I love the sound of the harp, but will a beginner’s harp still sound lovely?

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    I’m going shopping for my first harp soon. My intention is to buy a cheap lever (between £1000-£2000- probably 2nd hand).

    However, I have been watching videos of some of the cheaper harps (such as Revenna). There aren’t many videos on Youtube, but I’m not sure about the sound. Obviously they wouldn’t sound as lovely as an expensive harp, but it’s the sound of the harp that makes me love it.

    Do the cheaper harps tend to not have such a nice sound?

    If do plan to upgrade one day. I’ve just graduated and am job hunting, but when I have more money and experience, I will save up.

    Please could you ease my doubts?

    I will try out different harps. I’m visiting a friend in Wales so plan to go to Clive Morley harps: What do you think?

    Thank you.

    Angela Biggs

    The cheaper harps do sound different; though some of them sound pleasant, they simply don’t compare to higher-quality harps. However, if you’ve never played a nicer harp, you won’t know the difference. I started on a series of Pakistani harps, and at the time thought they sounded good. (To be fair, it was almost a decade ago, and I think that I got some especially good ones.) It wasn’t until I upgraded to a professional-quality lever harp that I understood what I had been missing.

    If you wait until you can afford a high-quality harp, you could miss years of enjoyment and especially of learning and repertoire-building. When it comes time to spend a lot of money, you’ll want to have some pieces well in hand so that you can evaluate the harps you’re considering. Good luck in your search!


    Two points- quality builders don’t build “cheap” harps. They build harps that are well planned and crafted of lower priced but very good sounding materials. The Ravenna is a very well thought of harp, as are all of the models in the Dusty Strings fleet.

    I have a Thormahlen Serenade that is an amazing, wonderful sounding harp that is the lowest priced model in the Thormahlen line.

    Second point- I prefer a second hand instrument from a reputable dealer. Buying second hand saves me the work of having to take the time to allow the harp to settle in and open up.

    Your job as a buyer is to play as many harps as you can get your hands on,

    read as much as you can , and as many reviews as you can find, have someone play harps so that you can listen to them in person, and have your mind made up that you will be willing to be an intelligent and determined purchaser.

    If you are in Wales, you also need to google the harp shop there that is making wonderful lever harps. I can’t remember the name, try finding it out by googling. The name starts with the letter T.

    I’m not sure what the exchange rate is just now, but I think I could find myself a fine starter harp if I were in your shoes with £2,000 in my pocket and it would not be a “cheap lever”. GOOD LUCK!


    Welcome to the harp community. You may have


    Thank you for your replies!

    I have decided to look at Holy Well as well. I have been doing some researching and listening to different harps on Youtube.

    So far, the lever harp that I like most is the Prelude 40. It seems to have the nicest sound.

    However, I can only find the price in USD, and I’m expecting the price to be completely different in GBP because of tax. Does anyone have an idea of how much it may cost?

    Also, do you think it’s too much for a first harp?

    Philippa mcauliffe

    Telynau Vining are in Cardiff – worth a ring to see what is there too?

    Prelude 40 –

    #69388 is a site where you can put in a dollar amount and see what it would be in British currency, and vice versa. There are other sites like this, usually


    Thank you again!

    I did a currency converter. If VAT doesn’t affect it, a Prelude 40 should be around £3165.

    An Ogden 34 is around £1886. It doesn’t sound as nice as the Prelude but I prefer it to other lever harps. It’s the nylon sound that I don’t like on lever harps.

    A Trabouder 36 VI is around £2717 and only going from Youtube videos, this sounds just or almost as nice as the Prelude.

    What are your opinions on these three harps?


    I do like the sound of all the Lyon & Healy lever harps. I have rented a Prelude for 6 month and have played on the Ogden during a workshop. The sound of the Prelude is almost like a pedal harp: very warm and nice. But I have bought a pedal harp (L&H of course) and wanted a lever harp as a second harp for travelling, workshops, etc. Because the Ogden is the smallest lever harp I would buy this one. Finally I have bought the Troubadour because the strings are much longer than the strings of the Ogden. The sound and looks of the harp made me choose for the Troubadour.

    This is not really a travel harp but with the harp trolley “harpo” there is no problem moving this harp.


    Thank you Georgina, for reminding me! The site I was thinking of was Telynau Teifi. They make very nice sounding harps.


    I had a look at the Telynau Teifi website and you’re right. They have such a nice sound, but the journey there is an extra 3 hours :(. It would be 5 hours driving one way, and it wouldn’t be fair to take my teacher all that way lol…. I really do like them though.

    Edith, what was it you liked about the Troubadour? Did you think it has the nice sound that the Prelude and pedal harps have?


    Is there any way to find out if someone nearer to you owns one of their harps? Perhaps you could try theirs.



    What I like about the


    I don’t think there is. There are barely any harp players near me. I had a look online for second hand ones, but the only site that shows up is their own.

    I emailed them just in case to see if they sell in any other shops, but I don’t expect to receive a reply until Monday.


    Bella, I don’t know where you live in the UK, but there are several harp resellers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

    These resellers sell Lyon & Healy, Salvi, Dusty Strings, Teifi and others. For Lyon & Healy there are resellers in the north of Holland and in Belgium. It’s always the best way to choose a harp you have tried.

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