>When you think of how it works, transferring movement from the feet up the column along a chain to simultaneously turn several discs, it’s actually brilliantly simple in light of the complex job it does.
I’d have to agree with you, Kreig.
Mike C, I’d point out that there are many harps without a pedal mechanism: lever harps, celtic harps, paraguayan harps, medieval harps, baroque harps, triple harps, etc., and their prices vary from a few hundred dollars to the same price range as a pedal harp, depending on the maker and the woodworking involved.
It is possible these days to buy a small harp for a couple of hundred bucks if you don’t care about levers or pedals or a lot of range (see harpsicleharps.com, for example), so there are a lot of options already out there. It’s never been cheaper to get started than it is now.
If you mean you want to build a harp without pedals that looks like a pedal harp, see the Camac Mademoiselle, the Lyon and Healy Prelude, Salvi Ana, Webster harps, Pratt harps, etc. There’s a limit to how cheaply this kind of a harp can be built, however, because the harp must be constructed both to sound good and to stand up to a LOT of tension from the strings. I don’t think you can expect to make a decent harp for much less than these makers charge.