Venus Seraphim or Chicago Petite 40

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    Linden Lin

    Which harp do you believe has a more resonant rich sound?

    Bonnie Shaljean

    These are excellent choices – but even if someone has played both of them and formed a personal judgment on the matter, it can vary from harp to harp. Musical instruments are organic, so no two are ever exactly alike. One “Model X” by a particular maker can sound like something straight from the Heavenly choir, and its identical twin, in the same model, can be good but nothing special. There’s no real way of deciding, short of trying it out yourself. People are most likely to respond to your question with, “Well, I own a — and love it” which won’t tell you much. Certainly you’re on solid ground with both of these makes.

    Since they’re based in the same city, can you get up there and try these harps out for yourself? Make sure to write to each of the companies beforehand and explain clearly what you’re looking for (they may also have other possibilities to show you) because they’re only going to have whatever’s in stock at the moment. DO, by all means, TRY TO BUY ONE YOU HAVE PLAYED if at all possible, so you can judge firsthand. (Sorry for the shouty caps but this browser doesn’t seem to support rich text.) That means the manufacturer would need to have one available, so give them plenty of advance warning. Bottom line, with two high-quality harps so similar in price and spec, you really want to compare them and base your decision on your own direct experience.

    You also need to make sure you’re happy with the “egonomics” of how the instrument feels when you sit at it (both playing AND not playing but just resting it on your shoulder), how it balances, string spacing and pull, etc (also you must determine how high you want to sit, and make sure this is the same for both models). These aspects are largely a matter of individual preference and body-build: among the reputable manufacturers, one harp is not “better” than the other just because they may differ in these areas. People’s tastes and needs cover a wide range, so you do need to be familiar with your own. I know a trip to Chicago is added expense, but I would say it’s well worth it. Good luck on your search!

    Doubting Girl

    It could be me, but I think the Lyon & Healy has a more resonant rich sound.


    I’ve never played a Venus Seraphim, so I can’t comment on that model, but I can say that the two Chicago 40’s I’ve played have both been excellent harps.


    I attended a recital recently with a Chicago extended soundboard harp, I think a semigrand or concert grand, and it sounded quite nice. However the 85P harp in the room had a better sound. I haven’t played a petite Venus, but I believe they make them in the same place and the same way they make their larger harps, so I’d suggest trying to play one sometime, or look for a used 85P.


    I’ll second what Brook said. I recently

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