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Choosing wood for lever harp

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  • #70292
    phillip-sauerbeck
    Participant

    I’d love to hear how everyone would describe the various qualities of various woods used in the construction of the harp body. Are there general rules of thumb? What do you love and why?

    I’m weighing options as I look to buy my first lever harp.

    Thanks!

    #70293
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Maple is bright, walnut is mellow, and cherry falls in between. Cherry also deepens to a beautiful color.

    #70294
    Katheryn
    Participant

    I have a Dusty Strings lever harp that is made of bubinga wood and I love it. If you want to listen to a sound clip of it on Dusty Strings’ website, go to http://www.dustystrings.com/instrumentbuilding/harps/models/FH36S/tabid/276/Default.aspx. I think the sound isn’t too bright but yet has that sweet, deeply reaching quality to it (I don’t know how else to put it). The only thing I sometimes find annoying is its wight, the bubinga wood is definitely heavier than walnut and other kinds of wood.

    #70295
    Katheryn
    Participant

    When I said the sound wasn’t too bright I did not mean that it didn’t sound good. It is slightly more mellow than the brightness of the walnut, for example.

    #70296
    sherry-lenox
    Participant

    I played a Koa Thormahlen Swan and a Koa Dusty FH 34 last year at Somerset, and they were both gorgeous. I love Koa and Bubinga.

    #70297
    phillip-sauerbeck
    Participant

    Is it true that the harder the wood, the more mellow the tone? Or is there any correlation between wood hardness and tone?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

    #70298
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    I always understood the denser the wood, the brighter the sound.

    #70299
    deb-l
    Participant

    Harpkat, I am a proud new owner of a bubinga dusty!

    #70300
    diana-lincoln
    Participant

    I think the type of strings may have a lot to do with the sound as well… That may be something to talk to the builder about relative to the wood.
    Good luck!

    #70301
    Katheryn
    Participant

    Congratulations on your new Dusty!! The sound is just amazing and I won’t want any other kind of lever harp sound.

    #70302
    deb-l
    Participant

    thanks Harpkat, it has a very distinctive sound.

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