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#1 soccermom

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:14

My daughter has a Pilgrim Progress pedal harp and in the next year or so we will have to bite the bullet and buy a full size one. We are off to Pilgrim tomorrow to try out the Malvern, Aldeburgh and Canterbury models. Then on Tuesday we're off to the Holywell Music Shop to try out all their Salvis and Lyon & Healys.

Can't wait to hear them all and to decide what we're going to get - even though we will have to wait before we do the actual buying bit!

Any recommendations from any of you?




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#2 A.U.K

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 13:11

Can't help re Harps..but I hope you have a big car,its very exciting..pictures would be lovely..

Andrew
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#3 soccermom

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 13:29

QUOTE(A.U.K @ Aug 7 2011, 02:11 PM) View Post

Can't help re Harps..but I hope you have a big car,its very exciting..pictures would be lovely..

Andrew


I'm very attracted by the Malvern. One of the reasons for that is that I know it will fit in my current car (a Vauxhall Zafira). That is by no means true of all the rest!

I'm not planning to buy this week. But I do want to decide what we are going to buy - so that I can plan and if necessary I can start to look out for second hand ones. From time to time I see second hand ones for sale, and I don't want to get a particular model just because there happens to be one available. I'd much rather wait and get the one we really want (within limits, of course)
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#4 erard

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 18:31

If your daughter really prefers one instrument I am confident you will find a way to move it - I am pretty sure I could squeeze any modern harp into the car you have. When trying out harps listen to the whole harp in bs, nats and sharps, you want to like all three, and on some harps they sound like rather different instruments.

When buying 2nd hand do get someone who knows harp mechanisms to give it a once over, unless quite new or recently serviced by someone you can ask and remember to budget for new bass wires and a service. Are you able to avoid VAT by buying through the education system?
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#5 soccermom

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 19:44

QUOTE(erard @ Aug 10 2011, 07:31 PM) View Post

If your daughter really prefers one instrument I am confident you will find a way to move it - I am pretty sure I could squeeze any modern harp into the car you have. When trying out harps listen to the whole harp in bs, nats and sharps, you want to like all three, and on some harps they sound like rather different instruments.

When buying 2nd hand do get someone who knows harp mechanisms to give it a once over, unless quite new or recently serviced by someone you can ask and remember to budget for new bass wires and a service. Are you able to avoid VAT by buying through the education system?


Thanks - useful advice, especially about trying it in different keys, which I will certainly get her to try when we have our next visit. We spent a couple of hours at Pilgrim on Monday and the same at Holywell Music yesterday and tried out 9 different harps, plus the one that was used in Westminster Abbey for the recent Royal Wedding (just for fun, it is way out of my budget)! Of the things I remember her having played, one piece was in C major, and one had 7 flats, but she didn't try out the sharps much as far as I recall.

All of our top three would fit in the car, which is reassuring. At Pilgrim, her favourite was the Aldeburgh. At Holywell, of the 6 my daughter tried, her top two were the Salvi Aurora and the Lyon & Healy Style 30, though there was no clear winner. Neither of us particularly liked the look of the 30 and - as that is the most expensive of the three - I think we've probably eliminated it. What we'd really like to do is try the Aldeburgh and the Aurora together but that will be difficult. Do you have any views on these two models?

I don't think we can avoid the VAT unfortunately, but I would prefer to buy new if we can afford to - I like the idea of the 5 yr warranty and the fact that we could order the finish we wanted.




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#6 erard

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 20:37

QUOTE(soccermom @ Aug 10 2011, 08:44 PM) View Post

What we'd really like to do is try the Aldeburgh and the Aurora together but that will be difficult. Do you have any views on these two models?


I admire them both, and personally like them too, which is not the same thing. Aldeburghs have a particularly nice balance for tiny players which maybe worth taking into account if she is under 5' and unlikely to grow fast, but if the Salvi was comfortable that is not an issue.

I find that Aldeburghs have a consistently different sound to Malverns (I would describe it as slightly clearer) so picking out one Aldeburgh as her favourite in the showroom is a good indication she should be looking at the Aldeburgh model in particular. Personally, I find there is more overlap in sound among several Salvi models, so next time she is in a showroom with a different collection of harps she may prefer a Diana or Daphne 47X.

As for trying them in the same room, how about booking a trip to the Edinburgh Harp Festival next spring, or any of the other big harp events? I am sure either of them will tell you when they next expect to be at the same event.
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#7 soccermom

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 21:06

QUOTE(erard @ Aug 10 2011, 09:37 PM) View Post

QUOTE(soccermom @ Aug 10 2011, 08:44 PM) View Post

What we'd really like to do is try the Aldeburgh and the Aurora together but that will be difficult. Do you have any views on these two models?


I admire them both, and personally like them too, which is not the same thing. Aldeburghs have a particularly nice balance for tiny players which maybe worth taking into account if she is under 5' and unlikely to grow fast, but if the Salvi was comfortable that is not an issue.

I find that Aldeburghs have a consistently different sound to Malverns (I would describe it as slightly clearer) so picking out one Aldeburgh as her favourite in the showroom is a good indication she should be looking at the Aldeburgh model in particular. Personally, I find there is more overlap in sound among several Salvi models, so next time she is in a showroom with a different collection of harps she may prefer a Diana or Daphne 47X.

As for trying them in the same room, how about booking a trip to the Edinburgh Harp Festival next spring, or any of the other big harp events? I am sure either of them will tell you when they next expect to be at the same event.


Good idea. Though I'd hope to find somewhere closer than Edinburgh.

My daughter is now about 5'5" and I think probably will still grow a bit, so I don't think size is likely to be an issue. She definitely preferred the Aldeburgh to the Malvern (and the Canterbury). She tried the Salvi Diana and didn't particularly like it - or the Apollo. She liked all the Lyon & Healys (30, 85 and 100), but her favourite (based on the sound - not the look) was the 30.

The thing I liked at both Pilgrim and Holywell was that I felt no pressure to make a quick decision or to commit to buying something. Both seemed perfectly happy to spend a lot of time with us as we swapped between harps and went away with nothing.
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#8 erard

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 21:20

QUOTE(soccermom @ Aug 10 2011, 10:06 PM) View Post

She tried the Salvi Diana and didn't particularly like it - or the Apollo.


I am suggesting she tried 'a' Salvi Diana only and may find she did not like the particular Diana she tried, or that very Aurora was just right for her and another may not suit her so well. If she is in a showroom with different examples of the models she may make a different choice. The Apollos have a different soundboard design, but I couldn't reliably tell many Salvi models apart by sound, maybe I haven't paid enough attention, though I think I could sort the walnut from the mahogany.

If you are buying second hand the original shop will give you the history of the harp you are interested in too, so far as they know it.
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#9 soccermom

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:57

QUOTE(erard @ Aug 11 2011, 10:20 PM) View Post

QUOTE(soccermom @ Aug 10 2011, 10:06 PM) View Post

She tried the Salvi Diana and didn't particularly like it - or the Apollo.


I am suggesting she tried 'a' Salvi Diana only and may find she did not like the particular Diana she tried, or that very Aurora was just right for her and another may not suit her so well. If she is in a showroom with different examples of the models she may make a different choice. The Apollos have a different soundboard design, but I couldn't reliably tell many Salvi models apart by sound, maybe I haven't paid enough attention, though I think I could sort the walnut from the mahogany.



Ah, I see what you mean. I guess that makes buying second hand an even more attractive option!
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#10 GMc

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 07:32

Hi, we have had "big harp" for just over a year so I will pass on what I think is useful.

1. We have tried all major manufacturers (not pilgrim, wrong country and they were not at the AHS last year). They all differ, some markedly even within the same make and model of same ages,
2. Get a second hand one assessed and regulated before purchase. New necks are expensive and if you get an older well used harp they will need one eventually. Old strings don't help but no one ever changes them just prior to selling as they are pricey. So you can't tell whether they would help dead patches.
3. Weight is important if you move it single handed and meet stairs and you will if orchestra ever happens. I could not imagine singlehandedly loading an Apollo for example. Even though one Apollo we saw was fantastic.
4. Different people like different things. What is desirably bright for one person might be painful on the ears of another.
5. Try the car out with passenger and stool and trolley and music etc. As well as the harp with covers.
6. Never buy one you have not played yourself and love (guess what, we did but only after choosing a model and then after a lot of instructions given to our tester in Paris who was a friend. She sent recordings of the top three that fulfilled the brief to choose from). In your case play them -it's not so easy from Australia. Couldn't be happier with the result. It is an atlantide prestige. Very easy to transport and when you end up doing it on and off stages up to 4x a week that is invaluable.

Best harp we ever saw over our looking period of 12 months was a Diana. In Milan. Never saw another
like it and it sold the same day we saw it while we pondered. First day on the floor. Clearly we were not alone in our admiration. I would try any second hand that comes on sale personally, you never know what will grab you.


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#11 soccermom

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:12

Thanks for this. My daughter did try a Diana but she preferred the Aurora. Whether she would like a different Diana better, of course I cannot say.

We haven't made any progress yet (no pun intended) though I think I am still attracted most by the Aldeburgh (size and weight and price all more manageable).

We're having some building work done soon (I hope) and I need to wait until I know how much that is going to cost before I commit myself on the harp!
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#12 Sioni

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 18:09

Our 16 year old daugher has had 48 string Salvi Daphne with extended soundboard for a couple of years now (we spent money that was earmarked for a new kitchen!!!). It's hefty in terms of weight, size and price but should stand her in good stead for many years to come - especially if she goes on to study music. It goes comfortably in a Zafira with just about enough space for trolley and stool. She and her dad work together to get it in and out of the car after that she handles it herself.
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#13 soccermom

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 15:24

I've gone and done it!

A year after our last visit, we have been back to Pilgrim and put down a deposit on a new Aldeburgh. Very excited. It should take about 12 weeks. Normally I would be champing at the bit to get it sooner than that but actually the wait is fairly convenient. My harp playing daughter is due to take grade 8 violin this term. I don't want any new excuses for her not to practice that.

Now all I need to do is find a new home for the current harp - preferably before I have to pay the balance on the Aldeburgh!


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#14 Norway

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 19:18

Well done Soccermom - I've just looked at the Aldeburgh - it looks gorgeous! smile.gif
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#15 soccermom

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 21:11

Must admit that I wasn't that taken with it on screen - or indeed with any harps of that style (where the pillar looks like a real pillar, if you know what I mean). The one I really liked the look of was the Salisbury, but that was out of my price range.

I think the Aldeburgh looks a lot better in the flesh (or rather the wood) than it does in pictures. And we liked the sound of it better than that of the Malvern. We have ordered it in mahogany in the hope that it will match the piano.
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