If you have played a Wurlitzer harp, please share your opinion of it. I love harps with huge sound like my Salvi Apollo, but everything I have read suggests that Wurlitzers are the motherload. Thanks!
Wurlitzers were made between 1906 and 1936. So the youngest of them are at least 65 years old. There were some things, like the action, that were much better than any action that any other company ever built. Some parts of their woodworking, mainly the body shell construction, had problems, and I’ve finally figured out why they had problems and how to fix it perminantly. In the end, they were really great harps.
I think the high affection some people have for Wurlitzers may be a bit misleading. I don’t think they are as good as the best Lyon & Healy’s for sound, and their looks were always a bit less attractive to me. As they are hard to find, I would not fret about it. The biggest sounding harps I have encountered have been Salzedo models, by far and away.
The first Wurlitzer harp came into my life over 20 years ago, a Starke Model A from about 1915. My husband restored it for me and I used it as my gig harp for many years until it just wasn’t staying in tune for me. Fortunately we had moved to Virginia where I discovered harpmaker, Howard Bryan. I took my harp to him and he gently revealed that the soundboard was seperating from the soundbox (or vice versa) and the harp needed an overhaul! When the harp came back to me several months later, she was back to her original beauty and even better! They had replaced the board, repaired the box, touched up the gold and wow! That little straighboard Wurlitzer could hold her own with most concert grands! She goes everywhere with me.
The Wurlitzer BB that Laurie Galster referenced in her response to this string was in Mr. Bryan’s workshop ready to be shipped. I got to play it and couldn’t believe the ease I felt when playing it! That is when I decided to replace my beloved L&H 23 with a Wurlitzer Semi-Grand. I loved my 23, but because of shoulder and wrist/hand problems, it had become difficult for me to play and cart around. Laurie’s Wurlitzer Semi Grand was a bit smaller, lighter and soooo much easier for me to play that I put my order in for the next BB Bryan came across.
He also has a DDX (must be like yours David) that has been completely restored (you can see it on his website). When playing that harp you feel almost weightless. So I give my thumbs up to Wurlitzers, particularly if they’ve been brought back to life by Bryan.
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