Changing Harp Semitone Levers

  • Participant
    jenharp79 on #205447

    Hi fellow harpists!

    I have Dusty Strings Ravenna lever harp. I’m quite happy with the overall sound, except there’s a noticeable difference of tone when I engage the Loveland levers. It’s something which has been bugging me for quite a while now. The sound becomes duller and not quite as bright and in certain keys it doesn’t really sing very well.

    A friend of mine has recently bought  Teifi Eos harp and I have to say the semitone levers are far superior – they preserve the string tone  and don’t displace it out of position (I think the design is based on that of a concert harp). The harp itself also sounds just wonderful. So I have been considering changing the semitones on my Ravenna to the Teifi semitones which are available on their site

    Harp Semitone Sharping Levers

    I was wondering if anyone has any experience either with Teifi semitones and/or with changing semitones on a Ravenna – is it even possible/practical?

    With thanks

    Jennifer

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by jenharp79.
    Participant
    balfour-knight on #205528

    Hi, Jennifer,

    I owned a Ravenna 34 for years and enjoyed it very much, particularly as a gigging harp. (I am a professional harpist.)  Now I own a beautiful Dusty FH36S in figured cherry, their top-of-the-line harp along with their Bubinga ones.  My FH36S is nicely equipped with Camac levers, which I find to be far superior to the Lovelands which were on my Ravenna.  Some folks still prefer the Lovelands, but not me!  I do not know about the Teifi levers, and I do hope that someone with that experience contacts you here.  I wish you all the best!

    Harp hugs,

    Balfour

    Participant
    Biagio on #205530

    Hi Jennifer,

    It is certainly possible, but it will of course be expensive relative to the original cost of your Ravenna.  Levers designs such as Teifi, Camac, and Salvi (in principle, at least) should have a truer tone than the Loveland and Truitt types – I think you can count on about $25+ each assuming that you have a technician do the change.

    If you live in the US you might ask DS about installing Camacs, if you would accept those in lieu of Teifi.  Not that I have anything against  Teifi, just thinking about convenience.

    Best wishes,

    Biagio

    Participant
    jenharp79 on #205547

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for the kind replies. I would be interested to know how the Teifi levers shape up to Camacs. As far as I can see the Camac ones do not use the same ‘double pin’ mechanism that Teifi’s do and they are heavier.

    I contacted Dusty Strings and they said there could be an issue be with spacing if the Teifi levers are too wide. I think I will contact  Teifi harps to find out and get some advice. As far as I can see they are about $10 each (not counting the cost of fitting) but I do live the UK so maybe they could do it for me.

    I’ll keep you updated!

    thanks

    Jennifer

    Participant
    Biagio on #205548

    You are correct Jennifer, in that the Teifi and Camac mechanisms differ.  To whit, double pins versus beveled bearings, but the effect is the same, compared to those that push the string up or down (e.g. Loveland, Truitt, Rees, Robinson etc.).  Anyhow, please do let us know what you decide!

     

    Biagio

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #205564

    Biagio, so good to see your posts here!  I knew you would know better than I what to do about changing those levers, as I have never tried to change harp levers to another kind before.  Once I discovered the Camacs, I considered changing from Lovelands to Camacs on one of my other harps, but sold the harp instead.  I had tweaked and fine-tuned the Lovelands for years on that harp so that they worked perfectly, and also I had done the same on my Ravenna, but the Camacs on my FH36S were still the best.

    Jennifer, I will add that the levers seem to bother the person who is playing the harp much more than they do others listening to someone playing the harp.  My wife, who is very particular about tuning and musical sounds, was not at all bothered by the sound of the Loveland levers engaged on the strings.  To prove it to me, she had the sound-man at church record my harps with the Loveland levers and played it back for me.  To my amazement, I could not hear the difference with the levers engaged, either!

    Best wishes, everyone!

    Balfour

    Participant
    Biagio on #205566

    Ha ha, Balfour my friend like several harp “issues” (e.g. string design) mounting levers or changing them sounds a lot more mysterious and perhaps frightening than it is.  Honestly I sometimes blame we harp makers for that – after putting in many hours deigning the instrument we are perhaps loathe to see it modified!

    On the other hand makers operate under certain constraints of time and tools which a player does not have to deal with.  I personally see no reason why a player should not modify their harp to their liking:-)  Most harp makers will be willing to offer advice as well.

    Cheers,

    Biagio

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #205582

    Thanks, Biagio, my friend!  I have heard that one of the problems of changing to different levers is the plugging-up of the old screw-holes, since they are probably not going to match up with the new levers.

    I wondered if trading to another harp would just be a better option, Jennifer?  Someone else would love your Ravenna just as it is, and you could get the kind of levers you want on a new harp.

    Best regards,

    Balfour

    Participant
    jenharp79 on #205618

    Hi everyone, thank you for all your words. Here is the reply I have from Teifi Harps, I must say I am convinced they are the right semitone for me but the question remains as to whether my Ravenna is up to the task..

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for taking interest in our levers.

    We do offer Camac levers on our harps but we make our own and prefer to fit them as standard for a number of reasons:

    – We have designed them to be acoustically as transparent as possible
    – Importantly they do not displace the string out of alignment due to the double nip up (a design taken from the concert harp). This help preserve string life
    – The action of our levers allows the use of hammer-ons and slides to notes for Jazz/Blues.
    – They are lighter than any other metal lever (as far as we know)

    With regards to your question about spacing, we offer different sleeves for different gauges and also the semitones come in four sizes to suit harps with different string spacing.

    If you have any more questions just let us know.

    Participant
    jenharp79 on #205633

    Just to add today, after speaking to my friend (who owns a Teifi) and from your kind advice on here – I am realising that it may not even by cost effective to put Teifi Semitones on my Ravenna (Estimated about £500-600 for a full set and fitting). I’m am seriously tempted just to get a Teifi Harp such as the Telor (see their range here)

    Teifi Celtic & Lever Harps


    Does anyone else here own one?

    Participant
    Biagio on #205637

    Teifi makes excellent harps, that’s for sure, and you should have no trouble selling the Ravenna.  Honestly, that’s what I would do if the Loveland levers really annoyed me and I were willing to grade up.  The Ravennas are the best harps around in their price range IMO, but not in the same class as Teifi.

    Biagio

    Participant
    wil-weten on #205641

    Dusty delivers Ravenna 34 string harps with Camac levers as an (extra) option. Have a look at: http://manufacturing.dustystrings.com/harps/options/camac-levers/

    You may like to prefer to sell your old Ravenna and buy a new one with Camac levers. This may be cheaper than exchanging the Loveland levers of your harp for levers of a different brand.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #205787

    Hello again, everyone!  Well, I had time to take a look at the Teifi Harps site, and I am very impressed.  The harps and sharping levers look very good, and I would love to see and play their harps and test the levers.  Unfortunately, I am nowhere near Wales, so I will have to wait until a Teifi appears in North Carolina, USA!  By the way, is Teifi pronounced TI-fee?

    Harp Hugs and best wishes,

    Balfour

    Participant
    emma-graham on #205790

    They are fantastic harps with a great sound. Balfour it’s named after a River in Wales and it’s pronounced Tievee.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #205819

    Thanks, Emma!  I never would have thought about the v instead of the f.  By the way, how is your hand/wrist healing?

    I hope I get a chance to see and play a Teifi harp sometime.  It would have to be really great to equal my Dusty, though, since “Cherie” is the perfect match of harp to harpist! 🙂

    Best wishes to all of you,

    Balfour

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