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Which sort of harp is good for beginners?

I am planning on learning the harp soon. Learning the instrument itself shouldn’t pose much of a problem for me. My only question regards to which sort of harp I should consider for a beginner. For a starter’s instrument, I would like to keep it under $700. However, I plan on moving up to a larger scale harp such as a 47 string pedal harp or something similar in the future. So what would be a good harp that is affordable and will be a good lead into learning a full size pedal harp in the future?

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3 Responses to "Which sort of harp is good for beginners?"

  1. mj says:
    considering harps are ridiculously expensive, what i would do (if i couldn’t find one on craigslist or in a church basement..) is rent a harp at a place where the money can be put towards a deposit. i doubt you could rent a pedal harp but you could definitely get a fully levered harp. i’d pick a well known brand like salvi or lyon and healy.
  2. chris g says:
    Here are a couple of links about harps to look into:

    http://www.harpconnection.com/

    http://www.harp.net/HarpLinks.htm

    An ancestor of the harp is the lyre, and this site might interest you:
    http://www.lyre-of-ur.com

    The instrument shown here will be coming to the US for more concerts soon.

    If you or someone you are connected to is handy at woodworking, you can buy kits and put together your own harp. Here are two suppliers I found on the web:
    http://www.harpkit.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=0001harp

    http://www.harpcanada.com/studentharp.htm
    This last on has prices in Canadian $, so the prices in US $ will be about 92% of what is listed here.

    Cheers,

    Chris G.

  3. Doc says:
    For $700.00, you aren’t going to find a harp of very much quality. My first advice to anyone who is interested in beginning to play harp of any variety is that you get what you pay for. A poorly-made instrument will not produce a good sound as easily as a well-made one, even in the hands of an experienced musician, and it will limit the development of your technique pretty early on.
    I’d recommend saving your money until you can afford a harp of some quality.
    Also, as a lever harp player myself, I don’t approve of the idea that lever harps are seen by classical players as “starter” or “learner” harps that one discards when one grows into playing pedal harp. Lever harp has its own set of traditions that are more rooted in folk musical traditions, and although it doesn’t have the chromatic tone range that a pedal harp does, there is very much that can be done with the capabilities that are available. They are different instruments, lever and pedal harp, and made for different musical purposes, much like six-string acoustic guitars, electric guitars and guitarrons are superficially similar, but are made to be different instruments.
    Anyway, if you want a pedal harp, then expect to spend the money to get your hands on one. And if you find a quality lever harp (I’d recommend anything by Dusty Strings, Triplett or Thormahlen), you may be surprised at the range of things you can do with one.

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