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Harp covers

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  • #69147
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I don’t like any of the covers that are currently available for pedal harps. Everything I find available is either too heavy, hard to handle and store, make it difficult to handle the harp, and make a lot of noise when putting them on and taking them off, or they are too flimsy and don’t fit the harp well. For these reasons, I recently started making the old fashioned harp covers(which are no longer made) that are made from flannel lined canvas and close with ties. No velcro, no zippers. They fold and store easily, they protect the harp well, and they are easy to remove and put on quietly. I should add that another major reason not to use zippers or velcro is that zippers eventually break and velcro wears out and comes loose from the cover, both of which leave no means of closing the cover.

    When I want to move a harp that is covered, I usually want to grip the column inside the cover. With most covers made today, that means unzipping the cover most of the way just to access the column. With these covers, it means just untying one tie. My covers are being made by a sail maker. We went through three prototypes until I got what I was happy with. They’re great covers and very well made. I’ll be showing them at the New York Harp Conference and will start advertising them soon after that. I’d just like to hear from some of you about the covers that you use and how you like them.

    #69148

    Because I always bring a small (approximately 20″ x 36″) mat to go under the harp in case a venue has a slippery floor, I needed to find a way to bring this along with the rest of the harp

    #69149
    kreig-kitts
    Member

    My cover doesn’t seem to be particularly noisy, though I think I’d like the look of a canvas cover, especially if it folds up better than the nylon ones with the foam. I can’t just lay it in a corner when I take it off – it takes up a ton of space.

    Both covers I’ve used have a slit at the column and the back of the sound box.

    One is a bit snug around the soundboard wings and tapers a bit below. It means I can’t use a full size base cover and only a quilted drawstring base cover, but it also means the cover doesn’t ride up. Sometimes, particularly while unloading, I’ve had a looser cover creep up and expose some of the harp. I’m surprised I’ve never scratched the side when that’s happened while loading or unloading, but it’s a pain to stop everything and adjust the cover and pull it back down, especially while the harp is laying on its side.

    I’d like a harp cover with a pocket on the side for strings or a black orchestral folder. Both are light but bulky and it would be nice to have one out of the way when carting the harp. Since I rarely get to park near the entrance to our rehearsal and performance spaces, getting everything in one trip is a major plus, but there’s only so much I can do, especially since our folders are too large for most bags I have.

    #69150
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Kreig- I hear the complaint about the noise of opening a velcro or zipper cover from orchestra harpists who often have to uncover or cover the harp during a rehearsal. Another thing they complain about is some company logo blazed across the cover, which is annoying if the harp has to sit on stage covered. So my cover is plain black with no logo. It folds up very easily and takes up little space.

    You mentioned other covers having a slit near the column or at the back for sticking your hand through to pick up the harp. I have found that that slit is never in the right place. NEVER! So I didn’t bother with it. My cover is soft enough so you can grab the back of the harp through the cover any place you need to, and as I said, just undo one tie on the front to access the column exactly where you need to.

    I tested this cover over a boot and column cover and it fits fine. I’m not making a boot or column cover because there are excellent ones out there and I recommend them. It’s just the overall cover I take issue with.

    I appreciate Patricia’s and your comments. I think there are certain things, like a pocket for carrying music or a mat, that the individual harpist would be better to add themselves for their particular need, as Patricia did. Everyone has slightly different needs for the extras they have to carry and it would be better if they adapted the cover to their own needs. These little extras drive up the cost and not everyone wants or needs them.

    #69151
    kreig-kitts
    Member

    I find the slit is in the right place sometimes. Depending on what I’m doing, I don’t always hold the column in the same place to get the best balance.

    One advantage to a logo is that a few people might read it, see it’s a harp, and not ask me what it is. Cello is a popular guess.

    #69152
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    I looked at many old covers as I was having a prototype made, and also had a local harpist help me with the design decisions. Her advice was invaluable. It was she who mentioned the noisy opening and closing of velcro and zippers, and also about having a logo on cover. I think the cover we have come up with is a really good durable cover that gives reasonable protection to the instrument, while being light weight and easy to store, both at home and on a job. One of the really important things to me was that it fit the instrument well. I tried the prototype on six different makes of harps and it worked well on all of them. I think there will always be little things that one harpist would like that another doesn’t, and that probably will require some custom tailoring on the part of the harpist who owns the cover.

    #69153
    erin-wood
    Participant

    My covers always wear out in the same spot–the top front where the sharp wires can sometimes poke into fabric. I think the whole sections where the tuning pins are should be double reinforced!

    #69154
    catherine-rogers
    Participant

    Erin, try putting a towel over the neck of the harp where the wire ends are before you put on the cover. A thin piece of leather would be even better. It can protect your cover but doesn’t add bulk so the cover still closes.

    #69155
    kreig-kitts
    Member

    I’ll keep my eye out for them. They sound like excellent covers. I pop into your web site fairly frequently just to see if what old harps you’ve newly acquired.

    #69156
    emma-graham
    Participant

    In the UK Pilgrim Harps sell a neck protector which apparently protects the outer cover from damage. Don’t have one myself but I’ve heard they are brilliant. Here’s a link:

    http://www.pilgrimharps.co.uk/Concert-Neck-Protector/flypage.tpl.html

    I second the removal of Velcro from covers. It’s not so much the noise it makes but the way it viciously attacks tights and more importantly the floaty wafty fabric of most of my concert dresses!!

    #69157
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Erin- your post reminds me of a very valuable tip I got from the late great John Escosa, and that is to cut all of the wire strings just as short as you can. Cut them right at the tuning pin so nothing sharp is sticking out. It works fine.

    #69158
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Kreig- As soon as I’m satisfied that we can supply cover orders reasonably quickly, which should be soon, I’m going to put up a new page on the company web site with all of the information, pictures, how to order, etc. I’m starting slowly and supplying local orders right now. It’s funny, but every time I have told a local harpist about these covers or showed them one of the prototypes they always say, “I want one.” I’ll be exhibiting at the New York conference and doing a little exhibitor’s workshop there. I’ll be interested to see how they are received.

    #69159
    Alison
    Participant

    I haven’t thought about redesigning the sections, but I have made reinforcements…. I agree the column velcro is too noisy when trying to unpack or leave. For the top, I made sleeve liners, one with horse rug canvas, the second sail cover material, so strong waxed cotton, to go over the mechanism first, length of say 2 feet in order to protect the covers from the tuning pins with extra padding to cushion/’absorb’ pins at the neck end and the crown end A long time ago I had the exterior of the cover reinforced with leather around the neck area, once the wear started and I think Salvi’s have copied my idea !!! I use foam pipe insulation down the edge of the soundboard which lies in the car, Pilgrims also sell similar. Plus I like more padding around the edges of the base which get rolled onto hard road surfaces etc as I load the harp. A quickie cover sounds like a good proposition,

    #69160
    Alison
    Participant

    and once the harp toppled over on a sideways incline and there was nothing on the exterior to grab, so I tied some lengths of of lightweight rope between the handles and they are still there.

    #69161
    darth-mom
    Participant

    I have a three-piece set from Venus.

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