Does anybody know anything about these harps?
I hate to tell you this, but as soon as you can, get the receipt and return the harp for a FULL refund. These harps are just NOT worth their cost or the effort it takes to play them.
The problems are many fold:
1) They don?t stay in tune (they go flat or sharp alarmingly fast).
All harps have to be tuned, but having to constantly tune your harp
cause it goes sharp can be a sign of “warping” of the pillar
2)The levers just DON?T WORK at ALL. There is no way to “fix” them either.
3) You will get a very tinny sound out of these harps.
That?s because the soundboard is thick plywood and excessively glued.
The harp will never sound right and your ears wont be trained to recognize “true notes” using those Pakistani harps
4)The tension is VERY low on those harps. You will not learn how to pluck correctly due to the low tension and will end up plucking a regular harp too softly.
Here is more information on these harps from this very website:
and finally the best advice one could get as a harp purchaser:
Do your research. Read the posts in these discussion groups CAREFULLY. You will soon learn what kind of harps are quality and what makes them quality. I can tell you the most important thing is QUALITY IS NEVER CHEAP!!!!!, Don?t even try to look for a bargain, since most QUALITY harp sellers and manufactures have similar price ranges. Anything below the normal price range ~2000- 6000 for a 34 -36 string harp is SUSPICIOUS. There are two WELL KNOWN moderately priced brands: Blevins & Stoney End, but even they are above 1900 for a 34 string harp.
Don?t get ANYTHING off of eBay unless you are completely knowledgeable about harps. I personally have trolled eBay for many years just to look at what people are selling and have found instances where there were “stolen” pictures of harps advertised as real harps for sale by scam artists intent on getting money. I have seen harps that were broken and “unplayable” advertised on eBay as “in playable? condition. I have also seen harps that required EXTENSIVE and EXPENSIVE repairs listed as in ?fine” condition. Many advertisers are so predatory they will WORD their advertisements in such a way where you would not be able to glean the full extent of the damage unless you were a harp connoisseur.
There are many things you have to know in order to buy a harp successfully, that?s why if I were you, I would just buy directly from the following manufacturers:
William and Reese
Lyon and Healy,
or Heartland harps.
These are the ones that are pretty well known for making quality lever harps. Some would argue that there are manufactures among the ones I listed that really gear their lever harps for potential pedal harp students and that may be true. If you are looking for a “folk harp sound” you might do better with a Thormhalen or Dusty Strings rather than a Lyon and Healy or Swanson harp. The thing is its all in what you want so you must RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!!!!
Lastly take my advice:
No offense to any small time luthier but there is a certain reason why some luthiers have better reputations than others. Dave Thormhalen basically makes the haprs he sells. He has an excellent reputation. So does Howard Byran who also restores harps. You should be wary of the ?Joe little guy” luthiers who are not that well known. I would only go to an unknown luthier if I was an expert harp buyer. I am not denigrating small time luthiers. Many are fabulous, but you must remember that the harp making industry is VERY UNEVEN in terms of talent. There are many great relatively unkown luthiers, BUT there are JUST AS MANY relatively unkown luthiers making CRAP HARPS. If you are not sure where to buy a harp from or how good the local harp maker is in your area, just go with the major manufacturers. I made the mistake of going to a unknown luthier a year ago and bought a piece of junk based on some scant reviews from people who turned out to be his own personal friends and associates. For the most part: A GOOD LUTHIER WILL BE WIDELY KNOWN, JUST AS A GOOD SINGER OR PAINTER OR ACTOR WILL BE WIDELY KNOWN
That is because one satisfied customer tells 100 other people who in turn buy and tell 100 more people. If you don?t believe me, just ask people what they think of Howard Byran?s harp restoration or Thormhalen harps as a manufacturer or Marcel Grandjany as a harpist and see what they say. Trust me, the best and the brightest usually rise to the top based on their excellence and that goes for harp making too.
I have encountered five of these harps amongst my students.
In the worst case the neck cracked in two after a few months.
Another began to crack along the strings on the soundboard after 3 or 4 years.
One began to crack along the base and back after about two years.
The other two have not had problems with breakage yet.
There is a consistency issue with these and some will last longer than others. It is a matter of whether or not you wish to take that chance. Just realize that it will probably not last well over 10 years, while other harps listed in the above posts will last for decades. There is a problem with the tone because of the thickness of the soundboard which eliminates some of the resonance. There is also a harder edge to the tone when initially plucking the string. If it is not appropriate to return it, you do have something to work with, and you can work with this harp as many people do who start with these. Be sure not to buy a larger version of this type later on because there are much better deals for tone and longevity. There are also humanitarian issues surrounding the building of some harps overseas as the rosewood dust is carcinogenic and should require environmental controls, as I understand it.
There is NO controversy. Dont be confused by anonymous posters in these groups. Thats how I ended up buying a crappy Harp based on reviews by the “friends” of the New Jersey luthier I bought from. Just click on my name and you will find out my experience.
Remember that I gave you examples of what has been written on Harp Column. not just my own opinion. Do us all a favor and go telephone or email THE ACTUAL PROFESSIONALS and UNIVERSITY HARP DEPARTMENTS and see what they tell you about these
horribly sounding harp shaped objects…erm I mean otherwise known as “Pakistani harps”
Let me give you some numbers and emails of REPUTABLE
people/institutions you can contact:
Howard Bryan Harp restorer
H. Bryan & Co.
Sylvia woods Harp Center
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
915 N.Glendale Avenue
Glendale, California 91206
Phone Number: (818) 956-1363
INDIANA SCHOOL OF MUSIC HARP DEPARTMENT
1201 East Third St.
School of Music
Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: (812) 855-9846
Fax: (812) 855-9847
Monday?Friday: 8 a.m.?5 p.m.
Its all too easy to set up an anonymous account here on Harp Column and say whatever you wish without the background or experience in harps. So disregard me and all the other harp posters and make sure you get legitimate answers from “professionals” who have institutions or verifiable credentials behind them, because frankly ANYONE including the sellers of these “Pakistani harps can get on this website and rave about these horrible interments.
I say: Go to the actual people who run harp departments and teach harp. You will get the answer. There is no debate. Just telephone the ?professionals? rather than relaying on the responses of anonymous posters on an online discussion group
Helen is correct about all this. These harps are a very sad tale. I just got a new student who has one of these, and it is what she has to work with for now. Even though these are only a few hundred dollars, that is still a great sacrifice for some folks and they do feel emotionally attached to their purchase because it is a gift and/or required financial sacrifice. Anyone reading this please don’t intentionally buy one because of the many problems surrounding these Pakistani rosewood harps.
The Harpsicles/Sharpsicles, Blevins discounted harps, Dusty Strings Ravenna are all better options for the least expensive harps. It is important to develop the best sense of tone from the beginning if at all possible.
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