Teifi Siff Saff Salvi Una

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    Eric Mason on #246547

    Hi All,

    I’m looking to get into harpistry, and after doing a lot of online research (sadly, I can’t really try or listen to many harps in person), I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Teifi Siff Saff and the Salvi Una. Due to the costs of shipping the Siff Saff to the U.S. and the current discount on Salvi harps, the prices are very comparable.

    So does anyone have any advice or experience regarding the comparison between these two harps?

    So far my Pros and Cons are as follows:

    Siff Saff –
    -Has the most beautiful warmth and rich sound of harps in it’s class and price range as far as I can tell (all Teifi models seem to be this way).
    -Simple, but beautiful design.
    -Teifi semitone levers which seem to win high praise

    -After shipping, comes in at about $3,400, much higher than the base price in the UK and Wales
    -Student model and 34 strings (still a lot, but less than the Una).

    Salvi Una –
    -Well rounded and even tone. Sounds great, though not exceptional, in all ranges
    -Beautiful design.
    -15% discount, putting it around $3,350.
    -Professional model with 38 strings

    -Not a Teifi :'(
    -Levers don’t seem come with the same high praise that Teifi enjoys

    So any thoughts are appreciated. My overall conclusion is that, while I love the Siff Saff, it just isn’t quite in the same class and I get a little more for my dollar with the Una, but could I be wrong?

    Keep also in mind that I know I’m a beginner, so either of these harps are more than enough, but my general philosophy when hard diving into something new like this is to purchase good quality equipment or instruments if I can afford since the decision will impact me for a long time, and I also have a solid backup plan for the harp if I happen not to enjoy it very much.

    Thanks for reading, all thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    charles-nix on #246552

    Re: qualities of sound between any similar harps. You can not tell unless you are in person. Microphones, room, and post-recording handling can make anything sound better or worse.

    Also, every model of harp has examples that will be better or worse to your ears and under your fingers.

    You will lose hundreds to thousands reselling a harp you don’t like. Is it really impossible to play in person?

    The exception might be if you don’t play yet. If not, rent one for a while and learn what you like.

    Be sure you or your technician can get parts for either in the u.s. Also check on how available the special Silk Gut Copper strings for the Una are here. You will need parts, regulation, and strings at some point.

    Biagio on #246556

    Ditto Charles’ comments and I would also ask: since shipping adds to the cost have you considered any of the following? Dusty Strings FH36, Thormahlen Swan, Sligo Raven, Magical Strings Concert Oran Mor? These are all excellent US made harps of varying cost and tone.

    Best wishes,

    Eric Mason on #246559

    Thanks Charles and Biago, I need this type of advice, because when I begin a new hobby or passion I tend to get hot and heavy over it before swinging for the fences. Perhaps I’ll go back to the drawing board and try to rent one.

    As far as trying out a lot of harps, I live up in Northern Michigan, and am unaware of any harp shops nearby. There is the Michigan Harp Center downstate though and I could sacrifice a weekend and start there.

    But for my backup plan, I’m not super worried about resell value, because there’s a lady I know who’s wanted to play harp a long time, and I wouldn’t feel bad doing a rental to own for her for a bargain price if it doesn’t work out for me.

    I’ll have to check on the ease of acquiring replacement parts and strings, though Lyon and Healy isn’t too far away (that’s where the Salvis are being shipped from). Also, the cost of silk gut copper strings is a factor I’ll need to take into further consideration.

    As for the harps you recommend Biago, the Dusty FH36 is above the price range that I’m currently considering, but the others are new to me, so I’ll do some research on them as well!

    The harps I’ve been giving the most consideration to have been in the 2-3.5k price range, and that’s sort of why I thought the Una appears to be such a good deal at 15% off, but Charles is makes a fair point, and maybe I should take some more time and find a way to try some of them out in person.

    Do harpmakers routinely have discounts once or twice a year generally? Or is it fairly rare?

    charles-nix on #246561

    Don’t neglect pre-owned either. Good deals can be had, and they will have already developed their full voice. The classifieds here on harp column are a good place to start.

    balfour-knight on #246564

    Hi Eric,

    The obvious question I have, since you are indeed closer to L&H, is why haven’t you considered a L&H? It would be well worth trying all of them out and enjoying a weekend doing that.

    I once helped a friend buy a harp at the Atlanta Harp Center. She was convinced she wanted a L&H Ogden, but after several hours of playing and hearing all the lever harps they had, she selected a Camac Hermine! We know of many folks doing this same thing when buying a car, of course!

    All good advice from my other harp friends here on this thread. Thanks, everyone!

    Harp Hugs,

    Biagio on #246583

    >Do harpmakers routinely have discounts once or twice a year generally? Or is it fairly rare?<

    I would not say they have “regular” sales: it depends on the demand and each one’s particular circumstances. In this environment those who have high production may wish to decrease inventory; smaller shops may not.

    Naturally one would wish to start out getting the “perfect harp” but in my experience there is no such beast. I’d bet a sizeable chunk of change that if you asked 100 experienced players how many stayed with only their first harp the answer would not be statistically different from zero. The greater challenge is learning how to play, especially if there is no teacher available!

    Some people swear by a particular model, some by a different one but aside from rather gross considerations (concert or folk tension, this lever or another type, tall harp or shorter, price limitations) IMO beginners spend far too much time looking for perfection rather than researching what makes a well made harp. So I would start there, after setting an upper limit on what to spend (assuming that a rental is not possible).

    The Dusty Strings Ravenna 34 is an excellent harp within your price range; many people buy that when first starting and teachers like it for a student rental.

    If you are minimally handy with basic tools you might consider buying a harp kit from Musicmakers which is currently offering very attractive packages. These are excellent harps; the main difference is the sound board – aircraft laminate versus spruce or cedar – and the fact that you must mount the levers yourself, which is not difficult.



    balfour-knight on #246601

    Hi again, Eric!

    As Charles stated, look at the HC classified ads. I just did and noticed two wonderful lever harps being sold by my friend Brook in Shreveport. These would be harps in new, mint condition, and Brook would be one of the best persons to deal with that I know. I hope this helps!


    jsmoir on #252911

    Eric- Did you choose a harp? I would like to know what you chose.

    I, too, have looked at Teifi harps, and even have been in contact with a number of players of same- all of whom love their Teifis. There is one music shop in the USA that deals with Teifi: Vermont Violins. https://www.vermontviolins.com/harps

    Cost of import duties (Teifi told me) isn’t too much, but it’s the shipping from the UK to the States that will ‘get you.’ [@ £695] So, maybe getting a harp from a US dealer is the way to go.

    As far as the Salvi Una- yes, it looks gorgeous. Yes, it’s a Salvi (I play a Diana pedal- so I love Salvi’s!) but I have listened online to a lot of different YT videos of the UNA (both deluxe and regular) and even talked with a rather well-known retailer about them; and we both agreed, the sound is NOT that of a harp I/we would want to own. It’s these new ‘composite’ strings a lot of manufacturers are coming up with. They just don’t say, ‘harp.’ They’re trying all these new combinations, and for non-classical, non-folk settings, maybe….but not for me.

    Of course, it all depends on what you want to play. But your comment about the Teifi [ “…Has the most beautiful warmth and rich sound of harps in it’s class and price range as far as I can tell (all Teifi models seem to be this way)”] would give me to believe you WANT that ‘harpy’ sound. Balfour and Biagio, of course have their faves, but the fact that you are looking ‘outside the box’ of L&H/DS may mean you have to ‘go your own way,’ as Stevie Nix used to sing.

    I’d like to know what you decide.

    balfour-knight on #252914

    I agree, I would like to know what Eric decided, too! I have posted it many times before, that I do indeed have my perfect two harps that have gotten me through this sorry time of the Covid: my Dusty FH36S in cherry, and my Camac Atlantide Prestige in maple. When I sit down to one or both of them every day, they do something for my soul that nothing else can do, they are my dream harps. It took several harp purchases and trades over many years, to get to these final two, but I enjoyed every step of the way. So, I hope everyone can discover and attain their dream harp/harps.

    Wishing you my best,

    Ada Prince on #253105

    Eric, you mentioned you are in Northern Michigan. Is Grayling an option for you? If so, you can contact Kelly at michiganharpcenter@gmail.com. She primarily operates out of Southeast MI but has a store in Grayling called Apollo’s Lyre. She might be able to help you try out some harps.

    duckspeaks on #253166

    If I were to time travel, I would rent multiple harps before buying. Each instrument teaches you about something. Anything not overly small (unstable to hold) are good experiences, even though one that you are less impressed with. If you can adjust your playing to make them sound their best, the learning is forever gained by you.

    My liking for the type of sound changed a lot in the journey and it is not a one way street. Each instrument tells you about something to look for or even guard against.

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