A very small correction: this model is called the Wurlitzer Starke model, after Emil O. Starke. He was in charge of the Wurlitzer harp factory for many years.. Their 1924 catalog, page 12, states: “No regulation even in the slightest degree has ever been found necessary”. Would
Thinking out loud, I don’t see how this could have been true. Wood moves from the pressure of the strings so as the board warps up and the neck twists, the harp would need a regulation to get those 1/2 tones back to where they should be, plus take care of those clicks and buzzes that develop along the way.
Patricia- You’re right about Starke. The whole story is that he was hired away from Lyon & Healy to Wurlitzer when they decided to start making harps. One of his conditions to Wurlitzer was that all Wurlitzer actions have his name on them. Thus the Starke Model. It has nothing at all to do with the model of the instrument as we think of it(size, decoration, etc.). Starke eventually went back to Lyon & Healy, and when he left Wurlitzer his name was no longer included on the action plate.
Starke must have had a laundry list of things he wanted to change about the action when he went to Wurlitzer, and starting a manufacturing concern from scratch allowed him to make those changes. The Wurlitzer action, while based on the original Lyon & Healy patents, has subtle differences that make it work smoother and last longer than the Lyon & Healy action. That is why, when I started Swanson Harp Company, I copied the Wurlitzer action exactly.
Wurlitzers are pretty much like other harps. They should be regulated by a professional if you want the best possible regulation. Also, Camacs do need regulations too. The owner is able to make overmotion corrections, but disk tweaking is again best left to professionals.
Hi Jerusha. As a former Camac pedal harp owner, I can say that the Camac harps are designed to allow owners to make more minor adjustments to their instruments than ever before, yes, most notably the pedal tension, but the regulations are absolutely still necessary by a professional. The harps come with a “key” type tool to adjust the pedal tension by making adjustments in an area of the column. No instructions or documentation about full regulations are provided to the consumer by Camac, however, so unless you’re a trained regulator, it’s not like you can just leap in and regulate your harp. Even if you are a trained pro, Camacs have some quirks that are different than other harps (like some of the disks rotating in the opposite direction you would expect), so you have to be very knowledgeable about the Camac action in order to make adjustments. I would not recommend that the average Camac owner even attempt it. When I bought my Athena, Camac was not marketing it as a “regulation free” design so much as a harp that would, by virtue of the new design of the frame and action, require *fewer* full regulations and would allow the owner to make some of the simpler adjustments (ie pedals) at home.