Electric Harp newbie question

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    tanna-dg on #157014

    Hello!

    I’ve wanted a harp since I was about nine years old. They are, however something of a rarity where I am. Like many others, I was discouraged from musical career paths from childhood and am now rapidly approaching 30.

    My mother suffers from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. She would also (now) like to learn to play the harp. After some communication with various harp builders, we have been advised that an acoustic-electric or electric harp would be easier for her to play, since not as much force is needed to sound the strings. Portability and therefore size is also a factor for us.

    There are a lot of people that play the Camac DHC

    Participant
    Evelyn Tournquist on #157015

    Tanna,

    Considering the challenges you are facing with your mother’s health, it appears that finding a lighter strung acoustic harp would be a much better option than trying to deal with an electric harp.

    Both the Silhouette and the DHC Blue Light, while at fist glance seem wonderfully portable, require a separate stand and amplification which would certainly impact your mobility. I also wouldn’t think the “electric” sound of the Silhouette or the DHC would be nearly as satisfying as an acoustic harp.

    In addition, dealing with the reliability and maintenance of electronics can take you down a road you never wished to go.

    Weighing these issues against the retail price points of both these harps would indicate that an acoustic harp seems a much better investment.

    Best wishes,

    Evelyn

    Participant
    Cheryl Z. on #157016

    Evelyn’s answer has made me wonder.

    Participant
    tanna-dg on #157017

    It might help to clarify matters. We are actually looking at two harps, but potentially the same harp twice.

    She might be better off with a floor model accoustic.. but she is unlikely to be convinced of that. She likes to pound out Bach on pianos when she comes across them… likely to the horror of their owners. We have developped a brace/strap that distributes the weight of a portable harp between both shoulders as well as a waist support, while keeping it positioned to play. It is not the most beautiful item nor is it quick to get into, but for her will enable her to play the way that she seems to want to. She is not a person who likes to sit still for long periods… up until a couple years ago there was always a bounce in her step, and she never stopped moving. She does not like what she calls instruments and voices that sound flat. After playing jazz and blues music to her, I’ve determined she doesn’t like that style at all. She prefers to listen to classical or folk music. She doesn’t have the strength in her hands to pluck strings on a full tension harp, but neither is she lacking in dexterity yet. Her life expectancy has been decreased by approximately thirty years (possibly fourty). Her doctors told her six months, and she’s lived two and a half years so far. She actually seems to get a little better over time. She may die before her father does, and he’s in his nineties. As a result, her… desires tend to be more short term.. as in what will I enjoy NOW, and for the next five years? If she at some point can no longer play, my older brother would love a harp, as would any of my thirteen cousins and likely some aunts as well.

    Portability of an electric model is not a problem. She has an Iphone and I-Rig. While not ideal, these would give her

    Participant
    tanna-dg on #157018

    In addition I should mention that I am not inexperienced with small bits of metal. Mr Kortier kindly has posted a lot of information about the maintenance and replacement of his pickups. I don’t feel afraid of attempting such replacements myself. My current employment requires a steady and accurate hand and small metal

    Participant
    Alan Zenreich on #157019

    Another option you might consider is a Heartland Harp Infinity carbon fiber model.

    My wife upgraded to this model from her Heartland Dreamweaver, and is very very happy with it.

    The harp only weighs 8 pounds, and allows her to take it to her weekly lessons.

    This particular harp is also configured with an internal

    Participant
    Tacye on #157020

    I find it rather disconcerting to play the electric harp models which don’t have a soundboard as my playing technique touches the right wrist to the soundboard as a point of reference.

    Participant
    Cheryl Z. on #157021

    Hi Alan,

    Your wife’s harp is really interesting.

    Participant
    Alan Zenreich on #157022

    Cheryl,

    This is the first time we’d seen color coded tuning pins too.

    Aside from looking pretty cool with the black harp, they make finding the correct pin for tuning easier.

    Member
    tony-morosco on #157023

    I have never seen pins colored, but I use colored bands on my tuning pins to make them easy to identify from the tuning key side of the harp. It makes tuning much easier when you don’t have to guess, or get up to make sure you are on the right string.

    They also fit on the ends of most levers to make it easy to find the right levers. I can’t tell you how helpful it is when you play music with lever changes in it to be able to so easily identify the correct levers.

    I got them from Syliva Woods. Here is the link:

    http://www.harpcenter.com/product/rubber-rings/

    It is such a simple idea, but absolutely brilliant. And while the idea of a whole tuning pin colored is nice, and could work on some harps (as they do on those black carbon fiber harps), I don’t think I would want it on my pedal harp. I think it would look to busy. The rings can be pushed all the way to the neck of the harp and are fairly subtle . And instead of red and blue they have red and black which makes them even less busy looking.

    Participant
    Tacye on #157024

    My tuning pins are marked with nail varnish – chips off eventually and would come off easily enough if I ever didn’t want it, but also looks discrete.

    Spectator
    alice-freeman on #157025

    Knitting Supply stores also carry colored bands like this for use in marking stitches for about the same price but with a greater variety of colors. I use them for identifying a unusual lever I need to change in the middle of a piece.

    — Alice in windy Wyoming

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