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New Harpsichord

  • 1.  New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-27-2018 13:46
    Need advice. Our SOM is looking into purchasing a new Harpsichord for our primary instrument in our recital hall. It will need to be a French double manual. Please share recommendations of which makers we should get preliminary prices from. It will have to be brand new—state cannot purchase used.
    Please share any thoughts & recent experiences, good or bad.
    Many thanks,
    Staff Piano Technician, Texas Tech University School of Music

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 2.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-27-2018 14:21
    I apprenticed with Tom and Barbara Wolf in Virginia, if they are still making instruments they are top quality. Also, I can personally recommend Rod Regier in Maine, John Phillips in SF, Alan Winkler in Boston. But I’ve been out of that world for many years and am not sure if any of these have retired.. Paul Poletti also but he’s in Europe and that might be difficult.


    Sent from my phone, forgive typos!

  • 3.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-28-2018 02:56
    Last time I spoke to John Phillips at the Berkeley Festival he had orders years ahead. You basically put your name on the list and wait. When he starts on the instrument ahead of yours, he contacts you with a "you're next in line" message... But that was about five years ago... You might also want to check with Kevin Fryer in San Francisco - he's in the PTG directory.

    Israel Stein RPT
    P.O. Box 68141
    Jerusalem, Israel 9168002

  • 4.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-27-2018 15:33
    I’d also check with Anne Acker, I think she’s subscribed.. She should have a much better idea of who’s currently doing the best work.


    Sent from my phone, forgive typos!

  • 5.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 09-28-2018 11:31
    Hi Kevin,

    Looks like a daunting task ahead! The requirement to only buying new is unfortunate. There are many makers around the world building nice instruments and the only way to know if you are going to like one is to try it out. I guess you can also go on faith and have a builder make one or, send one to the school that is already made. A trial period would be nice if you can get that provision.

    In my experience at Ithaca College, I came to the conclusion that a workhorse harpsichord was the best fit for that particular school. There are four harpsichords at IC and the only one that fits the description of workhorse was the Dowd double after Taskin. It is not a particularly great instrument but a good one and does not require a lot of maintenance compared to the others. With so many pianos needing attention it is nice to not have to deal with a finicky harpsichord. You may find that a Hubbard or Zuckermann would fit the definition of a workhorse. Your situation may be different.

    On his website, Carey Beebe has an extensive list of European and non-European makers and related businesses. Below is the link to the non-European and you can select the European list from this page.

    Good Luck!

    CBH Carey Beebe Harpsichords Australia - Global Harpsichord Technology
    Hpschd remove preview
    CBH Carey Beebe Harpsichords Australia - Global Harpsichord Technology
    Comprehensive, multilingual site detailing harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano construction, restoration, maintenance, tuning and hire.
    View this on Hpschd >

    [Don] [McKechnie,] [RPT]
    [Piano Technician]
    [Home 607.277.7112]

  • 6.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Posted 09-29-2018 13:42
    Those Keith Hill harpsichords sound fantastic and look fantastic.
    Your people should go listen to some different makers and make a decision.

    There is a lot of info at Keith's website, including prices. Stands
    are different prices depending on selection.

    I'm surprised his name doesn't come up more often.

    Sometimes Harpsichord clearing house has new
    instruments for sale.

    Here's a new Fisk French double....ready to go by
    Peter Fisk.

    harpsichord clearing house


    #4008 RI - New Instrument!
    French double manual harpsichord by Peter Fisk, 2017, FF - f''', 8', 8', 4', shove coupler, buff, transposing A 415, A440, wooden jacks, black celcon plectra, green with gold banding, painted hardwood turned leg trestle stand. Fisk writes that the instrument is "very much within William Hyman's understanding of the 18th century French tradition." Includes padded cover and complete tool kit. The instrument is in RI. $25,000

    Best of luck!

    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA

  • 7.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Posted 09-30-2018 02:14
    I am surprised there is no 16' choir requirement? 

    I found, with the Goble 16' at Glyndebourne, that the sound it produces in its high register is ethereal . . .  phenomenally comment-able. Martin Isepp used to use this to great effect.

    Find one!
    Play one!  & enjoy the 'flutey' sound it produces. Every School of Music - or - Department of Music ought to have at least one H'chord with a 16' choir!
    Michael.  UK

  • 8.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-01-2018 13:43
    Thanks much Richard, and everyone. Very helpful info. I did look at the Harpsichord Clearing House and somehow missed this # 4008 New French Double by Fisk. I will look again. (I did not see any doubles at all but I'm sure it is there somewhere)

    I noticed the very last unit for sale on the Zuckerman site was a French Double manual and there was a video-seemed SUPER nice to me. Not brand new though.
    I wonder if any of the rest of you have had any success in getting a good used instrument "pushed through the system" in situations like this. I seem to recall someone saying at some point that it would be rare, but not completely unheard of in special situations.

    Also, we now have our early music professor and our staff vocal coach (who is a real "monster" on the harpsichord) more involved in this process, so they will be a huge help. ​

    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]

  • 9.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-01-2018 13:52

    Perhaps the seller will ship the instrument to you and give you a chance to try it out for a few weeks or a month before committing to purchase? 

    Richard West

  • 10.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Posted 10-02-2018 11:32
    When you go to the Harpsichord Clearing house...there is a left hand column...click on complete list...
    then click on doubles to skip all they others.

    You may ask your faculty if they have a preference or aversion to
    certain makers/brands. That would eliminate some.

    I think currently the Fisk is the only new one.

    The faculty could ask colleagues what they have
    and if they like them and would buy another one
    or if they found a better one they wished they'd

    Maybe the faculty can visit some of the various
    brands owned by other Universities?

    There are usually exhibiters at the Boston Early
    Music Festival, but that's over with now.

    For the newest harpsichords you'd have to
    commission one. So it would not arrive for
    quite a while...at least a year, maybe...and
    then you'd have what you have.

    Best of luck, I hope you find a good one.


    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA

  • 11.  RE: New Harpsichord

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-02-2018 18:03
    Having worked in a private college I never had to deal with just buying new. However, I had some experience working the system. Working with faculty, staff and administration on getting what you need can really work. It sounds like you have some partners on this quest. Purchasing a harpsichord would certainly fall into the realm of a special purchase. It certainly is not something like buying computers or even new pianos. Look for any purchasing precedent that might help your cause. If you cannot find a precedent try to make a case for it. Again, good luck!

    [Don] [McKechnie,] [RPT]
    [Piano Technician]
    [Home 607.277.7112]