40-string pedal harp – is that enough for long term?

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    tsin-tsin Chui

    I am seriously considering a change from


    I have one and it is a great harp which suites my particular needs perfectly.

    However if your goal is to become a professional harpist who plays classical repertoire and you want a harp that will suite all your needs from now on without having to buy another later then I recommend against such a small harp.

    It’s great for some things, but it isn’t going to cut it in an orchestra or playing the full extend of classical harp repertoire.

    So if you want a harp that will be useful for a professional, classical harpist then go for a full concert grand.

    tsin-tsin Chui

    Thank you very much Tony. You are very right. I probably won’t for the small harp.

    I’m actually also worrying about the height. I am 168cm tall so the 40-string 85 P seems to be too short for me. What about a 44-string Salvi Daphne? The dealer said they may


    You don’t say which examination board you are interested in doing your diploma with, but I would assume that the harp requirements are broadly similar. Check out the ABRSM website – the harp requirements for grades up to 8 can be found at

    Good luck!


    I don’t think the height is a problem. I am just under 178 cm and I have no problem with the height.

    Honestly, if you are intending to use this harp professionally for classical music I really would go for a Concert Grand, or at least a Semi Grand. Unless you will always be in a situation where you can choose your music or alter it if necessary.

    Otherwise you eventually are going to come into situations where you are going to need those notes and will miss them.

    A 44 string harp can play most repertoire. But most is a relative term and it is find until that time you need to play something it can’t handle.


    Another thing to remember before purchasing if you go with a harp that’s smaller than a concert grand is that not all 44-string harps cover the same range. For example, the Camac Clio only goes down to the 6th octave F, but the L&H Grand Petite goes down to the 7th octave D.

    tsin-tsin Chui

    Sadly, the second-hand Daphne 44 was not available finally.


    You say you are interested in buying your final harp now, however in a few years time when you may (or may not) outgrow a smaller harp you will know much more your preferences in harps.


    I play solo or with a small ensemble, Jazz and contemporary, and do mostly my own arrangements. So for me a small harp is fine because I can pretty much handle the music any way I wish, can alter anything that would otherwise be a problem, and can more easily transport the instrument.

    The upper register is a little tight and requires a great deal of precision for placing in the right hand, but not so much of an issue that I consider it a problem.

    I would not hesitate to recommend it if you were going to be in a position to change to a different harp later on if necessary. As Tacy said, it is hard to know what you will need down the road right now.

    If you really need a harp that will be the last one you buy then I would recommend saving up a little longer and perhaps buying used. There are some decently priced concert and semi grands. Not inexpensive, but not outrageous. Perhaps a used Camac Athena? They are great harps in my opinion and all things considered rather reasonably priced.

    Or perhaps you can find a rent to own program where you can at least try the harp out as a rental for a while and then if you like it have the option to buy after a while.

    Sid Humphreys

    Have you tried a Camac? The upper register on Camacs have more space ( it’s so nice when I play my teachers as my hands have plenty of room on the top octive).

    tsin-tsin Chui

    Thanks a lot for your kind advice!

    tsin-tsin Chui

    Upon extensive research, I’ve finally decided not to buy the 40-string L&H and will probably buy an Aoyama 46-string harp. So here comes a new query from me – is a 46-string harp enough for most solo repertoire??? I’m not going for the 47-string because of the considerable price difference and I’ve heard that 46-string is enough for almost everything. I don’t think I’m going to play in


    The 46-string harp will cover most repertoire, but not allow you to fully play such important works as the Hindemith Sonata and many others that require a 7th octave C, and others that require 0-octave g-sharps. I would not compromise, given that you seem serious about playing. It is worth the extra money.


    My advice is to buy a 44-string harp. You can play most everything on this size instrument. There are only a few orchestral parts that need the full 47-string range. All of the major harp manufacturers make something in the 44 string size now. It’s a nice portable pedal harp. Unless you plan to do a lot of orchestral work, I really cannot see spending the money to buy a full-size honking orchestral harp. Actually, most of the pedal harps played around 1900 were 43-45 strings.

    My first pedal harp was a 40 string harp – it was just too small to play a lot of things. But the 44 string suffices for nearly every venue. I highly recommend this size harp.

    There is only one harp that I would say is an exception to that rule and that is the Salvi Orchestra – it’s a scaled-down 47 string harp, only as big as a lot of the 44 string harps, so it’s very portable for a full grand harp.

    I would not bother buying the 40-string – go with the 44 string. It will make a good “back up” harp or second harp if you decide later that you want to spring for the full 47-string grand.



    Not all 46 string harps are created equal. You have to know the manufacturer.

    The range of the Venus semi-grands are high F to low C, whereas the L&H/Salvi are ranged from high G to low D. I have needed the low C several times, but never the high G.

    That’s one of the reasons I bought the Venus – I liked the range better!


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