Advice – First Harp

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    sarahch on #251001

    Hello everyone,

    I’m new to the forum, I am just about to start my journey of learning to play the harp. It is something that I have wanted to do for a few years now and I am so excited to begin! I would like to start lessons shortly and I am looking for my first (second hand) harp. I have seen this Camac lever harp which has a crack for an affordable price (see photo). Does this look like something that would certainly need repairing, and if so would it be costly? The strings have recently been changed. Since I have no experience, I would really appreciate any advice you can offer on this. Many thanks, Sarah

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    kk195223 on #251004

    I recommend that you reach out to Camac or its US distributor Virginia Harp Center and seek their advice.

    I would be quite hesitate to purchase any harp with a crack.

    wil-weten on #251005

    I would be very wary to buy a harp with a crack in it. From the damage at the backside of the neck I guess it has fallen and that may have resulted in yet unseen more damage.

    Also, this harp is more than 30 years old, perhaps 35 or more years. These red white blue plastic levers are theoretically not adjustable (though one could get some adjustment by doing something to the bridgepin and so change the distance between the string without and the string with the lever on. These plastic levers are rather stiff and not great for flipping while playing.

    Also, newer Camacs, let’s say those built since about 2010 sound nicer.

    Also of importance: what kind of music would you like to play? E.g. Classic, celtic and/or folk?

    I think it would be best to contact the teacher of your choice before buying a harp. Your teacher may know a great second hand harp for a good price or and/or help you select a harp of good quality. Also, you may be able to rent a harp from her of from a reputable harp shop. Frankly, I think its a good idea to rent before you buy.

    carl-swanson on #251006

    That crack, in and of itself, does not appear to be a big deal. However, I would recommend to anyone looking to buy any kind of used harp, that they have it checked out by a technician first. And for someone in your position, who is a rank beginner, I would focus my attention on finding a teacher first, before you buy a harp. The teacher should be able to advise you on any number of things: Buying versus renting, makes and models of harps and what could be advantages/disadvantages of each, etc. Your teacher is going to be your best adviser for everything related to the harp.

    Biagio on #251023

    Carl and Wil have given excellent advice. That crack, if it is the only defect, is not serious although it should be repaired (and for a minor sum). I would echo Carl’s advice re: your teacher’s opinion.

    I would not worry too much about the levers…if the price is right. As a beginner you will not be playing many accidentals, if any, for a while and if you love it otherwise, they can be replaced with new ones later. Not sure I like the range, though.

    That said, I consider it unwise for anyone to buy an old harp if they do not understand harp construction; or at least have someone who does look it over.

    There are any number of reasonably priced new harps that will last many years. A professional might not use them to fill a concert hall, but they will be just fine, perhaps later on as a second gigging harp.

    I do not know any experienced harpist who has only one instrument. Some of us, not particularly experienced, have several anyway LOL.

    sarahch on #251026

    Many thanks everyone for your sound advice! It has been extremely useful. I have decided to meet my teacher first and I will rent for the first few months and then ask her advice moving forwards. Thanks again, I can’t wait to get started! Sarah

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