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Blue Harp for Jazz

Lately, I’ve been considering the benefits of an acoustic-electric harp as I find myself more frequently playing in large ensembles. I have excellent pickups on the soundboard of my concert grand harp and they make it sound great when amplified. The problem comes when I need lots of volume -- if I just keep turning up the sound it can get muddy and boomy as the five pickups try to take in the vibrations of that entire soundboard.

So last summer at the American Harp Society Conference in New York City I had the chance to hear Camac’s Little Big Blue harp in action during several concerts and I had the time to play it myself. Certainly the color is attention-getting but the power is also impressive. I took the plunge and brought that harp home and I’m enjoying getting to know all the possibilities it has to offer.

The Blue harp can be played acoustically and has a sweet tone but the real thrill comes when I plug it in -- there are 44 pickups, one on every string, so even when I dial up the sound every string comes through clearly without dissolving into muddiness. There are many possibilities for varying the sound but so far, I’m just happy to be heard.

My Blue harp (who’s name is Betty) made her debut at Soho, a local Santa Barbara club, with my jazz combo. It was so easy to plug it in and not have to fiddle around with sound - I was heard over the drummer, keyboards, sax, guitar, bass and vocalist and had no problems with feedback or distortion.

Laurie plays blue harp at Soho.

A few days later I took her to a Christmas party as a solo act. Camac makes this harp in any color, including natural wood, but blue was the original color and I like that it’s less than subtle. ;-)

Blue harp with Christmas tree.

A New Year’s Eve gig was another opportunity to take Betty out to ring in 2013. I’m looking forward to making more great music with the Blue harp!

Laurie in blue dress with blue harp.