Venus Paragon question!

  • Participant
    balfour-knight on #258489

    Does anyone know if the Venus Paragon ever had disc mechanism on all 47 strings? In Roslyn Rensch’s book HARPS AND HARPISTS, she claimed that it did! Have a look in the 2007 edition on p. 216 in the Venus article. I have contacted Venus, but so far have not received a reply. Can anyone shed light on this?

    Thanks in advance.

    Harp Hugs,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #258510

    I think perhaps they did. I haven’t seen one up close for a long time, but that rings a bell. Ask George Flores.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258517

    Thanks, Saul. How do I get in touch with George Flores?

    Also, if anyone knows if there were any other harps made with discs on all 47 strings, please let me know. Were there problems from those long strings vibrating in the discs and buzzing, and did it increase having to damp those low strings as the pedals were used, to avoid buzzing? I know I am used to the bottom C and D having no discs operating on them, so no chance of buzzing when a C or D pedal is being changed.

    All comments are welcome!

    Cheers,
    Balfour

    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #258519

    Hi Balfour!

    George is on Facebook. Here is a link to one of his pages. https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeHarps

    If you are not on Facebook, I could try to send a message to him through that platform on your behalf.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258522

    Hi, Jerusha,

    Thanks for your offer to ask George that question. That would be lovely!

    Have a great day,
    Balfour

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #258523

    The principal reason that 7th octave C and D have never had discs on them is that both strings are almost on top of the main action. The link from the main action to C and D would be too short to hook up to an action arm. But also, both strings have little to no pitch to them because of the length and the fact that the tension is so loose. I have special gauge strings made for the last 5 strings (6th octave G and F, and seventh octave E, D, and C. The gauge that I have them made to is the diameter that they should be. Because they are thicker, they have a much better sound, and are less prone to banging into each other in the middle of the string.

    If Venus had discs on the low C and D, I suspect that they simply restrung the instrument so that 7th octave C and D were in the position that 7th octave E would have been. They did not add mechanism to the instrument.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258535

    Thanks, Carl! I guess then, if Venus had mechanism on all 47 strings, they added more discs at the top.

    Jerusha, have you heard anything from George? I am hoping he responds.

    Thank you all so much,
    Balfour

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #258536

    Are you sure it was a 47 string instrument? Could it have been a 45 string harp?

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258537

    To quote from Roslyn’s book, p. 216:
    “the largest harp, Paragon, with an extended soundboard and a handsomely carved column designed in French Gothic style had forty-seven strings (g to seventh-octave C), with full mechanism action on ALL strings, and a weight of 76 lbs.” “The Paragon was available with capital, column base and pedestal gilded in gold leaf. The woods traditional to harp making, curly and bird’s-eye maple, Sitka spruce, and beech, were used in the production of Venus harps and the instruments were given extra reinforcement at stress points.”

    Participant
    Gregg Bailey on #258539

    Hi, Balfour,

    I wonder if Roslyn simply had misinformation. In a quick Google Image search, I found the following website with several photos of a Venus Paragon. If you scroll down to the 6th photo, it’s a clear close-up of the top half of the harp, and the discs stop at 7E (disappointingly!):

    https://overbookedandunderpaid.typepad.com/anne_morse_hambrock_harpi/venus-paragon-red-mahogany-and-gold-finsh.html

    Paragon hugs!

    -Gregg

    Participant
    Gregg Bailey on #258540

    Let’s see if I can post the actual photos I found of various Paragons, all with action stopping at 7E.

    -Gregg

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    Participant
    Gregg Bailey on #258543

    Oh, well, the image that had too large of a file size is the one to which I originally provided the link.

    -Gregg

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #258545

    In all of the photos up here of Paragon harps, 7th octave C and D don’t have discs.

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258546

    Thanks, Gregg and Carl! In every photo I have ever seen of Paragons, this is the case–no discs on Low C and D. I wonder if the prototype of the Paragon could have had those, the “one and only” and that the idea was not supported by harpists in 1981 when that model came out. Another explanation might be that Venus actually said, “the discs go all the way up to high g,” and Roslyn thought that meant that there were discs on all 47 strings. This is very interesting!

    Participant
    balfour-knight on #258600

    Hi, everyone!

    Jerusha heard back from George Flores and he doubts that the Paragon ever had discs on all 47 strings. So far, there is no evidence from any source except Roslyn’s to support this claim. Just thought you all would like an update. If anyone else turns up anything, please post it here.

    Cheers and harp hugs,
    Balfour

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