Buying a lap harp

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    Hi I am a beginner and I want to buy a lap harp. I am thinking of anything around 22 strings, that I can carry around easily. Portability is important. There are no harpmakers near me so I need to buy them online, but I find it difficult to compare sound quality over the internet. Although I am a beginner, I am very picky about sounds and I want a harp that I can love for years. I am not looking for a simple beginner harp to chuck away after two years for a better one. I have been looking at Eve from stoney end and timothy innisfree (26 strings) from a used harp website. The prie is roughly the same ($1500-1600) because I want truit levers for the Eve if I do get it. Can anyone advise me which may be better? Or can someone compare either of them to a dusty strings instrument? They seem to have good reviews generally. Does anyone know if these harps match what I am looking for, or recommend me another? Thank you so much for the help in advane 🙂

    Allison Stevick

    I have heard lots of good things about the Stoney End Eve. I don’t own one, but everyone who has one says it sounds great, and I agree from what I’ve seen/heard on YouTube. I don’t know anything about the Innisfree, though I’ve heard that Timothy harps are also good. To throw something else into the mix, I have heard very good things about Blevins harps, and they have many different models to choose from. They will play harps over the phone for you for further discerning than just the sound clips on their site. I hope that’s at least a little bit helpful! 🙂
    p.s.-Truitt levers are definitely my favorite, too.


    I have played some of the Timothy harps, but not the Innisfree, but his harps were among some of the best lever harps I have ever played or heard. They are truly wonderful. I have an Eve, and I like it just fine.


    I have the Timothy 27 string Niamh. Sounds very good, resonant bass, Truitt levers. I love his four legged harp stand. I searched quite a while before hearing the Niamh at a Somerset “small harp tasting”. When I heard this harp, I knew it was “the one”.


    I have never heard a Stoney End harp that wasn’t absolutely superb.
    I have a Triplett Christina and a wire-strung MusicMakers Limerick. I use both a strap and a knee bone with each and find this is the most effortless way for me to play and maintain good position and posture without being uncomfortable. People seem to love the sound of the Christina but I personally find it a bit dry and lacking in resonance (I like lots and lots of resonance, like the Dusty Strings!) If I had it to buy over again, I’d get a Stoney End Nightingale. That’s the prettiest sounding lap harp I’ve heard to date.
    I play these two harps at two or three gigs each week (I’m a city harpist who rides the subway, so I need something that can go on my back quickly and not cause pain!)


    I’ve never played on any of the harps you mentioned so I can’t provide feedback on those; but I started on a 27-string harp from Harps of Praise and it had a really beautiful tone, especially for the size:
    The price is also lower than what you mentioned (including Truitt levers). Worth checking out!


    The Nightingale is made by Lewis Creek Harps and yes, it is one of the best lap harps made. Any one who wants to try their hand at wire wire strings the Music Maker Limerick with wire strings sounds great and fits most people’s budget. Good choices Hannah.


    The used inisfree you mentioned looks like a nice harp. Virginia Harp Center has been honest about the condition of harps on consignment with me. I like the looks of that harp, I think they described it as a ‘rustic little fellow’ it is a little larger or a typical lap harp of this range, but that may or may not matter you, it’s portable enough to not have to heave it into the car. Timothy harps have a higher string tension than typical for nylon for better dimensional range. I prefer a lower string tension. Bardic is also in your price range and sounds beautiful to me., Cristina has a pretty, delicate sound. I’ve often thought I’d like a Nightengale, they sound so soothing.

    I think wire strings are great for a lap harp since wire doesn’t require the size that other types of strings need. The range would be adequate for most wire music repetiore. Dave Kortier makes some historical replica’s and has student models that are less expensive ( I think in your pricerange) because they are not as close to the historical replica’s. The historical ones are quite beautiful. I can’t think of the name of the historical wire harp maker that Anne Heymann recommends, they are not as fancy but they are very simple, beautiful, natural. Sometimes people get a couple gold strings, wonder what that sounds like? But I don’t want to bother to grow the nails and learn how to play a completely new technique.. I’ll just stick to nylon and savarez

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