Cheap pedal harps?

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    Barbara- There are some instances where the neck can have an effect on the sound. If the neck is very thick(wide) or made of that heavy material Salvi uses, thus adding 10 pounds to the top of the instrument, yes, that can very definitely have an effect on the sound. If the replacement neck significantly changes the string lengths in the first and second octaves, that could have an impact on the sound too I guess.

    Any time I replace a neck, I can use the old neck only as a rough pattern for the new one. Frequently i have to change tuning pin locations if there is not enough bearing on the adjustable post, or if there is too much, or if the tuning pins in the first two octaves are too far from the action. I almost always have to raise the neck at the treble end to get more room there for the right hand. The necks I make are usually more elegant looking too than the original if it was too wide. The end result is a stronger neck with a first and second octave that you can actually use.

    One of the well known traveling regulators wanted to get into repair work and asked me if he could send me an old neck and have me make a new one. I was dumbfounded that he thought it could be done like that. I diplomatically told him that I needed the whole instrument to make a new neck. I’m sure he thought I was just trying to steal the job from him, but that wasn’t the case at all.


    Ooowwww….a harp maker that recommends looking inside harps with flashlights…my sort of guy!


    Yes, I’ve experienced this too. Have found that harps that have had replacement necks come back with a different string tension and not sounding the same – not always ringing ‘true’. On one harp I saw recently they lifted the neck to give more hand room ( a good thing) but it altered the string length and string angle,


    I been watching this thread a while… I would be happy if my English could be better to write what I feel nessecarry

    Jerusha Amado

    Thanks to Barbara, Carl, Rosemary and Bernhard for weighing in on this!


    Hi Bernard,

    Thanks for your terrific post! Your posts are always thoughtful and full of really useful information.

    Where are you? And what harps are you making?


    Well, I bet that traveling regulator knows better now.


    Look on this:

    Good sound and price.


    Glues are not necessarily plastic. Natural glues are derived from horse’s hooves and wonderful things like that. Moving toward the use of synthetics is not necessarily progress or improvement, but may be cheapening the cost of manufacture and the quality of the end result.

    What makes harps so beautiful is that they are essentially organic: the interaction of wood and string with the addition of metal work, and physical forces. It is acoustic and not electric by nature, and this gives it purity and soul.

    If carbon fiber is cloth, then it is also known as kevlar, no? I heard about experimentation with that.

    Other instruments are made of plastics, and they can be convincing imitations, but they are that: imitations, not the real thing. They don’t have the ring and feel, and most importantly, the tone color.

    The introduction of so many harps and so many beginners has destablized our entire community. While it has helped some prosper, it has also brought about a terrible lowering of or absence of any standards. Lyon & Healy made fantastic harps long ago, they have improved vastly over their low point in the 70s and 80s, but that doesn’t erase their initial excellence. The same might be said for Wurlitzer if you preferred their darker sound.

    We should be insisting that harpmakers return to using shellac instead of lacquer finishes. We should be insisting on using the best wood. We should be seeking full round tone that rings freely, not dampened by weight or encased in plastic wrap. I don’t like the sound of 85s, they are pinched and vulgar, despite their ability to ring and project. The 100s are turning out much better. Yes, every part of the harp resonates to some degree, and that’s why it matters very much what the neck is made of, and what the column is carved like and finished with. The sound waves that hit the column are dispersed by it, but also reflected back into the harp for another flavoring, thereby seasoning it with that hint of gold.

    This may seem like the age of endless alternatives, but a lot will turn out to be dead ends and a waste of an awful lot of time and energy, which ends up having been destructive. The internet is a lousy way to get news, yet by the time people fully wake up to that, newspapers will have been decimated.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer is shrinking yet again, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has eliminated their only classical music reviewer. This kills concerts. We have no way of reaching a mass audience with reputation or reviews without newspapers. We have no major music magazines left. We have niche internet sites that give you fractions of shards of the total picture, they are no more comprehensive than a newspaper. They are less satisfying and harder to read. Now, it is nearly all we will be stuck with.

    We need to exercise a lot more caution and listen to more experts rather than all rush to our own uninformed judgements. Everyone has a voice these days, and that doesn’t mean what they say is significant. And there is nothing wrong with being insignificant. If everyone is significant, no-one can learn. If everyone is special, no-one is special. Average people are necessary and important for being average. When they elevate themselves through promotion, it is destructive to the field.

    That’s a lot of ground covered and I hope no-one’s feet are feeling stepped on. At least now we have more to argue about.


    Yes, I agree totally. It’s all about making money in large quantities quickly and dumming everything down to be “non threatening” to the lowest common denominator…catering to what you think the masses want, whether they want that or not….

    I agree the arts become more commercial and less artistic every day. We have a symphony orchestra, that has not played one symphony so far…light pops and goal kicker concerts (popular classics) to get the ‘bums on seats’. At our music conservatorium it is no longer compulsory to play in orchestra or do chamber music…And they have introduced music degrees in show music and pop. Not that that isn’t a fun thing to study, but a music degree? And no orchestra? You can even go through without being able to play, if you choose your subjects carefully….

    As to harps, what is the is obsession with making a harp that sounds huge and played in from day one? Why do harp makers assume that we do not want an instrument that will play in, do they think we are stupid?? Obviously, if you have a harp that sounds played in from day one, as it mature it will become too boomy and muddy as it actually does age. There is a lack of focus in those sorts of harps and I was always told to avoid instruments like that. And how exactly have they achieved it? Materials like carbon fibre that lacks refinement and focus, or by making the board too thin so it pulls up too soon,

    Evangeline Williams

    I had always thought that the non-wood materials were usually only found on the column of the harp, but I could be wrong.

    Evangeline Williams

    I wonder if something in the process of taking apart the harp when doing a neck replacement is an influencing factor.

    Evangeline Williams

    To add another topic to debate…..I’m not trying to stir up anything, just put out another view….

    Are there any vegan harpists on the board who want to weigh in on the animal-based glues?


    Yes, well, there are alot of folk harp makers in this part of the world that use it in student the soundboards, and with aluminiumn soundboxs, painted with auto paint..They are very popular, but not my cup of tea. They are also very durable, and well, if they get a ding I suppose you can just hit them with a hammer on the otherside…

    There have also been a couple of Camacs with carbon fibre in the boards that I have seen, but they mostly just have wood these days… I think. I haven’t been able to get


    You should be in advertising Evangeline…you make the Nokia “harp” sound so attractive, and reliable, so sign me up!

    And by the way, you question about Vegans..well, I’m a complete hypocrite, I’m a vegetarian

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