Stoney End Eve 22?

  • Participant
    hearpe on #189150

    Found one of these online “mint condition” for less than a third of new retail- with levers on C’s and F’s.

    Can’t wait to compare it to my ancient Pixie 19 w/o ANY levers.
    Anyway, I was going to go Paki Roosbeck for more strings and sharpeners until this came along, or maybe a bit less for a 22 string.

    What I’m wondering, until I can compare and do more research, is if anyone can give me a basic primer about harp soundboards and boxes?

    Are there any basic rules to follow? It seems in my limited research that maybe a good hardwood is best as a soundboard ??? Birch seems to be a better choice than a plywood- as is the board on most Roosebeck ???
    The soundboard is my biggest concern with Paki harps- mine seems a little heavy and dull somehow, and if you ever searched ebay for parts, you’d see a lot of replacement soundboards for sale there.

    I’m not that happy with the Pixie as the soundboard has signs of visible bulge these days- well, I’ve only had it about 12 years or so! Has anyone ever replaced a Paki soundboard with a better one of their own making? and if so – what material?

    I’m hoping the Stoney End will be brighter- with a birch board, after seeing several vids of one on youtube. My avatar is in fact the harp coming.

    What about sound boxes? Are there any agreed upon really basic principles? I think maybe the box on the Pixie is just a bit heavy- Does this mute the sound? Do the same principles of a guitar box seem to transfer to harp?

    Do lighter woods on the boxes give greater resonance? And what about the shape? Any advantage to rounded contours or does sheer volume have greater influence. Always curious about such things, and I’m an instrument freak of sorts I guess. “player of many instruments- master of none!”

    Oh well- I started playing in my late 30’s and don’t mind being an intermediate on several instruments, but sometimes DO feel spread a bit thin as to practice time and focus.

    I’m afraid I haven’t gotten far on harp in the dozen years I’ve owned the Pixie 19, but now with youtube and a better instrument, I hope to make some gains.

    Keep pluckin!

    http://thehearpe.tripod.com/index.html

    Participant
    wil-weten on #189151

    There are so many variables that determine the sound and feel of a harp, that it isn’t useful to only discuss the soundboard.

    Anyway, by now you will have discovered that most other harp makes than the 19 string Paki one you own now, will last longer and sound better.

    The best thing you can do, is go to as many harp shops and harp tastings as possible and find out what kind of harps you really like.

    And congratulations on your Stoney End Eve 22!

    Participant
    Biagio on #189158

    OK I’ll bite – as Wil said there are many variables in harp design but I think we can make some general statements for the smaller ones.

    Soundboards: many of us do not think that a solid wood spruce or cedar board sounds any better than a PROPERLY designed Finnish birch laminate one; IF the range is small – say 4 octaves or less AND tension is fairly high. The latter are known as “aircraft grade” plywood – 5 plys per 3mm thickness. I have one like that – a 26 – and in all modesty people drool over it and the Rubarth Merlin.

    Cheaper versions have only 3 plies and the cheapest – usually luan – are not worth it except for children’s harps or very light instruments such as a Paraguayan. Under 26 strings – save money and go with the aircraft laminate. Hardwood boards are used on wire strungs – they ring much too long for a softwood or ac laminate (unless you are REALLY into damping).

    Sound boxes: you will get the best tone and lightest weight with sides that are only about 0.65cm” thick. Cheaper harps are slapped together with stock 2cm boards – heavy, no contribution to tone and a sign of less than perfectionist craftsmanship. Some nice kits are made with thicker sides however since thinner sides require more work that many kit builders are prepared to do.

    Woods: always hardwoods for the neck and pillar and usually for the sides of the box. There is a discernible difference among species in larger harps but I think it is fairly difficult to distinguish a “cherry” tone from a “maple” tone in smaller ones – and for a small inexpensive harp no big deal.

    All soundboards will belly up, it is expected.

    No matter what wood is used, if the maker is not meticulous in construction and string design, it will not sound very good. On the other hand, some harps that are all or almost all plywood sound very, very good – Dusty Strings Ravennas for example.

    Hope that helps.

    Biagio

    Participant
    Elizabeth Webb on #189162

    I have a Stoney End Eve. I think it has a lovely sound for the size. You need to decide if sound or range is more important to you. 22 strings can be frustrating as most music requires 26 strings or more. You can get around that if you learn how to modify the music, play lead sheets, or buy music written for 22 strings. It’s not too hard to modify once you understand the chordal structure.

    Participant
    hearpe on #189175

    Yes- I’d like more strings! But what I was facing when looking to buy another harp was that anything with a lot of strings was right away steering me toward the Paki harps.

    Your comments have elucidated my thoughts- and I see where my mind was when I posted my queries. My concern over the sound and quality of my own Pixie harp have been quieted with closer review: I think the soundboards on the newer Paki harps may have improved. The larger ones now advertise a “birch ply” soundboard that appears lighter and of finer grain than the previous ones like on mine.

    I have some regrets that I ordered the Eve, but it was already at the upper limit of what I wanted to spend- and a 27 or 29 Paki harp with full levers would cost at least $150 more. So now I am anxious to compare the two smaller harps and make what progress I can with the EVE- my old Pixie has NO levers. I’m not sure If I’ll purchase, or be in position to purchase another harp again.

    Alas, I’m afraid to admit the harp is still behind guitar, piano and violin for me- and I can’t give any the time they deserve. Yet I enjoy them all! My experiences with guitars and ukuleles has me wary of laminates- that material produces a very dead sound box on those instruments, yet it is a very DIFFERENT instrument, and so I was wondering about what the principles of the harp construction were regarding the sound quality to the necessary strength needed to make a viable and lasting harp.

    So anyway, I’m still waiting on the Eve, and feeling like I at least will have a better instrument, but wondering if I should have opted for the improved looking pakis with at least 27 or 29 strings. Will I ever want to “descend” again to the Pakis? The sides of those are ornate and probably thicker than need be. Still they ARE physically attractive beautiful instruments. Will I ever be at a level of playing where it matters? perhaps..

    I wish sampling harps was really an option- not much opportunity in Jacksonville and I wish I was still in LA even if Sylvia Woods has moved to Hawaii, there’s that outfit now in Westwood. Wrap you harps in asbestos!

    The old Pixie Harp- Benjamin Bunny NOT included!
    Pixie Harp

    Participant
    Biagio on #189183

    The larger Paki harps may have improved but the recent levers I’ve seen have definitely not. Until they have improved their reputation I would steer clear of any. There are many decent harps by known builders out there that will not break the bank. You can’t know who built the Pakis; it’s mostly a cottage industry, most of them are farmed out and then sold under a general name.

    Let me put it this way as a harp maker and friend of many others: none of us will agree to work on those things when they get busted – which they do with alarming regularity.

    Just sayin’…..

    Biagio

    Participant
    Tacye on #189190

    Don’t regret buying the Eve – they are well respected harps and if after having it for a while you decide it is not for you then it will be fairly straightforward to sell again for what you paid. That is one of the joys of buying good quality second hand instruments.

    Participant
    randal on #189193

    I have four harps – and not one of them is exactly what I want…but I live in the rural western states and choice among harps isn’t a particularly prevalent option..

    “I’m hoping the Stoney End will be brighter..”

    I have an Eve 22 – in walnut. It’s a very bright-sounding harp. Again, I acquired it as it was a wonderful bargain (only 2/3 the cost of yours – if yours is the recent ebay Eve in cherry…also a very good buy, BTW). It’s strung high (G-G) so, it’s a bit idiosyncratic…but perfect for the ap Huw repertoire I play…and tunes (medieval harp may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is certainly music to be made on small harps – http://www.dafyddapgwilym.net/video/play_eng.php?src=mms://mrcstr1.swan.ac.uk/cymraeg/5solo.wmv&title=Caniad%20San%20Silin&performer=Bill%20Taylor&copyright= )

    …and wonderfully portable (consequently, I play this harp publicly much more often than my larger harps). If you’re desiring to learn a more modern repertoire, it may pose some limitations…but sound is not one of them. Enjoy it – if you don’t like it, you can probably sell it for what you paid.

    Participant
    hearpe on #189194

    Yes- it was on ebay and is Cherry wood- I think I bought it last Thursday or Friday. I had seen several videos on youtube that I recognized the harp from:

    They do see to have a bright sound- much better than my Pixie.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #189196

    Hearpe, Thanks so much for posting that! This little harp is just beautiful and bright sounding, just the way I like a harp to be! One would never know that it is that small from just listening to it.
    Best wishes,
    Balfour

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