Soundboard question

  • Participant
    Maggy C on #199436

    Hi all,

    I’m in the market to buy a harp, and recently found a (used – 15yo) Salvi Aurora. It’s been routinely regulated by a known company, and looks good, but the owner mentioned that the sound board had been strengthened (also by another harp company). I’ve played harp for a long time, but this is my first time buying, so I wondered: 1. is this soundboard thing normal? (the owner said it was to make the instrument last longer), and 2. is a 15 yo Salvi still a good instrument to get? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! 🙂

    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #199504

    My experience with Salvi’s is that they are very strongly built.  I sold my 35 year old Aurora four years ago and the only repair needed was to be re-riveted.  I would call Salvi Harps in California and ask about the soundboard.  I cannot figure out any reason for an Aurora to have a soundboard “strengthened” unless there is some underlying problem.  If so, you probably wouldn’t want to buy the harp.  With the information you given, if possible, I would have a harp tech make a pre-purchase inspection. You may also want to talk to the harp tech who last regulated the harp.  Make sure you know the harp has been regulated and strings changed on a regular basis.

    Also, Salvi has redesigned their soundboard and they have the “new concept soundboard.” It is a big improvement.  With the euro being so low compared to the dollar, it may be wise to consider buying a new harp, if you are going to buy a Salvi.

     

     

    Participant
    Sylvia on #199522

    I was wondering if it’s a straight soundboard or extended.  (I looked at your profile, but there’s no pic of you or your harp.)

    I suppose the owner means the soundboard had pulled up, and that would indicate it’s extended?  I’ve been lucky to have a straight soundboard (LH 15- 1971) that never did that. I think the extendeds all pull up as they age, don’t they?  So that might be normal.

    Participant
    hearpe on #199548

     

    [attachment file=199555]

    I am probably not in league with most of you, nor my 22 Stoney End or 34 Mikel Celtic –

    but what I have done is to paint the center brace of the soundboard- inside and also topside if there is one there.  A small brush and some normal whiute latex is all you need for the inside-

    I started after working a little bit with other wood that would be exposed to weather, like fencing- and I noticed that after I painted a piece of wood  not only would it keep moisture out but it both felt heavier and stronger by a significant amount.

    After I noticed that soundboards usually bend slightly from pressure I figured “Why not?”  The center brace the strings run through is really still directly involved in the transfer of the strings vibration and not the object of tibre and resonance the res of the sound box is, so it seems to me that any loss of sound would be minimal- volume might even be increased by a more rigid brace.

     

    I’ve played with soundboxes on guitars- sanding smooth rough surfaces and thinning over built panels and reducing the vertical height of some internal bracing- and was amazed at gains in both volume and resonance, but I still don’t know if there is a consensus on this kinda painted brace thing on a harp, but it DOES seem to reduce a small amount of string bow.

    On the Mikel Celtic- there is an exterior top of the sound board brace, and that I painted with some copper acrylic Folk Art Shimmer paint, that actually adds real copper metal to the acrylic mix and seems to give it a good strength and solid sound transfer- the paint on the top also keeps the grommets from rusting  and any metal washers on the string back too.  It doesn’t take long but is delicate precise work, so leave your ten thumps at home or for when you want to drive your harp audience away.

    I know I have!

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by hearpe.
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    Participant
    Maggy C on #199563

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the replies!  I heard from the owner about more details – he said that Salvi had thinner soundboards for a while, and that the one on this harp was starting to lift, so he and the repair place decided to reinforce it to prevent that.  I don’t have many pictures yet (the harp is at the harp repair/store place pending sale); attaching what I have.  Thanks again!! 🙂

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    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #199569

    Even more the reason to contact Salvi harps.  You don’t want to buy someone else’s problem.   My Aurora looked exactly like that. I now have a matte ebony Apollo and am so happy with it.  Not as stiff as the earlier Salvi’s.   Have you tried playing the harp?

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