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Salvi's new concept soundboard

  • Amy
    Amy Wilson

    Does anyone have an Arion semi-grand pedal harp (either 44 or 47 string) with the new concept soundboard?  How does it compare in terms of projection to Lyon and Healy's semi-grands?

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    replies to "Salvi's new concept soundboard"
    • Sam
      Sam Karlinski

      One of my teachers needed to have her Apollo soundboard replaced early this year, and I remember her telling me that the company was putting in a "new technology" soundboard - sounds like the same thing to me! When she got the harp back, it sounded just as broken in as when she had sent it over (granted, the harp was only a year old at maximum). It would seem that the projection and warmth of tone were greatly improved.


      ~Sam

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      Hi Sam,

      Do you think that once her Apollo came back from the factory, it had as much projection as a Lyon and Healy semi grand has?

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    • Deb
      Deb L

      I'm sorry if this is OT, but why would she need the soundboard replaced if her harp was only a year old?  that's not normal is it?

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    • Sam
      Sam Karlinski

      I'm not familiar with semi grand harps, so I can't really say for certain. However, the projection was overall very good even though it probably will not project as much as an L&H, but that's partly in the nature of the brand's unique sound. Another consideration here is that Apollos are widely considered to be Salvi's best projecting harp, but my observation that the board sounded already somewhat broken probably means the projection would be better in comparison with an "old concept" soundboard. Her soundboard had to be replaced because it was punctured in three places - no one is truly sure how it happened. It was not a structural issue with the harp.


      ~Sam

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    • Steven Todd
      Steven Todd Miller

      I've posted time after time how my Apollo has gotten me into trouble because of the projection when playing for smaller events. It happened twice just this fall. I'm not even trying to play loudly (I've become so paranoid about this) and the host comes over and asks me to hold it down. Then on the flip side I get these comments like "I never knew the harp had such power!" Don't get me wrong, however- I love it! I just played a long gig last night in a large venue with no amplification at all and everyone said they could hear it great. I've never played another Salvi, but my Apollo is amazing.

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      Steven,

      Does your Apollo have the new concept soundboard?  What kind of tone does it have--bright or warm?

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    • Sidney
      Sidney Butler

      I haven't gotten a chance to try these, but from a visual perspective, I think the new design is ugly.  There is a certain proportion that I've grown to love about harp design and I think the new boards do not look artistic.  They look a bit bloated to me. 

      I guess it you're orchestra needs more sound, then you want a bigger board.  But, I think this is rarely the case.  If you are playing music that was original played on an 1800s harp, then the other orchestral musicians should just be quieter.  There's a drive toward louder and louder.  There is skill in playing softly.  Louder is not better. 

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      Sidney,

      You're right--the Apollo does bulge out quite a bit at the bottom, more so than even the Arion.

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    • Sidney
      Sidney Butler

      I'm really surprised in general how the makers of harps are not so attentive to design principles.  There are some harps (columns too not just soundboards) out there that I think are just plain "out of proportion."  AND I notice a lot how the visuals on a website designed to sell a harp can be AWFUL.  For example, the images on Salvi, Inc's (USA) website are stretched (or rather squished horizontally).  I'm sure it happened by making the photograph fit into so many horizontal pixels.  But the correct way to do that is to crop the photo, not squish it.  If you are selling something for 20,000 on up I would think you would spend a little more time on the presentation and get the images 1) accurate and 2) aesthetically pleasing. 

      There are artistic principles that go way back to the ancient Greeks in sculpture and architecture, also the old master painters.  Stuff like the golden ratio and root proportions are totally being ignored.  It's a MAJOR selling point that is stupid to neglect.  For example, why don't people want square television sets any more?  The widescreen drive is all due to the golden ratio.  Heck, Disney's "Donald in Mathemagicland" taught us that. 

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    • Sidney
      Sidney Butler

      Just to be fair and not pick entirely on one website.  Look at the L&H CPO website.  Many of the full on photographs have lately been taken from below looking up.  That totally "distorts" the harp.  I mean, I guess it's a real picture, but what people enjoy visually about the harp is a not a fat base and tiny crown.  That's like taking a photograph of a person focusing in on their double chin from below.  It's not an attractive perspective. 

      Then there are the sites that you can't get a decent size picture.  If I were to buy a harp from hundreds to thousands of miles away where I have to rely on a computer screen, I would hope that the company would take the time to provide a picture that is larger than 1/16 of the page. 

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    • Luanne
      Luanne OReilly

      I've had the Arion 47 string for about a year now.  It has a big sound.  As for the soundboard design, I had a L&H 23 extended and I never liked the looks of the soundboard, but the sound was wonderful.  I went for the Salvi Arion both for the sound and the looks of the soundboard.  Although it is a semi-grand, it is fully as heavy as a concert grand.

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    • Steven Todd
      Steven Todd Miller

      Unless they changed it since I got mine it has the new design. It has a dark warm sound. I visited the Atlanta Harp Center two summers ago and got to play all those harps which included an old Wurlitzer and a new LH 30; all wonderful, but to me none seemed to have the tonal depth that comes from the Apollo. The 4th and lower 3rd octaves are just so rich. I love playing a melody line there with a bass way down in the wires.

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    • Steven Todd
      Steven Todd Miller

      Oh- and I love the Apollo's huge bulging soundboard width. It is awesome. Just like when I used to play English horn in my high school/college days. I had this old one made in the 1920's from Czechoslovakia with an unheard of low B flat key. The bell was so big it looked like a grapefruit and when I played that note it was seismic. (Incidentally, I sold the English horn to a museum in Germany to help get the Apollo!)

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      "Although it is a semi-grand, it is fully as heavy as a concert grand"

      What is the point of having a semi grand that's as heavy as a concert?  That seems rather dumb to me.

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      "It has a dark warm sound."

      That's pretty unusual to have a loud harp with a warm tone, at least from what I've heard.  Usually the loud ones are bright in tone.

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    • J
      J P

      I visited the Salvi showroom the other day and tried out all of the harps that were available. The Iris in Natural was quite impressive btw. The new soundboard design makes a world of difference. Up until yesterday my only experience with Salvi was very old auroras or dianas which were very heavy and just did not sound all that great. The new harps however are vastly improved. For one thing for the majority of the harps the weight issue is gone and no longer feels heavy on the shoulder which I found very surprising. The new soundboard really opens up the harp and makes it sing and adds such depth to it which is really quite nice. It still has the typical Salvi warm rich sound however and none of the overzealous bright tones of a LH. You can also experiment with different strings to see what gives you the best sound, what the factory puts on isn't necessarily what's best for your individual sound preference etc. I was impressed with the new boards and would consider purchasing a Salvi. Just my two cents


      JP

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    • Amy
      Amy Wilson

      "You can also experiment with different strings to see what gives you
      the best sound, what the factory puts on isn't necessarily what's best
      for your individual sound preference etc."

      Hi JP,

      Could you elaborate on this?  What other options exist for stringing besides the usual Bow Brand wires, gut and nylon manufactured for pedal harps?

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    • Charles
      Charles Hooper

      Hello Everyone,

      During my time working at the Harp Center, I got to tune, play and look at several diffrent makes and models of harps by Salvi, Camac and Lyon & Healy.

      I loved all of them but my favorites were the Salvi harps especially the Arion model. They were so easy to move and play.

      This past summer on my birthday I visited the Salvi Factory in Piasco Italy.

      It was like a dream come true for me.

      When we got to the part of the tour where the soundboards were talked about

      I asked about the new concept soundboards and this is how it was explained to me. The  "new concept "soundboard starts extending  higher up on the body  of the soundbox.   It's a larger (wider) soundboard that gives more wood grain for the sound waves to travel. The side effect is more sound and projection.

      That's why the  smaller Arion  model can have as large of a sound and projection as the larger Salvi Models.

      The Airon  and Apollo models were the first Salvi models to have this  type of sound board.   During my tour it was pointed out that when harps come back to the factory for repairs or new soundboards the owners have the option to have the New Concept soundboard installed on their old harp.

      Salvi pedal harps do have a lot of wood in them and weigh more than some other makers.  All this wood gives them a tone quality described as Dark or Mellow.

       

       

       

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    • Philippa
      Philippa mcauliffe

      How funny.   We had the best afternoon in Piasco last July too!   It's a great experience if you ever get the chance.    Those harps come from  a very small village on their way round the world.    Did you see the harp bike racks?   Only in Italy would they do designer bike racks.      Only quite a few of their harps were in Vancouver at the time but they kindly brought down some recently finished ones  to the showroom at the end for us.  There was a fantastic sounding Apollo there.      Custom decoration on it (never seen  red slightly art deco tulip flowers on a Salvi before)  which looked amazing on the soundboard too.  

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    • Charles
      Charles Hooper

      Georgina,

      How funny we must have just missed each other!  Since I was not able to attend the Vancouver Event I made up my own event. 

      I toured Salvi, then went to Sydney Austraila and met a harp maker there then to New Zeland where I met another harpmaker.  I figure since I'm lucky enough to get to go to these places I might as well seek  out  builders of harps and harpist.

      I saw the bike racks did you see this at the Salvi factory?

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