Back Problems Celtic Harp

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    martin-solomon on #160405

    I am learning to play the Celtic harp (a gut-strung pilgrim Clarsach, 34 strings) and I find that after half an hour my lower back feels a bit stiff.

    I sit on a small stool (about 25cm high) with the harp resting on the floor.

    As I never have any back problems when sitting on a normal chair I wonder whether the problm is that I am too low ie that my knees are too high. Should I consider raising the harp off the floor and then using a higher stool?


    Martin Solomon
    Bristol, UK

    jennifer-buehler on #160406

    Everything I have read definitely recommends raising the harp up to your height rather than sitting in a lower stool.

    tony-morosco on #160407

    Proper posture is very, very important when playing the harp. Poor posture and position can lead to many different kinds of physical problems.

    Sit in a chair that is a more comfortable height (an adjustable height music bench is the best option) and raise the harp up on something.

    Rule of thumb, if doing something hurts stop doing it and find a better way.

    anita-burroughs-price on #160408

    Pilgrim sells a small bench that the harp can fit on. It raises the
    instrument about 11″. I own one and I find it more comfortable
    to sit in a standard kitchen chair and raise the harp when circumstances

    amy-walts on #160409

    Make sure you are sitting on a bench that offers adjustable lumbar support and encourages you to sit ergonomically. ConcertDesign makes several style of harp bench that offer adjustable height, cushion tilt, lumbar adjustment, etc. so you can really customize. I found that it did help with fatigue I was feeling in my lower back. Dusty Strings also makes a clever little musician’s stool now that has adjustable height and lumbar support, being cheaper than Concert Design but with a few less bells and whistles. In either case, I’ve found these to be the best seating, especially for being at the harp for very long periods of time. And yes, sit in a way that’s ergonomically correct for you (as per the Harper’S Handbook and such) and then find a way to lift the harp accordingly.

    unknown-user on #160410

    I went to the Dusty Strings site but could find nothing about a stool. Can you supply a link?

    Tacye on #160411

    Pilgrim also sell legs for the clarsach- they unscrew when you want to
    pack the harp up, and raise it to a height where you can sit on a
    normal chair.

    Kelly R on #160412

    Kayla, here it is:

    unknown-user on #160413

    Thank you, Kelly!

    unknown-user on #160414


    Speaking as a professional teacher your back problem comes from 1) sitting posture 2) height of your seat has a harp tutorial available which shows diagrams and details information for this very issue.

    It’s very common amoung beginners and must be adhered to early in your learning process.

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