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electric harps for silent practice?

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  • #76365
    deb-l
    Participant

    Does anyone know whether when plugged into headphones if electric harps are very quiet or how much sound they make? I am wondering if it would be a practical way to practice in the family room while others are watching TV or playing video games. I find I spend most of my free time alone because the harp interferes with the TV and my other hobby, dancing, is not something I want to share with my family : ) I can’t get myself to sit and watch TV no matter how hard I try and my eyes are too tired to read by end of day on the computer and thought it would be a great way to enjoy my favorite pastime and not have to isolate myself.. I was thinking of the Camac Electroharp, DHC light or Baby blue.

    How much noise do they make when plugged in? also interested in being able to play along with a CD.. just curious not seriously planning anything only researching at this point. thanks!

    #76366
    Maya
    Participant

    I don’t own either of the harps you mentioned but I have played around with them before & though it makes a little noise, it’s not enough to really annoy anyone unless you’re being really aggressive with it, much the same as an unplugged electric guitar. You won’t be able to plug headphones directly into it; you could use an amp with a headphone output or if you want to play along with a cd you can plug into the mic input on your computer & listen to both your playing and the cd through that. A karaoke machine would also do the job.

    #76367
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Yes, it is very quiet. Not completely, but quiet enough that it shouldn’t really interfere with someone watching TV unless they watch with the volume really, really low.

    As Maya said, you do need to plug it into something. Many practice amps have headphone jacks so that is an option. Also there are many recording or emulator programs and apps that allow you to plug into a computer or tablet and practice with headphones. You just need an adaptor to plug the instrument chord into the computer.

    I use an app called Amplitube, which is actually an amplifier emulator app for the iPad meant for use with electric guitars. I use an iRig adaptor to plug the harp into the iPad, then I can select the kind of amp I want to use, custom tweak it if I need to, and can then play with headphones on. It can add all sorts of effects too.

    It can also record. It’s like a dozen practice amps in one small package.

    #76368
    Maya
    Participant

    Amplitube is a brilliant app! If you have an ipad it’s probably the best option for fiddling with effects on the harp. Tony, if you like amplitube you should try out Ampkit; it’s the same concept but with far more by the way of possibilities & variety. It’s become an essential tool for me when performing live.

    #76369
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Thanks for the tip Maya. I’ll check it out.

    #76370
    deb-l
    Participant

    thank you Tony and Maya for your ideas. Are they always played with harnesses standing up or with a metal stand? Does it still feel like a harp or do they feel substantially different when you play them? I’ve seen videos of the DHC Lite when it looked like they were playing the guitar.

    #76371
    deb-l
    Participant

    thank you Tony and Maya for sharing the info. Are they always played with harnesses standing up or with a metal stand? Does it still feel like a harp or do they feel substantially different when you play them? I’ve seen videos of the DHC Lite when it looked like they were playing the guitar.

    #76372
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Deb, mine is an older model, made with a solid wood body. It can be worn with a harness, but it is much heavier than the DHC Lite, which is super light.

    I attach it to a tripod, or I use the legs that come with it and which screw into bushings set in the body of the harp. Deborah had the same model at one time and used a harness, which always impressed me. She must work out a lot, or just have a super strong and stable back.

    It feels like a harp, although depending on the model a lightly strung harp with narrow spacing.

    It does take a while to get used to there not being a sound board, or any real dimension to the body, but it doesn’t directly effect your playing, just the sense that there is something missing that should be there.

    The only possible issue I could see would be if you played in a way where you frequently touched your wrist to the soundboard. I don’t do that so it I never had a problem, but I have seen people who do and I would think that might throw someone off because there is no soundboard to touch your wrist to. But still, I think that would be a minor adjustment in the long run.

    Also, I’m not sure of the spacing and tension on the DHC Lite, but if it is like mine, narrow and light, then I could see some people having some issues going from it to a more concert strung harp with heavier strings and wider spacing. I tend to be able to adjust quickly and can go back and forth with only a few minutes to adjust needed, but I know people who simply can’t do it.

    So if you have an acoustic harp with concert tension and spacing, and want to be able to practice on the electric and then switch to play the acoustic for people you will want to make sure that the DHC Lite has comparable stringing, or that you have the knack for going back and forth without too much difficulty.

    #76373
    deb-l
    Participant

    thank you Tony I really appreciate your thoughts and so much information.

    I do touch my wrist on the soundboard, it’s a bad habit I should break, but your mention of how some people feel like something is missing, not having the harp body there, would probably not feel comfortable for me.. Would be a lot of fun to try one someday, on my list for Somerset..

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