Making the jump from levers to pedals?

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    elly-mccabe on #156221

    Hi guys, I’ve been playing a Camac 36 string electroharp and absolutely love her I have called her Aurora, and she is my princess 😛 haha but recently I’ve found my writing/composing is being prohibited a lot by the fact I can’t change key very easily and i get so tiresome changing key with the levers during performances that i think the time has come to invest in a bigger harp. I would absolutely love to play a pedal harp anyway, who wouldn’t?

    I am fairly poor so have a very, VERY small budget of around 8,000 GBP and will probably end up buying second hand. I’m really interested in the Lyon and Healy Chicago petite and my favourite harpist and singer Joanna Newsom plays a Chicago. I have heard great things about this harp but I’ve also just been looking at a Salvi Orchestra 46? What would you guys advise?

    Also, what is the change from levers to pedals like? I don’t know much about pedal harps, can anyone help me to be better informed?

    Thank youu!


    daniele-di on #156222

    Even if you are a professional harpist, I still suggest you to first rent a pedal harp for a few months.
    The reason is that the “feeling” change really a lot ( it changed for me) when playing a pedal harp, you really feel the difference, and it may be really difficult to make the jump, especially if you really love lever harps.
    And you may also find tiresome to change pedals instead of levers eheh 🙂

    A part from that, I also heard good things about the Salvi Daphne


    tony-morosco on #156223

    The strings on the electroharp are lighter tension and narrower spacing than on a pedal harp. It will take getting used to and you may require some time to build up some more strength and stamina in your hands before you can play as long and loud as you can on the electroharp.

    Also if you haven’t studied one of the more common pedal harp playing techniques you may want to see about taking some lessons. I find that the pedal harp is far less forgiving and requires more attention to hand position and playing technique.

    You may also have issues if you aren’t used to actually having a sound board. Again, it requires that you be more mindful of your arm position and posture than you need to be with the electroharp.

    If you have never played with pedals before you also probably should get some lessons to help with that. While it really doesn’t take long to learn the pattern of the pedals and where to move your feet to in order to play your accidentals and change keys, there is definitely a technique to engaging and disengaging the pedals to do it quickly, smoothly, and most important quietly. A few lessons on this will at least get you going in the right direction.

    The transition isn’t necessarily a huge obstacle. I go back and forth between the electroharp and pedal harp all the time and now I hardly think about the differences. But at first it will take getting used to and some hands on guidance will save you a lot of time and frustration.

    Tacye on #156224

    If you are looking to buy 2nd hand I would encourage you not to get your heart set on a particular model.

    elly-mccabe on #156225

    Thank you so much for this, a genuinely thought of and not too critical answer. Thank you. What electric harp do you play? 🙂

    elly-mccabe on #156226

    Thank you!
    :)yeah the pedals do look tiring but I will start off slowly 🙂

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