Travel Harp

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    Catherine Ashley on #183646

    I’m looking at purchasing a small travel lever harp. Ideally something that could fit into the overhead of a plane and may even be light enough to carry on a bicycle.
    I would like it to also sound decent so not concerned so much with cost as much as practicality.
    Does anyone have any suggestions for good travel harps or can offer any reviews for harps they have travelled with?

    Angela Biggs on #183651

    Well, if cost isn’t a concern — I’ve been drooling over the Heartland Infinitysince it came out. It’s a full 36-string lever range, but only weighs 8 pounds, and the body is virtually indestructible. I don’t think it will fit into an overhead bin, but if you check it you won’t need to worry about damage. Also, it’s much less reactive to temperature and humidity changes, which is pretty awesome.

    Biagio on #183653

    With current airline restrictions it is difficult to make a harp that will fit into the published overhead restrictions, although sometimes the restriction may be waived.

    That said, and with tone as a priority over price, I would suggest either the Sasha or Raphael from Harps of Lorien, or the Triplett Christina. Some people have opted for a small double strung: two decent designs are the Stoney End Brittany and the Blevins Cameo.


    Biagio on #183661

    A good soft case might also be a consideration. Dusty Strings provides a case for their 26 string harps with optional back pack straps, so their Ravenna 26 with drop-down support leg would be another good choice.


    kevin-roddy on #183662

    I live in Hawaii and have traveled extensively with a harp.

    I once traveled with a Sharpsicle harp…26 strings weighing four pounds, made maybe 10 years ago.

    I then bought a Christina Therapy harp from Triplett, which is significantly bigger, and twice the weight at 8 pounds and the same number of strings.

    This past trip to Asheville for the Southeastern Harp
    weekend was the most difficult with the christina. It sometimes fits into the overhead but rarely. In contrast, the Harpsicle fits a lot better. Flight attendants let me strap it into an empty seat but one was a bit cranky and told me next time I would need to buy a seat for it. In the past, I kindly explain I am a musician and when the crew finds out it is a harp they are quite impressed and ask me if I would play it if there is a significant delay. of course! You reply =]

    At Southeastern, Rees, maker of the harpsicle was there with their new harpsicle..actually a fullsicle because it has all the levers..made of cherry not maple. the sound was incredible, so I bought it to replace the Christina, which I have had for four years and have had some problems with…and after hearing other harps now, I don’t care for the Christina’s tone, but that is just me.

    I am actually expecting this harp to arrive this morning, so I will give a full report.

    One last thing. Try to board early when flying so you can scope out the overhead bins. Some airlines charge an extra 10 dollars to board early…this is a plus and worth every penny. also…VERY IMPORTANT…your other carry on bag should be very unobtrusive…don’t carry a harp AND a roller and have two bags to deal with or flight attendants won’t be as attentive. They see that the only problem is the instrument and not a second weird bag. I carry a backpack – and they see I just happen to have an instrument with me that needs care but I am fine with the rest of my belongings….no flapping chickens in the cabin =] and really give them a smile and a “Good Day” because they have a tough job.

    Biagio on #183663

    I forgot about the Harpsicles – some people like them others do not. With apologies to my friends at Rees if tone is a major criterion, the bass in the standard string set is quite loose. If you go that route spend a little more and get the higher tension wound set.

    They are light and their new levers are really good – I was one of the first asked to evaluate them. You see used ‘sicles for sale all over the place; be sure if you get one of those that the levers are the new ones. Earlier they had Robinson levers which are OK if price is a big issue but the Rees are much much better.


    Catherine Ashley on #183664

    Lots of great suggestions and food for thought! Thanks everyone! 🙂

    jennifer-buehler on #183666

    I’m not sure if Sylvia Woods sells it anymore but you used to be able tto get a backpack case for the harpsicle which would be ideal for biking. My harpsicle is also by camping harp.

    Tacye on #183673

    A couple more ideas, neither of which I have played.

    I have however seen people cycle with a harp about the size of a Pilgrim Clarsach 34 string on their back in a nice backpack case. I have also seen someone cycling with a double base on their back so guess it depends on your cycling, and where you would be doing this.

    Biagio on #183674

    It all boils down to several questions really:

    How much is one willing to spend?
    Will the harp be protected (usually) from the elements?
    What range does one desire?
    Will a single be fine or does one wish to a double strung for the greater flexibility?
    Probably a few I’ve overlooked?

    At the instigation of my teacher I just designed a single course 22 or 23 with the lowest string C two octaves below middle C. No one makes anything like this but I’m a baritone: stopping at the mid with tinkly treble as so many small harps do really bugs me:-)

    The down side of course is that it has to be relatively tall in comparison to others – about 38-40″ versus about 28-32″ for other travel/therapy harps. That’s life!

    Hee hee,

    wil-weten on #187165

    Hi Kevin,
    On 20 November 2014 you wrote on a cherry fullsicle:”I am actually expecting this harp to arrive this morning, so I will give a full report.”

    I could not find your report on this little harp, but I would really like to know what your experiences are regarding this cherry harpsicle (must be 3rd generation, I think) in relation to your 10 year old maple harpsicle.

    mae-mcallister on #187181

    Just to let you know, I have a 22×2 double-strung Brittany from Stoney End just for this purpose and I cycle around with it no problem. It’s even easier to cycle with than carry as the box then rests on the frame above my rear wheel and so I’m not carrying the weight (which is exactly 5kg, levers and all).

    balfour-knight on #187210

    Hi, I’m glad you folks revived this forum! I have harpist friends who LOVE the Ravenna 26 for use as a travel harp, and I have had great success with the larger Ravenna 34 as my favorite travel harp also! The 34-string will fit across the back seat of any car I have had her in for transport. She also has a nice shoulder strap AND backpack straps for carrying her a longer distance. I agree with Biagio, I have to have the lower range to feel like I am playing a REAL harp, down two octaves below middle C. I bet I would have to buy an extra seat on an airplane for Ravenna, though!

    Best wishes to all of you,

    emma-graham on #187216

    No experience or advice I’m afraid but just thought I would share this!

    Gretchen Cover on #187217

    Love the photo! New definition for “minstrel harp.”

    Like Emma, no experience with this, but have you looked at Heartland Harps? They are made of carbon fiber so they are light.

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