Video: Harp Player Uses Ultra-Heavy Distortion Pedal, Makes Harps Sound Disgustingly Cool

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In general, metalheads either love it or loathe it when a heavy artist incorporates unorthodox instruments into their music.

While a solid portion of the fanbase decry involving, say, the saxophone in metal because it feels like an elaborate novelty, the majority love cheering along to the incorporation of a traditional folk instrument into metal music.

That said, one rarely sees the method turned on its head, with metallic elements added to classical instruments. But that’s exactly what one harp player has done, running her harps through an ultra-heavy distortion pedal with epic results.

The musician in question is Emily Hopkins, a YouTuber who does stuff with her harps that would make Beethoven snarf his claret. A lot of what Emily posts online is covers of video game themes, or footage of her running her instruments through delay pedals.

But this time around, Emily has decided to run two of her harps through Electrofoods’ Nepenthes pedal, and in doing so creates the kind of sounds that Primitive Man would give a thumbs-up.

“Finding a good overdrive or fuzz pedal to use with harp is difficult because the harp is so resonant,” says Hopkins. “Every harp resonates differently, so I have two harps here that we’re going to test out with Nepenthes today — my big boy, the pedal harp, and my small boy, the lever harp.

“This might get a little crazy, since there’s no way to palm-mute the harp,” she continues, “but we’re going to have fun today!”

Fun is a relative term. As you’ll see in the video, while the lever harp creates some cool, fuzz-drenched noises, it’s the pedal harp that takes things to strange and scary new territories. Doom bands could learn a lot from Emily.

Watch Emily create heavenly evil below:

There you have it, folks. Thank God the Marx Brothers aren’t alive to see this.


Words by Chris Krovatin