Portable Harps for World Travel

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    Mallory on #192177

    Hi all,

    I’m currently living between France and the US (most of my academic year in Paris and most of my summers/vacations in the States) and I’m looking to purchase a harp that is (reasonably) lightweight and easy to travel with. I have a Lyon and Healy Prelude at home, but I’ve played on everything from those to LH Ogdens to Salvi concert grands. Ideally I’d have something with upwards of 30 strings, particularly because I LOVE the lower registers. I’m also intrigued by the idea of an electric harp, since I’m writing music more and more and am likely going to be playing in bands in the coming years. The big thing I’m looking for, however, is portability. I sometimes busk in Paris, so this would need to be something that can survive public transportation and that isn’t too heavy to lug around.

    Suggestions? I’ve been looking into the Camac DHC 36 Blue Light, the Lyon and Healy Silhouette, and the Harpsicle Grand and have no clue if any sound better than the others or have significant advantages/disadvantages. Or if maybe there’s another brand I’m completely overlooking?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    Deette Bunn on #192178

    I have a new 34 string Stewart Harp from New Zealand. It weighs 17 pounds, has a wood body (African sapele) and soundboard (western red cedar) with Camac levers, but the rest of it is carbon fiber. It’s pretty indestructible and the sound is absolutely, positively incredible. If you would like to talk to me about it in more detail, please feel free to contact me at deettebunn@yahoo.com. It would make a great busking harp, I think, and traveled perfectly to the US in checked baggage in a soft cover with a couple of pieces of styrofoam on either side.

    patricia-jaeger on #192289

    Look into the very portable single action harp created for Mildred Dilling, when she wished to tour with a singer across the U.S. but her concert harp was too heavy. Now called the Douglas Harp, patented and made near Sarasota, Florida by Arsalaan (Douglas) Fay, mine (20 years old) was bought used, has removable legs, 33 strings, and 7 levers located within reach of either hand, on top of the harmonic curve. The single action is inside the harmonic curve, rather than in the column as in the single action Tyrolean pedal harp of Europe. That action permits each string with the same name, the whole range of the harp, to be altered one half step. This permits much more repertoire to be played more easily than with any other lever harp. Mr. Fay demonstrates this on youtube.com. He has a waiting list. I have used mine in small venues like store openings, very successfully. Very portable, and can be amplified.

    Allison Stevick on #192291

    If portability and durability are your big needs, you might check out the Heartland Infinity– 8.5 pounds, 36 strings, carbon fiber, pickups, can be held with a strap or stood up on its own retractable leg. I don’t own one, but I have their Delight and I love how sturdy and light it is.

    phil cassista on #192294

    You might consider our portable electric harps at cassistaelectricharps.com . They are light, travel well in rigid canvas or fiberglass shell cases, and our proprietary metal-core ‘nylon’ strings allow the bass end that you would like. You can email me at pc@electricharp.com if you want to find out more. And happy travels!

    Tacye on #192297

    If you are considering an electric harp for portability, don’t forget to take into account what elecronics you will also need to lug around.

    The Camac Ulysse might be worth looking at too.

    Daniel on #192426

    I second the Heartland Harps Infinity. The lowest octave is quite punchy, though it doesn’t have the depth of a concert grand (and doesn’t go as low). While I’m not familiar with most of the harps mentioned above, I think when it comes to portability, the Infinity is hard to beat. I’ll spend about three days running from bar to bar with it in February, I’ll know for sure afterwards. I’m three hours from Paris, if you have no other possibility to try one. But Dave from Heartland Harps could probably give you the adress of an owner nearer to you.

    eliza-bourgault on #192579

    I have a Camac Bardic 27 and I’m loving it. It’s great for busking. I bought it with its travel case which you can actually wear as a backpack. The harp is about 6kgs so it does get a little heavy to carry after a while. The range is a little limited when you are used to bigger harps but you can play many tunes with it nonetheless. They can also make straps to go with the harp so you don’t have to play it sitting down (I’ve never tried it but I’d be scared to hurt my back if I played that way for too long!). It has removable legs. If you like the low register of the harp this particular harp doesn’t go very low (lowest string is C one octave below middle C). But it’s quite portable and if you have a pick-up you can easily amplify it. 🙂

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