85p vs prelude40

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    Donna O

    I currently play a L&H Prelude 40 which has a beautiful rich sound. I have an opportunity to get a L&H 85p. Does anyone have an opinion about whether there would be any advantage, other than pedals to getting the 85p? Both have 40 strings and are about the same dimensions.

    Sherj DeSantis

    Donna, maybe it depends on what you want to do with your music. My mother’s Prelude was lovely and had a great sound. I have a Steen lever harp and a L&H Style 17 pedal harp. If you are playing out professionally, some people might have a preference for which harp they prefer, i.e. a very formal wedding might request a pedal harp only, orchestras also. A small wedding among friends might prefer a lever harp. I own both and that works best for me. I know people who buy lever harps with more of a pedal harp look. My mom was quite tall and felt she needed the taller Prelude, and did not want a pedal harp. I love the smaller pedal harps, so much easier to transport. I would grab it if I could!

    Donna O

    Thanks Sherj for your feedback. I may occasionally play for friends but It is unlikely I will ever play out professionally. I started taking lessons late in life and my goal was to learn the harp for my own enjoyment primarily. The opportunity for the 85P sort of just popped up recently and it looked too good not to consider it. I really do love my Prelude.
    I am going to speak with my teacher at my next lesson to see what he thinks as well.


    What it comes down to is the music you want to play. If you want to play fairly chromatic music regularly, such as Jazz or Classical, or pop, then you are better off with the 85P. (not that you can’t play anything in these genres on lever harp, but there is a lot of music in these genres that you can’t).

    If you are playing diatonic or only slightly chromatic music then you are probably better off sticking with the Prelude.

    They are both good harps. What I always say is that you want the right tool for the job, and in this case the music is the job and the harp is the tool. Figure out what harp bests fits the job and go with it.

    As a general rule the pedal harp will be most versatile. I play a range of music and use both lever and pedal harp, and while there are a fair number of things I play that simply can’t be played on the lever harp I have yet to come across something I can play on lever harp that I can’t play on pedal harp as well.

    However, that said there are definitely arrangements I use that are easier to play on lever harp than on pedal harp so it’s not that the pedal harp is inherently superior. Also if you aren’t going to play professionally and don’t have a real desire to play music or arrangements that are highly chromatic then you can always find plenty in all genres that you can play on lever harp.

    That and the cost of maintaining a pedal harp are good reasons not to switch unless you have a real reason to.

    Donna O

    Thanks Tony for the feedback. While I love classical music, I’m not sure my abilities will allow me to play a lot of chromatic classical music. I have, with the help of my teacher found a lot of music that is appropriate for the lever harp or can be adapted. I really liked your saying about the right tool for the right job. It helps me organize my thoughts about making this decision. The cost would be a consideration as would having to learn pedals. “Can an old dog learn new tricks?”

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