Salvi Donegal and Camac Aziliz

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    greenjudy on #192915

    Greetings, it has been a long time since I posted here, and now I’m seeking advice from people familiar with Camac and Salvi lever harps.

    I had the opportunity to play a Salvi Donegal and the new Ulysse from Camac. While I appreciated everything that went into the Ulysse to make it a fabulous travel instrument, I confess I really preferred the sound and handling of the Donegal. The Ulysse seemed to have much lower tension, especially at the lower end of its range. What I haven’t tried is the Aziliz, which looks and sounds beautiful from photos and what I’ve been able to turn up on YouTube. But I don’t know anything about the actual touch of this harp. How does it compare to the Donegal? Are they similar, or is the Aziliz a lower-tension harp?

    Any thoughts or observations about either harp would be most appreciated.

    byouke on #192957

    Hi Greenjudy

    I’ve been going to harp shops (Salvi-Camac) these past weekends, looking for my first harp.

    I’ve heard the aziliz, it’s nice and bright, but I can’t remember wich travel harp I touched the strings of. It was either the aziliz, Janet, or Hermine (I know it was a 34 string harp), but it had quite a light string tension.

    Haven’t heard the Donegal, so I can’t say anything about it. I did hear the Titan in silkgut (also synthetic string), but I wasn’t sold over.

    Why don’t you also try a camac isolde or excalibur (medium tension), it also has carbon strings like the aziliz and donegal, but has 38 strings (I’ve been browsing through harps with a least 36 strings for full octaves), and they are not more expensive then the the ones you looked at. I liked the sound very much, but thats my personal opinion. Some prefer gut (camac stivell or Salvi Titan “gut”) or nylon (camac melusine) over it.

    I would say, gooo to the shop and try them all. ’cause there is a big differences between youtube clips and “live”. And my taste, isn’t necesserally your taste.

    Hopefully I was some help to you 😉

    greenjudy on #193075

    Hi byouke,

    Thanks so much for your reply! Please forgive my delayed response; I’m in a place with very iffy internet at the moment.

    I have been very impressed with both the Isolde and the Excalibur as heard in videos and recordings. If I had no constraints on my purchase, I think I’d be very interested, in particular, in the Excalibur. (François Pernel is basically my hero.)

    But I’m not sure whether I would find the Excalibur portable enough for my needs. I just relinquished my beautiful Pratt Chamber Harp because it was too big, too heavy, and a little too temperature-sensitive for my lifestyle. I travel back and forth a lot and spend a lot of my time in a remote retreat area where it is difficult for me to control temperature and humidity. I don’t necessarily need a travel harp, per se, but for now at least I certainly need a harp I can confidently put in the back of my car and tote from place to place without it being a big production. And I am pretty firmly committed to fluorocarbon strings; I’m not crazy about nylon, and gut, while gorgeous-sounding, is too expensive and unpredictable for me, for the time being.

    Did you play the Excalibur yourself..? If you have (or if any other readers have) I would love to hear about the experience!

    byouke on #193087

    Yes, I certainly did put my fingers on the “excalibur”, and I was very pleased with the sound (see other forumtopic from me >>

    The Isolde and Excalibur aren’t that much different in sound, until you look at the soundboxes. In a big room, the excalibur resonates more (is MUCH more impressive in sound compared to the isolde or korrigan, …).

    It’s less sharp than nylon, and (too me) bolder in sound compared to gut (too feminine for me :D)

    The harpseller was a very friendly man, I could ask anything, and he had the answer for everything. He suggest, for carbon strings, you could changes them every 2-3 years if you feel the need for them (so, less expences, yippie).

    Weightwise, quite light: 13,8 kg (under 28 pounds)
    Sizewise: 147cm (under 5 feet)
    Offcourse it’s a bit broader because of the bigger soundboard, and lenght will be offcourse also be a bit bigger compared to a 34 string harp.

    I would say, measure your car from the inside, write it down, and compare them to the diametres of the harps. And if I should trust the harpseller, this harp should fit easily in every car (probably not in a “smart”). And they have transport bags too, if your not sure that you would damage the harp while putting it in the car.

    And if your not sure, try there other harps, you should be a 100% happy with the harp before you buy it. 😉

    greenjudy on #193278

    Thank you so much for referring me to your review of the Excalibur…! I am still really drawn to the Salvi Donegal (it is a brighter, drier tone, but there’s something about the touch of the strings and the precision of the sound I really liked); but the Excalibur seems like a very special harp.

    It strikes me that if I want to just get a sense of what it would be like to move an Excalibur around, perhaps a Triplett Eclipse (which at least recently was on hand at my local harp shop) might help me get a sense of how much of an armful an Excalibur would be.

    Many thanks. 🙂

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