Trying to decide on my first ‘big’ harp…

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    Gary C on #159152


    I’m an amateur folk harp player, been learning for about 8 months on a pakistan built “Glenluce” (which part of Pakistan will you find Glenluce in ?) 22 string knee harp.

    Both my teacher and I think that a better instrument would be of great value – I’ve always tried to own good quality instruments in whatever I’ve been playing – keyboard guitar or ukulele. I have a couple of lovely hand made soprano ukuleles – fanastic tone.

    Anyway, I digress. I’ve narrowed the choice down to two Camac harps, the 34 Alliance strung Hermine and the 38 Nylon strung Melusine. I’ve settled on these two because they have a reasonably affordable long term rental with purchase option here in the UK. Anything else seems to have either only short (< 12 months) rental, or is outright purchase only. I've been advised to stay away from gut stringing, but I don't know much about the alliance string.

    The other fly in the ointment is that I won’t be able to try either of these before commencing the rental, it’s just too far to travel. About a 16 hour round trip :-(

    I’m pretty confident that both these instruments will be night-and-day better than this wee knee harp, which is itself rented and will be going back once the new one arrives.

    So, sorry for the rambling post – any opinions on those two instruments, the difference between nylon and alliance?

    Thanks for reading

    Tacye on #159153

    What sort of music do you want to play and what are your priorities in the harp?

    Gary C on #159154

    My preffered genre is english and irish trad. Songs like country gardens, greensleves, olde folk tunes. That sort of thing.

    Gary C on #159155

    I didn’t cover what my priorities are, mostly because I don’t rightly know.

    I wanted to play the harp because… Well, I just wanted to play it!

    Gary C on #159156

    And the last bit of background:

    My harp lessons consist of going through material in Sylvia Woods’ Teach Yourself Folk Harp book, with added instruction in improvisation. I enjoy the sessions immensely, the improv helps such that I can just sit down and play nice sounding music without slaving to those dots 🙂

    Tacye on #159157

    So, not fast traditional dances, or learning technique which will work on a pedal harp?

    Gary C on #159158

    Thanks for the reply.

    I am mentioning string gauge when I talk to people about it. I live about 30 miles north of Newcastle, which, whilst not exactly scotland, is still a big bunch of miles and time from South Wales.

    I’m not at all interested in pedal harp so I’m not learning that. Fast traditional dances would be reels or jigs – might get into those I suppose but not really. I like playing songs I can sing to.

    My local Clarsach society (Northumbrian) does do rentals, 12

    Tacye on #159159

    What does the Early Music Shop in Saltaire have in stock in the way of Camacs to try?

    Gary C on #159160

    I’ll find out. Just west of Leeds is not so far.

    Gary C on #159161

    Oh my. I’m populating this thread all by myself!

    The Crescendo 34 Dusty Strings from Clive Morely sounds nice! Blimey. So few manufactures do video and sound clips and they help immensely!

    It’s about a grand over budget but… Must contact Clive Morely!

    Gary C on #159162

    But to my ears, the Ravenna 34 sounds just as good and is more affordable.

    I’m going to discuss the Ravenna 34 with my harp teacher tonight, but it looks like this might well be the one. Plus, I think I’ve fallen for the styling 😐 Loving the two tone look.

    patricia-jaeger on #159163

    Gary, look at where you can find the harp (pasted in below) called Smart Harp for $329. US dollars. It has 29 strings.

    kreig-kitts on #159164

    One thing to think about: the Hermine is a smaller harp with

    Audrey Nickel on #159165

    I have a Ravenna 26, and can tell you that it’s a lovely sounding instrument, with a nice, bright tone…perfect for traditional music.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #159166

    Having tried to seriously play my Ogden recently, and finding it was simply to short to be possible, I think you need to consider your height before anything else. It’s like a bicycle, no? It has to be your size.

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