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Spotlight: Harper Bloom

Harper Bloom
(Image credit: Supplied)

HARPER BLOOM

HAILS FROM: Melbourne, VIC
PLAYS: Solo
SOUNDS LIKE: Enigmatic storytelling spun through a web of warm, homely folk
LATEST DROP: Faith, Sex & Skin (EP out now independently)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
I am currently using a Cort GA1F-ABW National grand auditorium acoustic guitar. I had been using an old steel-stringed dreadnought Ibanez for about ten years, and I thought I should probably have a spare in case the string breaks at a gig. I really love my Ibanez though, it has a lovely warm and earthy tone, and it was pretty great value too – around $700. When I was buying the Cort, someone had told me that Cort actually manufactures Ibanez guitars (which could be wrong), but I loved the grand auditorium shape and cutaway of this particular Cort guitar and I thought it had a similar earthy sound to my current Ibanez when amplified.

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
I was at a music shop with my dad when I was really young, because my sister was getting singing lessons there. I picked up this little nylon-string guitar and asked my dad if he would buy it for me. He said he would if I got some lessons, so that’s how I first got into playing guitar. I loved being able to play songs on it that my dad used to listen too – which was a lot of Bob Dylan. My dad always said that being able to write songs and play the guitar was powerful, so I just wanted to get better and better at it. 

Also, one of my uncles is super musical and he used to play a lot of blues, and I just loved watching him and his friends jam so effortlessly. They knew the instrument so well, it was second nature to play – that definitely made me fall in love with the instrument. 

What inspires you as a player?
I definitely think The Beatles are a huge influence. I listened to their albums on repeat when I was lifeguarding, and I used to play a lot of their songs like “Blackbird” and “Here Comes The Sun”. I think their knack for simple chord-based melodies and upbeat fingerstyle guitar directly influences the structures of my songs. Also, Bob Dylan. His guitar playing is simple, but I feel like less is more, especially if you have a lot to say.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
To be honest – not really! I try to live by the words “simple yet effective”, so I am quite a minimalist in that sense. I don’t use any effects. I do love my little Fender Acoustasonic guitar amp, though!

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
A custom built Cole Clark guitar. They sound so smooth and acoustic. They also look so beautiful, that Australian wood must make all the difference. 

What would your signature model look like?
Well it would be a Cole Clark, grand auditorium shape and Angel 2 size with beautiful light-coloured Australian Bunya wood and a blackwood fretboard with phosphor bronze strings. I generally use a capo up on the sixth and seventh frets, so a cutaway is a must. I also like to use different chord voicings quite high up the fretboard, so I look for a lower fret to string distance then standard – probably, around 2.2 millimetres above the 12th fret. 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
It would be Paul McCartney and we would play “Blackbird”! That song taught me so much about chord voicings and fingerpicking, and I always turn to it when I’m feeling a bit low. It is such a beautiful and powerful song.