Hello, I’m new here, right now I have a few questions. The harp I have is a celtic lever harp and it is having a few problems. I’ve only been playing harp for three years so I didn’t know much about them when I first bought this one. It played well for awhile until…well it constantly buzzes on most levers and the strings are way to close together and its just falling apart. Other things that make it difficult is I play on my teachers pedal harp at lessons and come home to practice on mine. The strings on her harp are quite further apart than mine and you have to sqeeze the strings harder on hers too. What I was hoping to find is anything that offers grants you can apply
Alright, hold your horses. Don’t dive into “harp replacement” mode quite yet.
First, how long has it been since you changed your strings? If you haven’t replaced the entire set in 3 years, it is long overdue. This can contribute to buzzing sometimes.
Second. Buzzing is a normal problem. It does not mean your harp is falling apart. I recommend buying the book: “Trouble Shooting your Lever Harp.”
Also, if you just want the feel of the pedal harp strings, there are many, many lever harps that have a higher tension than your current harp probably does.
The bad news is that no, there are not readily-available grants to get pedal harps, at least not in the US.
You could apply for the Mr. Holland’s Opus grant, for starters. I know a girl who recently recieved a harp courtesy of that.
There are so many grants out there! Just remember: Google is your friend. Surf the web, and you will be flabbergasted at the amount of money out there. It’s crazy.
And, I know how you feel. Easy up, darlin’, and try to upgrade to a nice Prelude before you jump into Pedal mode.
Whereabouts in the world do you live? Here in Britain, you can apply for an Arts Council loan of up to £2,000 for the purchase of musical instruments, which you pay back interest free.
I get my students to bring their own harps to lessons. With there being so much variety in size, tension, spacing etc., it’s far better for me to see the student playing the instrument they own, as I can then iron out specific problems or make suggestions about how to get the best out of their instrument.
If your teacher has been showing you the technique for playing at concert tension, you may find you’re simply pulling too hard on your own, lighter tension strings. That in itself can cause buzzing.
Perhaps you should suggest to your teacher that you take your own harp along next time, if only for advice on the buzzing problem – it’s easier to diagnose something like that when the harp is in front of you, and it might be a very simple fix.
It’s normal for lever harps to be more lightly strung and with closer string spacing, so another suggestion would be to find a teacher who specialises in clarsach/traditional harp technique.
Or if you love the idea of pedal harp, you could try something like a Pilgrim Progress (I play one, it’s gorgeous!), which has 41 stings, concert spacing/tension, and comes in either lever or pedal versions.
If your harp is really falling apart, check to see if you have a warranty on it – many harp makers will guarantee a harp for 5 years. Failing that, and if you can’t afford a new harp, ask your teacher if she/he knows of any second hand instruments for sale. Although harps are pretty good at holding value, you can still save yourself a bit of money that way.
Saul- I don’t remember ever seeing any posts here “begging and pleading” for a harp. What are you referring to? I found a harp for what I believed(and still believe) was a very deserving harpist overseas. But nobody asked me to do it. And the recipient was dumbfounded when told that several people(the donor, Wally Kresiki, president of Venus harps, and several others who gave music, strings, etc. in addition to myself) had pooled their efforts to provide an instrument to a professionally trained harpist who had no chance of ever getting such an instrument. That effort was not the response to someone “begging and pleading.”
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