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Are Venus Harps as good as Lyon & Healy?

  • Unknown
    Unknown User

    I've been considering to buy a new concert harp. However I got stuck

    when considering which brand should i buy. I've long heard that Lyon

    & Healy is good (I play it myself), but I also wonder if Venus harps

    are good. Have to make sure the harp I'd be buying is that best as

    it's going to be with me for a life time. Somebody please tell which

    one is better, Lyon & Healy or Venus??

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    replies to "Are Venus Harps as good as Lyon & Healy?"
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I have been playing on my Lyon and Healy style 19 harp for 6 years now and even though my harp is 90 years old, it still is in tact and plays beautifully.  I've also had experiences with Venus harps.  My harpist friend played on a Venus harp before she bought a Lyon and Healy and the soundboard on the Venus pulled up 5 times in 9 years.  She also concluded that the sound was not nearly as projective as the Lyon and Healy.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I started playing harp at age 12 and have had the opportunity to play lever and pedal harps in many brands (Lyon and Healy, Venus, Salvi, and some miscellaneous others) for many years.  I have extensively played around 15 harps through the years, and "tinkered" with dozens more.  In particular, I have had over five years experience with Lyon and Healys and Venus concert pedal harps and have been happy with both.  I never particularly cared for the Salvi harps I played, but it could have just been those few (3) examples.  I personally have never experienced any reliability problems with either Lyon and Healy or Venus harps, despite some misadventures while touring.  My hands down favorite for sound, however, was my harp teachers Venus Paragon.  It was a very special harp and nothing else could touch it for warmth and projection in sound.  Which brings me to my main point.  My experience as a musician (I also started piano at 5, and cello at 11) has proven to me that musical instruments are very much individuals.  My advice for someone buying a concert harp would be to stick with the Lyon and Healy or Venus brands due to support because it can be a rough world out there.  Past that, it is almost certainly worth a plane ticket to Chicago to try out every harp you can at both factories and pick the harp that suits you best, regardless of which brand. The cost of a plane ticket versus the cost of the harp makes the ticket a very good return on the investment.  Besides, if you are charming, you can probably get a tour of the facilities and learn more about your harp.  In the end, enjoy your new harp!  I hope this helps...

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I definately prefer Lyon & Healy. It is my understanding that the reason why Lyon & Healy harps have a slanted colum is to help aging. The immense pressure put on a harp because of the strings can cause a harp to buckle or fall apart over time. To conteract this problem, Lyon & Healy has provided a solution, the slanted colum. The colum alleviates the pressure and will straighten out little by little over time. I am sorry if I am wrong but I do not think Venus harps have this slanted colum and if the harp is cracked or knicked in just the right place the frame could collapse.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I first learned on a Salvi Orchestra model and loved the warm and rich sound it projected.  However, playing with an symphonic orchestra, it simply was hard pressed to be heard.  I later played on a Salvi Diana with 2 orchestras.  The warm and also rich tones were wonderful for some pieces, but difficult to hear with other instruments playing.  When playing with a ballet troupe, I found the Lyon and Healy 23 had a much more penetrating and clear sound and seemed to project a bit more than the Salvi.  Now, several years later, I have purchased a Venus Diplomat that has the warm and rich tones of the Salvi and the sheer power of the Lyon and Healy.  I have been playing on the Diplomat for 8 years now.  It's quite simply a Hummer of the harp world.  Very little scrollwork to get knocked off from loading and unloading and hence easy to slide in and out of a vehicle.  The weight is evenly distributed so as to make loading in a wagon easy.  The soundboard is pulling up nice and even and the sound booms out to be heard over some of the loudest rock and blues musicians I play with.  I once thought that I would need an electric harp to play with the large groups, but my maturing Diplomat sounds equally well with Kalinikov to Monk.  All that said, this is only my opinion of my particular situation.  By all means, try them all and find what works for you.  Have fun!


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    • Darhon
      Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher

      I have two Venus pedal harps (Traditional and Protege) and love them. I previously had a Salvi Sinfonietta. I think the Venus harps project better than the Salvi in an orchestra situation; however, Salvis have a warm tone are a very even from top to bottom.

      I think harps are very individual. Every company builds a few lemons, and no manufacturer builds perfect harps 100% of the time.

      I think the thing to do it to go to Chicago and try out Venus, Salvi and Lyon & Healy pedal harps and decide for yourself.


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    • Denise
      Denise Krasicki

      "I have been playing on my Lyon and Healy style 19 harp for 6 years now and even though my harp is 90 years old, it still is in tact and plays beautifully. I've also had experiences with Venus harps. My harpist friend played on a Venus harp before she bought a Lyon and Healy and the soundboard on the Venus pulled up 5 times in 9 years. She also concluded that the sound was not nearly as projective as the Lyon and Healy.

      -- Andrea Mumm, September 15, 2002"

      Andrea what a curious posting.  As the manufacturer of VENUS harps we have NEVER heard of such a thing - either with our own harps or any of the competion harps regardless of the manufacturer.  If this is indeed truth vrs. FICTION/Brand Bashing why didn't your friend

      contact us or bring the harp to the factory for such an outrageous claim.  We have always stood behind our products and our warranty as I am sure do the other manufacturers.  Since we have NEVER seen the same harp with this type of problem over and over again, I'd be very interested to KNOW who was fixing/replacing the board on this harp that the work didn't seem to last more than 12 - 18 months !  Maybe that is the person who's work you should be liabling, not the manufacturer who was not aware that such a situation existed, if indeed it did.

      Everyone has the right to their own opinion and their own likes and dislikes and that is what a forum like this is geared towards, that is what is known as free enterprise and a free market. But when you make comments about a product and its "failures" you should be ready to back up those claims with FACTS.  I would like to know the model and serial number of this supposed harp who's board pulled up 5 times in 9 years.

      I have monitored this board for a couple of years now and the amount of unsubstantiated, mean spirited 'garbage' spewed by some posters against one brand or another without ANY verifiable proof is horrible and its also very embarassing to see this comoing from what is usually thought of as a very PROFESSIONAL group of people and artists. If you have one of our harps and there is a problem, you should come to us, not whine about it on a public message board.

      ONE of the most important foundations of our country is FREE ENTERPRISE and that means anyone that has the will, the stamina and the means to open a harp company (or any company) and provide their product to the public is welcome to do such. The buying public will be the ultimate determining factor if that company folds or survives.  With 33 years and counting in this business I think we have proven ourselves time and time again.  We build a good, solid and lasting product and we stand behind every harp we make and always have.

      If you have a problem go to the source - we are ALWAYS available via phone, email, fax or walking through our front door during business hours.

      Denise Krasicki - Business Manager/Owner VENUS Harps

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Folks, could we accept that there are tall, short, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, handsome, white, black, red, blue, green harpists, and that we all are pretty daggoned lucky to have such a variety of harps to satisfy the desires, wishes, wants and needs?

      Is Venus as good as L&H?  Is L&H as good as Salvi?  Is Salvi as good as Horngacher?  Is Horgacher as good as Swanson?  Is Swanson as good as Camac?  Where does it all end???

      How long have these companies been in existance?  Years!  If a company has been around for years, then it must be producing a product that is good enough to keep workers paid and producing instruments.

      L&H really became the undisputed leader in harps years ago when Wurlitzer went out of business.  What happens to a company with no competition?  They faulter, get stale and run the risk of going out of business.  Look at L&H's history of being sold from one company to another.  Then comes Salvi.  Then Wally Sr. forms Venus.  Camac comes out with new technology.  Carl Swanson steps into the frey and suddenly we have a real handful of companies to choose from.  The technological breakthroughs in harps are cause every company to improve their products and we harpists are the benefactors.

      All the companies make harps from wood which is a very unreliable substance as compared to metal.  Because of that, EVERY company has made gorgeous, rich, full sounding instruments and EVERY company has made dogs.  Despite L&H's history, and despite Camac's & Swanson's short history, none are immune from making a bad instrument.  Neither are Venus, Horngacher, Salvi, Aoyama, etc.  NO company tries to make bad instruments.

      When you buy a harp, you have equal chances getting a great instrument as you do getting a dog.  Every company uses different architecture to make a durable instrument.  What is important is the sound.  If you lined 10 harpist up and had them play a similar model produced by all the pedal harp makers, you would have ten different opinions.  If you blindfolded the harpists and had them play and listen to all the instruments, you would be surprised which harp would prove best.  Blind taste tests put a grocery store white sparkling wine ahead of Dom Perignon once!

      I have given up on the harp world for opinion because it is basically horribly vicious and biased (hmm, that could include me as well!).  I get tired of the bashing of all the companies other than L&H.  I look to other musicians (non-harpists) and non-musicians to see what pleases them and appeals to them.  When a violinist from the other side of a symphony comes over and gasps, "What is your harp, I have never heard such a beautiful sound!!" I know I have a great harp.  It happened to me six years ago.

      What scares me are postings like what Mollie Alred posted (found on this string) on 1/02/03 saying "I am sorry if I am wrong but I do not think Venus harps have this slanted colum and if the harp is cracked or knicked in just the right place the frame could collapse."

      This is irresponsible false reporting on her part.  If she might be wrong, why post it????  Before posting folks need to phone the companies and ask why do they do certain things.  It is unfair to Venus, to L&H, and to harpists when harpists proclaim technical absolutes without verifying the facts.  If this were the printed page, some the company-bashing could lend for liable suits.  It is simply ugly and not necessary.

      I play a Venus Classic.  I have done so for year.  I love the tone, I love the projection, and for years other musicians have felt the same.  I like working with Venus and have done so for years as well.  I do not know the folks very well at L&H, Camac, Salvi, Horngacher, Swanson, Aoyama, etc. and do not know their harps that well.  That doesn't mean they are bad harps, bad harp manufacturers or bad staff.  It is just opportunity and personal preference took me down this path.

      F Lai,  You will love a Venus harp.  I have.  You will also love a Camac, and all the others.  Visit as many factories as you can and tour them.  Try out as many harps as you can.  Every company has different harps on their display floors, and that changes as harps are sold.  It is like going to an ice cream shop to see what flavors they have today!  So what you might try once might not be there when you come back.  The walnut Phoenix, or the black Delphi that you loved last week, may have gone home with someone else and the blond Phoenix or the walnut Delphi just doesn't sound the same.  But did you try the Atlantide or the Scoula?  Do you recognize these models??

      Most importantly.  Read the purchase agreements carefully.  Study the lengthts of time every company's warranty covers for each style of harp you like.  They differ, even within one company!  As the company worst scene scenario questions and take notes to record who from that company told you what, on what day and on what time.  Email the person with your notes so they have record that you have record.  Ask,  What sort of policy to return the instrument do they have if you do not like it?  What sort of refund policy?  Cash or replacement instrument?  Do they have technicians and do they travel?  And the worst scene scenario questions, like, what recourse do you have if a company ships you a harp in the middle of the winter and it arrives with a cracled finish that looks like a broken car windshield.

      Ask for good and bad experiences with every company.  Weigh the feedback and listen for closed minded opinionation.  The harp world is full of it.  We all have our preferences and prejudices.  Take all of them with a grain of salt.  Take me with a grain of salt.

      Are Venus Harps as good as Lyon & Healy?  Yes.  Are Lyon & Healy as good as Venus?  Yes.  Whose opinion really matters here?  Yours F Lai, not mine, not anybody elses.

      Best of luck with your instrument and I pray the company-bashing abates.  In truth it reflects badly on the harpist who posts it and on the company that is favored.

      Michael O'Hanlan

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    • Denise
      Denise Krasicki

      Barry ...been a long time since we talked, but I hope you and yours are doing well my friend and best wishes to you in this Holiday Season.


      " I definately prefer Lyon & Healy. It is my understanding that the reason why Lyon & Healy harps have a slanted colum is to help aging. The immense pressure put on a harp because of the strings can cause a harp to buckle or fall apart over time. To conteract this problem, Lyon & Healy has provided a solution, the slanted colum. The colum alleviates the pressure and will straighten out little by little over time. I am sorry if I am wrong but I do not think Venus harps have this slanted colum and if the harp is cracked or knicked in just the right place the frame could collapse.

      -- Mollie Alred, January 2, 2003 "


      Mollie - where do you people come up with this stuff ???  NO, VENUS does not have an overly slanted column... but many of our harps both NEW and Older have been knocked over, even into orchestra pits and their FRAMES DID NOT COLLAPSE.. Had one client in CA, in past few years - who was performing up in the CA mountains... a very deep incline at the end of the parking lot off the banquet hall where she was working ...  A very hard wind came off the ocean below and her harp NOT sitting on a very level area of the parking lot was caught in the gust and not only knocked over very hard... but took quite a hard bumpy trip...before coming to a standsill.  A Premier model if I recall.

      The neck, the soundboard and the base were damaged with dings and dents, but fine for use.. the way the harp hit the body was damaged badly, but the frame was NOT compromised...  we took her harp back - dis-assembled it and stripped it - replaced the body and put it back together and refinished how she wanted it done this time and she's happier now than with her former VENUS harp... If you would like I will ask her to EMAIL YOU about his harp mishap and how the harp came through it and her repaired harp afterwards, including the fact despite the hard impact the FRAME NEVER COLLAPSED despite the lack of a slanted column.

      What you are posting is "hearsay and gossip" what I am posting is facts from what we see, do and deal with on a daily basis.  What you are doing is the equivalant to " Arm Chair Quarterbacking during a televised Monday Night Football game" .. leave harp building to the harp manufacturers that have been in this for MANY years ! You're a harpist... keep playing .. that is your field of expertise and leave the design and building to us.

      Your preference for L&H harps is not only your priveledge but your right and I hope you have a wonderful harp from them that gives you many years of enjoyment and pleasure, but please, don't make comments about another manufacturer unless you can back up your claims with verifiable proof.  When you continue to expound old

      and tired gossip, half truths, misinformation and out right fabricated comments that are circulated for the benefit of others, you are doing everyone a mis-service.

      Much success to you in your career as a harpist and Happy Holidays this season.

      Denise Krasicki - VENUS Harps

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I have had nothing but good experiences with L&H and have no experience with Venus harps. We have had several posts on this board that Venus are of excellent quality and durability, and I'll rely on that statement. If a company has a good background, appears to be successful, and has such stories, then the company must make good harps. Why else would people tell those stories?

      Regardless, it is my understanding that because every harp (and for that matter, every harpist) is different, the quality of the sound, projection, the size and how comfortable it feels is more because of of the specific harp than of the maker. Each harpist will have a preference for the sound, the tension, the spacing of pedals and strings. I guess what I'm trying to say is NO TWO HARPS ARE THE SAME. Therefore, you just have to try them.

      A great example is that I had been renting a L&H Troubador III and learning on it. The strings were very tight, and had a very bright, bell-like voice. I then made the descicion to buy one of my own for various reasons. I bought an identical Troubador III. Same color, everything. But this harp sounded different. The strings were not as tight but produced the same note as the tighter strings on my other harp. The sound was different. I don't have a word to describe how it was different, but it was. It was darker, and yet had a very... soothing, I guess, quality to the tone. The difference was so great that I really had to take some time to adjust to it, and after a while, found that I liked it much more.

      I hope this helps to answer your question somewhat, :-). Good luck in finding the right harp for you, and have a happy holidays.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I've played both and I love both. The harp I learned to play first was an old Lyon and Healy

      model 17. It is probably about 80 years old now, a smaller harp with a huge sound. It is a

      little the worse for wear from being hauled around our university, but it is tough and

      durable and has the same wonderful sound today as it had 40 years ago.

      When the time came for me to buy my own harp, I chose a Venus Concert Grand, a

      mahogany custom made finish with roses lightly brushed with gold. To me it is the most

      gorgeous harp ever made.  I told Wally Krasicki that I wanted it to match my grand piano,

      and he said,"just send me a piece of wood from the keyboard of your piano, and I will send

      you a harp exactly that color." I did, and he was as good as his word.

          You need not worry about having to fly to Chicago to get a harp that sounds perfect to

      you. When I ordered my harp nearly 20 years ago, I had five small children. A trip to

      Chicago was about as likely as a trip to the moon! But never mind, said Wally. He would

      make the harp  and ship it to me, and if I didn't like it, he would make me another one!

      And so on until I was completely satisfied. I never had a chance to find out whether he

      meant what he said, because when the harp arrived, it was the harp of my dreams. Rich,

      warm, resonant sound, clothed in the most beautiful form I had ever seen. Now after much

      use- and no repairs or maintainence- it is as perfect as it was 20 years ago.

      So , as you can well imagine, I would never buy any harp but Venus. Not because there

      aren't other very fine harps, but because Krasicki guarantees in a most personal and

      individual manner, that your harp satisfies you completely in every way. He seems to

      realize that a harp is not just an object to buy, but an instrument by which to create a

      more beautiful world. I will always be grateful to him for giving me the harp which makes

      my heart sing.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I am an employee at the Virginia Harp Center in Richmond, Virginia.  I have had not a lot of experience with Venus harps, but I can tell you that Lyon & Healy harps are great.  I used to have a Lyon and Healy Prelude.  Now I have a Salvi Sinfonietta, which I love!  I also know that Salvi stand behind their harps.  My first harp (a Salvi Aida lever harp) had about 10 cracks in the soundboard after 2 months.  They willingly took it back.  I also know that same peolpe own Lyon & Healy, so I'm sure that Lyon & Healy stand behind their harps too.  I'm not saying Venus doesn't, I just have never had one.

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    • Denise
      Denise Krasicki

      Common sense dictates that if all the major harp manufactuers ie.,

      ourselves at VENUS. L&H and Salvi have been in business as long as we

      have and are still actively engaged in business that we all make good products and stand behind what we make.  Personal preference in

      style, color, size, sound and of course monetary considerations will determine who likes what the best and why.  Harps are as individual as the people that choose and buy them and so are the reasons for their likes and dislikes.  When you make a purchase/investment this large of your hard earned money its ridiculous to buy solely on what others might say, the best way to make sure you get what you want and what you like is to see, hear and try everyone's harps via one venue or another so you can make your choice based on what YOU have experienced yourself.

      Denise Krasicki VENUS Harps/Chicago.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I know that this is late but for future readers.


      HARP FOR ME!!!!!

      Every body plays differently!

      I sugest you try as many differernt harp as you can.

      You should decide what your top price is and try as many differernt brands

      and models as you can.

      You should also look at used harps as well.

      It is best if you have a good technician look over a used harp.

      Now you can decide what harp is best for you!

      I am very happy with my concert harp. BUT I SAID I WOULD NEVER OWN


      It was not new or the brand I want or model or finish.

      But when I played it I fell in love with it.

      It responded well under my hands and my style of playing, and ever one tell

      me what a beautful it sounds.

      But when a friend play it  did not sound as good as when she plays her harp.

      So you have to find the harp for you. Hope this helps.

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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I have always owned Lyon & Healy harps (2), but I remember when the
      Paragon model came out from Venus, it was quite impressive, and I was
      quite tempted by it. It provoked a lot of discussion in Miss Lawrence's
      studio. I also like the design of several other of their models. I
      would only encourage Venus to not feel defensive, even if people seem
      to be against them. Just stand firm on the quality of your work. It
      must be tiring to have to deal with people's attitudes all the time,
      but life is full of challenges, alright. It's not easy to be a harpist
      who doesn't have the orchestra job either. Reading the posts on this
      site, I can tell when someone is writing casually or seriously, so I
      imagine most people can sense the difference, at least, I certainly
      hope. Please, by all means, make great harps. We need them.

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    • joan
      joan steinberg
      I  purchased my first Venus harp  this past fall, a Prodigy.   I was looking for  a lightweight but full-sized semi-grand to use for gigs.  This instrument has a gorgeous tone already, and should only get better with age.  Customer service has been outstanding as well.  I am happy to recommend this company and its products!
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    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Andrea Mumm on

      I have been playing on my Lyon and Healy style 19 harp for 6 years now and even though my harp is 90 years old, it still is in tact and plays beautifully.  I've also had experiences with Venus harps.  My harpist friend played on a Venus harp before she bought a Lyon and Healy and the soundboard on the Venus pulled up 5 times in 9 years.  She also concluded that the sound was not nearly as projective as the Lyon and Healy.

      Andrea, dear, I do believe that you have some issues with Venus Harps.  And I'd love to speak to this "FRIEND" of yours about her supposed problems with her Venus Harp.  I have just purchased my 4th Harp from Venus - and am here to tell you that not only are Venus Harps "as good" as Lyon & Healy - I can say without any doubt that they are certainly better.  Every Venus I own continues to get better and better with time! The 3 Venus Harps I currently have are incredibly well built, solid, and have a glorious, big, rich sound - and quite frankly project much better than the Lyon & Healy 201, 30, & 24 that I used to own.  Also - it is VERY easy to "overplay" on a Lyon & Healy - not so with a Venus.  I suggest that before you start to make very false statements about the Venus Harp - like "the soundboard on the Venus pulled up 5 times in 9 years" ...... which by the way I find to be completely untrue..... take a trip out to the factory and see for yourself the very high-quality instruments that are being manufactured by Wally Krasiki.  I am very anxiously waiting for my new Venus Aria to be completed. 

      Mark Spencer, Harpist, Miami Beach, FL.

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    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      Michael- your post is just wonderful and should appear as a soundingboard piece, if it hasn't already.

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    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Mark, hi! Nice to see you here!

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    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      I've been doing a slow burn over this thread ever since I read it this morning. The question at the top of the thread is rude and insulting, and all harp makers should be offended by it. It would be appropriate to ask what other's expeience is with this or that make of instrument, even though that too is highly subjective. It would be better to post the question asking what kind of harp other readers have and why they like them. That could be very informative, although again, subjective. But the wording of that question is incredibly crass.

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    • Bonnie
      Bonnie Shaljean

      Just saw this thread, and I share Carl's and Mark's feelings. The soundboard pulled up "5 times in 9 years"???? This is an abnormal occurrence for a concert harp of any brand, so there is obviously more to the story than Andrea is telling us. (Why?) NO modern-made soundboard just "pulls off" of its own accord unless it has been subjected to abuse. It GETS pulled off by some sort of damage or abnormal stress. What did this friend string the harp with - guy wires from the Titanic?

      The manufacturers (who are well known for their helpfulness & backup support) were clearly never contacted, which is very strange. Was it because the friend was afraid they'd see what had been done to their harp to cause the problem?

      For the record: my Venus Prodigy, one of their smaller instruments, has a huge sound and projection, as well as great depth of resonance. I sold my Lyon & Healy (itself a lovely harp which I liked very much), a choice I have never regretted.

      It's evil-minded to publicly make such allegations while leaving the company whose name is being slandered in ignorance. It just sounds like exaggerated, half-baked grapevine-gossip, irresponsibly and mindlessly repeated - while remaining quite unburdened by any hard facts.

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