...about 62 Jew's harp-types from all over the world in colored photographs - classified on the vernacular names for the Jew's harps and on several Jew's harp-makers

list of Jew's harp makers

list of Jew's harp names

metal Jew's harps

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wooden Jew's harps & curiosities








Friederich Schlütter




Striking triangle-design of the Maultrommel
of Friedrich Schlütter (photo: Izz van Elk)









Friedrich Schlütter is large-scale producer of the Jew's harp from the village Zella-Mehlis in the Thüringer Wald (former German Democratic Republic). The silver coloured, polished Jew's harps show a typical triangular shape.
On the mouth-part of the frame we find an unusual shape where it touches our incisors: it will not give ease to anyone who plays. The Jew's harps are produced in chromatic series, available in two octaves, from the low tone DD going up to D, and once again up to the very high pitch of d and higher.


Some Jew's specialists are enthusiastic about the quality of this German traditional type. Others (including myself) regard the sound of the high-pitched specimen as too strident, which makes the harmonic sound of the instrument too tinny or too brassy. After a while in one of the specimens I have played on, a parasite-like sound appeared which is impossible to influence or to avoid. In several European (main) cities (e.g. Brussels, Rotterdam or München) one will find him in specialized music shops.










Karl Schwarz


Blue coated standard Maultrommel from Molln, Austria (by Karl Schwarz)
(photo: Izz van Elk)










Karl Schwarz is known as the most productive large-scale producer of Jew's harps in Molln. Up to this time Karl Schwarz hasn't shown his colleagues and the onlooking neighbourhood that he's a shy man concerning the concurrency in this small village.

All his mechanically produced Jew's harps appear in different sizes and pitches (not specifically tuned) on the European market, and receive coatings of coloured paint or electrolysis. The quality in general is reasonable, the best for beginners who are discovering the sound of the Jew's harp. The quality is not attractive for advanced trumpers and professional concert performers.




Twin Harp


Steven Stoop


The twin harp is a two-in-one Jew's harp. Its design is homemade by Steven Stoop (see photo below), a Jew's harp researcher from Amsterdam. The harp frame is made of brass.

Steven Stoop

no review
(we didn't test a specimen)









Steven Stoop from Amsterdam








Zoltán Szilágyi




Two of the many types in Zoltán Szylágyi's annualy production (photo: Izz van Elk)








Beside the Schwarz company from Austria, Zoltán Szilágyi is probably the most expansive large-scale producer on the European market of the last decade. This manufacturer makes thousands of Jew's harps in one year, in countless types and sizes, all in varied pitches. In my opinion very good Jew's harps (doromb in Hungarian) can be generated by Szilágyi's hands, but the number is relatively little! Is that because of his large-scale production?
A lot (but not all) of the low-tuned Jew's harps have a very dark and even unwieldly sound. That makes it hard to categorize them as a harmonious musical instrument. Sure, it depends on how someone taste is on this subject.
There are some low-pitched Jew's harps


harps from Szilágyi that sound very bright and elegant. The very high-pitched Jew's harps very often have a kind of aggressive sound. I also was taught by experience that the Jew's harps with obviously a better quality unexpectedly can confront you with a small break in its lamella. It happened to me several times that the lamella broke within two hours of playing on a new instrument. Szilágyi's balancing of the pitches is reasonable to very good. But on the whole in my perception, the Jew's harps of Szilágyi are too expensive for the unsteady quality they present.









Franz Wimmer


 a Wimmer large-scale production Jew's harp
(photo : Izz van Elk)


Franz Wimmer

Wimmer's machinery






Franz Wimmer is one of the large-scale Jew's harp producers who exports his store to several continents of the world. Nevertheless his large-scale production of a very simple Jew's harp (Maultrommel) is in various sizes, on which a little of labour is spent. The quality of the Wimmer-Maultrommel is reasonable.
The opinion of some specialists says, that if a man like Franz Wimmer should spend more time on manufacturing his instruments in a more individual way, a very good handicraft Jew's harp will appear


from his hands, a specimen that very well could be used as an adequate musical instrument and, moreover, that would not be expensive. The Wimmer Jew's harps are convenient for beginners who are discovering the initial sounds of the Jew's harp.
The tone of a Wimmer Jew's harp can be loud and clear. Most of them appear in pitches between G and A. As far as I know the Wimmer Jew's harp has the advantage that it (mostly) is not wrapped up into a colourful coating, protecting the Jew's harp against oxidation but on the other hand bringing in a disadvantage to the sound of the plucked tone.







Roland Bades and Franz Wimmer (right) on their large-scale production in Molln
(photo: Ilse Bades)






machines on Jew's harp-production at Wimmer, Molln
(photo: Ph.Bakx, 1992)







Ivan Fiodorovitch Zakharov,
shaman, juweller and Jew's harp-forger
from Vil'nisk (Yakutia)
(photo: Fred Crane)

(Antropodium ed.-staff: there never have been
Zakharov-Jew's harps in our hands)