When I wrote my Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp
book in 1978, I took it to one of the major music publishers in New York to see if they would publish it. I had a meeting with the Vice President of Sales, who told me something like this: "It looks like a great book, but nobody plays the harp. You'll be lucky if you sell 100 copies. So we won't publish it. However, if you publish it yourself, we'll be happy to distribute it for you."
Although I was disappointed at the time, his decision was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thirty-five years and almost 100,000 copies later, countless harp players all over the world have learned to play using this book.
The 1978 photo of me on the cover of this book has become famous. I always get a kick out of harp players who meet me in person for the first time and say, "You cut your hair!"
In preparation for my move to Hawaii, I am finally willing to part with my Witcher Celtic-32 harp which is immortalized in this photo. I am selling it through an auction on eBay
. (See below for auction information.)
FUN FACTS ABOUT THIS SPECIAL HARP
This harp toured the world with me in the late 70s when I was a member of Robin Williamson and His Merry Band, and I continued to play it in my concerts until sometime in the mid-1980s.
I also played this harp in the video (later made into a DVD) of the Teach Yourself
During one of our Merry Band concerts in Germany in 1979, the harp fell forward and the front t-brace cracked. Jay Witcher, the harp maker, was kind enough to replace it with a new t-brace when I returned home from the tour. There is now a small 1.5" crack in the harp's t-brace, which has been recently repaired.
The harp originally had 4 claw feet attached to the base. You
can see the 2 left feet at the bottom of the "Teach Yourself" photo. After a few tours, we cut the feet off so that the shipping crate could be made significantly smaller. I still have the feet, but they are no longer attached to the harp!
The famous "Teach Yourself" photo was taken by Janet Williamson in front of a standing stone somewhere in upstate New York the day we were taking photos for the album cover of our "American Stonehenge" album. I was kneeling on the ground, wearing a long, maroon-colored cape. The original photo is in color, but it has always been in black and white on the cover of the book.
There's a funny story about this harp and the
photo. In 1980 when I went to Ireland and won the All-Ireland competition, my first stop was the O'Carolan Harp Competition in the small Irish town of Keadue. I didn't know anyone in Ireland, and no one knew me. I was anonymously sitting by myself with my harp, waiting for the competition to start. A man came up to me and asked "Was that harp made in America? And did you know that Sylvia Woods has a harp exactly like that?" I didn't quite know how to respond! It turned out that he had made a harp himself, and just used the photo from the book to draw up his plans. So he had stared at this harp for countless hours! He "recognized" my harp by the unique knot figure in the wood that you'll see about 2/3rds of the way down the front pillar. (See yellow arrow in photo.)
CONDITION OF THE HARP
This harp is a Celtic model 32-string harp made by Jay Witcher in 1976 in Santa Rosa, California. The serial number is 320. As I recall, it was made from myrtle wood, and it has a spruce soundboard. The lowest string is a G (1 octave and 3 strings below middle C). The highest note is C (3 octaves above middle C). The height is 43.5" at the front of the harp, and 39" at the back. The dimension from front to back along the neck is 28", and the widest part of the base (without the feet) is 15.5".
As I mentioned above, this harp's original t-brace has been replaced, and there is a small crack in the existing t-brace that has been recently repaired. The feet have been removed, and there is a crack partway through the base. There are horizontal cracks in the soundboard, where the spruce was originally pieced. These cracks have been in the soundboard since the late 1980s.
The harp originally had sharping blades, instead of levers. These blades were removed and upgraded to metal flip-up levers sometime in the late 1980s. The levers all work, but are in need of regulation. By the way, you can play all of the pieces in the Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp
book without using any sharping levers at all!
There is some residue inside the back of the harp, on the back of the soundboard, from putty for removable amplification pick-ups used in the past. This harp has been well used, so there are nicks and scratches throughout the harp. But, other than what is mentioned above, the harp is structurally sound. It is definitely playable, and has a lovely tone! Please see the eBay listing for more photos of the harp
The harp comes with a black soft case, a tuning key, some replacement strings, and the 4 (unattached) feet. I will also include an autographed copy of the Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp
book, and a signed certificate stating that this is, indeed, the harp depicted on the cover. The harp is sold as-is, with all faults, and is not returnable.
The shipping charge within the continental U.S. is $195.
Please contact me at (818) 956-1363 or firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any questions. Good luck with your bid!