I don’t have a harp yet, however…
I’m looking at a 34 or 36 string model.
What wood might I look into for bridging the gap between hearing impaired and the whole musical experience?
What kind of strings should I consider for the absolute beginner that wants to keep the harp for about 20+ years?
I’m hoping this harp vibrates an awful lot no matter what’s being played.
I might need to learn everything I can from a book\cd or DVD.
I bought the Crescendo 34 string, which is Sapelle with a birch soundboard. It has a great reverb, especially on the low end; and I love it! My husband can’t believe how much sound it puts out. I am very pleased with the strings that came on it and will be ordering replacement strings only from Dusty Strings as they are especially suited to their hand crafted harps.
From my experience, I would suggest you consider walnut, one of the least dense of the hardwoods we use in our harps if you want to maximize the vibrations of the harp body while you play. The woods that are less dense (less heavy) will tend to radiate more of the strings energy although this can be a subtle thing between any of the woods we use. The 36H model in walnut is a glorious sounding harp and will probably give you the most “mechanical vibration” for the money of all our models!
Regarding string choice, I’d advise you to stick with nylon, which is the standard type we have used on most of our harps for 30 years.
As a beginning teaching resource, the DVD we sell called “Play The Harp Today” by Laurie Riley would be a good place to start. You can read about it on our website. Cheers!
Pardon my late reply, but I wanted to wish you well in your endeavor. I agree with Ray about the walnut. My first harp ever was a Dusty FH26 in walnut, and what a sound, even for a smaller harp! It was-IS- wonderful, though I don’t own it anymore. as it lives with one of my students. I get to see it and play it every week, which is bittersweet.
Regarding the hearing impairment, I’m a harp therapist, and when I need to play a portable harp, I play a Westover therapy harp, which, while wonderful for what it is, has nowhere near the vibration of my old Dusty. However, I had one elderly woman who was profoundly deaf who used to wheel herself over to the harp in her wheelchair and place her hands on the soundboard. She could still speak some, and would say “I can’t hear it, but I can feel it and it’s beautiful!” Every week when she saw the harp arrive, she would encourage others to listen and touch the harp.
Best of luck to you, and revel in your harp journey.