professional grade lever harp

  • Participant
    Amy Wilson on #148999

    Hi all,

    I play a pedal harp and have a friend who plays a Salvi Ana lever harp.

    barbara-brundage on #149000

    It’s not so much a question of brand–most makers make both student and professional grade harps–as of models. But no lever harp is going to work in a medium sized venue chock full of people without being better for amplification (nor pedal harp, either). You can play any harp in an empty cathedral and it will project just fine. You can play the largest loudest concert grand in a small packed venue and not be heard. If she wants to play professionally, amplification is a fact of life, I’m afraid, except sometimes for wedding ceremonies.

    For lighter weight harps, pretty nearly anything from a lever harp maker is lighter than a lever harp from a pedal harp maker (like the Ana or the L&H prelude or Camac Mademoiselle). Is she willing to trade the pedal harp shape of the Ana for the more basic triangle of a dusty, thormahlen, etc?

    Personally, I would think the Ana, if hers is decent, is a pretty nice harp for gigging. I’d get a dolly and an am, if it were me, instead of a different harp, unless i hated the harp I had. In the US, other options would be some models from dusty strings, thormahlen, triplett, Rees, Kortier–there’s a whole long list. Since she’s used to gut strings, I’d probably say to start by investigating the folk-gut thormahlens, as closest to what she’s used to.

    But are you in the US? That makes a difference, and so does the kind of playing she plans to do.

    barbara-brundage on #149001

    >I’d get a dolly and an am

    and an amp, of course, not “am”

    Amy Wilson on #149002


    She doesn’t like the Ana because the sound is too mellow.

    Jerusha Amado on #149003


    I play lever harp professionally and also wanted a harp with excellent projection (as well as excellent tone and resonance).

    kreig-kitts on #149004

    I was thinking maybe the pedal tension Thormahlens might have the oomph she wants. My teacher’s Troubador is plenty loud, though it’s probably taller than many other 36 string lever harps and I don’t know how much lighter than an Ana it would be. Heartland harps are generally known for a big sound, so that might be one to try out, especially if she likes the sound of their carbon fiber models, which are as light as you’ll get a harp with 36 or more strings.

    brook-boddie on #149005

    I played a Lyon and Healy Prelude 40 a couple of weeks ago at the Atlanta Harp Center that had a fantastic sound–very much like a small pedal harp.

    Jerusha Amado on #149006


    I’ve heard pedal tension with pedal gut on medium-sized lever harps in the past, and they still couldn’t match the projection of the nylon or composite strings.

    barbara-brundage on #149007

    Wow, Jerusha, that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that thorms are unsuitable for pro use. I’ll have to pass the memo around to Laura Zaerr and all the other pros who use them that we all need to throw them out and get new harps!

    I totally agree that given the additional info that Amy provided a gut-strung thorm isn’t the harp for her, but really, now.

    Karen Johns on #149008

    The Heartland harps do have big sound, Kreig. I have a Dragonheart that really puts it out. Plus, it only weighs in at 25 lbs. With 38 strings, it’s everything I dreamed of in a performance harp.


    barbara-brundage on #149009

    Oh yes, I wouldn’t deny that the big Dustys generally have a larger sound, for sure.

    Amy, the best thing would be if you and your friend could get someplace to try different harps. Whereabouts are you located? Even if there aren’t harp stores/dealers in your area, there are plenty of folk harp events with vendors all over the place these days, if you’re in the US.

    The fluorocarbon harps are definitely very bright. Besides the ceili/ceili mor, I think Larry Fisher is the only person who’s really specializing in fluorocarbon strung harps these days, but he’s seriously backordered, since his fluorocarbon harps are extremely popular in Ireland.

    jessica-wolff on #149010

    Well, Rick Rubarth uses fluorocarbon for the Merlin and it projects well. It’s considerably smaller and lighter than the Troubadour (for example). Then there’s Josephus Harps’ Heritage model, slightly shorter and lighter than the Ana.

    barbara-brundage on #149011

    Yes, I’d forgotten he’d switched to fluorocarbon for the Merlin. Thanks for the reminder.

    Jerusha Amado on #149012

    Rick Kemper of Sligo Harps also specializes in fluorocarbon strings.

    jennifer-buehler on #149013

    Kortier Harps are strung in flourocarbon and he has a really nice elctro-acoustic harp.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
  • The forum ‘Professional Harpists’ is closed to new topics and replies.