Andrew Thom Harps for a New Player

  • Participant
    corian on #189852

    Hey everyone.

    I’m a new harp player and have been learning how to play for about 4 months now. I am currently renting a Blevins Meadowind from my teacher. I have been looking into buying one and have found Andrew Thom’s harps which aesthetically seem like a perfect fit for me. I’ve been leaning towards his Stirling 39 and was wondering if anyone could offer any insight or opinion on his harps and their sound.

    Thank you

    Participant
    e-nb on #189881

    I have a 39 string Andrew Thom harp custom build, loosely based on the Olwen model. My opinion may be somewhat biased, but I think the sound is fantastic, especially the bass. I actually bought it for its sound, not its looks.
    It’s about 10 years old now, has a few dents from regular gigging, but still a brilliant harp.
    My sole reservation is the size. These 39 string models are seriously big, and transport might be a problem if you are used to being able to fit your current harp on the back seat of your car. And you will need a trolley. This isn’t a lever harp you can carry on your shoulder.
    Elsewise, excellent harps, and I found Andrew lovely to deal with.

    Participant
    Biagio on #189884

    Andrew uses Piastro strings on some doesn’t he? They’re a bit hard to find in some places but not too much. Really gorgeous and innovative instruments!

    Blessings al,
    Biagio

    Participant
    corian on #189886

    I’m happy to hear that you chose his harps based solely on the sound because having it being made of metal, I had a fear of it sounding rather metallic or at least that was the impression I was under. I’m not able to test out his harps in person because he’s in Australia and I’m in the US so I have a lot of hesitation going into this blind. Transport may be an issue, but as long as it can fit into my car then I don’t care if anyone else can lol. From the back and forth I’ve had with him, I’m under the impression that his methods have changed throughout the years which have led him to create an even lighter harp and being 24 years old and stubborn I feel as though I’ll make it work. Great information though, I really appreciate it.

    And thanks for the insight on the strings. I know that his folk strung harps will only have the option of having Pirastro strings. I’m going for a concert strung so I may have other options? Good to know regarding availability.

    Participant
    Philippa mcauliffe on #189887

    I am Australian and have an Olwen concert strung 36 although I usually play pedal harp now. Mine only just fitted the car so make sure you measure up before you order as mine was 36 strings. I know a lot of people with Thoms – all happy. They are very popular in Tasmania. The tiny ones are very good for little kids or for travel. It is very stable and stays in tune really well. Camac levers were my choice. They have great sound and projection. Very mellow and not at all tinny. They are very light – never let go in the wind or they will go over! Andrew was very helpful and worked to the time he promised and sent me colour samples on bits of card! I went for a greeny/bluey turquoise and its lovely. Any colour that you can spray a car in is on offer. The only thing I would have changed looking back is that he “carves” his initials in the lovely glossy finish but in a rather stoneage manner and right above the column Perhaps he might put it somewhere less obvious or make the AT (which is one over the other) more delicate! Its not as high tension as my pedal harp but converting was not a problem.

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