I just moved up to eastern Washington beginning of June with my 85 Concert Grand to continue my harp studies. Up here we get the four seasons and all… I am from California and never had snow, what do you harpists do to protect your harp when moving it in the snow/rain and protect it from the cold? Is a full on padded cover necessary? I have a dolly, dust cover, and base cover, that’s it… input appreciated. Katheryn
I do not know about eastern Washington, but I live in the mountains of western North Carolina, where we can have terrible winters like our last one! I thought it would never end!
I use full padded transport covers for my harps, and in winter, I put extra blankets around them in the car, and make sure I warm up the car before loading the harp. I would not feel safe using only my dust-covers, and I invested in the full transport sets for all my harps when I purchased them. I think it would be worth it for you to do that, too, especially for the winter.
Hope this helps!
Best to you,
No matter what the weather, my harp never leaves the house without a full 3-piece transport cover to protect it. If you buy one, check the base cover. Most have a split at the bottom. Four Seasons harp covers makes a full base cover so you might want to check that out. I keep some rubber doormats in the car to use for unloading the harp and for my bench/gear if I have to set things down on the ground. The doormat not only keeps the harp dry, but also ensures the harp does not slip on the surface when I take it out of the van. I would get the LH transport cover since it is made for that harp. I am also so neurotic that I have a gymnastics mat in the van to eliminate the car vibration on the harp.
Gretchen, I am so glad that there is another person out there who is as “neurotic” as I am, ha, ha! I agree with everything in your post. You mentioned the other things that Carol Lynn and I also do when we move our harps that I forgot to put in my other reply, so thanks for making this much better for Katheryn.
Happy harping in the snow this winter, Katheryn! Gretchen lives in Florida, so she won’t likely be having as much fun as we will, ha, ha!
Geez I’m more paranoid than any of you guys, maybe:-) Actually, I made a “sled” or crate – about 2 M long and 1/3M wide that slides into the back of the van: harp and case easily strapped down. Of course that presumes enough head room; still I reckon one could do something similar if not.
Do NOT go over Snoqualamie Pass without snow chains, harp or not; trust me on this:-)
Biago, I know another harpist who straps her pedal harp onto a board that rolls into her large Suburban-type car. I want to add that if you transport a harp any distance (or just around town), it is a good idea to use tie-down straps to prevent jarring the harp if you hit a pothole, speed bump or other road obstacle. If you want extra padding under the column or base, garden knee mats are very inexpensive and easy to store. A reminder for newbies transporting a harp: levers and tuning pins face up.
Katheryn, a transport cover is a big investment but not nearly as expensive as a harp repair or having to buy another harp. You will get your money’s worth. You may want to post a transport cover set wanted ad here or with your local harp society chapter.
Hello hearpe, I have only heard of detuning if you are flying and only then on high tension instruments. Perhaps someone else can tell you. I have never detuned my harps before when moving, but then I have never flown with them either.
Thank you Gretchen, you make a good point about the repairs vs. cover protection. I will definitely post an ad for some covers.
It depends how clean the snow is. If it has no salt in it, you can brush it off the feet of the harp.
Not only do you have to warm up your car, you need to gradually cool down the harp or the veneer may crack. You also have to allow a couple of hours if you want the harp to warm up to the room you take it to, and then tune it.
3 piece transport case is a must in the snow here in Chicago! Get a reliable dolly you feel comfortable with. I personally use the German Horngacher Dolly – I’ve had mine over 12 years and is just now starting to show signs of wear. I love the dolly and wouldn’t use any other dolly to move my harp in the snow. Do be sure to carry a snow shovel with you to shovel a path when you get to the gig/concert location! http://www.horngacher-harps.de/allgemein/accessories.htm
One thing about harping in snow is once the snow starts to melt. During the days when the sun comes out and it is warm the snow will start to melt, but at night it can get back below freezing again, and that melted snow will turn to ice. The clear/black ice (it’s called ‘black ice’ because it is so clear it just disappears on top of asphalt) can be scary-you slip and fall and didn’t even realize it was under your feet until it’s too late. So be sure to be careful of ice when moving the harp!
While so many readers have good advice, perhaps no one has mentioned any kind of storage inside a harp cover, other than the harp. When I first got my sturdy blue transport cover from Lyon and Healy and noticed no pockets inside or outside, the way there are on some other instruments’ non-rigid case covers. I took a plain cotton pillowcase and sewed it inside one side, open end upwards, carefully by hand. Pieces of music can go in there if few in number, with no damage to the harp. If you usually play your selections already memorized, and need none or very few in print, that is efficient for free-lance players. Playing outside your home somewhere, we need fewer objects to carry to and from a car. A large city where I live has some skyscrapers: Our tallest one is 72 floors and the private club near the top needs a total of 3 different elevators to arrive there because just one elevator shaft can be too dangerous to escape in case of fire; also the builders wanted to keep people who had no business there, from trespassing. To have to go back to the basement where your car was parked, for a second load of equipment from your car, is just too much!
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