Sorry I never took construction photos of the ones I made back in the eighties.
That was before digital cameras, or the internet, or really even computers as we know them today.
The drawings were all by hand and the text was from my electric typewriter. (now long gone)
The electronics were of the day, but primitive today. This was before MP3’s or CD’s and the very beginning of sampling keyboards. MOOG analogue synthesizers were still common.
You may have seen the video
Peter Pringle supposedly playing his “working” Vulcan Harp.
Well . . . if you know much about music and stringed instruments, you can see that he is quite accomplished at faking it, but the sounds heard are most certainly not being produced by what he is doing.
If I were to build more, I would use an MP3 player or BlueTooth receiver from my phone.
Then, with a little practice, mime the playing as Peter has done.
It would present very well at conventions or for friends, but you can’t play the latest hit song, or “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on it by ear, as it were.
The reality is that the sounds used for the TV show were a sixties organ and a guitar with a lot of reverb.
When I made my first one, and went to a ST convention in St. Louis, people would come up and ask, “Did you build that?”
“Yes, I did”
“Does it play.”
“Yes” And I would play a little. They were suitably impressed.
I was approached by Jeff of New Eye Studio, a sci-fi mail order catalogue of the day, (before the internet existed) and he asked “Did you build that?”
“Yes, I did”
“Do you have drawings for all the parts, and do you think you could make a set of plans for it?”
“Well . . . . . probably.”
So after some mailing back and forth, and a few phone calls, I came up with this.
Since then I have read that some think they are badly flawed, but the size and shape are as accurate as anything could be. For the front and back I used a thin birch plywood known then as “door skin” which seems to be out of fashion nowadays. Spruce, like for guitar tops would work nice, but probably expensive. For the spine I used walnut, also harder to come by these days. Used to be pretty common.
Other woods and a little stain would make a very nice piece, but actually playable acoustically is unlikely due to the shape and parts designed for looks and not for sound. The bridge does not have enough tension on it, the big round knob of a tailpiece is too large and heavy.
The strings cannot possibly be “glided” by turning the knob. The tension on each string would be different and NEVER stay in tune.
If I designed it acoustically, the strings would anchor at the bridge, not the big round tailpiece.
This would put enough tension on the top to make some sound, but tuning and playability are another thing. The neck should really be supported, and not just sticking out there.
BUT IS DOES LOOK COOL DOESN’T IT ?
Did I go on too long ?