Well, I bit the bullet and just ordered the kit and upgraded strings.
Woo hoo the adventure begins again:-)
Posted In: Harps and Accessories
Chapeau! I am happy to have had some small part to play in this revival of your interest in Harpmaking. I have an upcoming Organ Concert this Sunday and then its right into every working organists bread and butter season. The pressure won’t let up until New Years Day. But I hope to have the Harp (Howard’s Harp) be here in time for Christmas.
Thank you Howard, you had a BIG part. If this discussion had not gone where it did I’d still be sitting around wondering “So, now what’l I do this winter?” Enjoy your organist season! And I’ll enjoy this project when it starts in a month or so (some stuff is back ordered).
The Howard harp – wouldn’t that be a great Christmas present?
Have a great holiday season, all
Hi Biagio, congratulations with ordering a Cheyenne.
Hi Howard, just before the festive season starts, you may find some time to visit the Portland harp shop, just 12 miles from where you live. There you may try several second hand harps and discover what your left hand is capable of, and… already buy Sylvia Woods’ classic harp album 50 Christmas Carols for All Harps. Seriously, it’s a must have for all professional (and beginner) harpers.
I am a great fan of second hand harps, as they don’t have the problems of ‘working wood’ like some new harps have and they are usually nice priced, and use to keep their value when you decide to sell them later on. Also good to know, you may even make a little profit on them, as the harps are getting steadily pricier and pricier.
If the site is up to date, in the Portland harpshop, there are several interesting second hand harps: http://www.classicharpsnw.com/previouslyownedharps/previouslyownedlever.html
4 rather old L&H Troubadours. I don’t know these old models, their levers will be different from the newer ‘performance levers’, but perhaps they function just fine, I have no idea. Anyway, when I started the harp in the early nineties, where I live, these harps were considered to be top of the class).
2 Salvi Julia’s, not my cup of tea, with their audible levers (rubbing metal to metal in the bass regers and audible clicking over the whole register).
1 rather old 38 strings L&H Prelude. I don’t know which levers it has. The newer Prelude come with 40 strings, with the lowest the A and B below the C of the old 38 L&H Prelude. Yes, it is nice to have those extra two low strings, but the standard is still the lowest string to be a C two octaves below middle C. The ‘gold’ crown and claw feet can be easily removed.
There are also two Triplett harps. Triplett harps are quality harps too, you may like them.
And, they may have some nice harp carts to look at.
Anyway, have a great festive season, all of you
Interesting and thank you Wil for alerting us to the Portland shop used harps.
I notice that they also have a 29 string by Dwight Blevins with Rees levers. Dwight has retired but he was/is known for making excellent harps. Also a Dusty FH26 and a few others by less known but still respected makers.
Personally I think the asking price for the Blevins is too high, especially compared to some others we have discussed. But if Howard should have the time and inclination to visit the shop, that would provide an opportunity to actually get his hands on some good instruments, just for comparisons.
Congratulations, Biagio! I have always wondered about the Cheyenne harp model from Musicmakers. Since the demise of the Southeastern Harp Weekend in Asheville, NC in 2015, I have not been able to play a new MM harp, unfortunately. I have continuously recommended to MM that they needed to feature a 36-string harp, so maybe my comments, along with others, I am sure, were taken into consideration.
Howard, which harp have you selected? I do not have access to the Internet at home, so I lose touch with these forums sometimes–forgive me! Best of luck with the upcoming Holiday season–I am experiencing the same thing, believe me 🙂
Balfour my friend, the Cheyenne is almost the same as their former Regency. They made it a bit lighter in weight; and tension too. I did not like the new string design – some were very large diameter (.080-.091) and the bass are steel core fiber bronze wrap which I really dislike. So I designed a new one – the bass will now be bronze core fiber nylon wrap. Much easier on the levers and fingers. Those fatties will be either fluorocarbon or steel fiber nylon.
I expect to replace the a/c laminate sound board with a custom spruce board from Rick Kemper assuming he gets back to me before the kit is shipped (it is back ordered). If I do not hear positively from Rick I will regretfully cancel the kit order. I only wrote Rick yesterday….Here’s hoping.
Re: Classic Harps of the Northwest. Charles Nix linked to that shop in just the 3rd post of my debut thread on this august website. I called the shop owner not long after. I have a more or less standing invitation to come by and touch some harps. Preparing for Sunday’s concert and selecting music for the upcoming ‘festive season’ has taken priority to figuring out how to get to CHotNW. The shop owner is dubious of my ability to get there via mass transit.
I wish Sylvia (Woods) was still based stateside. I don’t know how she found time to play harps, sell harps, compose and arrange music for harps, and travel too. Amazing. I’d like to get my Ravenna 34 through her. But I really want to actually play a harp or two (or four) before committing cash.
>I wish Sylvia (Woods) was still based stateside. I don’t know how she found time to play harps, sell harps, compose and arrange music for harps, and travel too.<
She is wonderful and wrote the first instruction book for the lever harp, which is still used by many when they start. Many professionals do all the above of course, including several in the Puget Sound region.
Most of those whom I know are also members of the Puget Sound Folk Harp Society (though I don’t know if any have a Ravenna 34 they would sell). For example, I’ve guided three or more students to Laurie; one bought a Kortier from her and another bought a Rees double – I think the Rees was a 34. That same student also bought my custom made double 23.
Really, please do join the PFHS – it is free and there are players of all levels and all harp types. We do not have a discussion forum, just lots and lots of harp enthusiasts. The monthly Newsletter always has notice of upcoming events and there are almost always ads of harps people want to sell rent or buy.
We’d love to meet you!
Well there ya go on price comparisons between new and used. That one has Universal levers, not a bad deal if someone is OK with those; and the a/c SB. Shipping might be about $250. If I were interested I would first ask if it was kit built or purchased finished.
Biagio, I was just thinking about your Cheyenne kit–specifically “is he going to use a solid spruce soundboard on it?” Great, you are, according to the above post. I do hope Rick K. can provide it. If not, could Dave Thormahlen provide one? Also, you may want to consider the Camac levers, which MM can now provide. I cannot tell you how impressed I have been with mine, both from a mechanical standpoint, and being a professional harpist. Today, Oct. 25, is my Dusty’s fourth birthday, can you believe it? Yes, it was “Christmas in Oct., 2015” when I found my Cherie, the cherry FH36S. By the way, will your Cheyenne come in cherry?
Cherry is such a great “in between” wood for a harp. It has some of the brightness of maple and bubinga, but the warm tone of walnut, but more projecting. I never found a FH36 I wanted to buy until I experienced the tone of this cherry one–unequalled, in my opinion! By the way, Carol Lynn and I just went out to eat and celebrated Cherie’s birthday! Now I will fine tune this gorgeous harp and play her most of the rest of today!
Happy Harping everyone,
Rick is usually pretty punctual about replying but since I told him that the kit is back-ordered until November 13 he may not feel there’s any rush. I’ll write or call him next week if still no word (even harp makers take vacations haha).
Sure, MM could send me the correct Camac levers if I used their strings. But since I preferred a different deign I’d have to order them from France. Plus buy a set of metric drill bits, torque wrenches, double drill for the screw – you need two hole sizes, one for the shank and one for the threads. Seems like more trouble than it is worth to me since I am already used to Truitts. I can’t detect any difference in sound distortion between them so Betty T it is. At least a month before worrying about it anyway!
Cherry is a good all around wood. OTOH I love Tasche’s FH36S in Bubinga so that’s the way I’d go if I weren’t so cheap:-) But then I also love his Boulding Concert Oran Mor and really thought hard about that one instead of the Cheyenne.
Happy birthday to Cherie!
Thanks, Biagio! Please keep us updated on how your project is going once you get started. It sounds so exciting! I have never built a harp from a kit, but did a clavichord, hammer dulcimer, and a mountain (lap) dulcimer from very nice kits. My harpsichord and pipe organ I built from scratch, as you know–that is too long a project for me to do again at my age, ha, ha!
I just checked out the Cheyenne harp on MM’s website, and it looks wonderful! With your personal upgrades, your exacting workmanship and patience, it will be a truly professional quality instrument. I can’t wait to see photos and maybe hear a sound recording of it!
Balfour (and Carol Lynn)