I am debating the purchase of a Blevins 26 string Melody vs the Ravenna.
I would agree that this is really a try before you buy situation. My teacher has a Ravenna which she uses during lessons while the student uses her Troubadour. She loves it and thinks it’s a great little harp. In fact, when I was in the market for a lap harp this is what she suggested to me. However, after looking around I was really in love with the look of the Blevins Avanta (their other 26 string harp). My teacher cautioned me, saying that she hadn’t heard a Blevins in awhile but really didn’t think they sounded as nice as Dusty’s harps. Well, after getting my Avanta she has entirely recanted, and now says this is the best small harp she has ever heard.
I love my little Avanta, and think it is the best thing ever. Of course, I’m extremely biased. My point is simply that either harp can be great and if possible you should try to get ahold of the harp before you buy it. If you can’t (I couldn’t) just try to make the best decision you can with the info you have. If you have a gut feeling about one or the other, go with it! I did, and I am so glad I didn’t give in just beacuse someone told me it might not be the best.
Couple of other things:
While I rather like the Ravenna’s “two-tone” appearance (the soundbox is black, while the soundboard is clear-finished laminated birch and the pillar and neck natural solid ash), if one wants a harp that looks a little more conventional, it is available in an all-black (well, except for the soundboard) version.
That has been my dilemma to. In January I visited Harp Connection and tried two Dusty Strings instruments: a Ravenna 26 and a FH2, as well as a Triplett therapy harp. Finally I have decided to accept the likely biased judgement of Cindy Blevins, in addition to the online recording she made of the Melody 26, and have ordered a fully levered cherry one to be made. It will be my only lever harp, because once it arrives and I stabilize the tuning, I plan to put my rugged-but-feeble-toned EMS Hailey on consignment at a local music store.
The Melody’s soundbox appears as big as that of my Mid-East Caitlin, so I’m assuming it will also be as rich in the low end.
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