I think we all as students have been through this scenario – have not been able to afford a “modern” pedal harp and so have had to make do with a less than professional model….and they often led to more than one adventure in your student life.
I started out life on an old English Erard – that had had more than one local repair by non harp professionals (if you know what I mean) and had a few “quirks”. One was that it had this adorable 8th pedal that moved flaps at the back that opened and closed the sound holes in the back of the soundbox – and it made this creaking noise, like the door of a crypt opening….the sort of thing that was so appealing to teenagers and would make everyone laugh hysterically….
Another quirk was that the discs would not turn, return or they would over turn – so I had an elaborate system of rubber bands going from the discs to the string nuts that would help keep the action functional…
I’ve already said before, that my first time with a student orchestra was Night on Bare mountain, and just before the arpeggios at the end, I changed the pedals into D major – and the rubber bands snapped and went flying all over the orchestra in all directions. The kids in the orchestra squealed with delight and started scrambling over the floors to find the rubber bands and flick them back at me! I spent the rest of the rehearsal fielding the volleys from the viola section, who spent the whole time throwing bits of paper, erasers, pencils and anything else they could find at me….
I, of course, did not have a car, and would manage to get the Erard into all sorts of vehicles, my favourite was the time we wedged it into a volkwagon horizontally across the back seat and out the front passanger window with a red ragged tied on the end of the column so that on going traffic would not hit it! I had