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Hummingbird Harps


#1

Hello everyone.

One of my students just purchased a used harp with no label. The seller told him it was a Hummingbird, made by Jerry Goldsbury, which could be spelled differently, I’m certain. It’s nylon strung, thirty-six strings, made of curly maple. I can’t find my old, old, old issues of the Folk Harp Journal, but I’m certain I’ve seen these harps before. It’s no Dusty, of course, but seems to be well made, with lovely lines, and a really nice sound and tension.

Any ideas? Internet searches haven’t provided any information as of yet.

Thanks everyone, for any information.


#2

Jerry Goldsberry,…I’ve read of Hummingbird Harps - the name for his company. One of our “early” US makers, Mark Blessley credits him for getting him (Mark) into harp making. That’s all I know, Mark could probably tell you more. Mark’s wife, Valerie, apparently still plays her Hummingbird Lupine, a 36.


#3

As soon as I saw this post, I remembered seeing two of these harps for sale last month on craigslist. The builder is/was from Albuquerque, and that is the location of the seller. The larger harp has sold, but the (very cute) 23 string is still listed at http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/msg/5843824810.html. Perhaps the seller can give you some information.

Good Luck,
Karen


#4

BTW - I checked over at Markwood Heavenly Strings and they do have the Hummingbird Lupine string specs on file.


#5

If it helps, there are back issues of the Folk Harp Journal available through Musicmakers:

http://www.harpkit.com/blog/folk-harp-journal/

Ray remembers meeting Jerry Goldsberry many years ago at folk harp conferences, but doesn’t think the Hummingbird company is still around, so it’s possible any contact info found in FHJ would be out of date anyway.


#6

@DS Christy
I purchased a handful of pdf FHJ journals and am having a blast reading articles from decades ago. What a different world harping was in during those days. I found an ad for Hummingbird harps in a 1994 edition. It lists the contact info as:
Jerry Goldsberry (Luthier)
Hummingbird Instruments
121 Wayne N.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87114
(505) 897-1725


#7

Thank you, everyone for all the replies. I appreciate all the help. It does seem to be a well-made harp, with a lovely tone. The only problem, and we’re not certain why, is that the grommets on the lower strings have split in the past. My husband, who makes guitars and fixes all sorts of instruments, including my own harps, is hoping to look at it soon and see what’s up with that. Maybe age, improper humidity, who knows? But he’ll figure it out, I bet.

Again, many thanks, and hope and peace to all.


#8

Aren’t those old issues wonderful? I was given a whole stack of them about ten years ago, and am hoping they haven’t disappeared during my various post divorce and re-marriage moves. It was a different world for harpers then. I kind of miss the old black and white issues. The new look is certainly lovely, but I don’t feel properly dressed when I read it! Just kidding, sort of…


#9

Thank you so much, Christy, for the information and for the link. I appreciate it so much.


#10

Grommets splitting…I hope you mean the grommets themselves and not the SB! If indeed it is the grommets, my guess is that those are fairly high tension strings and probably metal wound - those well may eventually split brass. This also happens with wire strung harps (unless they are shoes of course). The solution is to use steel rather than brass grommets; you can buy those from Robinsons Harp Shop - they are only available as extra large.

http://www.robinsonsharpshop.com/hardware.html


#11

Yes, the grommets themselves, not the soundboard…And they are metal wound strings. We actually have some grommets on hand, having ordered a bunch of all sizes when I had to replace some on a used Westover therapy harp that arrived missing some. But I’ll check to be certain we have some steel as well, as the Westover has brass grommets.if not, I’ll contact Robinsons. Thank you again for the help. My student will be pleased, and I’m pleased to have received all this information to pass on to him.