Dusty Strings Harp Pickup
P10 (for 24-30 string lever harps):
- 24" long
- Additional 8.5" of lead
- Minimum soundbox length (internal): 25.5"
- 3 piezo elements
- Ultra-high impedance
P20 (for most 32-40 string lever harps*):
- 28.5" long
- Additional 7.5" of lead
- Minimum soundbox length (internal): 30"
- 4 piezo elements
- Ultra-high impedance
The Dusty Harp Pickup is our answer to the question, "How can I make my harp louder and still have it sound the way I love?" Harps are particularly difficult to amplify because of their long soundboards, and when we spent time testing a bunch of different options, we didn't find anything we were completely satisfied with. We are perfectionists about how our harps sound, and we realized that designing our own harp pickup was the only way to ensure an amplification solution that would meet our standards.
After extensive development and testing, we came up with the Dusty Harp Pickup. Rather than relying on one (or sometimes two) contact points, which can't help but pick up more sound from the notes that are close by and less sound from the notes farther away, our pickup has 4 carefully selected piezo elements spaced along the length of the soundboard. (Three elements in the case of the smaller P10.) This creates a balanced and focused sound throughout the whole range of the harp. The full, rich bass notes blend with the clear mids and highs, providing natural-sounding amplification at any volume level. It's simply the sound of the harp, only bigger!
Although we initially designed the pickup for our own harps, the response was so enthusiastic that we created a kit to allow the pickup to be installed in a wide variety of harps by other makers. We even developed a pedal harp version, and over the years our pickups have been successfully installed in many non-Dusty harps. Harpists and sound technicians alike rave about how easy it is to use and how even and natural the sound is.
Note: There is a $35.00 (P10) - $45.00 (P20) surcharge to have a Dusty String pickup installed on any harp other than a Dusty Strings Harp. This is to allow testing for the correct piezo positioning for the optimal sound depending on the soundboard bracing.
The pickup is discreetly mounted inside the soundbox, invisible to the audience. A single jack mounted on the back of the harp makes for "plug and play" ease of use. An instrument cable (not included) connects your harp directly to any amplifier and most PA systems. In most situations a preamplifier is not needed, but if you are playing in situations requiring very high volume, you may want to add one. In addition to boosting the signal, it will give you direct control over your volume and tone. With some amplifiers, a preamp can also sweeten and smooth out your sound.
The Dusty Harp Pickup can be installed in any lever or pedal harp, and it can also be done by harp owners who are handy with tools or by any instrument repair technician. Installation involves attaching mounting clips to the internal braces or sides of the harp, snapping the cable harness into the clips, gluing the elements in place, and drilling a hole to mount the jack in the back of the harp. There are detailed instructions and a template for placing the elements in Dusty Strings harps. If you have a different type of harp, use the template as a starting point, but it's a good idea to experiment with the element placement to confirm the best-sounding attachment points. The only tool you'll need is a ½-inch brad point drill bit, available at most hardware stores or from us. If you prefer not to drill a hole, you can simply connect to the jack through the bottom soundhold of your harp, or add a jack clamp for a secure and removable way to anchor the jack.
If you're curious about the installation process, you can download and read the installation instructions for lever harps or for pedal harps.
The Jack Clamp is a clean and elegant solution for anyone who is thinking about installing a pickup but is reluctant to drill a permanent hole for the jack. This easy-to-use, repositionable clamp is designed to be used in conjunction with a pickup system such as the Dusty Harp Pickup, and provides a removable way to securely hold the pickup jack in the back of the harp. It accepts a standard 1/4" jack and is adjustable to fit a wide variety of lever and pedal harps. The lower soundhole is a suggested installation location, but your harp may have internal braces or other features that would accept the clamp as well. The rubber padding on the inside faces of the clamp will grip any surface and hold it firmly in place without harming the instrument. You can experiment to find the location that works best for you.
Note: The Jack Clamp alone will not amplify your harp. You will also need a pickup and an amplifier or speaker system to plug into.