Who invented the crystal harp?
Gaudry Normand invented the first crystal harp, back in 2011. It took him over 12 years to research and develop this wonderful instrument. Currently, he holds more than 16 patents on this unique instrument.
Why are Quartzophone® instruments better than the knockoffs?
Quartzophone instruments have an unequaled sound and a beautiful, arced design; as a matter of fact not only are the mechanisms patented, but our designs are patented as well. Customers tell us that our instruments are so beautiful, they should be exhibited in the top museums! Quartzophone instruments are all made by hand, in our workshop at Mine Cristal in Canada. We use superior craftsmanship and materials. Every detail is lovingly taken care of: we are perfectionists! We offer a one-year guarantee and excellent customer service for questions and replacement parts. Strings rarely break and with proper use the strings should last for decades. If necessary, they can be changed out easily in a few minutes. With each full-size model we supply a stand for displaying and playing the instrument, 2 strikers, a 20-page booklet, a CD and a padded carrying case.
Some crystal harps, vibraphones, etc., from other companies come with a rigid case. Do I need a rigid case to protect my instrument?
Some Chinese manufacturers supply an aluminium coloured, rigid case. In reality, that case is insufficient for shipping their instrument: they have to wrap a lot of hardcore foam around the case and then place all that inside a cardboard box.
The problem with a rigid case is that any vibration or shockwave is transferred directly to the instrument. More often than not, their product gets damaged during shipping (broken tubes, etc.). We know of what we speak, having obtained and tested these cases. We even tried making our own rigid cases, eight years ago!
Our current packaging has proved to be the best for shipping: the instrument is held in place by custom-designed foam pieces inside the padded carrying case, then the case is placed in a sturdy cardboard box with a handle. The results speak for themselves: our instruments are well-protected against harsh handling during shipping and arrive safely.
Can I take my instrument on a plane as carryon luggage?
Often you cannot bring anything made with quartz tubes onto a plane as carryon luggage: airlines refuse it because "a broken tube could be used as a weapon". The best way to travel with our instrument is to ask the airline to send it through as a musical instrument, i.e., marked and manipulated as fragile luggage. In this case the baggage handlers will handle it carefully, by hand. For this reason you should keep all the custom-made packing materials that came with your Quartzophone instrument and reuse them for shipping.
What is the sound quality of Quartzophone instruments, as compared to knockoffs?
Our Quartzophone instruments have patented mechanisms that promote a divine sound which is crystal clear, warm and powerful, with a long sustain and a pleasing vibrato. See the Quartzophone page for more information.
We continually monitor the competition; most use another mechanism in order to avoid infringing our patents. This means they use strings or elastic that wrap around and strangle the tube, effectively choking off the sound, i.e. the sound is feeble and has little resonance, with little or no sustain. Please note that counterfeits of our instruments, (copies of our patented mechanisms) generally come from China or Russia and are sold illegally in countries where we hold the patents; this includes the Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, Japan and many other countries. When we locate a counterfeiter and send them a 'cease and desist’ letter, they usually stop marketing the counterfeit immediately and begin selling a cheap instrument with poorly conceived mechanisms. All these products are basically toys. Additionally, their “mini” version uses smaller diameter tubing which gives less sound (volume).
What is the best striker for this type of instrument?
The striker is to a crystal harp what a violin bow is to a violin, an essential component of the instrument that colours the sound; it can make or break the sound of the instrument! First let’s look at the competition’s striker, usually a silicone-covered stick. It inevitably produces disagreeable banging sounds as it strikes the tubes. Our striker is patented and took several years to develop. It has a round end covered with felt. It is music to the ears! When one activates a tube or slides over several tubes, the Quartzophone striker produces pure tones on the quartz tubes, without an unpleasant attack sound.