You will find the craftsmanship in the d'Aigle woodworking to be second to none.
The woods we use are carefully chosen for beauty and
for acoustic characteristics.
All edges are heavily eased for comfort.
We use instrument grade finishes which have stood the test of time on many of the world's finest instruments.
Every detail, from the tuning pins and brass bridges to the purfling and the buttons are the finest available, and every part is Made In America. Many parts such as the buttons, the fine tuner extrusion and the chord bar extrusion are made exclusively for us.
Our autoharps are continually subject to new innovation. When we see that an improvement can be made, we make the necessary adjustments, and institute the change.
Here are a few items which distinguish the d'Aigle autoharp from other autoharps on the market.
- Our patented fine tuners are machined in our shop, and offer the smoothest action of any autoharp fine tuner. Besides making tuning your instrument effortless, changing a string is faster and easier than others. They are of black anodized aluminum, so the weight is kept to a minimum.
- The chord bars are a black anodized aluminum extrusion. Except for the Sparrow and the Rose series, this extrusion is capped with grain-matched wood venneers. There are distinct advantages to this chord bar, perhaps the most important being that it will never warp or distort due to case hardening of the wood grain. And the changing of felt with an aluminum surface instead of wood is a much easier task. Finally, we give each bar a very slight arch, which causes the felt at each end of the bar to make contact with the strings just slightly before contact in the center, giving a far more positive damping of the highest and lowest strings.
- An autoharp is subject to over 1,500 pounds of string tension. Our frame is made with just two pieces, the anchor at the fine tuner end, and the entire remainder of the 'harp. This ensures a clear path for the vibrating energy, and it contributes greatly to the strength without adding a large amount of mass. Our frame is a composite, with an internal brace, giving an even greater strength to mass ratio.
- Most autoharp tops and backs are rather thick to help hold against the tension of the strings. Our tops and backs are thinner to allow them to vibrate more freely. We have engineered a bracing system which allows them to be thinner and still keep a proper shape. Our tops have a very slight arch to improve integrity as well.
- Our Mylar leaf spring system offers the advantage of being the lightest and quickest touch available. When maintaining your instrument, there are no springs to fly away.
- We scrutinize every detail of our instruments, and we continue to innovate so that we can offer the very best to our customers.
About piano pin block
Piano pin block is used for our frames to retain the integrity of the tuning pins, so that they do not become loose over time. However, we use piano pin block for our entire frame, and I'll explain a bit why here.
As you know, some things can only be touched on in a paragraph or two, but here is the short version:
Piano pin block is not like what we refer to as ply wood. It is made up of separate layers of wood, but the similarity ends there. The layers are thin. There are no gaps or "blows" in the layers. They are rendered under extreme pressure, so that there is nearly no glue left between layers. It is made of eastern rock maple, one of the hardest woods. The result is a wood which has many strength advantages caused by the crossing grain, and is so hard and dense that it transfers vibration freely. It's the super conductor of the wood world.
Clamp and glue joints done in the shop are good, but not nearly as good as uninterrupted pin block. So we make our frames out of a continuous piece, except for the tail, which is glued and clamped.
All our 'harps, even the Sparrow, are made this way. The result is that the frame is free to vibrate as extremely hard wood vibrates.
As one would expect, the hard woods vibrate at a higher frequency than soft woods, and dense layers of pin block vibrate at higher frequencies than thin membranes like the back and top of the autoharp. When the energy of the string is released first to the top through a bridge (A model), the capability of exchanging lower frequencies sets off a more audible chain of vibration through the harmonic series. This gives a rich, deep tonal color to the overall string energy. Except for special orders, our 'harps are made as 'A' models.
If the energy is received first through a bridge pin anchored in the pin block (B model), the harmonic series is more restricted, and the primary tone is more dominant.
Either way, when the vibrations are more free, less damped by the mass of the instrument, the harmonic series is increased and the sustain is increased even though much of the energy is released to the air, giving us amplitude.
The trick is to not let the vibration be sucked up in ways we can't hear in the end, as through glue joints or any mass which does not vibrate freely.