Master-Designed, Artisan-Made Since 1977
Renowned Harpist and Composer -
Diana Rowan plays the SweetHarp
“This is a real instrument, not a compromise harp.”
Listen to a recent live recording:
08 Jenny Plucks Pears MP3
Hear & See My Harps on YouTube
As you may know, one of the inherent problems with the new category of “light” harps is that they warp towards the strings over time (see my poster to the left to see what I mean), some so badly as to make them unusable after even a few years.
Part of my success with the SweetHarp design has been to minimize that warping by using several devises. I’ve created a new “region” where the pillar meets the curve (where the rosette is) for example, and a generous, mechanically locking "T" across the front of the pillar. This has allowed me to use "grown up" string lengths and therefore get the great sound and feel the SweetHarp has.
But I've seen that I want to do even more to preclude the harp warping at all (especially in hot, humid climates). I was designing a brace to go on the far side of the curve when I realized that if I were going to do that I might as well go all the way and make the harp center-strung. Based on my success with my Butterfly model I've designed a simple center-stringing for the SweetHarp.
This has also solved several other issues for me. Not only is the harp stronger and more stress-balanced than before, but I can use geared tuners on it all the way up. The tuners I had been using on the SweetHarp were of two types. The bass end used a straight-through geared tuner like on banjos, and the treble end was using a non-geared tuner such as used on ukuleles. The banjo tuners are expensive and heavy, and the ukulele tuners, thought adequate (and perfectly appropriate for the smaller harps), just aren't as cool as the geared tuners.
By going to the center-stringing, I can use the same tuners as I use on the Butterfly harps. They look good, work great, and are even color-coded to tell you where your Fs and Cs are (knob colors may vary slightly from harp to harp). AND…You can see your tuners and tune on the fly very easily. No more craning your neck to the far side to see which tuner to grab!
This moves the SweetHarp even more into a class of its own. But it does change the look slightly. The curve is slightly narrower and more graceful now in the treble (since I don't have to do the double row of tuners). The tuners now have their knobs peeking above the curve instead of on the far side. That's pretty much the only visual difference. In all other ways the SweetHarp looks exactly the same! There is one more benefit: In their new position, the tuners are less likely to get banged, and possibly broken, in transit (again, on the smaller harps, this is not so much an issue).