Beginner harp – Stoney End Eve vs. Camac Bardic 27

  • Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77419

    Hi!

    I’m gonna start playing the harp soon, it’s been a dream for many years so I’m very excited! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve read as much as I could, and this forum has been a great help – thank you!!!!! I apologize for another post on which beginner harp to buy, I hope you don’t mind. I have no musical background so I’m a little lost here and your advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

    So, I want a lever harp and it must be small as I want to carry it with me to play outdoors. I’m down to 2 models:

    Stoney End Eve 22 strings (G-G) (3,5 kg)
    Camac Bardic 27 strings (6 kg)

    Now, my heart’s set on the Eve, but many say 22 strings isn’t good for a beginner… ๐Ÿ™ It’s just that I love EVERYTHING about it, and KNOW I’ll buy one someday anyway – I knew ever since I saw and heard it! I LOVE the sound!!!!! And the looks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just AMAZING!! String tension not too high. Also I know I’ll take up wire harp someday and so I’m gonna have to learn to play with fewer strings anyhow?

    The Bardic: I like it very much, in natural color I think it’s very, very pretty and good sound (but it really can’t compare to the Eve…) Also it’s maybe a little heavy and big for me to be carried for a long while, so it’s not really portable ENOUGH. And the string tension – is it very high? I have a very frail build, and small hands so it worries me… I guess the main problem, though, is it’s neither as portable as I’d like and yet it would maybe not serve me as a bigger harp with more strings (for more variation in the music) to have at home. So I fear it wouldn’t be a keeper… and don’t want to sell my first harp (or any harp) ever, I know I’ll get attached to it, LOL!

    Has anyone here started out on a lap harp?
    What I really would like to know is how great a variety of music can be played? Can almost anything be adapted? I like celtic, folk, classical pop songs, I love O’Carolan so I would especially want to play those.
    Could I use Wire Harp music? And if so how much is available?
    Would it be difficult to complete the Pamela Bruner and Sylvia Woods courses with only 22 strings?

    Sorry, this became really long…

    If it’s really not advisable to go for 22 strings, PLEASE TALK ME OUT OF IT!!! If adapting a lot of the tunes would slow down my learning process a lot I can see it might be wiser to buy the Eve later.

    Thank you so much!!!

    Anne Maria

    Member
    eliza-morrison on #77420

    I’ll admit to a personal bias in favor of more strings, but I think you should get the harp that you love, the one that really makes you happy. Reading over your post, it sounds to me like you already know which one that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Participant
    Tacye on #77421

    With 22 strings you have a good melody range and can play most tunes. What you don’t have is the bass for much of an accompaniment, and will often find yourself playing up an octave which can sound rather tinkly. If you will be studying with a teacher I really suggest you consult your teacher before buying such a small harp as much published music will need more strings. In the ideal world you would have (at least) two harps – one for home and one for travel and exposing to the elements.

    I own an Eve and find larger harps are easier to hold for long playing sessions. I restrung it in medieval brass wire – removed the levers and bridgepins and Simon Chadwick calculated and sold me appropriate wire. It had rather wide spacing for wire (Stoney End used to have a model with closer string spacing for wire) and the soundboard developed rather a belly, but it took the increased tension and had a pleasant sound.

    Wire harps do come with quite a lot of strings too! http://www.irishharp.org/shop/studentQM.htm

    Participant
    Allison Stevick on #77422

    I started on a lap harp, and I think it worked out just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally prefer my harps to go down to at least C below middle C (Eve only goes down to G), but I played an Eve all summer, and I quite enjoyed it. It is good for outdoor playing, very lightweight but also quite sturdy. I think you should go with whatever harp you want! I’m hoping to someday have a small double-strung harp, to have more room for each hand to play, but still be portable.

    Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77423

    Thank you all so very, very much for your replies and great advice! ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate it so much! It is true, Eliza that it’s the Eve I really love, so I feel very tempted to take that one! And I have read many times on here how people say you should go with the harp you truly love the sound of ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve only been a bit sceptical because of the fewer strings. I do know it’s a harp I won’t regret buying anyhow, though, definitely a keeper!

    I won’t have the opportunity to study with a teacher unfortunately, there aren’t many in my country, so I’m going to follow Pamela Bruner’s course and maybe I’ll buy the Sylvia Woods course too. I thought I’d just take a few online lessons in the beginning to make sure I’ll get the right posture and hand positions.

    Yes, I was worried about the bass, mainly that I might not get a very good “bass hand” this way, that it won’t be exercised as much as it should, that maybe I won’t always be able to go 1 octave up depending on the piece of music. So glad to hear I can play most pieces, though!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Tacye, you had me smile when you wrote it might sound tinkly, haha!!! That would be very true! I hadn’t thought about it before but I guess I kind of like that tinkly sound, haha, (goodness – that sure can’t be good!!) because I never even reacted negatively to it, just find it kind of celestial-sounding ๐Ÿ™‚ But you’re probably right most people might not like it – I can see that, haha!

    I have read they are harder to hold/balance, but I think I’ll be okay. And I figured I can sit on the floor/grass too if I’ve played long and get tired, and just support it on the floor (I’m only 5’3”) for a while. But I definitely see a 2nd larger harp to have at home in my future (when I can afford it).

    A wire Eve sound truly beautiful! What a lovely idea! The wire harps at the website you sent me are lovely – I didn’t know they could have so many strings!

    Allison, I’m glad to hear there’s someone here who started out on a lap harp too!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Did you have any prior musical knowledge? (I mean I guess that would make rearranging the pieces easier). You wouldn’t happen to have any experience with the Bruner/Woods courses, if they’re hard to follow using a lap harp that is?

    I have indeed seen the double-strung Eve! But to begin with I think I want a “normal” lever harp ๐Ÿ™‚ I might very well look into that later though, I do like the idea of having 2 rows of strings!

    Again, thank you so much for your advice! ๐Ÿ™‚ You have helped me a lot with my decision! I will more than likely go for the little Eve now, I’ll have full Truitt levers on her since it will travel far to get to me, and it would be expensive to send it back later for more levers.

    I will keep you updated and post a picture of Eve when she arrives (it will take a little while yet before I can order). So glad to have found this nice place to discuss all things harp! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been reading posts on here for a while and learned so much! And everyone here seem so kind and helpful! So glad to be able to form a part of it, and I hope I’ll be able to help out too, in the future! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Again, sorry for writing so much, I tend to – I’m a Gemini, LOL!)

    Member
    jennifer-buehler on #77424

    I started on a Brittany ( the celtic version of the Eve). It was all I could afford at the time and as I was taking it on room visits at the nursing home where I worked, the size was ideal. Having some musical knowledge, especially of chord theory and inversions, is preferable.

    Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77425

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for your help! ๐Ÿ™‚ How funny that you started out on the same harp – the Brittany is very beautiful. I’m relieved to see several of you started out with a lap harp.
    Yeah, I thought some music theory would be useful, I’m studying what I can find online and thought I would buy Sylvia Woods’ “Music Theory and Arranging Techniquies for Folk Harps”.

    Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77426

    Oh, and I’ve definitely decided on the Eve now, I thought about all your advice for a few hours after, and now it’s clear! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for helping me deciding, all of you – I’ve been pondering this for months!

    Participant
    Allison Stevick on #77427

    I did have prior musical knowledge–piano lessons, flute, and guitar for most of my childhood, through high school. I agree with Jennifer that having some music theory, especially chord inversions is very helpful. But really, you can learn music on any instrument, and the harp is so beautiful that I think it really motivates. ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t use Pamela Bruner’s or Sylvia Woods’ books, but I have heard very good things about them both. I mostly listened to LOTS of celtic music (that’s mainly what I play) and harpers in particular (Grainne Hambly and William Jackson are two of my favorites), and watched videos on YouTube. Good luck, and have fun!

    Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77428

    Oh, how wonderful to be able to play so many instruments! I think flutes sound absolutely beautiful, very magical!

    I will definitely study chord inversions!

    The harp is just so celestial and magical! ๐Ÿ™‚ And produces such lovely sound! So I definitely agree with you it’s immensely motivating!

    I will have a look at the 2 harpers you mentioned – it would be great to have some harp music to listen too!

    Thank you for all your kind help! Have a lovely day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Participant
    Tacye on #77429

    So glad to hear I can play most pieces, though!
    I think I ought to clarify what I wrote – which was that you will be able to play most ‘tunes’. By this I meant the melody line, and very many of these are written to be sung. Most people have a singing range of two octaves or less, so with three octaves of strings you will be able to play the melody. A ‘piece’ I think of as an arrangement, such as both melody and accompaniment and very many of these will need more than 22 strings.

    If you are only playing with one hand on a small harp you can try to make sure that you use the left as often as the right. You can also divide up the work more equally between the hands with them playing in about the same range, rather than the right hand getting the top of the harp and the tune and the LH the bottom of the harp – the RH will play a few notes and then the LH take over and then swap back.

    Participant
    anne-maria-christoffersen on #77430

    Oh, thank you so much Tacye for clarifying that point! Well, I would like to do the bass part too… I think it’s much needed to make it sound like real music… Your idea for training the LH sounds really good though, I would never have thought of that myself, will definitely keep that in mind!

    Would the extra octave add a lot more variation as to what songs I could play, or just a little? I mean, I will have a larger harp in the future anyway for extended repertoire, but that could be in a while… In the meantime I thought I’ll just look for 22-string music and adapt what I can of the rest. There seems to be a fair amount of celtic and other folk for 22 strings. But I would like to be able to play some classical pop songs.

    So sorry for all these questions, ๐Ÿ™ it’s just I don’t have the chance to see or try even one kind of harp and I’d like to make sure I get the right one. I love the Eve, but it’s that whole bass thing (developing the ability to do chords right) and limited selection of songs to play (and difficulty when doing the courses as I won’t have a teacher) that worries me – that it might be easier for me to start on something slightly bigger.

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