Solid Body Electric, Electric-Acoustic Harps and Midi Harps
My electric-solid body and electric-acoustic harps, can be built in any size, style, and number of strings, from 19 to 45. I can build them with gut, nylon or wire strings.
I can use three different sound systems for your harp, depending on what your needs are. Among these are two different types of individual string transducer systems which can be used on both acoustic and solid body model harps. One of these systems has a stereo and mono output, and the other system has only a mono out put, at a lower cost.
The other option is a multi transducer array, ( cannot be used with solid -body harps ), that is attached to the inside of the harp soundboard. This system has only a mono output, and is the least expensive of the three systems.
RMC Stereo, Individual Transducer System
Harp Shown above: This is a detail shot of Black Walnut, 36 string, ‘Bamboo ‘themed electric-acoustic harp, using the RMC individual string transducers. The transducers are tiny gold colored mini-bridges that are set right behind the strings.
This is the same sound system that the Lyon & Healy and Salvi Harp companies are using in their electric harps. This system can be installed into any of my custom harps, with gut, nylon or wire strings. It can also be built into any of my custom double or cross strung harps.
The system is made up of individual gold plated transducer bridges, that sit against each string, in a small slot that is cut into the string rib.
The mixer board produces a rich and full, yet balanced stereo sound, that balances the sound of the treble and bass sections of the string band. The treble strings are brought up to a fuller sound, and the bass strings are kept from over driving the rest of the harp`s sound. The transducers pick up both the sound of the individual strings, and the sound produced by the vibrating sound board. Each string is sensed separately using low profile RMC string sensors, then high-performance Stereo Active Electronics mix and pre-amplify the separate string signals together to produce a stereo output.
The amplified sound is a true reproduction of the string vibrations, making it musically expressive to both the player and listener. Each string has a specific location on the stereo panorama, producing ‘moving stereo sound’ when the harp is amplified or recorded in stereo.
There is an on-board pre-amp, powered by a 9 volt battery, and separate stereo and mono audio jacks.
The price to add this system to, and install it into any of my harps is $45 per transducer, and $600 for the pre-amp and stereo mixer.
For a 36 string harp, the cost for adding this system is : plus $2,220
For a 29 string harp, the cost for adding this system is : plus $1,760
For a 22 string harp , the cost of adding this system is : plus $1,480
Harps shown here above: On the left: Thirty six nylon strung Myrtle wood, electro-acoustic, with triggered red lasers (the lasers are triggered to fire into the crystals, controlled by the vibration of the strings they are connected to electrically), and embedded fiber optic lighting, set under clear rock crystals .
The harp on the right is a 36 string electric acoustic “Northern Lights” harp with RMC individual string transducers, and eight halogen spot lights with colored gels in the pillar, and fiber optic lighting that lights up crystal stars embedded in the sound board.
Harp shown here: Custom Electro-acoustic Gut strung Cherry wood harp created for Tina Tourin. This harp has colored lights built into the pillar, and fiber optic lighting behind crystal on the sound board.
This custom harp was created for Christina Tourin, who commented, ” I can`t believe you built the harp in three weeks , and it sounds so lovely! ” Christina was talking about the custom gut strung electric-acoustic Rainbow Light Harp I created for her 1992. She was amazed that in the recording studio, that the sound coming from the harp was so clear, that ” the recording engineer had nothing to do !”
Here is one of the recordings Christina made with this harp: Christina Tourin Plays her Electric Light Harp on “The Harp Seal Lullaby” CD.
I can build all my many different harp sizes and styles to be electric acoustic harps, by using a multi transducer array, that is attached to the inside of the harp soundboard.
Using three or four carefully placed piezo pickup elements, this system achieves a clean, focused, natural, and lush sound. The rich, full bass notes balance and blend with the clear, musical MIDI and high notes. It’s simply the sound of the harp, only bigger. This system works at any volume level, without feedback, which can be a concern with microphones alone, when playing at extreme high volumes or with other instruments.
The four (or three in the smaller array ), transducer elements are discreetly mounted inside the sound box of the harp. All wiring is neatly bundled and run through a cable conduit that terminates at a single 1/4-inch jack that’s flush-mounted in the back of the harp, making for true “plug and play” ease of use. A single guitar cable allows you to plug your harp straight into any amplifier and many PA systems with no preamp boxes or complicated connections.
If you are playing in situations requiring very high volumes, you’ll want to add a preamplifier to the system. In addition to boosting your signal, it will give you direct control over your volume and tone. With some amplifiers it will also sweeten and smooth out your sound.
I can install this transducer system for you in any of my Mountain Glen Harps
Installed in harps with 27 or more strings………………$395.00
And for the smaller, three transducer array,
Installed in harps with 26 strings or fewer……………..$375.00
The Harp Mike
To add additional depth to your performance or recordings I am pleased to offer the Dusty Strings Harp Mike as a versatile, effective tool for amplifying your Mountain Glen Harp.
Many harpists like the idea of an actual microphone because of the warm, natural, open, and spacious sound that only mikes will give, until now there has not been one with a mounting system that worked well on the harp, or with electronics tailored to the harp’s unique sound. So this mike was developed with specialty microphone manufacturer Applied Microphone Technologies who designed one specifically for the harp.
The Harp Mike attach s to the back of the sound box by gently gripping the edges of one of the sound holes. This unique clamping design allows for mounting on nearly all the lever and pedal harps being made today. Unlike a microphone on a stand, the Harp Mike moves with your harp as you reposition it or tilt it back to play, keeping your sound consistent. It’s also discreet, out of your way and out of the audience’s view. It mounts quickly, with a few turns of a single knob, and uses no sticky tape or putty that can mar your harp’s finish. The microphone element extends out from the clamp on an extra-supple goose neck, making it easy to position in that “perfect” spot.
Since the Harp Mike is not permanently attached to your harp, you can easily switch it to other instruments. It can also come in handy for making voice announcements through your sound system. A 10-foot cord attaches to an included preamplifier, which can be powered by either a nine-volt battery or phantom power.
The Harp Mike sells for $599
Technical specifications for Harp Mike
Element Condenser Polar pattern Cardioid Frequency response18 Hz – 20,000 HzImpedance200 ΩPhantom power12 – 52 vDC Max input SPL138 dB Goose neck length6-3/4 in.Weight5.2 oz Cable length10 ft. Battery 9V.
Harp Shown above: Black Walnut & Myrtle Wood with a stained Spruce sound board. Midi-acoustic-electric, 40 nylon strings.
MIDI Electric Harps
Mountain Glen MIDI Harps, can be built as solid body, or acoustic electric harps, with mixed mono audio out put, with any number of strings, from 25 up to 45.
MIDI is the digital language that electronic musical instruments communicate with. The important point to remember is that any brand or design of gear will work together, if it says MIDI on it.
Here is how my midi-Electric harps work:
MIDI is a digital language that electronic musical instruments use to communicate with each other and with other types of electronic gear. (The acronym stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.) It is a worldwide standard, so all MIDI gear is compatible. An electronic message travels out through the cable to the synthesizer that you have connected the harp to. If you plucked middle C, the message will say “note 60- ON.” When the vibration of the string stops, the harp will sense this and send out the message “note 60- OFF.” As a bonus, additional information is sent at the same time telling the synthesizer how loud to play the note.
We are most familiar with keyboard synthesizers. By definition, the keyboard itself is a MIDI controller. Usually, there is also a synthesizer (sound producing module) built into these instruments. The keyboard controls the internal synthesizer using MIDI commands. My MIDI system enables a harpist to control any MIDI synthesizer using a harp instead of a keyboard (including the one that is in your keyboard instrument).
The nature of the sound you actually hear is dependent on your synthesizer or sampling device, and your amplifier and speaker setup. If you plug the harp into the back of an inexpensive keyboard synthesizer, you will hear the usual keyboard synthesized sounds when you play the harp. If you plug the harp into a newer rack mounted synthesizer, some very convincing sounds will be produced.
Exciting possibilities result from plugging the harp into a computer that is running audio production software. It is possible to trigger high quality snippets of recorded sound in response to your string plucks. Of course, your computer must be connected to high quality sound equipment (amplifier and speakers) in order to realize the maximum effect.
By using DK harp pickups on each string of a harp, the activity of each of those strings is kept separate. In this way, I do not have to employ any complicated pitch recognition system. For example, when you pluck the middle C string, the pickup that is in contact with that string generates an electrical signal. That signal goes directly to the microprocessor embedded in the harp, which responds by triggering the MIDI message “note 60-on.” In addition, the velocity (how quickly the current rises) is measured, so the message sent to the synthesizer is truly representative of the manner in which you pulled the string. All information is updated every 8 milliseconds, so what you hear coming from the synthesizer is truly representative of what the harp string is doing. When the string vibration decays below a certain threshold, the MIDI message “note 60-off” is sent to the synthesizer.
The microprocessor circuit board that I use has 48 inputs, so I can build any size harp up to 45 strings, with this system. The board senses electrical activity and intensity coming from each plucked string. No pitch recognition is involved, so there are no time delays.
There is a connection point for a sustain pedal, so these messages can also be sent from the harp. In addition to sustaining sounds, this tool is very useful in entering music directly into your computer, for publishing.
I am currently producing MIDI acoustic-electric harps with nylon or gut strings, that have all three options- acoustic, electric, and midi controller. I can also build solid body harps that are both midi controllers and analog electric harps, but have no acoustic sound, except the sound that the strings will produce with no acoustic sound board. This system can be installed into any of my single string band custom harps, from 25 to 45 strings.
I have also create one harp with acoustic-electric-midi, with Lasers Beams as well, for a midi triggering highly visual performance style, using a state of the art software that can trigger any sound or visual still or video imagery, up to 60 times per second.
This system uses the DK individual string transducers, which produce a mixed mono audio signal, in addition to the MIDI signal. At this time, stereo audio output is not available with this MIDI system. The controlling circuit board which contains the embedded microprocessor also acts as a preamplifier and summing amplifier for the analog electrical signals that the pickups are producing.
By mixing the sound of the electric harp with the sound being produced by a synthesizer a whole pallet of sound colors are at your fingertips.
I can build this system into any of my custom single string band, nylon or gut strung harps. The individual string transducers are too wide to fit into normal wire string spacing, though with wider finger-tip wire spacing, they will work.
Prices for MIDI Electric Harp systems
To add the MIDI Electric harp system to any of my single string band custom harps, just add to my base prices the following additional costs:
Price for adding the MIDI processor board, to any size Mountain Glen harp………………………$2,600
Price for each individual DK string transducer, installed……………………………………………………………….$26 per string
Here are the prices for adding this sound system to just a few of the harp sizes that I can custom build for you.
Price for making one of my custom 42 string harps to be an acoustic -electric MIDI harp, add……….$3,692
Price for making one of my custom 36 string harps to be an acoustic -electric MIDI harp, add……….$3,536
Price for making one of my custom 29 string harps to be an acoustic -electric MIDI harp, add……….$3,354
Thank you for coming to visit my Harp Pages, please let me know how I can bring your Dream Harp to Life !
Follow your Bliss, and live your Life in Joy!
Glenn J. Hill