Transporting Prelude 38

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    amyfinck on #234281

    Hi all!

    I am a new harpist with a lovely prelude 38. I have never played in public before, so I don’t really have any transportation equipment. I just got asked to do my first gig (yay!), and I am wondering what advice you have for harp transportation. Currently all I have is a cloth cover (no padding). I can’t afford to get a full on padded cover and a harp dolly, but I want to keep my harp safe. I have a perfect harp-mobile (suburban that’s back seats fold down all the way). Like I said, I’ve never transported my harp anywhere except when I bought it, so I would greatly appreciate a crash course in safe harp transportation!


    charles-nix on #234283

    Are you strong enough to just pick it up and carry it across the parking lot, inside the building, and up the stairs? If so, you need some thick folded moving pads and a sliding piece of plywood to lay the harp on then slide into the vehicle. One end always stays in the vehicle, the other on the ground. You slide it out, lay the harp down on thick pads, move to the end, pick up one end only, and slide the whole into the vehicle. You can get fancy with wheels and hand holes and a lip at the bottom if you want.

    If you are not strong enough to just carry, there is no option but a proper dolly. A cheap two-wheel dolly will dump your harp in the dirt. The wheels are not wide enough; there is no curved cradle for the body; and there are no fixed straps. If it is raining, or you are on stairs, you don’t get to stop and rest, so be sure you can really carry it as far as you will have to.

    Do not ever leave your harp standing outside without a hand firmly holding the top of the neck. Not ever. Not even for one minute. You will get a gust of wind just at the wrong time, and then you will need a new harp.

    Be sure you have all-risk insurance. Most homeowner’s does not cover off premises. Some companies will write proper declared value all-risk as a rider. There is also the Anderson Insurance option, who specialize in musical instruments.

    Get ready to have some dings appear regardless of your best precautions and maximal care. Also allow plenty of time to arrive in advance. There will probably be issues you have to solve with your set up space.

    You don’t need the padded cover when inside the vehicle; you may need it outside the vehicle. Moving pads don’t work well: you can’t keep them in position, and if you strap them on, you can’t get a firm grasp on the harp. Not dropping or bumping it in the first place is more important than any amount of padding.

    If you live in an area with road pot holes, strap the harp down inside the vehicle, even if you have to mount tie down points. Bouncing the harp around in the back is not a good thing….

    You may also need to explore copyright and performance issues (depending on repertoire) as well as income tax implications.

    harpist123 on #234286

    Hi, Amy! Congrats on your first gig! I remember mine like it was yesterday! You can slip a padded sleeping bag over your harp (if it is wide enough), or a thick blanket or shipping blanket (or 2). Just be sure that if you use a sleeping bag that the zipper is covered “inside” with a flap, so you don’t scratch your harp with the zipper teeth, or that it closes with Velcro that also doesn’t touch the harp. Actually, if you have time you can make your own cover if you have a sewing machine. Just lay your harp down on top of pieces of newspaper taped together to make a bigger-than-your-harp rectangle. Then lay your harp down on it’s side, levers UP, on top of the newspaper, and draw an outline of your harp (bigger, though, so it will accommodate all the width of base, etc). Then place your template on 2 thick or padded blankets (that don’t have lint or loops to catch onto — preferably a little slippery for the inside fabric so it won’t catch on your levers and ends of wound strings at the top) and cut 2 pieces (plenty big using a bit extra so it will slip over your harp). You can close the back with Velcro! Voila! A harp cover! If you can’t afford a harp cart yet you will want someone trustworthy to help you carry it from your vehicle to where you will play. Personally, I don’t trust ANYONE with my harp except me, which makes me say to you that the best investment you can ever make if you are traveling to even ONE gig is to buy a harp cart 🙂 Here is a link to a video for the one I have had for many years, which works for small harps AND pedal harps! I have used mine for both.

    balfour-knight on #234288

    Great advice, harp friends! Also, do not leave the harp in a closed vehicle, without you being in the car, if it is too hot or cold inside the car, or outside. It is a good rule to say, “if the temperature is uncomfortable to me, then it is not good for the harp, either.” Just imagine that you are traveling with your child or pet, or elderly relative!

    Harp Hugs,

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