Harpsicles? Paraguayan harps? I need help!

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    Hi, I’m in Canada, looking for a new or used harp on a budget (hopefully under 2000, absolute max 3000 CDN including border fees, taxes, etc).


    I’ve never heard of the Paraguayan harps dealer.


    The paraguayan harp is generally quite a bit cheaper than a celtic style harp with the same range (I have a good friend who plays the Paraguayan harp who lets the bride and groom buy the harp played at their wedding for a souvenir), but it is a totally different instrument with a totally different technique and repertoire.


    Doesn’t Alison Vardy play paraguayan harp primarily?


    No, you don’t have to stick to Latin music, but they don’t have semitone levers, you know (except by various awkward devices like adding an extension underneath the neck to allow for installing them), and most Paraguayan harpists just play everything in the same key all the time. It’s a very different sound–I’ve never heard a South American harpist who plays much in the way of celtic or classical music, although they do play some pop tunes and lots of latin jazzy stuff.

    But it is not the same as buying a celtic harp. If you want to play the paraguayan harp, that’s great, but you can’t buy one of those and go to your celtic harp teacher and expect things to work out well. The strings are much closer together, they use nails on the treble hand, the tension is hugely lighter (the whole harp only weighs about 7 lbs), etc. The people I know who are Paraguayan harpists (and I’m in an area where it’s pretty nearly the dominant harp form) are wonderful musicians, but they’d agree in a heartbeat that it’s not a celtic/lever harp substitute.


    Looking at that last line in my last post: I don’t mean that it’s somehow inferior, just that it’s itself and not a celtic harp. They have a great many wonderful ornaments that are just about impossible on a higher tensioned harp, for instance.

    Geri McQuillen

    Hello Lilah,

    I recently discovered a great website/forum called CanadaWestHarpList.

    Dwyn .

    The Paraguayan harps are certainly a very different instrument, but there are now


    Yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about.


    I should mention that while those may be popular in North America, the South American trained harpists I know mostly tried them and went back to taquitos or the ring for accidentals. It’s an awkward reach way back there and hard to see when the levers are under the neck, especially if you play standing up as most of them do.


    Thanks so much for your help, it turns out that I’m able to try out 2 levered harps in Montreal, one Paraguayan and one celtic.


    Hi there

    I too am in Canada and have searched and still am,looking for a new or used harp but at a reasonable cost.

    I have looked at East coast harps in Nova Scotia, West coast harps in B.C., Gramophone in Alberta, Vixen harps and Classical academy of harp in Ottawa, L&H CPO site, Timothy harps in Forest and several online emails to other dealers who did not send me back any info. I do have one place yet to try, Remenyi in Toronto. Kijiji and Craig’list for used harps didn’t bring about any harps.

    The problem being in Canada is finding a good harp at a good price.

    For example, the Lyon and Healy Prelude 40 is advertised at $4490 US. Sound great and is tempting, but further info makes a final number for Canadians as just under $6000.

    The exchange rate, shipping costs to Canada, customs tax and also our PST and GST taxes and then insurance brings it to approx.$5900. so no real deal for us.

    All of the Canadian dealers charge us for exchange, taxes, customs, shipping, and our Ontario taxes.

    So really, there are no real deals. It is tempting to go to L&H CPO website and see the used harps at seemingly good prices, but as a Canadian we luck out as no one ever tells you the real total.

    Good luck in your search. I too will continue looking.

    from Dana



    I’m curious if you ended up purchasing a Grand Harpsicle? I’m interested in them for the same reasons you stated, however have some concerns about the quality of tone. I’m not too fussed if they sound good electrified/amplifed, etc. I’ve played pedal harp for years but just want something more transportable to jam with other musicians and plug into soundsystems.

    You’re experience would be very valuable.




    I can tell you about

    The man who owns the company is Gustavo Arias. He speaks English very well and makes lovely Harps and Guitars. He is friends with all the master Harp players in Paraguay. We have bought 3 from him and my father has become his friend.

    You can get levers on Paraguayan harps now which are the same as on Clarsach, ie Camac. My Harps are about 5kg, so very portable. I think ours cost about $1200 plus carriage by DHL to the UK whereas my Clarsach cost $6,000.

    The great thing about them is that you are not tied to just Latin American music. You can play modern pop, easy listening and Latin music on them very easily. For me the really annoying thing is there are NO Paraguayan harp teachers in the UK, so I have to teach myself, you’re lucky in the USA.

    I recently uploaded a video of an Ed Sherran song I arranged, so you can see and hear one of Gustavo’s harps for yourself.

    Good Luck


    How can you do a decent 3-finger whatchamacallit on classical guitar without fingernails??

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