—by Rhett Barnwell and Erin Wood
Editor’s note: This article is presented in two sections, beginning with Lever Harp. The Pedal Harp section begins mid-way through. Scroll to the end of each section for comparison charts of lever and pedal harps.
Whether it’s your first or fourteenth, buying a harp is exciting. It’s also daunting. You’re undoubtedly putting down a big chunk of change, and you want to get it right! In this article, we’ll walk you through the harp-buying process and give you a starting point to compare different models (see the comparison charts, left). Since lever harps and pedal harps are different beasts, we will consider them separately in this article. But there are many similarities in the harp-buying process for lever and pedal, so even if you’re only in the market for one, be sure to read about the other—you’re sure to find some valuable insights that are applicable to you. We can’t choose your harp for you (though that would be fun!), but by the end of this article you’ll be well on your way to knowing how to choose the right harp for you.
So, you’ve decided to buy a new lever harp. If you are like me, I would guess that you are looking for that “perfect” harp that will sound great, have fantastic levers, look beautiful and be lightweight and easily portable, but with at least a four- to five-octave range, and be inexpensive! I am here to tell you that such a harp does not exist in reality—trust me on this one. But there are some that come pretty close, and this article will help you find them.