My husband has back problems and has a job lifting my 76 lb semi-grand into the back of our wagon, and out again, even though I am helping him. Does anyone have any good ideas how to do this? Until I find a way, I can’t take my harp out.
Hi S.S. I’m sorry your husband has back problems. Ouch….
I move my Camac Athena extended (heavy) myself. I get it in the back of my station wagon (Outback). This is how I do it. I scooch the dolly out from it and position it so that I can lean it back, holding onto it very tightly until it makes contact with the rear bumper area. Then I slowly lower it’s top into the car. Now it is sticking half in and half out, and I just push it in. I’m not particularly muscle-bound or strong, but I can manage it. I take it out in reverse….scoot it so it’s about 1/2 out, and then start to lower it onto the base and let it carefully rock out. It’s using physics that makes it easy.Really all I
I used to move my Salvi Diana like that when I was freelancing in Scotland many years ago, if your wagon can accommodate your harp being loaded in entirely flat like Briggsie described you could try a trick that I found very helpful. I lined the back of my wagon with a remnant of linoleum and then placed two cushions (large square & thick) on the edge of the bumper which lay under the crown/top of column and under the neck. When I lifted the base to push the harp into the car, it just slid in easily like a drawer! I left the cushions in place and when I came to unload the harp it would pull out very easily. I found it easier to load and unload the harp from the column side (heavier side) where I felt I had more control over the weight.
I had my husband walk alongside of me the first time I loaded and unloaded, S.S. I wasn’t brave at all. I was scared to death, and he was my “spotter.”
The linoleum slider is a great idea. I’ve been trying to think of what I could use to help slide it in once it’s inside. I thought of getting one of those under-chair lucite thingys they sell in office stores. I like the linoleum even better.
I got the linoleum from a carpet/flooring warehouse, I remember that they gave it to me for free since I only needed such a small area! I also had a metal dolly from Munson & Harbour where the ledge fits just under the back feet of the harp and with 2 straps – one around the base (went through the loops on the outside of the blue padded covers) and a strap that went over the top (fit snugly around the lowest point of the curve of the neck) so I didn’t even have to take the harp off the dolly when loading it in & out of the car – even more of a timesaver!
S.S, my dolly is similar in design to the white wooden L&H one, it is a 2 wheeler but with 2 straps with a short shelf for the back 2 feet of the harp only, the base strap fits through 2 metal brackets behind where the feet sit on the shelf and the top strap attaches just below the handle which can then be pulled tightly over the curve of the neck. I use it with the blue waterproof covers, mine have 2 canvas loops on either side just above the base which I could then slip the base straps through which would secure the dolly firmly to the base, (I’m not sure if the newer blue covers have these straps anymore). Anyway, I found I didn’t have to take it off the dolly when loading it into the car, it stayed on really well and I could slide it in & out using the dolly instead of the base.
I got the dolly years & years ago in the UK, I think Jim Munson had brought some up from London when he was doing regulations in Glasgow and I bought it from him, it has lasted me around 25 yrs and still works as well as it did when I bought it with the exception of the straps wearing out which were easy to replace.
Just wanted to add that it will take some practice, depending on the height of the tail gate of your wagon, you will soon figure the best distance to “park the harp” and center it from which to lay it down onto the cushions before sliding it in (with my old car it was about 2 1/2 ft) which will save you unnecessary manouvering around. Some harpists also carry around a piece of old carpet to put under the base before tipping it down onto the tailgate to save wear & tear on the feet or if the ground is particularly rough.
I would also mention that when the harp is tipped and laying up against the trunk gate (while the base is still in contact with the ground), when lifting it up to slide it in, always bend at the knees so as not to strain your lower back.
We all develop systems along the way. It’d be useful to watch another player, your teacher? next time she loads and/or unloads her harp. As you can do it without actually lifting the full weight of the instrument. As Briggs mentioned above you use the weight and balance of the instrument itself, and as also said, you get to gauge the distance you need to be from the back of your car.
It’s hard to describe, but my system involves a
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