I’m finally ready to purchase a harp after 3 years of lessons and rental. I think I’ve narrowed down my choices, but am looking for some feedback.
I like playing early music, celtic and classical – particularly anything slow, melodic or in a minor key.
I had a chance to test play a Dusty 26 string, but it wasn’t kept in tune, so it was hard to say, but I wasn’t in love with the sound. I also tested a Prelude the same day, but it also wasn’t kept in tune, so both of them were hard to judge. I did like the sound of the Prelude, but I found the upper strings difficult to get to with the ‘swoop’ design compared to a folk harp. Because it was a couple of years ago, and I had to travel to test them and can’t now because COVID, I’m having to judge by youtube clips and I know the location, microphone set up and player are all affecting the sound.
I play mostly for my own enjoyment so I like more relaxing, meditative music. I would like to eventually play for events as background music – I don’t really want to get into doing weddings.
I want to play outside in the summer in parks. As much as my wallet doesn’t want to hear it, I may need to eventually get two harps – one for home and more ‘formal performances’ and one for out-and-about. I’d like to eventually play with other musicians. I’m also in a flute choir, and I’d love to do some duets, and my brother plays lute.
In some ways, I’m almost looking for a hybrid sound though.
I like the warm, darker, mellow tone of the prelude 40 with the pedal gut strings, but I find the upper end sounds ‘plinky’ to me. The weight of the instrument probably excludes me taking it to the local park to play.
I do like the ‘classic’ look of this harp. I do also really love the gentle, almost delicate sound of a classical pedal harp, which I think draws me to this one.
I like the sustain on the Dusty Strings FH36S (I’m leaning towards walnut or cherry). I like the warmer tone of the cherry and walnut woods, and I like that the upper strings have more sustain than the pedal gut strings. I’m wondering if that’s because they vibrate more, being a thinner diameter?
I do like the look of these harps. I love the wood grain, and they seem to have a powerful, round sound. BUT I also find that folk harps have this almost ‘metalic’ sound compared to the Prelude. I like the sustain and the resonance but something in the sound just isn’t the same. I’m also wondering if I will miss the lower bass notes only having 36 strings instead of 40.
I know it would be easier to take to the park. The harp I have now is about the same size as a FH36 and I have a little trolley for it.
Has anyone put gut strings on a Dusty? I see on their website that it comes as an option – folk gut strings. I’m wondering if that would mellow out the mid-range strings to take out some of that ‘tinny’ sound but leave the upper strings with their sustain. I haven’t been able to find any sound clips on youtube of an FH36 strung with folk gut.
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!