Newbie to the harp world!

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #163904

    Hello all,

    I’ve talked everyone’s ear off about my harp playing aspirations, and I need some new ears! I don’t know if anyone else here is/has been in my position, but I have never laid fingers on a harp or even seen one up close, and there are no retailers in my area that I know of. I’ve called several music stores and none of them knew where to direct me.

    Anyway, I guess I’d just like to know that I’m not crazy for obssessing over the harp, and that I’m not the only one who’s been frustrated and anxiously awaiting that first golden opportunity to play. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to play the harp and just now realized that it’s reasonably affordable and doable. I have a piano background, and from what I understand, that is sufficient for a decent start. I bought a copy of Sylvia Woods’ instructional book and I really feel like I can do it…if I could just get my hands on a harp to try it!

    I won’t be able to purchase a harp until December at least (I’m hoping for a Christmas present split amongst my relatives and husband) and I’m thinking about the Dusty Strings Ravenna 26. Anyway, I know it’s been done to death, but are there any other suggestions for a first harp at that price or less and that range/quality or more? The more I think about it, that’s what I have my heart set on, but even that might be a little bit too expensive.

    As far as lessons are concerned, I know of one person in the area who will give the first one free according to her Web site (and that’s probably all I’ll be able to attend–I’m planning to mostly teach myself since this will probably just be a dearly-loved hobby). But I’ll even have to wait for that because I think if I say the word “harp” one more time in front of my husband he may pull his hair out. 😛

    Well, I think I’ve written more than enough here so I’ll close. It’s great to be a part of a group where people can appreciate passion for harp music!

    Thanks for reading my rant,

    unknown-user on #163905

    Hi Becky:

    In short, you are not crazy.

    unknown-user on #163906


    Thanks so much for your reply! I’m so glad to hear that you feel the same way and that you are happy with the Ravenna 26. That’s funny how it hit you like a ton of bricks–that’s a lot like the way I feel. I tend to get on “kicks” where I get really excited about something, try it, and then give up shortly after. My husband seems to think it’s one of those things, but I really don’t think it is. I’ve always loved it, and it’s just been kind of a dormant passion since I never thought it would be possible. Oh, well. One day when I’m a pro he’ll have to eat his words. 🙂

    I think the Ravenna really might be the best thing to start with since I don’t think I can afford anything bigger and I’ve heard some bad things about learning while trying to balance a lap harp. Does that pull-out stand work well for you or did you buy the additional stand? Also, I’m debating whether I should get the harp with C and F levers or without at first to save a little bit. I’m just worried that adding them later will be a hassle and even more expensive!

    I agree with you about the lessons. Even if I don’t take them regularly, I hope to at least take a few for the exact reason you mentioned.

    Anyway, it’s good to have someone to talk to! 🙂 I’ll post something when I finally get one, but it’ll be a looong time…


    barbara-brundage on #163907

    I’d suggest doing it the other way round, Becky. Find a teacher first. Most teachers have a harp or two to rent to students and that’s a good way to find out just how much you like it. I never recommend to my students to buy a harp till they’ve had a couple of months of lessons and are sure they want to pursue it.

    unknown-user on #163908

    Welcome to the Newbie Div. of the Harp Brigade (or Harpies, as my SO calls us).

    unknown-user on #163909

    I have never used the pullout stand; I bought the base with four legs.

    brook-boddie on #163910


    Barbara’s advice is excellent.

    Kathleen Clark on #163911

    Woo hoo! Briony’s here!! Woo hoo! I think I got to hug you the day you got your Blevins. And your first lesson too. You were so excited I started to cry!

    unknown-user on #163912

    Thanks so much everyone for your replies! There sure a lot of people on this site. 🙂 Anyway, I’ll start from the beginning:

    Barbara and Brook, I agree with you both. I’m not sure if I could afford four lessons a month, but I hope to take at least a few lessons to get started before I actually buy anything, and then maybe a few after to make sure I don’t develop bad habits.

    Briony, I LOVE Blevins harps (from what I’ve seen on the web site). The only problem is I haven’t seen anything with at least 26 strings at the price of the Ravenna. Something might come around on the discount page by December though. I’m still a little concerned about balancing a lap harp while learning, which is why the Ravenna interested me since it has that built-in stand thing. Has anyone here learned to play on a lap harp as their first harp? Was it difficult?

    Kristina, I think you’re probably right about the levers. If I can afford them, I’ll definitely get them. Just out of curiousity, what style Ravenna did you get? Did you get the white and black or one of the other colors?

    So does anyone here have stories about when they first learned the harp? What was most difficult and did anything almost make you want to give up? How long did it take you to feel comfortable playing and what do you like most about playing now?

    sherry-lenox on #163913

    Hi Becky- Don’t worry about being a newbie. There are lots of us here! It is really good to start by having a teacher. I used my teacher’s harp for about 6 weeks before I got mine. I think most of the experienced players here will tell you to get as many strings as you can. The Ravenna 34 is said to be very nice. Go to the Blevins site and check out their specials. There are some excellent bargains there in harps with 34

    Cheryl Z. on #163914

    Hi Becky,

    Welcome to the harp world!

    The Revenna’s are very nice harps and Dusty Strings makes very sturdy harps.

    kay-lister on #163915

    Hi Becky – Welcome to the harp world.

    Leigh Griffith on #163916

    Hi Becky,

    My first (and only, so far) harp is a 22 string Stoney End Eve. I had
    limited funds (still do!) and it was something I could afford. I am
    right handed and originally held the pillar with my left hand and
    played with my right. I will admit right up front that I am overweight
    and have an “ample bosom”. If I don’t hold it some, it bounces! That
    said, when I joined the local ensemble, I rigged a rattan wastebasket
    turned upside down to set my harp on. After a few years the basket gave
    out and I switched to a 6 gallon plastic bucket for which I made a
    fabric cover.

    unknown-user on #163917

    Hi Becky.

    I concur with what everyone else said

    jan-fetty on #163918


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