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Dave Thormahlen Dave Thormahlen
Dave Thormahlen first became interested in instrument making as a mandolin playing teenager in Palo Alto, CA. Dave regularly attended jam sessions at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto. One night the owner, Frank Ford, let him play a mandolin he had just finished building. The light bulb went on and Dave thought, "Wow, people actually make these things. I would like to do that."

With great encouragement from his parents, he went to college, eventually earning a master’s degree in Geology. It was while Dave was a graduate student at Oregon State University that he happened upon the Memorial Union Craft Center. There, Dave found his second home, and with his childhood background of building boats with his dad and junior high woodshop, he was able to pursue his dream of learning the craft of making musical instruments. The creative freedom to work out his own harp design led him to focus on harp making.

Over the last 20 years, Dave has refined his skills and designs while making over 1400 instruments, specializing in his 36 string Swan and Cygnet harps along with the newer Serenade, Ceili, and Ceili-Mor.

“In my work as an instrument maker, I am fortunate to be able to combine my love of music and a fascination with woodworking. Although harps are the main focus of my business, I try to find time to make a few guitars and mandolins. You can see some of my work at: Thormahlen Guitars and Mandolins. With most instruments the choice of woods is fairly narrow, defined by what the players want and expect. In the harp world, the choices are wide open. The instrument lends itself to more options of materials allowing me to combine many different varieties of woods.”

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Thormahlen Harps | 1876 SW Brooklane Corvallis, Oregon 97333 | (541) 753-4334 | harps@thorharp.com