I just bought a Merlin Harp and am very happy with it. It is brand new, so the sound is changing from one day to the next right now. But overall it has a beautiful Bass and Mid-Range. I'll wait and see what happens with the top notes over time. This harp is very light weight to travel with and ultra-comfortable on the shoulder while playing. It seems to resonate so beautifully and really fills my house with lovely sound.
Aesthetically, it is much more beautiful in real life than the photo showed on the old R-Harps website. Also, I think it has an amazing sound for the price compared to other lever harps. ... In fact, I bought the Merlin Harp sight-unseen. Why, you may ask would I do such a thing? Well, it is because someone played it over the phone for me. And the Merlin sounded better over the phone than other lever harps did in person. From that moment on I was sold. And when I recieved it, it did not dissapoint me.
After a lot of searching I am happy to say that the Merlin was just what I was looking for. It has a clean, precise sound.and is a very well-made, high quality instrument. Cheap tuners need not apply. If you have a Merlin Harp, and cannot tune by ear: I recommend a good quality tuner. I am using a Peterson Stobo-Flip with great results.
Last thoughts: The string tension is light, so I find this a very easy Harp to Play. I can just sit there for hours without stopping it is so enjoyable. My husband is getting mad because I spend so much time with the Harp now.
Hope this helps for anyone considering purchasing a Merlin.
I would concur that the harp is rich and full, especially given the compact design. It's quite comfortable to play, and I would also add that, on mine, the sound really reminds me of a wire-strung harp. When I chose the Merlin, I had a chance to try several L&H's, Camac's and Salvi's at Kolacny's in Denver. The Merlin I purchased had a lush, rich sound that I think is comparable to a larger L&H that has been seasoned for a few years. Camac's, for my taste, don't have the sustain that I like and the Salvi's were uncomfortable in the upper registers, but as you pointed out, sound preference is a a very individual thing. (My teacher says that her L&H has a "Lyon and Healy roar" that I guess I probably identify with the sound I prefer.
Rick has a great reputation, and we are very proud of him here in Colorado! His workmanship is impeccable. A few folks have asked about the relatively small openings in the back in terms of changing strings, but my hands are pretty small so no issues there.
The only drawback that I can think of is that Merlins are not often available as rentals. I started with a Rubarth Gothic 22, also quite well made, held tune like a dream--I sold it when I realized that I was playing the Merlin so much!
Hope this helps!
Ft. Collins, CO
Posted by Janet on 02/09/06 12:36 PM
There was a student at the workshop that I was teaching this weekend that had a Merlin. We were all very impressed by it's tone. The bass was deep and lush while the treble was sparkly. It was amazing hearing the sound from that harp and feeling how light it was to transport, and how especially light the tension was on the strings. Very nice!
Cynthy Johnson, Harpist Richmond, VA
5023 Perry Street
Denver, CO 80212