Playing a musical instrument is a beautiful hobby. It is a lot of work, at the same time, but people who learn to play an instrument feel accomplished, and you have to admit that it is a relaxing activity. Individuals who spend as little as 20 minutes playing an instrument feel more relaxed than people who do not, and music is an excellent stress reliever.
Playing the harp is not easy. Ask anyone who plays the strings how much work it requires to learn and practice. However, one thing is certain. Harp songs are serene, and they have the ability to calm you down. In fact, studies suggest that live harp sessions can bring many benefits like relaxation and even pain relief. So, if you play the harp or want to learn how to do it, you may benefit a great deal from it.
Buying the harp, on the other hand, is not as easy as one may think, especially when we are talking about beginners. If you wake up one day and decide that you want to learn to play the harp, you have the work cut out for you. The first thing you need to do is do some research on the subject. That is why I created this buying guide. There are a few things you need to know and questions to ask yourself before making a purchase. But first things first.
What are your intentions with the harp?
I ask that because the harp you buy depends on how far you want to go with the harp. In my point of view, there are three kinds of players. Let’s start from the less serious to the most dedicated:
- You just want a hobby – if you plan on playing the harp just as a hobby, I recommend that you take it slow, as in fewer strings and less expensive In fact, the fewer strings a harp has, the lower the price is. After all, if you learn to play it and decide that you want to take it a step further, you can always sell the old harp and buy a more advanced one. Also, some manufacturers do not add a lever and it can be bought separately. There is no point in purchasing a lever if you do not intend to get serious with the harp playing. On the other hand, a lever will give your music something extra, and if you do decide to sell it afterward, a lever is an excellent selling point. So it is up to you in the end.
- You love harp music – that means the harp is more than a hobby, but you do not plan on going professional. You simply want to take it to another level. That is totally fine, lots of people do it. In that case, you should purchase a mid-range harp. It has more strings than the previous recommendation, and levers are a must. That is if you want to be able to play more notes. My recommendation is that you should buy as many strings as you can afford. You will not regret it, especially when you hear yourself playing.
- You plan on going pro – at this point, you cannot make concessions. You need to buy a harp with as many strings as you can afford and think about purchasing a harp pedal. You may not need now, but if you get very good at playing the harp and exceed the beginner level, a pedal will make your music ten times better. I suppose you have heard before the sound of a harp with a pedal. However, keep in mind that going pro is more expensive, so make sure to establish a budget. It may be the time to take out that old piggy bank.
What to consider when looking for the best harp?
Now that we have established at which level you are let’s see what the key factors to consider when you need to make the purchase are. There are a lot of them, but I will mention the most important. Otherwise, this article will turn into a book and I guess you do not have the patience to go through it all.
- The type of wood – there are plenty of debates whether the wood from which the harp is made bears any significance or not. However, the majority is that yes, the wood matters. Also, it matters if the harp is made of laminate wood or solid wood. If you are a professional, then you do not need this speech from me, but if you are a beginner, you may not have much choice. Solid wood in the soundboard or the body is Nonetheless, it is good to be informed. What you need to know is that solid wood will make the sound richer, which is something you desire I guess.
- Levers – there are not many manufacturers that produce levers, but it all comes down to one thing. Are the levers clamping the string or just lifting them up? As far as sound goes, there is no significant difference. However, the lifting levers will exert less pressure on the strings than the That can affect the lifespan of your strings.
- Do you want to play in a band? – That is more relevant than you think. Why? Because we all know that harps are not made to play loudly. So what are your options if you want to play in a band? Higher tension strings. The more tension the strings have, the louder the sound. It is true that you are going to have to work for it, but then again, I think you expected that.
- Portability – if you want to play the harp at home only, you do not have to worry about portability. However, if you plan on taking it with you at various locations, think about the transportation. For example, you will never be able to transport a pedal harp with a compact car, no matter how you rearrange the backseat. You need a bigger car than a sedan, that is for sure.
- How about your hands? – If you buy the harp for a child, or you yourself are the proud owner of a pair of small hands, then you need a harp with smaller string spacing and lighter tension. The reason is self-explanatory, and high-tension strings can do some serious damage on small hands. The blisters alone will take you out of order.
- The price of delivery – as you can imagine, there are not many harp manufacturers in the world, so chances are that your harp is going to travel at least a few hundreds of miles until it gets to your front door. Since harps are fragile, the cost of delivery is higher than with regular products you acquire online. There is nothing you can do about that, but I thought you should know.
What are the best harps?
Since there are a few brands that can send you a harp, making a choice is not as confusing as when you buy a piece of electronics, for example. There are not many harps, to begin with. However, if you still need some suggestions, I chose three models that I think you will appreciate. Hopefully, they are what you need and end up purchasing one.
Roosebeck Heather Harp
The Roosebeck Harp is an excellent choice if you are a beginner or you like to play the harp because you love the sound. It has a decent size with approximately 36 inches in height. Playing it is quite comfortable, and an average sized person can handle it well. The strings are made of high-quality hard nylon manufactured by DuPont, and the fact that the harp has 22 strings, it gives you a good range from C3 to C6.
This harp also features 22 levers that are easy to handle. Tuning this harp will not be as difficult as you may think. The fact that the soundboard is made from birchwood makes the sound wonderful and strong. The engraved and inlaid frame makes this product very lovely to look at. Even when you do not use it, it looks gorgeous in the corner of your living room. The color and the shape makes it a true work of art. The engravings are handmade, by the way.
The harp weighs almost 16 pounds, which makes it not very heavy to carry around if you plan on singing somewhere else other than your home. Overall, this is an example of a fantastic mid-range harp, but you will be very pleased with your purchase. It comes with a tuning tool and an extra set of strings, but you may want to invest in an electronic tuning meter for better sound. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon
Roosebeck Pixie Harp
As I mentioned somewhere above, there are not many harp manufacturers, but Roosebeck is one of them. I chose yet another harp from their catalog because I think they provide good quality at affordable prices. High-quality harps are generally expensive items, but when you want quality, you have to be prepared to pay for it.
Unlike the previous harp, the Pixie model has only 19 strings, which makes it ideal for beginners and students. You can buy it for your child if you like. It measures 31 inches in height, and that makes it quite comfortable for children. The strings are DuPont and made of hard nylon. They provide a range from F below middle C to high C. From where I stand, that is enough for a hobby.
Just like all Roosebeck harps, this one looks amazing. It features an engraved and inlaid rosewood frame. The birch soundboard provides excellent sound and strength, just like the previous model. You will also receive a tuning tool and an additional set of strings. The levers are comfortably positioned, and the hand carvings make this harp one of the most beautiful musical instruments in its category. I believe it is ideal for any beginner who would like to learn how to play the harp. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon
Rees Harps Fullsicle Harp
If you are looking for a harp that is fit to travel, this is the one you want. I have to admit that it is a bit pricey, but once you hear the sounds it makes, you will not think about the price anymore. It comes with 25 strings, which gives you an excellent range from G to C below Middle C. The sound is sharp and defined, which makes you think that this model is more than a harp for beginners.
The reason why people like this model is that it is very lightweight. You do not find a 6.8-pound harp every day. You can carry it with you anywhere you want to go, but remember that the case is sold separately. As for the strings, you will be very satisfied with them. They are made of hard nylon, and the levers are comfortably positioned. Also, they are easy to control. One thing that you should know about this model is that it may take some time for the soundboard to stabilize. However, if you tune it every day for a while, that will happen, and at some point, it will not go out of tune anymore. You can achieve perfect tuning with a cheap electronic tuning meter. The bridge pins and the modified Robinson sharping levers will provide access to all musical keys, and you can even use the harp as bass. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon
I cannot say that I am an expert on harps. I am just an amateur, probably like most of you who are reading this article. However, my choice is Rees Harps Fullsicle Harp. It may be the most expensive in the list provided, but it is lightweight, easy to tune, and it has an excellent range. I believe it to be one of the best harps you can get your hands on.
Learning to play the harp is not an easy process. You need to make a real effort and invest some time in it. However, everything will be easier with the right instrument. One of the harps above will provide everything you need, no matter which one you choose. Click here to buy on Amazon
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