Named the Ha Shem, it is believed that the unique instrument is the first-ever Grand Concert Classical Harp. The instrument encompasses the sound of the harp, violin, cello and guitar into one to create “the classical guitar of the 20th century”.
However, as Esteban explains on his website “the Ha Shem doesn’t sound like a guitar, even though it is two 11 string guitars together”.
“The unique sound of the Ha Shem together with the use of the bow creates yet another dimension to the overall sound which is a completely new departure in the evolution of sound, harmonies and composition,” he continued.
Esteban explained that in making the instrument he wanted to create an instrument that had not been derived from a particular culture or type of music, but an instrument that “transcends cultures and in so doing gives birth to a completely new sound”.
There are currently two models of the Ha-Shem built by two different and renowned English guitar makers. The acoustic model which is pictured in the photographs was built by Stephen Hill and a more futuristic, electric model that was made by Christopher Wood.
Acclaimed as one of the “greatest guitarists of our century” by the Observer, Esteban is keen to make the move away from the “white noise” of music technology and ensure that audiences are able to focus on what they hear rather than what they see.
Learning to play the instrument was a challenge in itself, with the change in shape and technique requiring Esteban to start from the beginning once again.
“I knew this would involve new playing techniques and a whole new set of learning in changing the fret board from a conventional guitar to an instrument that could accommodate having two guitars tuned differently in my hands,” he explained.
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