I want to buy a harp.. newbie questions :)

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    HBrock25 on #159033

    Hello! Firstly, I want to say that I’m glad I found this forum.
    I always loved the sound of harp.. I’m into celtic music (Loreena McKennitt, Alan Stivell, Margie Butler, Lisa Lynne, Angels Of Venice, Joan Doan, etc..). So mainly I’m into folk irish melodies.

    I am planning on learning the harp by myself, cause there are no teachers near me. (I also play the piano, guitar, and alto recorder (all self-taugh) so I think I would not have a really big problem with learning the harp by myself, I can research a lot, find videos, read books etc.)

    So… I would like you to help me decide on which harp I should buy. It would be definetely a lever one.
    1) Question 1: The term “celtic harp” is the same as lever harp?

    2) Also, I don’t know if my harp should have a 29 strings, or more strings like 34.. I’m thinking that it would be better for me to buy the 34 strings, in order to have a more “full” sound.

    3) In my country, Greece, there are only 22-string harps available (it’s a Halifax lever harp, with 12 levers.. is this Halifax a good one or is it trash?)..
    4) So I will have to buy my harp through the internet (cause 22 strings seems too little for me). I can’t even rent one here.. There are no teachers also..
    I’ve read a lot in this forum about the Ravenna Dusty Strings Harp. But it says that there is no shipping available outsite the US. 🙁 Is there anything I can do for that?????

    4) What is a decent price for a 34 lever harp, with full levers? Is this http://www.medievalcollectibles.com/showproduct.aspx?ProductID=4319&SEName=meghan-harp-with-celtic-knotwork a good harp? Is the price 1200-1500$ a decent price or they are not of a good quality?

    5)If I can’t buy the Ravenna Dusty Strings (34), is there any good harp you recommend me to buy, with a nice quality sound and a fair price, that can be shipped here in Greece? I hope it’s not too expensive cause 2000 euros seems a lot to me and it will take time to earn them…

    6) Does anybody know what kind of harp Loreena McKennitt uses? (How many strings actually..)

    Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    wil-weten on #159034

    You may try and buy Dusty Harps

    Tacye on #159035

    Lever harp and celtic harp are usually used to mean the same thing.

    34 is a very good number of strings and is very common on British harps, but I would rather play a good quality smaller harp than a nasty bigger one.

    jessica-wolff on #159036

    Amalia, I would definitely recommend 34 strings. That will give you the low C. And of course, full levers.

    The Meghan harp is I think one of those cheapo Pakistani harps. If so, it is junk. But correct me, anyone, if I’m wrong.

    Celtic harp isn’t strictly the same as lever harp, but the term has come to be used that way. 2000 Euros is not expensive. If you check out Harplust List on the web, you will be able to see what a lot of different makers charge. The Ravenna is cheaper than other Dusty Strings models because it uses such materials as “Finnish birch” instead of solid woods. It is nevertheless a good choice for someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to play with, and it has a good sound. Another good choice along that line would be Heartland Harps’ Dreamweaver model, but it might be harder to obtain in Europe than a Ravenna.

    Loreena McKennitt plays a lot of different harps. On several YouTube videos, she appears to be playing a Lyon & Healy Troubadour I, which is what I have. I can’t be sure, because she’s playing in the semi-dark. That’s the original, Gothic-style model. Mine has 33 strings and is ancient. Troubadour I has since been superseded by Troubadour II, III, IV, V and VI and runs about $4,000. (Some people say that the original Troubadour had a better sound, though.) Take a look at the YouTube video of her playing “She Moved Through the Fair” at the Alhambra. It would in any case not be the best choice for someone heavily into Celtic harp. It has standard harp string spacing and tension and was intended as a stepping stone to the pedal harp. Celtic harpers in general prefer a lighter tension and folksier sound and feel.

    Consider a used harp, too, though nowadays they don’t seem to save you that much.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Greece, mostly in Crete and Santorini, and play some Greek music on my harp. Good luck!

    Amalia X. on #159037

    Thank you for your replies.
    The harp I am thinking mostly to buy is the Dusty Strings Ravenna 34. I have contacted with Dusty Strings and luckily shipping IS available in Greece. The only drawback is that I will have to pay a lot for the taxes. The final price is about 2850$ for the Ravenna 34 with full levers, and taxes included.

    The site you recommend me from Netherlands costs much more, so I will stick with the official maker.

    I asked about Loreena McKennitt’s harp, cause I was wondering if I could play her songs in my future harp. 🙂

    Rachel on #159038

    You will definitely be able to play her music on a Ravenna 34 with full levers.

    tony-morosco on #159039

    Celtic harp is one of those not so clear terms. It is used for harps used to play Celtic music or that are made to appear in a Celtic style. Originally harps in Ireland and Scotland were wire strung and completely diatonic.


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