Tuesday, April 26, 2011


HILA is happy to announce that we now have ALL 4 CHICAGO MODELS at our LA. studio. 
We invite you to come play, see and hear what they are all about! *

The Chicago models are a great series of instruments for someone moving from lever to pedal, a serious adult student or as a second light gig instrument for the experienced harpist. 

In comparing models the Chicago Concertino and 85 Concertino are similar in size, as well as the size of the Chicago CG-EX and the 85-CG model. Beyond that their construction, looks and sound are considerably different. 

The Chicago 40 model has nothing similar to compare it to however this small 3/4 size pedal harp is a class act, possessing a responsive, powerful and full bodied tone. 

Both series are built with high quality sitka spruce soundboards and  fine hard maple bodies. The soundboard tempering period with the Chicago series may be less compared to the 85 series and other high end instruments. The Chicago's structure, high wood quality and the action are the same as in the higher end instruments. The production procedure is where differences lay.

The Chicago bodies are constructed using a 3 rail solid body procedure. You will find this procedure in lever harp construction and some previous Lyon & Healy pedal harp models, such as the 85-P, 85-GP and the 85-SG. This streamlined method minimizes hands-on construction and allows production costs to be cut considerably. The end result is a low cost favorable alternative to the higher end pedal harps. 

The body construction used for the higher end Lyon & Healy concert grand models and the current 85 series models is a 4-rail body construction. This method involves much more hands-on construction which focuses on a detailed and responsive sound box interior. 

Because construction is so different between the Chicago series and the 85-series there will be a difference in tone. In general, the Chicago harps have a warm, even tone and overall tend to project very well. The 85 series have a bright tone quality, particularly full and resonant with a rich, deep bass. 

The Chicago 40 pedal harp is often the first choice when moving from lever to pedal harp. Keep in mind, what's nice about the Chicago Concertino is, because of its wider range of notes, the pedal action can go down to 7th octave E (yay!). Depending on one's playing level, there could be repertoire that requires some pedal action way down, down.

If the new Chicago series has peaked your interest, but you are not clear on which model, or for that matter, whether to purchase a Chicago or an 85 pedal harp, consider your needs at this moment. Think about size, range of notes, repertoire. Which model, financially can get you playing a pedal now? Which model may work perfectly for school, university or second instrument purposes. Which one simply, do you enjoy playing?

Be harp savvy. Talk to your teacher, ask questions and play everything you can. Always, always take the opportunity to try a harp.

Have a comment or a question? Feel free to send an e-mail or leave a comment below.

* The Chicago CG-S model was discontinued from the series as of September, 2013.  

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