Harp Comparisons and Recommendations
Frequently I am asked, “What is a good harp for beginners?” And, “What harp am I playing,” because they like its sound on my CD’s. In response to these questions I want to give you some guidelines and things to look for and take into consideration when buying your own harp.
I do have some favorites that I will tell you about, and also why I like them; and at the same time, I want to give you enough knowledge to choose a harp that will be a good choice even if it is not one of my favorites.
To start with, I currently have two harps. The larger of the two harps is the one I use for recording CDs and for traveling wherever I can drive by car or RV. It has 33 strings and full sharping levers which makes it very versatile and capable of playing with a broad range of other instruments in a wide range of major and minor keys. Since it is larger, and has a large sound box, it is capable of projecting a full resonant sound that carries very well. It is also lightweight, weighing 22 pounds making it easy to transport. It is a kit that comes from Music Makers out of Stillwater, Minnesota. Their website is:
It is my opinion that this is the best harp value for your money. It is a great combination of great sound, reasonable cost, and ease of transport.
The cost of this harp, without levers, is $2700 plus shipping, if I make it for you. I usually recommend not putting levers on at first so the beginning harpist can spend more time learning fingering and gaining confidence before adding the dimension of levers which allows the harpist to play in different keys. The levers can be added on later at a cost of approximately $500.
The other harp I have is a Harpsicle from Rees Harps in Rising Sun, Indiana. Their website is:
The model I have is called the Fullsicle which has a full set of sharping levers; one for each string. Without sharping levers it costs about $400, but with sharping levers, the price goes up to $850 and there is extra cost for shipping.
This is the harp I take with me on international trips. It can be carried on board aircraft and stored in the overhead bin of the airplane so you don’t have to risk checking it with the baggage handlers who will surely find a way to break something. This harp has a very good sound. Listen to its quality here:
I recommend this harp for someone getting started since it has good sound and its construction design is very strong yet it is lightweight and easy to transport. The cost is reasonable and once you have learned on it and graduate to a larger harp, you still have a travel harp. I have visited the Rees manufacturing facility several times and am quite impressed with their design, assembly and philosophy. (Even though we have the same last name we are not related… maybe distant cousins 🙂
There are many harp manufacturers available today. I would stay with those made in the USA or Europe. There are some coming out of Pakistan, China and elsewhere that I have seen that are inferior in construction and don’t have good string tension or sound. If you are looking at a harp with levers, make sure they are smooth in operation and the sound of the string stays consistent when the lever is engaged. Also make sure there is no warping, cracking or separation of the wood and glue joints.
If you want any guidance on a particular harp you are welcome to contact me using the form on the Contact page.
I really want to see more harps and harpists joining the ranks of playing calming harp music for their personal enjoyment and the enrichment of those who hear them. Let’s grow a “Calming Revolution”!