Camac Anthena extended, Vendome or Prestige

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    lovekin on #183726

    Hi all,

    I have a 8yo daughter who is learning harp since she was 6yo.
    We were told by her teacher that she is ready to be advanced to a pedal harp and we should get one for her. I don’t play a harp so thought I can get some advice here in the forum :>

    We are clueless as to which harp we should get her. We have 3 choices Camac Athena extended, Vendome or Prestige. We are thinking of getting her the cheapest 47 strings, i.e. Athena, and perhaps when she gets better with the harp playing we can then upgrade her to a better harp model. It’s a huge investment so we wanted to play safe with our investment. Then again, we are torn between getting her a decent beginner pedal harp and a good harp that give quality sound which i believe is an important aspect to her mastery of the harp playing and if so, should I then get her a Prestige? Arrrr……..I am in such a dilemma!!!!

    Pls help!


    Sid Humphreys on #183727

    All three are nice choices. The Prestige is my favorite of the three. That could be her harp for life even. The best advise I can give is to get the best that you can afford. So many of us have the intention of trading up but life and finances get in the way and it never happens.

    Gretchen Cover on #183740

    Sid, I heartily agree with you. My first harp, a Salvi Aurora, ended up with me for 35 years. A good harp will retain its resale value. I sold my harp for more than I initially paid.

    Also make sure the harp is regulated annually, and you keep records of that. It will help maintain the value of the harp. I don’t know if you plan to move the harp right now, but when you do, invest in a transport cover. Nothing for the harp is inexpensive so you may want to start a harp fund – a great place for those birthday and holiday checks:)

    PS/ Maybe you should think about taking harp lessons, too.

    Marco Hilgeman on #183741

    I second the advice of Sid and Gretchen to start with the best harp that your budget allows you to buy.

    But Gretchen, to have the harp regulated annualy…do you think that’s necessary in this case, for a person who’s about to start playing the harp? OK, a first regulation a year after the purchase makes sense of course and is usually free of charge as part of the warranty service. But then after that, an annual regulation would make sense when someone’s playing very often, but if someone’s just started to play and doesn’t play as often as a professional or experienced student, don’t you think a regulation every 2 years might be sufficient as well?

    Gretchen Cover on #183742

    Marco, I think the question of regulation is ultimately up to the harp tech and the harp instructor. I play a lot so I do need an annual regulation. You are probably right in saying every two years will work. A new harp is so expensive, though, and it is always better to have a small problem stay small.

    If buying a new harp, the harp maker should be asked when to do the first regulation for that particular harp. And, check about the warranty and regulation for a new harp.

    Marco Hilgeman on #183744

    That’s true Gretchen, a harp tech knows what’s best for the harp and will have to check the interval of regulating the harp in accordance with the average amount of playing time of the harpist. Indeed a harp is an expensive instrument, so we need the best maintenance for our harps…when budget is available of course. But then again, one would actually have to take these maintenance costs into consideration as being a part of an investment to keep the harp in perfect condition.

    Oh and Lovekin, I hope this regulation talk is not too much off-topic for ya…just take it as useful info on the side 🙂

    emma-graham on #183748

    Generally, I agree about getting the best harp you can afford. However, I would make absolutely sure that your daughter is big enough to handle a concert grand harp. Some 8 year olds are but not all. I am sure opinions differ on this but I insist that my pupils do not get a full size harp until they are big enough. I hate seeing tiny kids dangling their feet, perched on a really high still and not supporting the weight of the harp correctly on its balance point. It puts too much strain on a young back. I insist their are flat on the floor with the harp balanced lightly on the knees, not held on the shoulder. I dislike pedal extensions as I believe in pivoting the foot with the heel on the floor when pedalling. Just my personal opinion and others may well disagree. If you are looking at Camacs then I would consider the smaller Clio. An extended soundboard will give you more volume if needed. It has enough strings to get your daughter through all the grade exams.
    On the regulation front, Camacs are designed to be regulated by the owner

    Tacye on #183749

    I agree with Emma – is she large enough for the harps you are talking about? Does she play one in lessons? Do you also have a way to move such an instrument to rehearsals and performances? I suggest that you discuss smaller harps with the teacher, and even second hand ones. While second hand prices will vary between countries, I would expect you to be able to sell a third hand harp on for a similar price to what you paid when the time comes to upgrade it. If you could find, for instance, a second hand Clio by the time your daughter has outgrown that one she will be a better player and much more able to choose the harp which suits her as a player.

    Gretchen Cover on #183750

    Emma and Tacye, you bring up excellent points about a child being big enough to handle a concert grand harp. I was always a very tall child – I was 5’6″ by the time I was 12 or 13 so I did not even think about that.

    Lovekin, you may want to consider a harp rental(s) before you make an expensive harp purchase. You could find one though your instructor, the American Harp Society members or by contacting Venus, Salvi, Lyon-Healy or Camac harp manufacturers. There are some rent-to-own programs. I believe Salvi and Lyon-Healy also have trade-in programs.

    I hope you are not overwhelmed with all this discussion. There is a lot to think about before making a purchase as expensive as a new car.

    Marco Hilgeman on #183756

    Very good additional info here about height and harp sizes.

    : you wrote: “On the regulation front, Camacs are designed to be regulated by the owner”

    I think that’s not entirely true. There are things you can adjust yourself, but The Camac website specifically states that you can do this “between professional regulations…” It’s a fact that every Camac pedal harp comes with a complete tool kit (including a pedal rod tuner) which enables you to do quite a few adjustments yourself, but still you have to be a handy person to know how to adjust things properly.

    Here’s what’s on their website regarding regulation:

    When I check out my Camac pedal harp manual, the info on pedal cable adjustment and overall regulation is only a few lines of text, illustrated with some not too clear pics, to be honest. So when you haven’t done any of those adjusments before, I would not recommend doing it yourself…

    emma-graham on #183759

    Yes, you’re right Marco, I made it sound a bit more straightforward than perhaps it is!!!
    I am happy to have my harps (Lyon and Healys) serviced every two years even though they are used professionally. If I have a problem in between visits, it is quite easy to get to a technician plus I am lucky to have more than one harp so there’s always a fall back! Having my (new to me!) Camac serviced will not be so easy as camac technicians are not often in the UK. Being able to at least regulate it myself is good. Using the rod tuner is a bit frightening at first but I found this video guide very helpful:

    lovekin on #183764

    Thank you everyone for the advice and suggestions :> Much appreciated!!!

    She has played on both a semi-concert harp and a concert harp during her harp lessons. Her legs are long enough so no need for extension ;>. The concert harp is just a little big for her but i foresee she is likely to grow and the handling of the concert harp should be fine in one year time :>

    Servicing is not a major problem as Camac come to my region to service once in 2 to 3 years. Sadly, rental of harp or rent-to-own option is not available in my region else I’ll go for it! Second hand harp is an alternative that can be explore….Thx for the suggestion!

    We are not considering other brands of harp because L and H, Salvi do not come to my region for servicing at all – It will be a huge problem when it comes to servicing!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #183784

    A good harp does not need frequent servicing. You can learn to change the pedal felts on your own. Even minor regulation. What area are you in? I would recommend, as money is an issue, a second-hand Lyon & Healy harp of a smaller size, like a 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, etc., if it is in good condition, as it will always be useful to have and have rental or resale value if needed. If you shoot for the moon and buy a full-size concert grand now it would be great, but then she may never have another harp besides it. Another option would be Venus, which has some very nice models. You will of course, have to change strings yourselves. Basic maintenance skills are a necessary part of being a harpist.

    Sid Humphreys on #183788

    LOL, those harps weren’t options here Saul.

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