3790 Hwy 201 RR#3
Bridgetown Nova Scotia
Canada B0S 1C0
soundboard is the heart of the harp! All Timothy Harps
Compound tapering. This means that the
soundboard is tapered from the bass to the treble and also
from the centre string rib to the edges of the soundbox.
This method of making a soundboard is much more labour
intensive than straight tapers, but well worth the extra
time and effort. The product is a more responsive
Asymmetrical design. The string rib of our
soundboard is offset to the right by 1/4". This small
offset is dramatically effective in helping a harp to achieve
its fullest acoustic potential. The string rib divides
the soundboard into two separate resonating panels. If
those panels share exactly the same dimensions, they tend to
be equally responsive and equally unresponsive to the same
frequencies. This can result in "dead spots"
that are duller than their neighbours), or in "hotspots'
(notes that tend to sing out more stridently than you'd like).
However, when the string rib is offset the two resonating
panels are of slightly different dimensions, and any "dead
spots" on one side tend to be compensated for on the other.
The end result is a more completely and evenly responsive
soundboard. In addition, the offset of the string rib
helps the upper treble strings to encounter sharping levers
at a better angle.
A floating base. The bottom edge of our
soundboards is not glued down to the frame of the harp.
Because tone-woods have almost all their strength along the
grain, and virtually none across it, there is no structural
benefit to be had by gluing this edge down. If, instead,
the edge is left open (we sculpt away about 3/16" from the
base of the harp to let the soundboard have a little
space to move) the harp gains more than an extra square foot
of vibrating free-board without increasing the size of the
harp at all, and the entire bass register of the harp
livelier and more responsive.
Solid tone-wood construction. We use the finest
Sitka and Englemann spruces for our soundboards, carefully
dried to less than 5% moisture content. Unlike plywood
soundboards, solid soundboards ensure that a harp's voice
will continue to develop and grow richer throughout its life.
In guitar making, piano making, and violin making, a solid tonewood soundboard is a
pre-requisite for a premium
We never veneer our soundboards at Timothy Harps, though
this practice is becoming very common in the harp community.
Soundboards are sometimes veneered to hide the fine
horizontal cracks or "checks" that can develop in a solid
soundboard over the life of an instrument. The checks
may still occur, but they are invisible behind the veneer.
Occasional checking can happen to any instrument with a
solid soundboard -- guitars, pianos, cellos and, of course,
harps. They are rarely detrimental to an instrument's
voice, do not affect its longevity, and, if a client so
wishes, they are very easy and quick to repair for cosmetic
Veneering a soundboard ALWAYS results in a loss of acoustic
potential. You immediately sacrifice between 5% and
10% of a harp's voice when you veneer over it. Because
our primary focus is sound quality, we will not veneer our
soundboards at Timothy Harps (until the day that Avalon
Guitars begins to veneer the soundboards of their premium
handmade guitars). Sound quality trumps a minor and
easily repairable cosmetic issue, as far as I am concerned.