So. Who IS Éiden? 

Well, almost 16 years ago, I got a notion in my head that I wanted a harp.

I’d been repeat-marathon-reading BJ Hoff’s Emerald Ballad series and had a crush on Morgan Fitzgerald. Like, HUGE crush. Like, who wouldn’t have a crush on this giant of a man, with hands like dinner plates, who ducks to enter a door, with wild red hair and a harp slung over his shoulder? The poet, the dreamer, the volatile… Morgan Fitzgerald.

This guy. *swoon*, went my 15-year-old self.

This guy, you guys. *swoon*, went my 15-year-old self.

I so wanted to be Finola. Minus the muteness, the rape, and the 1038587 traumas involved with being Finola, that is.

I so wanted to be Finola. Minus the muteness, the rape, and the 1038587 traumas involved with being Finola, that is. This is a better picture of Morgan, anyway. !!!!!

*cough* Moving on.

So, being the ripe mature age of 15 at the time, and completely ignorant of most everything, I proceeded to do a lot of research. This involved writing to a couple of harp places and becoming dismayed when I discovered that we were looking at a couple grand to fulfil my harp dreams. Therefore I was delighted to learn that a company called Song of the Sea, located in Maine, had a harp for sale for around $350. It had full levers, a case, 22 strings. It sounded like a great deal. It was called the Heather Harp.

This is what it looked like. (Thank you, Google Images.)

This is what it looked like. (Thank you, Google Images.)

It was so PURTY. It was “rosewood and mahogany”! Carved soundbox! Celtic knotwork! SO IRISH AHHHHHHHH. I named it after Morgan’s first love, Ireland, his Dark Rosaleen: Roisìn Dubh. (I learned a smattering of Gaelic from the Emerald Ballad series, see.) (It’s pronounced “ro-SHEEN”, in case you wondered.)

So, I paid the $350 (I think that’s what it cost then) that I had saved up by asking my relatives to donate to a worthy cause rather than buy me Christmas gifts. My Heather Harp arrived in the mail and I took it out of the box and ran my fingers over the strings.

Instant dreamy movie scene, right?

Wrong. Unless you want to call it “Serenade of the Rubber Bands”. I was, admittedly, shocked. But, apparently they didn’t tune to ship for fear of string breakage. I got out my new tuner and set to work tuning up according to the instructions. Before long I was playing stuff. Roisìn stood in a place of honour on my desk, with my Beanie Babies sitting in a line along the top. Somewhere there’s a picture of it.

Right here I want to interject a comment about MidEast Manufacturing’s harps (or harp-shaped objects, as they are sometimes called.) They are of inferior quality. The levers are pretty much useless. But I have had Roisìn over 15 years and I can count on one hand the strings that have broken. Aside from the crack you’ll be reading about in the upcoming paragraphs, she has been a good harp. She holds tune well and is light and easily portable. If you’re starting out and don’t know whether you’ll even stick with it, why pay more? I will never buy another one, but I do not regret my purchase one bit. 

Anyway, a little crack started to appear down the centre of the soundboard. I had read it was normal for them to crack a little so I wasn’t concerned particularly. But time went on, and drama happened – hey, maybe I could be Finola after all! – and fast forward 15 years to last fall when I finally got strong-armed into playing in public for the first time, after pretty much not doing anything with the harp for a number of years.

The soundboard crack was looking pretty bad.

Did I say bad?

Did I say bad?

So, it was time for a new harp. I shopped around. Internet made research a lot easier and experience has made me less swayed by carved soundboards and Celtic knots, and more interested in quality, even if it does cost upwards of $2000. I found what I wanted, but it was going to cost $2663.

I sold my violin, I had a yard sale, I’d have sold my wedding ring if I could have found it. I started the year with under $50 for the harp fund. But thanks to some kind and interested parties who drummed up interest in my favour, and a loan from a friend who UNDERSTANDS about Morgan Fitzgerald, I finally had enough for my new wooden baby.

I named her Éiden. My delight. (It’s pronounced just like in English: Eden.)

And here she is:

181036_60029 strings. Levers that work. A soundboard that should never, under normal circumstances, crack. Solid wood, crafted by hand, with love. She sounds amazing.

180822_600Thank you, Blevins Harps, for a wonderful piece of work that I know I can enjoy for years to come. 😀


Categories: Mrs Pine Nut, music | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Éiden.

  1. Wow, that’s a lovely looking instrument! Congratulations.


  2. This is a happy (and interesting!) story! Congrats on the upgrade. 😀


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