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Can I play the harp?

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  • #112124
    anushri-gupta
    Participant

    Heres the thing. I really want to learn how to play the harp, for about 2 years now. The problem is that I live in India, and theres not a trace of harpists or harps here. There is one Lyon and Healy concert grand very far away from where i live which is played on only when the symphony orchestra of India performs, and I have tried my hand on it at that time and had a tiny lesson from the harpist down from UK, and I just loved the harp more.
    I need honest advice.
    I’ve learnt piano for 9 years, so if I do manage to get a harp, is it really possible for me to teach myself, because there are NO teachers, let alone harpists,or harps here?! (Do you know of any?)
    Is it possible to keep a lever harp without it being regulated(I’m sure no one regulates harps here 🙂 )change strings myself (i play guitar too) tune it all by myself?
    What’s a good starter harp (lever) at a decent price which gives me good sound? Good range too, because I’m into music!
    Do you people know of any harp companies which ship to India?

    Thank you, greatly appreciate all the help 🙂

    #112125
    Amber M
    Participant

    Here’s a harpist in India: http://www.chiaracapobianco.com/ (she is also on facebook, and is currently in India despite website saying Italy)
    She plays lever and pedal harp

    #112126
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Lever harps don’t need regulation as often as pedal harps. Eventually the levers “travel” and need adjustment. Good luck! You have chosen to fall in love with a wonderful instrument.

    #112127
    Allison Stevick
    Participant

    Yes, you can teach yourself! Go for it! Your musical background will help you with that, and there are lots of beginning books and self-teaching methods available. I also played piano and guitar before I picked up the lever harp, and I think those instruments especially are helpful background for learning harp. You tune the harp yourself, and can regulate it yourself if it is a lever. Have fun!

    #112128
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    Yes, you can teach yourself! People who play lever harp for their own enjoyment often do this. The trick is to get a good instruction book or two with clear pictures and REALLY pay VERY close attention to your technique, at all times. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy. Your attention to detail at the beginning will pay off hugely later on!

    All harp-players tune their own instruments. I imagine we all change our own strings too — they have been known to break at inconvenient times, though fortunately this hasn’t happened to me yet! — and you can find instructional resources for that online. You can also regulate your own levers, though it will take some time and patience. I’m collecting the tools I need to do that right now, in fact. . . I’m not looking forward to actually doing it, but I *am* looking forward to flipping my Eb lever and getting an actual E natural. 🙂

    With a desire to care for your instrument and a little ingenuity, you should be able to handle common maintenance issues. Try to get your hands on David Kolacny’s booklet, “Trouble Shooting Your Lever Harp”. But really, if you get a decent harp and take reasonably good care of it (control humidity, protect it from bumps, don’t leave it in a car, etc.), you probably won’t run into much trouble.

    As for “a good starter harp at a decent price with a good sound”. . . ;that’s an elusive thing, and there are plenty of opinions about it. From what I’ve seen, heard, and read, you’re pretty much going to get what you pay for. Stick with the harp-makers who have been around long enough to have earned good reputations (you’ll find their names all over these forums), and when you find a few harps you’re seriously interested in, contact the builders directly about your shipping circumstances.

    Good luck with your search! Let us know how it goes. 🙂

    #112129
    anushri-gupta
    Participant

    Thank you to all four of you for taking out time to help me. It means a lot!
    Do any of you have experience with harpsicle harps?

    #112130
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    I have a Harpsicle. I purchased it broken (soundboard separating from soundbox) and repaired it. The people at Tasty Harps were very helpful in telling me what to do, and it was an easy fix.

    I find the string spacing a little wide, especially at the top, but it’s close enough to “concert” spacing that I am comfortable loaning it to a student as her learning instrument. The sound is pretty good for what it is, and whenever I touch the strings to demonstrate something in a lesson, I’m surprised again by how firm the tension is in the mid-range. Since it’s baby pink and looks like a toy, I always expect it to feel like one!

    Overall, it’s a good little harp for what it is. It’s definitely not a concert-level harp, and I would not want to keep a Harpsicle as my only instrument. Also, since you have some piano training, the Harpsicle would be insufficient — you’ll want levers much sooner than you expect, and you’d be happiest with a Fullsicle. However, if you’re going to spend that much money anyway, you might consider upgrading to the next level right off the bat. Maybe check out the Dusty Strings Ravennas? They’re a little more solidly built, still very portable, relatively inexpensive, and the lever holes come pre-drilled so that you can add them as you need – and can afford – them. Dusty Strings also offers a “Gig bag and tool kit” that comes with all the tools you’d need to regulate their Loveland levers, as well as an instruction book for installing and adjusting them.

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