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Replacement Soundboards for the 3 Kovac Paraguayan Harp Models

ParaHarp Kits by Davy C

Regular price $324.00

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We now provide replacement Soundboards for all 3 of John Kovac's Paraguayan Harp models as found in John's Harpmaking Made Simple plans book. Those are the 36, 29, & 22-string Paraguayan models only.

These Soundboards are custom-made to order. We do not stock them pre-made. (However, the necessary materials to make a custom Soundboard are kept readily available.)

Please note: We do not make repairs to any existing Soundboards. At least 97% of all Soundboard damages (the #1 reason to repair/replace a board), including if it has advanced age, render the board unusable & unrepairable. 

We might attempt to fix scratches, etc. But, cracks, splits, damaged joints, warped boards, deep water damage, veneer & multi-layer separations, etc., cannot usually be repaired.  

For any of the above issues & concerns, a replacement Soundboard is always recommended.

Important! Please, contact me before shipping any parts of your harp to me to be certain that we can create a Soundboard for your particular situation & that the results will be affordable for your budget!

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We offer two replacement Soundboard options:

  • Deluxe (Takes up to 2 weeks to create, then ship after ordering)
  • Standard (Takes up to 1 week to create, then ship after ordering)

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The Deluxe option:

This Soundboard is made from a fine musical instrument tonewood called, Paulownia, and is an excellent & less expensive alternative to Spruce. It is strong, lightweight & is very flexible. Most importantly, its tone is bright, smooth & clean; reproducing even the lowest of bass notes with even volume & richness on balance with the treble notes. 

It also contains Maple front and rear string ribs & supports. These Soundboards do not contain any type of brass string eyelets on the front string rib. 

The Standard Option:

This Soundboard is made from commercial 5/16" Luan multiply. It is a strong, lightweight composite wood that has a very even & warm tone, all the way down through the bass notes. The treble is clean and the bass is very firm. The overall volume of sound is a bit quieter compared to Paulownia (above).

This option also contains Maple rear string ribs & supports. However, depending on your current Soundboard's design, the replacement board may, or may not have a front string rib.

If your current Soundboard has no string rib on the front, the replacement board will not include one, but will instead include brass string eyelets. (Or, we may decide to include a front string rib without eyelets anyway, for strength & longevity. We'll decide case by case.)

If your current board has a front string rib, a Maple rib will be used, but without any brass eyelets.

Below is Davy's own Luan, Standard Soundboard example.

But, does Luan sound good?

Based on one of John Kovac's earlier tone wood experiments, he did a blind sound test of tone for the industry standard Sitka Spruce tonewood compared against construction-grade, commercial Luan multiply. (Such Spruce is normally the top choice of wood for most musical stringed instruments.)

For the test, a large pool of people were blindfolded (one at a time) and were instructed to listen to two harps being played, one immediately after the other. One harp contained professional Spruce for its Soundboard. The other contained a commercial Luan multiply Soundboard. 

In the end, John was surprised to learn that a small majority liked the sound of the Luan better than the Spruce! 

 (The very first Paraguayan harp Davy made was Luan. And, he still has that very same 36-string harp today [April 2024] and it still sounds good and has held up exceptionally well!) (See its picture below.)

How your replacement Soundboards are made, treated & processed for use in your harp:

Deluxe Soundboard:

  • The Deluxe board is made of 7 to 8 multi-sectional, tight-grained, horizontally oriented wood panels all glued together & supported by perpendicular string ribs & rear supports.
  • Hot Hide Glue is exclusively used on all of our Soundboards. This has the advantage of bonding together the molecules of the separate wood panels creating, in effect, a single panel, which greatly increases the bass response & volume of the Paulownia wood used. (Modern synthetic wood glues are never used since these glues isolate & insulate the soundwave vibrations running through all the wood panels producing a duller sound with far less volume.)
  • The entire Soundboard is conditioned by the use of a single coat of unwaxed, clear Shellac. The exposed surface of the Soundboard that will be seen has a layer of special wood oil polish applied to it. (This inexpensive, easy-to-find polish should be re-applied once or twice a year, which is very easy to do.)
  • Unless your particular Kovac Soundboard has been modified by its builder, the standard, Kovac historical string layout & hole spacing template is used.
  • The new Soundboard is ultimately cut & shaped to exactly match your current Soundboard's size & thickness.

Standard Soundboard:

  • The Standard board is made of one large, composite wood panel supported by perpendicular string ribs & rear supports.
  • Hot Hide Glue is used, as explained above.
  • Wood conditioning & polish are used, as above.
  • As above, the traditional, standard Kovac string layout & hole template is used.
  • The size & shape of the new Soundboard, etc., is as explained above.

What we need from you to make a replacement Soundboard that exactly matches your harp:

  • A reliable, immediate contact email & phone number. (Without excessive Spam protection.) We may have more questions to coordinate than are covered initially below.
  • Pictures (email) of the specific areas of your harp around its Soundboard mounting.
  • Pictures (email) of the front & back of your Soundboard.
  • A written description of any oddities or variations to standard Kovac Soundboards that concern your Soundboard including any damage. (Which damage is most likely the reason you're replacing your Soundboard.)
  • A written list of the exact dimensions of the Soundboard & its mounting on the harp's sides, etc., including the Soundboard's slot thickness & depth cut into the Sides, the Top Plate & Bottom Plate, as applicable.
  • Some may find it far easier to ship us the Soundboard to directly make a replica from it. The great majority of all Kovac Paraguayan Soundboards can be removed. (Unless the builder chose to glue it in. Then, the whole harp's Sound Chamber/box must be sent in for critical repairs. See this link for our harp repair information page.)
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    • Please Note: Only purchases within the U.S.A. are accepted at this time. No exceptions.
    • Products are normally shipped up to 48 hours (2 Days, if before Noon) after being ordered & are shipped on regular business days, Monday to Friday, excluding holidays & weekends. (Though, some orders may ship on Saturday mornings, if they come in after 12 noon on Fridays or Thursdays if Friday is a holiday.)
    • All orders, except Pre-Built Harps will go out via the lowest U.S.P.S. Best Rates for the Fastest delivery, including but not limited to U.S.P.S. Priority Mail. (Includes U.S.P.S. First Class Letter or First Class Package Services.)
    • It is less expensive for you if we add shipping separately for each complete order instead of hiding it within increased prices for each & every one of our products while making the bogus claim you are getting "free" shipping & handling. No Carrier ships for free!
      • Please, be aware Black Friday, Christmas Season, weather-related emergencies & various man-made disasters often delay deliveries; often without notice to us or you. JK Harps accept no liabilities for such delays which are always beyond our own control.
      • REMINDER: String Tuning Mechanisms & Wound Bass Strings may have a back-order delay in shipping of approximately from two (2) to three (3) weeks due to their custom nature. 
        • When any delayed orders finally ship, you will be immediately notified by routine email.
        • All orders will be tracked and you can be updated, via carrier email, if you choose, as the process goes along.
        • All orders are fully insured per standard carrier insurance services.
        • All shipping & handling will include standard fees for shipping materials & order handling.
        • A viable shipping address is required and we are not responsible for orders not deliverable at your end. 
        • Any orders over $100 will require a delivery signature at the address you provided for shipment receiving.

        PRE-BUILT HARPS 

        • Pre-built harps will ship via UPS Ground Service including a Special Delivery Harp flat fee.
        • UPS cannot use P.O. Boxes, etc., for delivery. A street address is required to be delivered to your home or business location. 
        • All harp deliveries will require a signature upon receiving. No signature; no delivery.

        DAMAGE to SHIPMENT

        • You must check your delivery for any damage or loss immediately upon its arrival in the unlikely event of any shipping issues with the product caused by the 3rd party, the delivery carrier.
        • Take pictures, if possible, and notify the Carrier immediately of any damages to or missing order(s). (Within 24 hours or less.) John Kovac Harps by Davy C (David J Clark, Agent) will not be held responsible for damage to or losses of orders done while in transit. Claims will be made to the shipping carrier immediately in such cases. (But, inform us also to keep us in the loop if anything might be done on our end.)
        • If you fail to notify the carrier in a timely manner and the claim gets rejected, you may forfeit your right to redress with the shipping carrier.
        • For clarification, but not in all cases, once you make a claim with your delivering shipment carrier, and they approve your claim & finally pay your for your loss or damages, then you will forward us that payment. Once cleared with our financial institution, then we will immediately ship out to you a replacement order(s). 

        Photo Credit: Matthew Henry