This comprehensive manual on harp making by Jerry Brown, Musicmaker's
founder, has received rave reviews from around the world.
This book teaches you how to design and build your own
harp from scratch. Jerry outlines his Twelve Golden
Rules of harpmaking, and he explains the harmonic curve
in a way that everyone can understand. Chapter four
includes what he calls The Great Soundboard Debate,
explaining the pros and cons of using solid versus
laminated wood for soundboards. This resource will
easily save the novice harp maker the cost of the
book many times over.
The book comes with one copy of the Harp Design Worksheet.
Not having built a harp before, and having a harp to repair in my shop, I needed some quality information on how to replace the sound board. The chapter on solid wood or engineered board was wonderful. I had assumed, as the harp is not made of solid wood, that it was a lesser quality instrument. Your chapter gave me the opportunity to change my mind, and look over the instrument with a new set of standards.
I'll be building a number of harps in the coming months, so I dove into the rest of the binder with eager curiosity. Wonderful work. Perfect. Again, exactly what I needed. Thank you for your good work.
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I am reading your folk harp design and construction book these days, with great interest, I like the practical approach and the balance between theory and practical tips.
I have already built an "almost Limerick" from your blueprint, I call it "almost Limerick" as I chose a different shape for the neck and pillar, but the geometry is all yours.
The harp turned to be a good one, different skilled harpists have already tried it and each time it is appreciated for the sound, especially at the bass end, which is quite a surprise for such a small harp
So, congratulations for your design, it has to be a really good one if it led to a successful instrument at my first try at building one, and in spite of some errors I made (I had not bought your book yet).
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Great Contribution to the Harp World
I'm writing to commend you for your excellent manual "Folk Harp Design and Construction". Without it I would not have even thought of venturing out on making musical instruments from scratch. But thanks to your extensive experience, you put together a manual that started me on a wonderful new venture in my musical journey.
My background is a pianist first, and I am both a piano teacher, and piano tuner/technician. My own piano is a Steinway concert grand that I have rebuilt and refinished. This background experience, coupled with your manual, allowed me to design and build my own model of harp, the "Grand Imperial". Other models will follow for sure, based on your manual.
What I really appreciated in your manual is your honesty, valuable information in easy to comprehend chapters, and your sense of humor. While you readily state that this is not a "woodworking" book, and assumes decent woodworking skills of the builder, it really helps someone with the skills and tools get up and running with their own design.
You guide them safely away from many possible disasters, into the arena of success. I know that I have gone further using my background knowledge of pianos than your manual intended, (with an extended range of C1 to C7 on my latest harp), but I also know that I would not have even started without your manual. So I am indebted to you for this valuable resource.
The excel spreadsheet is also a very necessary tool to use together with your manual, and is strongly recommended for a good (and safe!!!) scale design. Many mistakes can be avoided with these two invaluable tools of harp design and construction.
Many, many thanks for your wonderful contribution to the world of Folk Harps.
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Harp design book
Thomas D Lefler
I am truly enjoying the book. I've found the information thorough and complete, well written and easily understood.