Is buying a pedal harp a gamble?

  • Participant
    Harper10 on #256848

    Hi there! I’m interested in finding a pedal harp and have looked at new and used. That said, I am concerned by what I have read about some new harps needing major repair in 10-15 years. I want to make the best financial decision and buy a harp that won’t have issues down the line.

    That said, my question is primarily regarding manufacturer errors/defects. How can I best avoid these? I know the warranty offers protection, but I am concerned.

    Is my best chance of buying a quality harp is 1) getting one that has been rebuilt/repaired by a harp expert 2) choosing one that is over 15 years old and has stood the test of time (structurally sound, has been looked over by a harp tech, action isn’t worn out, etc. Overall good shape)?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256850

    Hello, Harper 10!

    I have owned L&H harps for years and my Camac Atlantide for about 4 years, plus numerous lever harps. I have never had ANY structural or mechanical issues with any of my harps. I think that it is how well the owner takes care of them that makes the difference. Keeping them in tune, having them regulated, changing strings, felts, etc. when they need it, plus not leaving them in hot or cold cars or places unattended, extends the lives of the instruments. Many are damaged by carelessness of their owners, and with a used harp, you can’t always tell what has happened to it before you own it. Compare this to a used car, and you know exactly what I mean. If you are buying a new harp, I would recommend Camac above all the other brands.

    Hope this helps.

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #256853

    Ha, Balfour, you had to know I would step in and say buy a Salvi harp. But, I don’t think l would buy a Salvi Diana. The last three I tried did not have a very good sound, IMHO.

    I don’t like the Camac pedals, but that is me. Camac harps are excellent.

    New harps come with a 5 year warranty. I bought three new harps and two used. No problems at all. I knew the history of the used harps. Important to know if the harps have been well-maintained and how much they have been used. If possible, have a harp technician inspect the harp or buy from a reputable harp dealer.

    Participant
    karen on #256859

    Know that every harp sounds different (even the same model from the same company). Camacs have a VERY different feel and sound. Not better, not worse…but certainly different. A pedal harp is NOT a gamble. As an adult learner, I wish I had switched from lever to pedal way sooner than I did. You won’t regret it. Have fun….doing the research and making the choice is exciting. I will say that when I bought my first pedal harp, I thought I’d have it for many years. However, after a couple of years, I got more clear on the sound I wanted MY harp to sound like, and found myself shopping again, researching again, selling my first pedal harp and buying a different one.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256874

    Hello everyone,

    I just wanted to point out that Camac pedal harps come with a 10-year warranty, as opposed to the 5 or 3 of other makers. Also, I agree that they feel different, including the pedals, but I enjoyed getting used to that difference in a couple of days. Now, I will never turn back to the other brands–they all feel very strange to me now, ha, ha! At least we can take our own personal harps with us to play at events, unlike piano and organ. Harper 10, do you still have the L&H pedal harp you purchased before?

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Harper10 on #256893

    Thanks everyone! This is really encouraging. It’s good to hear you’re experiences.

    Thanks for asking, Balfour! I still have the old Style 15 and am really enjoying it. It’s been great! I thought it would be all the pedal harp I would ever need… that is until I played a new pedal harp. Wow! The new harps are lovely. I’m thinking of buying a harp with an extended soundboard one day. I have only played the Camac Athena, but will definitely have to visit the Atlanta or Virginia Harp centers and play some of the other Camac harps. Thanks for reccomending them!

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256895

    I posted on the other thread, but thanks so much for the update, Harper 10!

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #256912

    Salvi and Lyon & Healy pedal harps are the only ones that are all wood. This makes a big difference in tone quality and response. One major reason people may need major repairs on their harps is moving them frequently and often incorrectly, with not enough padding and support. That’s a pretty sure way to need to replace the neck. A harp that is fifteen years old certainly has shown its structural integrity. A new harp will last the longest and have the most innovative parts. The one thing I do not like about new Lyon & Healy harps is the matte/satin finish as opposed to the glossy finish which you will find on the older harps. I don’t think I’ve heard of any problem harps from Lyon & Healy since the 1990s.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256973

    I happen to prefer the satin, low-gloss finishes on the modern harps. To me, it seems more elegant and tasteful. Carbon fiber is used by Camac and other modern harp makers to strengthen and lighten the weight of their harps. How many Camacs have ever had to have new necks? Also, you can never have a broken pedal rod on a Camac, and you never have to have the pedals re-felted. Being able to regulate them yourself speaks for itself.

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #256974

    I also prefer a satin finish. To me, the glossy finish detracts from the beauty of the figuring of the wood.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #256975

    Absolutely, Jerusha! Think of how beautiful the Dusty Strings harps are in natural wood satin finish. Hope you are doing well.
    Harp Hugs and best wishes,
    Balfour (and Carol Lynn)

    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #256977

    Hi Balfour and Carol Lynn,

    I am doing well! (Thank you for the well wishes!) I’ll email you both soon.

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