Recording your Harp

Home Forums Harps and Accessories Recording your Harp

Viewing 9 posts - 16 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Author
  • #68050

    I am in agreement in nature sound recordings. Im willing to try this out and will let you know that is if I purchase the zoom.


    I kinda scanned over this thread a bit and I’m wondering if anyone records w/ pickups into an amp and then into a mic? I’m wondering if its a worthwhile investment to get a pickup for my soundboard.

    I’m not sure what kind of differences there are though between recording from an amp vs recording acoustically. One of my biggest peeves is that whenever I record, you can always hear the replacement buzz on the strings nicely. Would the pickup still pick up on this if i used that rather than placing my mic by my harp? Also, I just realized, most of the times I place the mic really low but in the front of the harp. I always kind of figured if I placed it near the sound hole, it might not pick up well in the highs and lows but never experimented much with it, so perhaps that might be way you can hear the buzz?

    I’m going to be recording f/ an EP. Anyone have advice? Also, if I were to eventually play small gigs, would it be best to have an amp or could I wait to invest in one? Thanks in advance for any advice 😀


    Also, for reference: I’m recording on a L&H 38 string Prelude and I have a Blue Mic Snowball USB mic to record with.

    Sherri Matthew

    Hi Tracey,

    My piezo-electric pickup was built into my harp, and I’ve found it’s a nice supplement to the external mikes I place in front of it. The pickup goes to an external pre-amp with a gain control and from there to the mixing board. Here’s a link to a page on my website where you can read a bit about how I work: My recording work is for an album, not to hear how I sound practicing, so it’s a more elaborate setup. The harp is in a separate room from the studio equipment. I would tend to think if you recorded primarily acoustically, but with the soundboard pickup added, you would get a very nice sound. I experimented with turning the pickup on and off while monitoring and the absence of it seemed to take away an undefined kind of ambiance, so I made sure to always have it on. It just seemed to add presence to the recordings.

    As far as replacement buzz and other noises goes, just try to set your levels in advance with monitor headphones on and keep adjusting until you can hear your instrument but you don’t hear these sounds. Try adjusting your gain and/or mike distances. It takes some fiddling but the results are worth it! I spent a lot of time tweaking until I found the sweet spot for my gear, then I noted the values and kept it set up that way each time.

    Placing the mikes near the sound holes is what I do every time. About six inches away.

    Can’t advise you regarding gigs and amps, since I don’t play live but if you need any help with the recording end of things, feel free to ask again or email me.


    Hi Sherri,

    Thanks so much for your reply. It will probably come handy once I start recording and I’ll definitely take your advice. As far as your pick up, I looked through the link you gave me and don’t think you specified what kind of pick up it is or anything. But regardless, I’m curious as to what you might be able to recommend me? Right now, I’m renting a harp and probably will be for awhile, until I can buy my own pedal harp. That said, I’m not/can’t do any sort of alteration or adding a permanent pick up to it. Do you have any recommendation for some sort of “contact” pick up(s) I could look into purchasing? I’m not 100% sure how they work, but do you know what I could look into just placing on my soundboard and plugging into an amp (they plug directly into amps, correct? I tried googling harp pick ups but I wasn’t really sure what to look for :/

    Sherri Matthew

    Hi Tracey,

    Triplett Harps uses Highlander pickups: They build them in at the time of construction. Looking over Highlander’s site though, I’m trying to figure out if you can just buy one and attach it to your current instrument. They primarily sell to the guitar market. Maybe you could email them and explain to them what you’re trying to do. They might be able to recommend a model in their product line that might retrofit easily to your harp.

    Mine uses a 9 volt battery. Word of caution: I always take it out when I’m not using it. I found out there was quite a drain on it and the battery didn’t last very long. About a month at the most. The pickup has a 1/4″ mono output jack on the back of the harp but if you need a smaller plug, adapters are always easy to get. I have a nice long extension cable to run from one room to the other.

    The way my pickup is installed is, it’s hard to see without putting a flashlight inside the harp. It runs up and down the length of the soundboard and I believe Triplett actually embedded some of the wires in the wood. But Highlander may have some products that would mount unobtrusively on your harp and could be removed when you need to return your rental. They have quite a FAQ section. See what they have to say! 🙂


    For playback when practicing I use my iPhone Voice Memo. I use inexpensive amps to listen. Recently friends gave a piano concert and at last minute wanted to record it. I put my iPhone on my lap – the quality was amazing. I then synced to iTunes – then trimmed and split the pieces and then made a CD. I split the individual songs so can send them via email. I was very pleased and surprised with my efforts.



    Thank you for your postings on pickups, and studio recording microphones, noises. Why dont you play live? Is it easier to record solo, is it a better wider audience rather than performing?

    Sherri Matthew

    Hi Laura Ann,

    I don’t play live for the reason that I hate doing it. Seriously. I have not contributed to the Crash and Burn and Lived to tell about it thread, because my post would have been a real downer and I felt it a good thing that everyone was able to support each other on that front. But on my website I recently posted an in-depth discussion of my thoughts on that and related subjects, under Quiet book review.

    I used to work as a church organist before I took up the harp (and before I finished my degree) and boy, did I get a lot of nasty remarks after the service. Some of them almost confrontational. I would have panic attacks each Sunday, almost to the point of passing out, natually enough play badly, then get ripped apart after church was over. This happened at more than one church. I barely got through my degree recital. It was the last time I ever played live, in 2007.

    Life is too short to put up with that kind of abuse, and I’ve gotten some wonderful emails and text messages from fans who loved my recording work. So you can guess which way I decided to go. I have never played my harp in public either. I really like what I do – studio recording – and my stress levels are way down because of it.

    I’m happy to share my experiences here with doing recording work, becaise it’s been an enormously rewarding experience for me (by contrast!) and I had hoped to be able to pass some of that enthusiasm on. It’s been a nice alternative.

Viewing 9 posts - 16 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.