Trying to decide which LEVER Harp to purchase?

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    Biagio on #210761

    Interesting question Jerusha. Rationally speaking as a harp ages it improves – the old saw has it that “a harp sounds best just before it breaks” but with modern methods and glues I’m not sure that applies so much. I guess that would be a judgement call based mostly on the sound board condition, and the mechanics.

    Then there is the collector factor – some harps are no longer being made but everyone wants those still out there. I’d almost hock my car to get my hands on a Caswell Gwydion!

    Many people want a Clark; I restored one made in 1925 that I bought for $500 and then sold for $2,000; I’ve seen some that old in perfect condition sell for over $4,000 and others useful only for parts.

    Definitely situations where one should look at an old harp in person.


    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  Biagio.

    wil-weten on #210763

    I get the impression that the market for second hand harps from harpbuilders with a fine reputation is completely different than from industrially made harps.
    It may also differ from where one lives. In the Netherlands, e.g. second hand harps tend to be significantly cheaper than in Germany.

    By the way, when the Salvi Ana’s went from 38 to 40 strings, the last old models (perfectly new harps) went very nicely back in price in the US. The offer is still there (though I don’t know whether there are any old models left).
    Have a look at:

    brook-boddie on #210768

    Hi Wil,

    I was actually privileged enough to buy one of those on-sale Salvi Ana’s. They were brand new harps, just with the older Salvi levers, which I actually liked (though I’m in the minority). I eventually sold mine, but it was a great buying opportunity.

    I currently have one of the newer model Ana’s I bought about a year ago. A Salvi rep told me they updated they soundboards and also updated the performance levers a bit. They also have hand-painted soundboard veneers. I’ve owned a lot of lever harps in my lifetime (Jerusha can tell you), but this is one of the best in terms of sound. It’s big, warm, and lush (if you like that sort of thing). Salvi is having trouble keeping them in stock, in fact, and there are supposedly none for sale in North America right now. They have pedal spacing/tension; perhaps the ones with lever tension are being sold in Europe. Anyway, I’d give it a 10/10 in terms of lever harps in that style (with pedal harp voicing). I also love the Troubadours and Preludes. They are great harps as well. This Ana just really speaks to me.

    Jerusha, are you still playing that Dusty from so many years ago? Isn’t that a great instrument!!

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    Biagio on #210771

    Brook, it was the rich tone and big sustain that attracted me to the older Ana back when I was in the market. I really like those long bass strings, which you don’t see on many lever harps. It seems to me that lever harpers mostly prefer a smaller, lighter instrument, what do you all think?

    Getting back to Jerusha’s question (and getting way off track): pricing an older harp to my mind becomes more like pricing a house than comparing current models. One should evaluate each on it’s own merits, there’s no handy formula as with a newer one. We all agree, I guess, that one should never buy a harp untested if at all possible!


    Jerusha Amado on #210772

    Hi Brook,

    Yes, I’m still with Gabriel. He’s awesome!! I’ll email you for an update.

    Hi Biagio,

    There are so many variables involved with pricing harps. I struggled with pricing my used Silhouette that I sold a few years ago. It was in excellent condition, but it was not a recent purchase. Perhaps another point to consider is what the market will bear. Looking at how other folks are pricing similar instruments can help to determine the reality of what we can ask.

    Biagio on #210773

    Ha ha, maybe we should start a new thread, on pricing!

    It’s relatively easy for a newer harp model: add up the total manufacturing cost (including design time and several prototypes), add a reasonable profit margin. Then compare to similar competitors’. Older and one-of-a-kind…well, gets tricky and buyers can surprise you. Here’s a little anecdote:

    Back when I lusted for the Salvi McFall (and the later Egan) I built a 34 string version. My interest has since changed to the wire strung, got tired of building or repairing and decided to get rid of the tools and some of the (at that time) five harps sitting around the tiny apartment.

    Soooo…advertised the tool sale and included a picture of one of the wire strungs. Watta ya know? A newbie showed up – not interested in drill presses or band saws but in buying a harp, specifically the 34. “How much do you want for that?” Well I just threw out a figure off the top of my head – sold! It’s a nice instrument and I don’t feel guilty, but honest, the price was a spur of the moment number.

    On the other hand, little 23 string doubles (46 total) have sat around for months, very reasonably priced, waiting for buyers to show up.



    brook-boddie on #210774


    I’ve always been a little surprised that Ana’s aren’t more popular here in the USA, although it seems like I’m hearing and seeing them more lately. Perhaps it’s because people buy them and tend to keep them because they’re such good harps. But I’m equally as enthralled with the L&H Troubs and Preludes. It’s just amazing the quality of lever harps being built these days. I’m a lever harp fanatic, in fact, and a couple others I own that I’m in love with are my Stoney End Marion and my Thormahlen Serenade. They are both very unique in their sound. I found an old Troub I this past summer that I got for a good price. It’s been updated with Loveland levers, which work so much better than those original plastic levers. The harp has a very rich, dark, warm sound that is hauntingly beautifully. However, among them all, the Ana is still my favorite.

    Jerusha Amado on #210778

    Yikes! I’m afraid that I ended up causing the pricing rabbit hole. My apologies to Gail!

    balfour-knight on #212317

    Gail, what did you ever decide? We all would love to hear from you.

    Gail Davis on #212416

    MARINI Lever Harp
    SALVI (Livia or Ana)
    CAMAC (Exalibur or other?
    Lyon HEaly Troubadour

    also thoughts on quality of Prelude (LH); I’ve been told not good.

    Thanks so much

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