Larry Fisher Harps
Winnipeg, MB Canada
1 (204) 774-7600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1 (204) 774-7600 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
How did you come to choose harp luthierie as a career?
calling, I think. I've been doing folk music since I was in university
in the 60's, and was intrigued by the folk process, crafting
instruments and developing programs to expose this genre to a wider
audience. In 1978 I was lucky enough to meet and work with a talented
folk instrument maker named Dennis Waring, who was also writing a book
on building folk instruments at the time. I started building
instruments for the general public in 1984, and have been both building
and performing since then.
Do you play?
been playing harps since I built my first one in 1980. It was a
wire-strung medieval 'clarsach' modeled after the 'Queen
Mary' harp now in the Royal Scottish Museum. I started
doing Artists in the Schools programs, playing in Irish bands and
doing solo harp performing starting in 1983.
How long does it take to make a harp?
question most frequently asked! I can generally build and play-in a
harp in about a month's time. As there is considerable 'downtime'
while waiting for glue to dry, etc., I always have another one or two
on the go in various stages of construction in order to keep
myself productively occupied.
How important is wood selection when building a harp?
keep to the harder domestic woods (curly cherry, Claro walnut,
Koa, quilted maple, curly maple) for the frame of the harp, as it
needs to support about 900 lbs of tension, forever. The
soundboard is very critical for the superior tone I'm trying
to achieve with my harps, so I use only the best master-grade
western red cedar and Sitka spruce. Due to the way I build my harps,
the hardwood parts don't have much effect on the tone, so the
selection, profiling and bracing of the soundboard becomes
of paramount importance.
Why did you decide to market in Ireland?
been a big fan of Irish traditional music for decades, and have made
regular trips to Ireland to study the harp and their culture generally.
In 2005 I introduced the 'Eireann' model, based on harps I'd seen in
Ireland, and was immediately inundated with orders from both Ireland
and the eastern USA. Now many top performers in Ireland are playing and
touring with my harps, and that has only increased the demand.