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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2002 5:34 pm 
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Hi gang,

I'm thinking of adding a celtic harp to our family band. Are the ones they always have on eBay any good? If not can you direct me to any that are?

Doc

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 9:17 am 
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I play celtic-style harps (I have 3), but have not purchased one from Ebay. I am however, on a Yahoo group for harpers/harpists, and the harps that a most often sold on Ebay are a frequent subject. I believe the consensus is that they are only "OK", but may have some problems, and that with a little looking, a better quality instrument can be had for similar $. Here is a site that list many Harp makers and their websites:

http://www.harpmall.com

My personal favorite is Musicmakers:

http://www.musikit.com


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 2:11 pm 
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Okay: Here's another question.

I have long been interested in playing Ir Harp but I have the fingernail problem. Namely, I have to maintain em for classical guitar.

Does anyone play harp with fingerpix or those new Alaskey nails??? It would be great to play the st strings and I once read that the old tradition was very long fingernails, perhaps firehardened....
Just wonderin.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 3:24 pm 
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If you must have fingernails, then you might look into the wire-strung harps, which are played with the nails rather than the fingerpads. Here's a place to start:

http://www.clarsach.net


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2002 4:22 pm 
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Thanks for answer. I checked out site.

I know that the sensual thing and sound of flesh on string would be better for modern harping aesthetic, but I think Breathnach mentioned the concept of hardened long nails for wire strung as being historic practice. And I am looking for a way to make it work for me.

I know that Borders people knew how to harden nails from a gruesome practice, namely Scots_irish fightiing in the Appalachians, where the combatants fire-hardened their nails in candle fire so they could pluck out eyes of the opponents. It was prevalent enuf that they actually had to pass laws against that kind of fighting down there in Kentucky I think.

Those people came to America between 1720-1790, so the hardening was known at that time. i wonder where they learned it and for what purpose prior to that action?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 7:35 am 
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Hi everyone! I play Celtic harp (as well as a bunch of other stuff)professionally. I agree wholeheartenly that MusicMakers is top-notch. I have their 29 string "Studio" and have had many compliments on its voice and projection. I can't say enough good about MusicMakers...superb instruments and great people. Check them out before making any discisions. Stear clear of the Mid-East harps if you are going to use it for performance. You will be disappointed with the tone. I have recently bought a Mid-East harp that I use for practice. Its small enough to pack when going on vacation and allows me to keep my fingers "in shape" while I'm away from my other harp. Many music store will rent harps. Try different models, go listen to them. I would never recommend buying a harp without at least hearing another one of that model/maker. MusicMakers have wav files you can listen to, they will also play the instrument for you over the phone. http://www.musikit.com (I have no affiliation with MM, I'm just a very happy customer!) :wink:
As for the nail problem, there's no law that says you must play nylon strung harps with your finger pads and wire strung with your nails. I know many people who don't play in the "traditional" way. Do what's best for you. There are also folks who file their nails along one side so that one side is long the other short, to allow them to play both harp and guitar. Experiment. If you do play nylon with your nails, I believe you will have to change strings more often as the wear and tear on the strings is greater.
Good luck and let us know what you decide!
Cath

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 11:00 am 
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thanks Harpie!!!! Thats the info I was seeking but couldn't find at clarsach site.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 12:14 pm 
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Hey thanks for the tips. Has anyone ever actually built one of the Music Maker harps.

How much wood-working skill would actually be needed? I'm pretty handy with a screwdriver and having 13 kids has made me well-acquainted with "some assembly required", but if it's actual wood working I'd worry a little.

Doc

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 2:09 pm 
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-Doc,-Take a gander at the Dusty Strings
harps. They are finely finished and sound nice to me , though I am no harper. Their link: http://dustystrings.com

-Brian


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 6:01 pm 
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Hi Again!
My husband built my MusicMakers harp. He had a bit of workworking experience, mostly the high school variety and puttering in the shop but he had NO problem with the MM kit. There were some special large clamps he had to buy but that was all. The plans were very easy to follow and he assured me that with patience even *I* could have done it. The folks at MM are very helpful and willing to give advice, etc. I have found them to be really nice. The only thing my hubby wouldn't attempt was the stringing... I did that, but that's something every harper needs to know/do anyway. I think the kit recommends about 20 hours of labor to assemble (check with MM about that, I could be wrong). I feel the MM harp is a very good harp for the price, and fun to assemble/play to boot!!! And sturdy. Several weeks ago I fell down some steps while carrying my harp (on vacation yet, and 4 hours from home!!!) I broke my ankle but the harp is fine! :smile: With luck I'll be able to hobble to a wedding gig on 8/31 ... fingers crossed. If you have any specific questions I'm sure my hubby would answer them for you. Just hollar.....
Cath

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:39 am 
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I lately took up the lyre. It seems that longer nails are good for plucking and strumming, but short nails are better for muting strings.

I think that the harps on eBay are mostly seconds from Mid-East Manufacturing. Their woods are beautiful to look at, but perhaps their tuning pins should be replaced with better ones. They are imported from Pakistan. The political situation over there is pretty tense right now.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 1:58 pm 
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Okay Week and Doc Jones, you won't - and believe when I say so, cuz I know things;-) that you shold go here: http://www.timothyharps.ca/timothyharpsmain.html

These are quite simply the best sounding small harps available. Full rich sound and Timothy gives you the extra lower strings instead of the higher hardly used strings. I can't pontificate long enough on the wonderful sound of these harps!!!!

The value for your buck is also absolutely extraordinary. Do yourself a huge favour and check them out.

PR


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