I would really love some advice

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    HBrock25 on #158341

    Hello everybody, I hope you may be able to help me,

    I know nothing of harps!! What I do know is that my girlfriend has wanted one for a very VERY long time… so… Some friends and I have secretly been saving our pennies to try and get her one for her birthday next month… and now I am lost amongst tensions, wood types and leavers!!

    Pennies has meant pennies, so I don’t have a particularly large budget… between £400 and £600 max. So a lap harp is going to be the order of the day I think.

    She is already an accomplished musician (piano, guitar, recorder), and I have great confidence that she will develop quite quickly, so don’t want her to feel “stuck” with a limited instrument. Equally I don’t want to get a harp with all the bells and whistles but that will fall apart due to shoddy workmanship.

    I could write a list of questions about levers, tensions, number of strings, wood types, manufacturers etc but I don’t really know where to start :-)

    So I would just love to hear your opinions really, if you had a few hundred pounds, what would you do?

    Thank You so much,


    deb-l on #158342

    An option is to buy a good quality kit and do some of the work yourself.

    Henry Jephson on #158343

    Thank you for your reply Deb, 

    A kit is a really nice idea, however, whilst I am not a total goombah when is comes to building things, I just wouldn’t trust myself to do it to any sort of a quality finish :-) Again, the rental idea is a good one, sadly, however sensible an idea it is, I am one of those silly, irrational people who just wants to own it :-b

    Please forgive my ignorance of all things musical, but would the number of octaves below C refer to the number of strings? 

    Also, one of the harps I was looking at has levers on C an F, is that good? And can more levers be added?

    Thank you again,



    sherry-lenox on #158344

    I don’t know the current exchange rate, but check out Blevins Harps. I know they
    sell in the UK.
    I bought a very nice harp from them for $2000, but they have plenty for a lot less (I don’t know what the VAT would do to the price). Good Luck!

    diana-lincoln on #158345

    Wow! What a lovely idea! I don’t know what your time constraints are but I have a couple of thoughts. Do some “window shopping” with her to get an idea of what she likes. You will both learn a great deal about the sounds of different harps along with all the info. a sales person can impart. Think about the type of music she most enjoys, this will also inform the type of harp she might want to play. I really believe in actually playing the harp before buying it. Find a well thought of teacher in the area and buy her a few lessons. This

    Tacye on #158346

    There is a used Stoney End just gone on Ebay in the UK; I know nothing beyond the advert and have no connection with the seller, but in your position I would be watching the auction very seriously.

    deb-l on #158347

    Henry, the number of octaves or notes below middle C is more important than the number of strings because you are more limited by what you need for bass than the top strings.

    deb-l on #158348

    just one think I want to add Henry, I have been renting harps and would much rather own one outright, but they are expensive instruments.

    diana-lincoln on #158349

    The purchase of a harp is very personal. I would urge you to think very carefully about making this decision for someone else. If you were to look through some of the previous posts through out these forums you would see what others go through and the time and thought they pour into this purchase. It is easy enough to make recommendations of certain harps etc. but in the end it really is about that connection to an instrument which each individual must make. If you do purchase, check the return policy!!! Best to you both..

    Henry Jephson on #158350

    Thank you all so much for your thoughtful….. thoughts :-)

    I totally hear you all over playing the instrument yourself, however,due to health problems, it sadly won’t be possible in this case. One of her best friends is at Guildhall music college in London (she is a musical whizz kid!!), so is looking for advice and second hand harps there.

    I have been looking into the renting thing, however it does concern me long term. This is a collective effort, and it’s easy to ask people to give £20 on a one off basis, slightly harder to ask for money each month. Also, the only real reason to do a rent to buy scheme would be if the harp was out of my price range… We are both struggling artists, and the £40 a month for the next 2 – 3 years might get a little tiring. I would much rather gather what we can, perhaps borrow money of my folks if REALLY necessary, and just buy one outright.

    I love the phrasing though Deb L “the dream isn’t about owning a harp, it’s about playing one” very true, although, I suppose the nightmare would be not keeping up repayments, and having the dream taken away :-(

    I love the look of the two second hand ones mentioned and will keep a keen eye on the ebay lot, I love the heart shaped hole (how easily swayed I am :-), and on the audio/video of them they both sound wonderful. I have also spotted these ones (I hope it’s OK to post links);




    Thank you all so much for you help, 


    Tacye on #158351

    If buying from outside the EU do be aware that VAT should get added on top of the cost, and maybe import tax too.

    harpglo-jean on #158352

    Hi Henry,

    What about a Rees Harpsicle to start with?

    Affeltranger@att.net on #158353

    Where are you in the U.K?

    Simona Millham on #158354

    I vote for the little 24 string Blevins Tayce pointed out on the Clarsach Society site.

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