The Dusty Pedal Harp Pickup helps you amplify your harp in a balanced and natural-sounding way.
Most harpists who perform decide at some point that they need to amplify their instruments, so they go shopping for a pickup. They soon discover a confusing array of options that can make it daunting to determine what will work best. We've gone through that process ourselves, spending a lot of time testing various pickups. Not entirely satisfied with what we found, we took on the project of developing a pickup system specifically for harps. We called it the Dusty Harp Pickup. It was so successful that pedal harpists soon started asking for a pedal harp version.
The pickup elements in the P30 are optimized for pedal harps and the harness fits in any instrument. We've been getting rave reviews from pedal harpists who have installed it. It makes amplification easy, and sound technicians love it.
Using four carefully selected and placed piezo elements, our pickups achieve a clean, focused, natural and lush sound. The rich, full bass notes balance and blend with the clear, musical mids and high notes. It's simply the sound of the harp, only bigger. This pickup works at any volume level without feedback.
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 connects your harp directly into 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 if you aren't near your amplifier. With some amplifiers it will also sweeten and smooth out your sound.
The P30 can be easily installed by harp owners who are handy with tools or by any instrument repair technician. It is approximately 35.5" long plus a 24.5" lead. 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 and mounting the jack in the back of the harp. There are detailed instructions. The only tool you will need is a ½-inch brad point drill bit, available at most hardware stores or through Dusty Strings. If you prefer not to drill a hole, you can simply connect to the jack through the bottom soundhole on your harp, or purchase our Pickup Jack Clamp for a clean, elegant and removable solution.
Curious about the installation process? Download the instructions: Dusty Strings Pedal Harp Pickup Installation
Pickup demonstration by Katie Buckley, principal harpist in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra:
"I am a harpist and I use your pedal-harp pick-up - these days I play amplified music whether it's in a jazz, band, or larger production setting... and I LOVE it - it works much better than any other system I've used before and has a clean enough sound to use effects without the danger of lots of feedback and other problems like many amplification systems for the harp."
-Elisa Thorn, Vancouver, BC
"My Dusty Strings pickup has totally revolutionized the sound of my [pedal] harp. For the first time I have the volume I need to play with drums and electric guitars on big stages without compromising the beauty of the natural tone of my harp. The Dusty Strings is the only pickup that captures the full range of my harp. It has a full warm, rich sound in the bass and mids without losing any of the power and definition of the higher strings. It's vastly superior to any other pickup I've tried. Without it, the best I could hope for was for a few high, thin notes to pierce through a wall of sound coming from powerful electric instruments. The Dusty Strings pickup has given me my harp back."
-Sarah Page, Barr Brothers Band, Montreal
"I had time to test out the new Dusty Strings pick-up in my Lyon and Healy Style 23 last night. I love it! It is very natural sounding and gets a very “real” warm sound from the instrument. It also is very even and balanced throughout the full range of the harp. It is by far the best pick-up I have ever used. Having it permanently installed is a real plus also, so I don’t have to deal with sticking it on every time I need to use it and then worrying if it will stay stuck on when I need it! Peter [Wiley] installed it very quickly. Please thank the Dusty folks for me and let them know I really, really like the sound and balance of the product! I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation!”
– Paul Baker, Los Angeles
"So excited! This is for the Iceland Symphony's harp. I convinced them to buy one because I love mine in my harp so much. It's amazing!! We do a few amplified concerts a season, plus, I like the help it gives with tuning in noisy situations."
-Katie Buckley (Iceland)
The Dusty Harp Pickup system utilizes 4 piezo pickups that are "high ohmic," meaning that they operate optimally in a high impedance circuit. Consequently, results will be best when it is plugged into an amplifier (or pre-amplifier) that has an ultra-high input impedance of about 1 megohm or higher. This will provide a flat and balanced frequency response.
If you plug this pickup into an electric guitar or bass guitar amplifier, you may hear a thin sort of "quacky" bass response and there may be other frequencies that are filtered out. You will not like the sound! This is not the fault of the pickup, but is the result of the mis-match of this ultra-high impedance acoustic pickup with a high impedance electric guitar amplifier.
In short, coupling the Dusty Harp Pickup with an amplifier optimized for acoustic instruments with piezo pickups will give you the best sonic reproduction. This will give you the full rich acoustic sound of your unamplified instrument, only louder!