"Stirling" 36-string harp "Magus" 	39-string harp "Olwen" 	36-string harp "Mellennium" 36-string harp "Keridwen" 36-string harp "Metatron" 36-string harp "Rhonwen" 32-string harp "Adaryn" 	23-string harp "Elf" 26-string 	harp "Susan" 	19-string harp



"Rhonwen & Rhianwen"

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Pricing & Ordering

Andrew Thom, Harpmaker

Design Features

Traditionally, and going back thousands of years, we have made harps from wood - because that's all we had - and the properties of the timbers have necessarily determined some design characteristics.
Now we have metal alloys, and some interesting new composite materials, used in boats, cars, air and space craft.
We can make harps too from these things, and they are lighter, stronger, better, and they can be beautiful and less expensive.
By interesting innovations in harp architecture, engineering, and materials technology, I have designed some harps for now and the future.
Welded aluminium alloy monocoque, leather covered.

  1. The strength is in the single piece metal skin, and unlike traditional harps, it needs no internal framing, thus allowing a clearer, less confused acoustic quality.
  2. High strength with low weight - built stronger than necessary, to be able to handle severe impacts without destructive damage.
  3. Acoustic stabilisation. In timber bodied harps, excess secondary and tertiary acoustics are absorbed in the neck and column timbers, and within the box itself. Aluminium alloy conducts sound very well - too well in fact, for use in harps without material modification. It produces many unwanted metallic ringing sounds, and these must be controlled.
  4. I use a substance developed by NASA for the space shuttle. It is a polymer loaded with crushed mica crystals, which when painted on metal surfaces, transmutes any acoustic energy flowing within the metal into a new energy form - heat - which dissipates conveniently. By careful use of this substance in my harp soundboxes, the desired acoustic control is established.
Virtually all concert tension harps have Spruce soundboards, and it is a compromise. Spruce is used because it is strong enough to handle the tension at the thickness needed for optimum performance. It is not used as the best acoustic timber, for Spruce isn't that, not by a long way.

I use Western Red Cedar, because it gives superior acoustic response, but it is not strong enough by itself.

Carbon Fibre reinforcement makes it much stronger than Spruce, with a brighter, cleaner, louder sound.

Other Advantages
  1. High impact tolerance - the sort of blow that would crack a Spruce soundboard just bounces off mine, perhaps leaving mere localised scratches.
  2. Not affected by temperature or humidity changes, provided the harp is kept at a temperature below 53 degrees C. That is, it will handle these things better than you will.
  3. Aluminium String bar - Adequate load spreading, and superior acoustic conduction to the whole of the soundboard.
  4. Adequate soundboard area below the lowest string - allows richness in all the lower strings.

* The remarkable thing about my harps is that they sound bright, rich, clear and loud over the whole range, bottom to top.
Neck & Column
A single piece sculpture crafted from Queensland Hoop Pine marine ply and Carbon Fibre composite.

  1. Perpendicular column "all straight and square". It looks technically correct, and it is.
  2. Strings hang from the inner surface of an outwardly cantilevered neck. Their tensile forces are kept within the projections of the column, and not outside it, trying to bend it sideways. This tendency, on traditional harps, necessitates a huge piece of tree trunk (column). My column can be quite delicate, and do the job perfectly.
  3. The Carbon Fibre adds strength and resilience to the whole structure, allowing lighter weight.
  4. Adequate upper neck cutaway - there is excellent access to play the upper strings.
  5. Surfaced with automotive paint, in any desired colour.
In General

The whole harp is greater than its added-up parts, and it will bounce long before it will break.

The overall effect of my innovative harps is like being at an airport in 1935, where everyone is flying Tiger Moths, and suddenly I turn up in a Lear Jet.

There will always be a valid need for conservatively designed timber harps, but I am offering a look sideways to modern and future design and technology.

Left-Handed Harpists

You have been served poorly in the past, if served at all, and I offer you the solution to that difficulty.

I can make you a perfect mirror image harp, the only possible tool that could enable your full and perfect expression.

Folk Harps/Concert Harps

Most of my harps, 32 strings and larger,  can be ordered as light folk or concert.

Note, however, that a light folk harp could not be later re-strung with concert tension strings.  A concert harp can be re-strung as light folk, but it would be heavier than, and marginally less loud than, pure light folk.

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