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Created by Fred Carlson, Oracle is a 24-string Harp-Sympitar, commissioned by software writer and guitarist Jeff Titus. Jeff's inspiration was a combination of the harp-guitar work of the late Michael Hedges, and Alex de Grassi's use of the 18-string Sympitar. Jeff intended the instrument to be a loving tribute and dedication to Michael Hedges. The spiral and arrows inlay motif used on the back of the instrument and as an inlay at the 12th fret of the fingerboard, is the property of the Michael Hedges Estate, and is used with permission.

Oracle was built to be primarily acoustic, but is is fully amplifiable and midi-capable; each set of strings has a separate pickup system with separate output jack. It has 6 main, fretted strings; 6 sub-bass harp strings on a bass-side body extension with separate peghead; and 12 internal sympathetic resonating strings. As with Fred's 18-string Sympitars, the internal sympathetics run inside the neck, inside the body and go over an East Indian style "jiwari" bridge, that gives them a little buzz: that Indian drone sound. The spiral and arrows inlay (done in fine maple purfling line) on the rosewood back delineates a magnetically closed access door, useful for replacing or adjusting sympathetic strings, internal electronics and for repair access.

Visit Fred Carlson's BeyondTheTrees.com website for more information on his quality custom stringed instruments and more.

Photo credits: Alan Porter


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