Hello again, folks. Here’s where things are at the moment:
The wire harp may take more tuning than I can keep up with. I just had a chat with Bill Taylor, and he recommended tuning four times a day to start with, and by the sound of it at least daily once it’s settled. He did talk me through fine tuning it, so that at least it can get to a point where I can play a harp that’s in tune. Right now it won’t really hold its tune long enough for me to play it, but I’ll try the tuning method he recommended.
In general, both harps are holding their tuning a lot better by now, and the nylon harp is behaving well. I’ve figured out a seat and a box to stand it on. It’s still not the greatest to play, the range is small and it’s hard to reach in to get to the top few strings, but I’m starting to enjoy it.
I’m chatting to a local teacher who is going to give me a lesson on Tuesday so that we can get some feel for whether this is practical, and may be able to lend me a harp short-term. She has one or two with KF strings, including a Camac Hermine, though not with her right now. She’s got students who currently have harps, so I may be able to try a Starfish through them.
In terms of buying a harp, I am eyeing up the Starfish student or the Teifi Boncaff. Teifi say they know a teacher in Edinburgh with a Teifi or two I should be able to try, although I’m still waiting for them to pass on the details. The Teifi Siff Saff is cheaper, but beech laminate just makes me think of kitchen cupboards, and you know what it’s like with falling in love with woods.
Speaking of woods, any thoughts on walnut vs cherry, in terms of both sound and appearance? My partner now has a dulcimer with walnut sides and fingerboard (cedar soundboard, mahogany back; it’s a Ron Ewing aorell dulcimer, a beautiful instrument), so I can look thoughtfully at the woods on that. We can now play duets, too, since this one has the frets correctly positioned and we’re no longer running into tuning problems when he’s got the the capo on.
Any more thoughts on silkgut vs. KF? Practically no one seems to have heard of silkgut. I’ve noticed that Salvi are using it a lot. What are Salvi lever harps like, what sort of sound do they produce, what are they like to play? Not that I’m planning to get a Salvi, just to give me some idea about what they like in a string.
Marco mentioned silkgut strings a couple of times on this forum, I gather he really likes them. He mentioned that they are similar to the Concedo strings in that they are a fairly visible white, which helps with telling all the notes apart. This might be useful for me with my visual problems. My peripheral vision is not what it once was. Does anyone know more about this?