Acceptable "bow" on Eve 22?

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    hearpe on #189242

    Took delivery today on aforementioned Stoney End Eve 22.

    The harp arrived about two full steps under tune, which was fine because I was regretted not leaving a note to detune for shipping.

    So I’ve got the harp up to reasonable tune, and it DOES sound much better than my Pixie 19- brighter and more resonant- You can just feel the box has more resonance.

    But now what I notice is a bit of bowing of the harp- and not sure how well t shows in the photos-

    My question- Is this at all normal? And if so how much bow should ne be concerned about? The harp is designed to place the pins over the center line where the strings meet the soundboard below and obviously get some stress from that side the, but how much is “tolerable”?

    I can still return the harp at this point so I’m wondering. There is as yet no evidence of the top joint separating in any way. but the bow in it is apparent. Is this joint ever reinforced, in older harps, and would the placing of metal or wooden strips across the joint to add strength- see photoshopped picture- diminish the sound quality much? I’m sure it would probably NOT enhance any resale value.

    Also in the meantime, I queried Stoney End as to the age of the harp based upon the serial number, and they promptly e-mailed me back. I was surprised to learn the harp actually dates back to 1992- there’s not a scratch on it otherwise, and it appears as if no strings have ever been replaced unless done so very professionally.

    To those who replied that they also own an Eve harp- Does yours exhibit any bowing such as this? At this point I’m still contemplating a return, but unsure I will then repurchase another harp soon. My only alternative at getting more strings at anything near this price is the a paki harp at substantially more cost. The sound of this one will probably spoil me if I keep it. Despite the bowing it does sound sweet!

    What would you do?

    hearpe on #189246

     photo eve bow2_zpsrg3hja7h.jpg
    Ever reinforced here? At what cost to sound?

    Sorry about the edits- feeling my way through this image hosting and its doing strange inconsistent things!

    Biagio on #189250

    Oops. Here are my thoughts for what they’re worth.

    The deflection (“bow”) does not appear to be excessive – for now. But it will continue and eventually rupture. I’m loathe to estimate how long that would be, but within perhaps 10 years maybe. You have a few choices aside from returning it for a refund from what I see.

    1. Don’t worry about it and enjoy for now, assuming you may want a larger harp later.

    2. Reinforce the joint. This is not terribly difficult. You would have to de-string and possibly remove the levers and pins; then sand the right hand side flat over the joint, glue on a matching patch (about 1/4″ thick) with the grain running vertically.

    3. Or heck return it and buy another… my last remaining double strung 23 for example.

    Only slightly kidding – I have one last one left out of a run of seven made for a retreat. Sounds good and has been used of course. But the price is right as I could use some more room here:-)

    Email me off list if that interests you – it’s nylon strung G3 to A6, Loveland levers on Fs and Cs.


    hearpe on #189251

    Heres another harp- a defective DMT 22 string paki harp- I was briefly looking at before I ordered mine. I though I might pick it up if the bidding stayed very low but eventually it sold on ebay for $158 PLUS $25 to ship.

    The design looks flawed from the onset, and photos of later “DMT” harps- this model goes for $399- show apparent design changes.

    This one looks almost reversed at the base of the front pillar- instead of the tuners being lined up over the center of the soundboard- the base of the pillar is way over on the other side:reversed pillar technology? photo bad design_zpstsdyd9id.jpg

    This causes obvious side stress on the top joint- here stressed ot to cracking proportions:

    overstressed from far side photo bad design 1_zpsr8tipzyj.jpg

    bad design = overstress photo bad design 2_zpsmwgp8emo.jpg

    Apperently later models changed the angle of the joint to slant upward and thus give more surface area of wood to meet and be glued together, as well as resolving the problems with the base of the front pillar-

    at $400, one would hope so

    It’s got me wary of at least certain design aspects- mainly I think I’d favor harps with a wide (front to back) section at the top, as well as the width of the pillar and the peg boards- allowing greater adhesion than a harp with a smaller joint.

    Still not sure if or how this might affect sound quality- At this location and not being a part of the soundboard- I don’t think it would make much difference in sound. The weight might be a factor in a lap harp though. Thoughts?

    hearpe on #189252

    So this is reminding me now of my classical guitar experiences- over time the necks bow – the action can be lowered several times filing down the bridge, but eventually the bow exceeds the ability to do so- I had one cheap Korean classical I started on that I sold with still acceptable “action life” but surmised that maybe a similar guitar actually had maybe 20 years if constantly kept at tension.

    The Cordoba people came along then and started installing truss rods- like those in steel string dreadnaughts- into classical guitars about a decade back- so that’s a big consideration for me now.

    I really have to evaluate this harp before deciding anything- hate to return things, but don’t want something going belly up- and as I said, I was surprised to learn this harp was 23 years old.

    Thanks for your thoughts Biagio!

    balfour-knight on #189255

    If I were you, I think I would send that harp back. Take Biagio up on his offer–he makes really great harps!

    Biagio on #189257

    Dear Hearpe,

    Yup, that last DMT thing is junk, so sorry. All harps fail eventually but it would be nice if that were a bit more that 5 years!

    This is not a good place for a long talk about design, much as I would want to! Some of your questions really probe into the craft and I think that is wonderful!! Rather than get long winded though (which is easy for me to do), I’d point you to a couple of sources:

    Jerry Brown’s “Folk Harp Design and Construction” from Music Makers:
    Rick Kemper – Sligo Harps – Lever harp Building Guide (pdf):
    David Kolacny – “Troubleshooting Your Lever Harp”

    Jerry Brown (Music Makers) has been making fine instrument kits for many, many years. Rick Kemper is an outstanding designer and restorer; so too is David, and that little book of his should be on every lever harper’s shelf!!

    I do agree in any case here alas: your’s was NOT in mint condition and I would demand a refund on return.

    Post Script (blush):
    Thank you so much Balfour! I make pretty good harps, in others’ opinions anyway, yet times change and with them the love of breathing sawdust. No more – one last wire 22 then the tools go to auction. I swear (said the addict – hee hee).

    Segueing (sorry folks)..One may design and one may play but it’s really hard to do both! I can only think of a handful who did or do both well.

    You could for sure if you wanted to Balfour! Are you sure you would not like a little clarsach tucked away somewhere when the gut is slack and the nylon just doesn’t seem to hold tune at all, up there in the mountains,ha ha?

    I haven’t had to change a wire for the longest time, while the gut and nylon were going BANG in the night:-)

    Seriously..this 22 is based off Jerry’s Shepherd – it’s a pretty easy modification, I’ll send you the forms and mods if I can tempt you to make your own!

    Best to you all,

    Tacye on #189268

    I have a walnut Eve with 6-7mm bow which bothers me not at all. (Measured sideways from a straight edge or string between top and bottom of pillar to where the illar would be if it weren’t for the front back curve.) No idea how old, serial number is in the low 4000s.

    I suggest you ask Stoney End about the bow.

    randal on #189270

    Yes, mine too (as Tayce’s). It’s a lightly-built little harp with not a great deal of tension…and in this corner of the stringed-instrument world (as opposed to fingerboard strings – guitar, violin, etc. – where just a wee-tad too much neck/fingerboard concavity (“relief”) renders an instrument virtually unplayable), the deflection-curvature of a little folk harp hasn’t nearly the same profound affect; unlike with fingerboard instruments – the structural flaw here has little if any discernible affect on fingering, playability, etc..

    What you paid was about the most-inexpensive price you’ll typically see these going for; in my estimation, you won’t get much better sound on a wee-harp at this price. As you’ve observed, the soundbox is quite resonant and lively – I don’t think you’ll see that in one of those cheap import harps..

    Enjoy it – don’t worry abut it imploding – it’s a quality little harp for not much money (in this case). The curvature means little here ..

    balfour-knight on #189275

    Biagio, thanks for all your kind words! I don’t think I’ll ever learn to play the wire-strung because of needing the long nails to play it with, ha, ha! I tried classical guitar as a child, and the “nails thing” just did not work for me.

    And, alas, breathing sawdust at my current age is not attractive to me, either. My instrument-making days are over, I’m afraid.

    Despite what Randal and Tacye suggested, I would still not want to trust that harp to stay intact, if it were up to me. But, if it indeed was a really low price to pay for it, it might be worth keeping it and enjoying it for as long as it would “behave.” I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide to do, Hearpe.

    Have a great day, everyone!

    hearpe on #189279

    Pretty much leaning to sending it back for now- and I hate returns especially shipped ones. Don’t want to end up with something bad down the road- although it plays and sounds really good now- I had to tune every string up a half step again today, and I think the lean might even be a little more- or my paranoia at work. Just measured it crudely with a straightedge yardstick and it looks as if it deviates about 1/4 of an inch or 5mm roughly. Guess it’s not that bad- no evidence of the joint coming apart.

    Part of my own problem is I’m just plain shagged out tired and exhausted and very much in a summer doldrums. Geez, it’s been rainy and gloomy here in Florida- day after day. Not sure my judgments aside from that. Can’t much enjoy the harp either way, until I get back on an even keel. I think I have two weeks to return- so still feeling it out.

    At this point not sure if and when I’d get another- have to be patient I guess. These instruments are pricey and I’m on a fixed income, I really wish I could get a lot of strings- 29 or 36. That’s life…. Back to the other instruments for the time being I guess.

    Tacye on #189282

    I have just had a closer look at mine and rather think they are made this way to put the strings more parallel to the side of the neck. I know larger harps have all sorts of things subtly off ‘true’ so would readily believe it of a well made small harp.

    Various straightedges, culminating in a thin piece of card up the glue joint between the two pieces of wood that make up the forepillar show that the bend in mine is at the neck/pillar joint. This joint isn’t opening at the back side at all, the bend on mine, yours and Randal’s seems very consistent, and the tension on the nylon strings is low compared to the thickness of the wood. I think the angle between the neck/pillar joint and the joint between the two neck pieces is a hair off 90 too, but it is hard to measure a hair on all those curves so I am not certain.

    I still think you should talk to Stoney End on Monday!

    Biagio on #189283

    It’s always a good idea to sleep on a decision like this as Tacye has suggested. It is not uncommon for a bow like that to develop over time – the earlier Troubadours were “famous” for that although of course those are larger harps with higher tension.

    As for it being done intentionally to adjust the string angle….often an adjusting angle is made at either the knee block or the pillar foot but they could have been made that way. Ask Gary Stone!

    It should last a good long time regardless – hope I wasn’t alarmist. It can take a week or more of tuning before those strings stretch in and hold tune so I’d not worry too much about that for now. So tune it twice a day for a week and relax about it for the time being.

    A harp, even a light one, will continue to flex and adjust itself over it’s life. Which is one reason Lovelands in particular need to be “regulated” every so often. The tolerances on those are very tight compared to some other levers and it doesn’t take much change in the angle to buzz or throw them off tune.

    There are a couple of players I know in Florida and a famous maker (Arsalaan Fay), so the Eve aside you might get involved in the harp community there if you like. Join the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen and/or the Virtual Harp Circle maybe.

    Best wishes,

    balfour-knight on #189289

    Great replies, everyone! Hearpe, may I ask how much you paid for this harp?

    hearpe on #189306

    It was $299 and free shipping, with a Slyvia woods Instruction book and other songbook. I’d pay return shipping on a return. Leaning a little more back to keeping it now.
     photo eve 7_zpsk5r2vnmo.jpg

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