where to buy a harp?

topic posted Sun, June 18, 2006 - 9:35 PM by  Unsubscribed
hi all,
im looking to buy a harp, it has been a dream of mine for a long time and now i know the time is right.
i wouldnt know where to start though. i dont know anythign about harps and where i would find them ..which are worth it etc. i know i want a smaller one to begin with, and that i can travel with.
somewhere in the UK / internet.
my father told me about a harp maker on the isle of skye, but i have not found out any info on this.
so if anyone has any harp ridden information, do tell!

thank you. such love, holi
posted by:
  • Re: where to buy a harp?

    Sun, July 23, 2006 - 11:36 AM
    Hi HoLi,
    There's a great web site that has lots of information about harps -- Unfortunately, they are in the US and the cost to ship a harp to the UK can be almost as much as the harp (I know, I work for the Harp Center and we get lots of people from the UK asking for shipping quotes). But, there is a place in the UK that does sell harps --

    Just be careful of buying anything off the internet. There's lot of really pretty inexpensive harps made of rosewood with beautiful carving on the side. They're very pretty to look at, but as far as an instrument goes, they're pretty useless.

    • Unsu...

      Re: where to buy a harp?

      Mon, July 24, 2006 - 2:59 PM
      thank you Aedan,
      i shall check it out. at the moment i am waiting to see if i stay in the UK or go to california. then. once i am set somewhere i shall persue my search.
      i am thinking of buying a cheaper, smaller one to begin with. one that can be rested on the knee as a pose to the ground. this will enable me to travel with it as i wish.
      which type of harp do you find people to purchase as a first time harp buyer?
      thank you, HoLi
      • Re: where to buy a harp?

        Mon, July 24, 2006 - 7:39 PM
        what first time harp buyers get really varies by person. some people just want to dip their toe in and buy something inexpensive. others know they want to play and get the harp they'll be using for the next 20 years. The Triplett Zephyr is a nice size travel harp and can be hand carried onto the plane. It does only have 22 strings, so you'll be limited to the arrangements you can play. A 25 or 26 string small harp will give you a bit more flexibility in tht respect, but may or may not be able to be hand carried onto a plane. You'll have to check the harp's dimensions and the each airline's specifications.

        • Unsu...

          Re: where to buy a harp?

          Tue, July 25, 2006 - 10:41 AM
          thanks again,
          i shall look into it. ive never played before, so im not looking to spend a fortune for the first time buy.
          • Re: where to buy a harp?

            Wed, July 26, 2006 - 1:14 PM
            Hey Cheeky Holi!

            I told ya where to go lass (via email), but ya Din'na listen *smiles*

            Your BEST bet is the 26 string Harpsicle, found here:

            They run about $295.00 they are light, portable, cheap, but have a great sound! Several harp teachers have them, as well as a harp teacher in Ireland who I studied briefly with, named Janet Harbison. She runs the National Irish harp Orchestra and has a harp center in Limerick.

            Really, no really....they are your BEST bet for a good beginning travel harp. BTW, if you come to Cali in the first part of august, there is a big harp festival in San Jose, called the Somerset Harp fest. You should have many sellers there, and they would be happy to have you take the harps for a test run.

            • Unsu...

              Re: where to buy a harp?

              Wed, July 26, 2006 - 2:57 PM
              hehe, blush
              i did listen, im just half pondering and asking lots of questions i guess......
              i do trust your advice from all i have though. very much.
              i thank you.

              and, you make me want to go over to cali for that festival, it sounds wonderful! but unfortunately i wont make it by then.

              im waiting a little until i know wether im staying in UK or going to cali...i think it would cost alot to ship a harp from the states over here, especially if i were then to fly to the states myself .. but they do look like very perfect harps -and i take your word for it greatly!

              we shall see, i cant wait to run my fingers over those dream.

              did you study harp in particular? in the UK, or was she in USA?

              thank you Sweeney, im very glad of all your advice, help and information

              much love and blessings,
              • Re: where to buy a harp?

                Wed, July 26, 2006 - 4:07 PM
                OH no worries, Ms. Holi,

                I am just playin' like...says silly Sweeney :-)

                I studied for part of a summer at Janet Harbison's Harp School in Castleconnell, outside of Limerick. She's a great teacher especially if you learn by rote (or repetition and ear,) as opposed to those bloody ants-on-a-page (I mean sheet music.) *lol*

                I agree, if you are coming here, then best to wait and buy one here, unless it is going to be a while There is a shop near where I live that sells them. If you come to Bay Area, we'll get you all sorted out the local harp society / events / your new Harpsicle.

                In any event, the only reason I am so insistent about the harpsicle is that I have done a lot of research around harps, and which ones are great to buy for beginners. Also, our local folk harp society is very active about communicating about these sorts of things.

                Part of how I started in harp was when a Music teacher told me "well, in 10 years, you could be talking about wanting to play for 10 years, or in 10 years you can say that you have been playing for 10 years!"....... I subsequently dove in.

                Best of luck :-)
                • Unsu...

                  Re: where to buy a harp?

                  Sat, July 29, 2006 - 5:04 PM
                  yay, i am coming to the bay for sure. i just booked a flight.
                  i would love for you to help me harply, i will be there from august 28 for three months (though, who knows in a time that wide)
                  im hoping, after burning man and a bit o work, to settle into some place for a while, studying and learning my soon to be beloved harp... :) in much excitement.

                  i never understood those ants on a page, so rote it shall be. i havent ever learnt to play an instrument. i improvise with what i have, but this time i really want to get stuck into it.

                  i like what your music teacher told you, inspiring words to dive in with glee!
                  are you in san francisco?

                  love, HoLi
                • Re: where to buy a harp?

                  Mon, December 4, 2006 - 11:44 AM
                  Excuse me listening in, but I'm interested in your opinion too -- I am currently borrowing a lap harp with no sharping levers, and thinking to buy something that does have sharping levers. And the harpsicle now has a "sharpsicle" -- with full sharping levers. I am thinking to buy either this or the Triplett Zephyr or the Triplett Christina Therapy Harp, OR part of me really wants to just bite off the whole thing and buy one of those god-awful expensive but wonderful larger harps that sit on a little stand and have lots and lots of strings..... The "sharpsicle" is by far the least expensive, but I wonder if I will be happy with it over time -- should I think about buying a nice harp for 10 years or in 10 years say how I've had this gorgeous harp for ten years??? : )

                  And, so HoLi, what did you get? And how's it going?

                  music sweetness,
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: where to buy a harp?

                    Tue, December 5, 2006 - 11:41 AM
                    Hey Ramaa,

                    HoLi had also asked about harps over in the Irish Music tribe. My (long) reply on that thread is here:


                    Right now there are three Triplett's (one a borrowed wire-strung) and a harpsickle in my house. While I love my big Triplett Premiere, when I look at how much they cost nowadays, I go "eek!". What would I do if I were getting my first harp now?

                    I think I would value tone over size. If a harp sounds good, you can always play it, and for example, Kim Robertson can play some nifty classical stuff on a small lap harp.

                    I think the popular harps like Triplett, Dusty Strings, etc. are able to charge a premium because of their popularity. There are a number of other harp makers in California, some of them are quite good, but don't produce near near enough harps for them to be sold at Sylvia's or Lark in the Morning. (e.g. Sue Raimond loves her Lionwood from Mike Maley(sp?)) It seems to me that some of them are more affordable than others, and one of the two harps I've had instant harp-lust for was a Hidden Valley.

                    As I said in the other post, it's vital to try out a number of different harps. Just recently I was playing a friend's big Dusty. The progressive spacing drove me nuts! (The Dusty strings harps gradually narrow the spacing between the strings as you go up the harp. So if I shape my hand for an octave at the bottom of the harp, that shape is an octave and two strings at the top of the harp. For most people it's no problem or actually a benefit for playing quickly with the right hand, but it's not optimal for my style.)

                    Are you in So Cal? If so, get in touch.

                    -- Timothy
                    • Re: where to buy a harp?

                      Tue, December 5, 2006 - 9:58 PM
                      Thanks Timothy! I'm in Northern California. Where does one find these harps that are not sold at Sylvia Woods or Lark in the Morning? Also if anyone knows of harp teachers in Santa Rosa or Napa area, or Lake County, I'd appreciate the info.
                      • Re: where to buy a harp?

                        Wed, December 6, 2006 - 11:42 AM
                        Hey Ramaa,

                        If there is a harp circle in your area, that might be one place to meet people and maybe try out their harps. (I hope it doesn't turn out that I'm promiscuous compared to other harpers about sharing my harp!) This list may be a starting point:


                        For harp makers, I did a quick google and here are some lists:





                        (Quote from this page: The first thing to realize when you are looking for your first folk harp is that it is a musical instrument. One must try to look beyond the romance and glamour of harping - bards of old and strolling minstrels, etc. - and focus on the musical qualities of the instrument. Other things being equal, sound is everything! There is no substitute for actually hearing the instrument that you are considering. The glowing words of praise that are written in flyers and catalogues should not be taken at face value. Everyone makes the "best harps in the world"!)

                        If you can get down to LA in June, I'll recommend going to the Solstice festival. It's based on workshops, and I think the harp and storytelling tracks are great.

                        -- Timothy
                      • Re: where to buy a harp?

                        Sun, November 25, 2007 - 12:03 PM
                        Check out the "harplust" list

                        There are a few harp shops in the Bay Area, notably Harps etc. in Walnut Creek. Rental harps are also available. The shops can also lead you to teachers, and the local ISFHC chapters (one in South Bay & one in East Bay I believe).

                        I can recommend an excellent harp teacher in Sonoma county:

                        I highly suggest joining the harplist (the yahoo group) for detailed info on any harp-related question.

  • Re: where to buy a harp?

    Wed, July 21, 2010 - 1:50 PM
    if you are going to be in california and washington states look on google and ebay. there are lots posted out that way. i have noticed that second hand name harps are going fairly cheaply right now. i picked up a dusty strings 26 as a back up to my oldie for 1150 usd including shipping to eastern canada. a thrid of the new price a few years back.

    there's a 34 string ron wall on vancouver, canada craigslist. i have his floor harp, and its great, this is his portable one. weighs only 26 pounds. i would look at that--if i weren't stocked up

    again i saw a blevins 31 string go for about 1200 usd on e bay. there are deals out there with the down turn. their is a west coast harp page that lists many.

    and of course lesser known makers, as ststed can be a better deal. although for a small harp i'm sold on the fh26. light loud and resonant. myfavourite busking and small gig harp.but i am also a ron wall fan and that34 may be a treasure. he shrank ita bit to fit in the backseat of a subcompact car==an importantconsideration if youtravel a lot or do a lot of busking or little gigs. 34 strings will get you pretty much tthe whole celtic repitoire, but i can fake it on 26 for a huge number of songs and tunes. i do like the lower three strings missing so a 29to31 is perfect for a smaller harp.

    as already mentioned don't buy from pakistan--they are ccrrap!

    but look for ebay and craigslist deals. prices are way down in north america--this may mean people are hurting but it isstill a good time tobuy

Recent topics in "Celtic and Irish Harps"