Snappy, but sweet responses to “how much does that thing cost?”

Posted In: Coffee Break


  • Participant
    emma-graham on #229863

    Uuuurgh, I get this EVERYWHERE! From formal concerts to weddings. It’s second only to the “wish you played the flute?” question. At weddings I tend to be using my stunt harp (cheaper, UK made so easier to fix if it gets damaged and I’m happy for it to go outside) rather than my main harp – LH 23. I have lots of harps for different things and also rent some out so I usually say “well this is my cheap one – I’ve got quite a few. Let’s just say that all my harps added together are worth more than my mortgage.” I say it very matter of fact. They usually look horrified and back away. I obviously don’t mention that I bought my house a reaaaaallly long time ago and it’s really small…..like my mortgage! 😂😉

    That said, I’m quite tempted to just pop this image behind my music and whip it out where necessary!

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    Participant
    carl-swanson on #229866

    Maybe the thing to do when people ask that is say “Why don’t you take a guess.” Or, “How much do you think it costs?” Throw the ball back into their court. If they venture a guess, then just say “You’re way off.”


    Participant
    Evolène on #229899

    Oooh, I like that answer, Carl! I guess, like Biagio said, the best way is to answer this kind of question by another one of the same kind.

    @ Emma, I really know how you feel! Why, oh, why do people ask questions they don’t want the answer to?


    Participant
    Biagio on #229905

    It may seem surprising to us, but for many people still today, seeing a harp up close and personal is a new experience. Especially if they have only seen one tucked to the side in an orchestra; or the clarsach on the Guiness bottle haha.

    They’re curious, most of the time. If it were a guitar or violin, I’d bet we would not get that question. A double like yours, Evolene, is even more novel. I recall the reaction on the Harplist when I made my first double 10 years ago: “Wow, you must be a very experienced player.” Heck no!

    If time permits then I’m happy to talk about the instrument I love. My stock answer might be “A good harp might cost anything from $500 for a very small one, if you make it yourself, up to the price of an SUV. You know, it is the most ancient of all stringed instruments and some today are still made the same way as those 400 years ago.

    Just for the sake of discussion, how much would you be willing to spend?”


    Participant
    Tacye on #229915

    I often say it cost as much as a car, but lasts much longer.

    On which topic, I have just noticed my main instrument’s replacement as new valuation divided by how long I have owned it has fallen below £1000 a year.


    Participant
    Gretchen Cover on #229946

    I used to be coy about saying what a harp costs, but depending on who/how the question is presented, I am happy to say more than $30k. Then people don’t take my harp and me for granted. You can find the prices on the internet, anyhow. Otherwise, I will say a lot or the price of a car. It’s just not a big deal anymore.


    Participant
    Evolène on #229952

    On which topic, I have just noticed my main instrument’s replacement as new valuation divided by how long I have owned it has fallen below £1000 a year.

    Interesting! How do you do the maths on that?

    It may seem surprising to us, but for many people still today, seeing a harp up close and personal is a new experience. Especially if they have only seen one tucked to the side in an orchestra; or the clarsach on the Guiness bottle haha.
    They’re curious, most of the time. If it were a guitar or violin, I’d bet we would not get that question. A double like yours, Evolene, is even more novel.

    Absolutely, and I’m really happy to talk about the harp. Most people aren’t quite sure what to call my instrument. I then explain the differences between harps and others harps (they are actually a family of instruments, like the violin-viola-cello.)
    I don’t go into explaining the double-strung thing, though : my partner used to proudly talk about my one-of-a-kind harp here in France, but I’m just happy when they don’t confuse it with a cello.
    I’m more than happy to talk about harp differences, techniques, and, yes, prices, with other harpists and harpers. But I’m trying to find sweet responses to people dismissively asking : “What on earth is that thing?”, followed, of course, by “And how much does such a thing cost?”
    I like your stock answer, Biagio, because it stays matter-of-fact while staying vague.

    I used to be coy about saying what a harp costs, but depending on who/how the question is presented, I am happy to say more than $30k. Then people don’t take my harp and me for granted.

    A very good point. It teaches people to be careful about a pedal harp and the skill that goes with it. I’m reluctant to go that way because I bring my small lever harp outside and don’t want it to become an instant target for thieves and ill-advised people.

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