What does a guitar have to do with the harp?
This harp belonged to Walter Pfeil. I haven’t been able to find out anything more. He extensively modified it as you can see from the pictures of the base. He is/was wont to replace any metal parts with ones of his own choosing.
I asked Lyon & Healy what an overhaul on an instrument like this would cost including replacing the neck, re-riveting, new soundboard, rebuilding the base, aligning the column, and re-gilding and their reply was from $19,500-22,500.-
So with their $15,000 asking price, I don’t think it would be worth it- There are several new instruments by Lyon & Healy and other manufacturers that are under $20,000 new. You get a warranty,etc. As most people know, a used harp, especially over 40 years old, can be a real gamble, unless it was rebuilt at some point.
I went down to the pawn shop to look at it- the neck has some visible filler on a few tuning pins near the knee block along with some cracks-the top string is missing-not sure if the pin is there- there is also a crack in the baseboard- the worst part is the base which is separated from the body especially on the left side where the d pedal is- I spoke with Walter who said it was too expensive to fix, so he left it that way. Walter also told me he replaced the rods at some time with stainless ones, that according to him ,would have more resistance to rust and breakage.This harp will need a lot of work but might make a good practice instrument for a beginner who would be willing to save up for the inevitable expensive repairs ahead. The pawn shop told me Lyon & Healy and VA Harp Center told him it was worth $10,000 in any condition but neither of them offered to buy it!
Robert- Thank you so much for posting that. It is really impossible to assess the condition of a harp from pictures. The gilding on the most beat up harp in the world looks fabulous in photographs. You can’t tell how much the neck is warped, how much the board is pulled up, etc. It’s only by examining it in person that you can get an accurate idea of it’s condition. Thanks again.
I purchased your book “A Guide For Harpists” before I went to look at this harp and the most obvious thing was where the body was separating from the base on the side of the “D” pedal. Even Walter Pfeil told me he couldn’t afford to fix it. The strings are ten years old. It does not have felts. Walter uses a different type of material. A few of the tuning pins are being held in with wood filler.
Robert- Thank you for the clarification. And it’s nice to know that my book helped you accurately assess the problems with the instrument.
I’m really sorry to hear that Walter got taken advantage of like that. Why didn’t he put it on ebay himself? I’m sure someone from the harp community in Philadelphia would have helped him do that and handle the sail. For the amount of work that it needs it’s not worth my time and money buying at that price.
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