Great ‘thread’ that you started, Gregg. This shows 1916—the harp looks pretty identical to current harp. L&H could make a great coffee table book of their harps and history!
Here is an ad from 1912—looks like current model. I believe I read that the first 23 was introduced in 1890. Double action harp : “up to $1200”!!
It won’t let me attach pic–so here’s the link!
Thanks, Karen! Quick question regarding this forum, since I’m new to it. Assuming you’ve selected the follow-up email notifications, do you receive an email every time I edit one of my posts? I sure hope not. Sometimes I edit several times, and I think YouTube is bad about sending an email with every edit.
You have to really change the way you play to get to nearer what you want on each harp you try. Some people can get a lot more out of a particular harp than others in my experience and some people adapt much better than others. This is very apparent when you have to play dubious old and unloved harps (like most Conservatorium ones). I had the same reaction as Balfour – I played numerous 23s, 30s and Salzedos when I was looking for a pedal harp but none spoke to me like the Atlantide. I don’t particularly like the 23 carving but sound is everything and if the sound was right I would have had one. I still think 10 years later my Atlantide can’t be beaten for clarity and overall evenness of tone. Baroque and Classical era is outstanding on it as Chiara pointed out. But Romantic is pretty good too (IM not very humble O but you can be the judge) – https://vimeo.com/466368969 go to min 30 ish or 40 mins for a solo section of legato Romance (I hope..)! For me the best harp for big Romantic works I have ever played was a Salvi but I can get enough out of my harp to make it my overall favourite. That is ignoring the fact that that it is relatively easy to regulate, mend and thankfully no pedal rod changes when you have zero technicians in the country. If I ever find another that I fall in love with then I might have to try to become a 2 harp person as well though! But how anyone affords all those strings is quite beyond me so hopefully that will not be too soon
I would say that the 23 is going to have finer-grade wood and be made with a little more care and attention to detail, if not a lot. 85s, I would characterize as having a big sound, but a little heavier in character, and having the immediate contact of string and sounding board, with no nylon piece there, the sound comes out more quickly, speaks faster. That also can make it slightly more crude sounding. One must not ignore the influence of the column on the sound. The more carved the column is, the more diffuse the soundwaves coming out of the harp. I believe the 85 is also heavier in weight, which has another effect. If an 85 is all you can afford, it is a very good harp. If you can afford a 23, get that, and add a gold crown if you can. But also, have your harp French polished to a glossy finish, not the matte/satin finish sold now. Compared to a 23, a 30 has a bigger bass tone, but the sound is more directional, with the column being uncarved. The 100 is closer to a 23 for that reason, the fluting helps disperse the sound.
Another factor is how thick the finish is, if it is applied too thickly, it will hold back as much as 10 percent of the sound.
Thank you so much for the information! According to the L&H website, the 85 CG and 23 both weigh 81 lbs, but, for whatever reason, the Chicago CG apparently weighs 83 lbs.
Is there any way to keep the natural wood from yellowing over the years? It seems like many harps in natural wood that aren’t brand-new look more yellow-ochre than blonde, including 23’s and Salzedos. I like the blonde/peach/cream look, not the darker ochre/goldenrod look.
I know someone who owns a natural 23 with gold crown, and it looks very classy to me. I’ve wondered how a bronze 23 would look with a gold crown.
The less sunlight (even diffused) on it, the less likely (and more slowly) to turn the blond darker. It would take decades to get dark and it would be the next generation’s problem! 😉 If you like blond-blond—the Salvi’s are now almost white (personally, I think they too white and lack character, but the would certainly not get darker for a very long time. Europe no longer allows a kind of polyurethane (due to environmental issues) and so that is why Salvi maple harps are so white. (per showroom when I was in Chicago doing the tour before buying my 23). btw, if you like bird’s eye maple (which I adore), they have some beautiful bird’s eye in Chicago these days that they are using on special harps. Happy to send you pics of mine!
I had an 85 in natural that was very light blond initially. By the time I sold her after owning her nine years, the color had become just a little more golden, which I loved–she looked more like a gold harp, ha, ha! My Atlantide is beautiful, light tiger maple–the beauty of the wood and grain is just outstanding. If she becomes golden, I will love it. I guess it is all a matter of taste. I built a clavichord in 1980 in natural maple, and the finish over the years has darkened to a nice gold. To each his own, I dare say!
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