund making more of them!

My instruments are NOT traditional, while I love the sound of horsehair instruments I have not yet mastered making horsehair strings. If you are looking for that specific sound or an instrument that is entirely made by hand please check out some other makers whose instruments I like that sound of: