Harps for Beginners – Read Before You Buy!
Of so many instruments that we have to choose from in the present day, the harp needs to be probably the most underrated choice on the market. This very versatile and expressive instrument dates way back to the old ages, and it got its modern design defined in Europe during the Renaissance period.
Its appealing tone and really exciting nature made it so widespread, and it will definitely find its way into classical music and even some “unconventional” musical movements, like world music.
After all, different versions can be found in traditional folk music. We will additionally stumble upon an occasional experimental use in rock, heavy metallic, and other modern music genres, although that is pretty uncommon.
If we’d define it in an easy approach, let’s say that the harp is a stringed instrument with each note having its individual string standing at an angle. These strings are fingerpicked with both left and right hands.
Different Types of Harps
After the instrument’s evolution through the years, we now have a couple of different types of harps. However, there are additionally many other kinds of harps, including Celtic, multi-chorus, and chromatic harps.
Concert Harps or Pedal Harps
Probably the most well-known one is the concert harp or the so-called pedal harp. In their essence, pedal harps are diatonic instruments, which means that the strings are tuned to one particular scale. However, by using a pedal harp, you’ll be able to alter the pitch of the strings and either play in a different key or simply add chromatic alterations.
Multi-chorus harps have multiple rows of strings, as opposed to other kinds of harps that have just one row of strings. These are additionally known as “double-harps” since they’ve two rows of strings.
Celtic and Folk Harps
Celtic harps or folk harps often have nylon strings and levers that may assist you to change the pitch of the strings. These are relatively smaller they usually don’t have any pedals. They’re diatonic, which means that they’re in one key.
In fact, there are also other types of harps or harp-like instruments. Going through history, lyres and instruments like medieval harps additionally fall into this same category. They’re normally not so widespread and are mostly used in folk music.
Chromatic harps are pretty attention-grabbing. Instead of being in one key (diatonic), these harps cover all 12 semitones in one octave. They will either have strings in a single line or are cross-strung, just like multi-chorus harps. Although not as widespread, these are used by some professional harp players and are in some ways very practical since there are no pedals or levers involved.
Although not as frequent, there are some electric harps that convert string vibration into an electrical signal, similar to electric or electro-acoustic guitars. These can also come as hollow-body or solid-body instruments. For picking up the string vibration, these harps use piezo pickups for every individual string. The electric harps also combine this signal with the one from inside microphones.
5 Best Beginner Harps
Because harps are not standardized, it may become confusing for beginners to search for the proper instrument.
Realizing what to look for is important. Sadly, not all harps for beginners are created equal.
Some harps are produced from substandard materials. Thankfully, many models are superior and provide a better playing experience.
With this guide, you’ll learn about the 5 best harps for beginners.
Right here, you will discover detailed information that will assist you to determine which beginner harp will be the finest for you.
1. Royal 12-String Children’s Harp (Finest Beginner Harp)
If we’re speaking about the youngest students, discovering the best harp for beginners won’t be that simple. You need a small, light, and easy-to-play instrument, that will also not be that costly.
At the same time, it needs to have some basic quality concepts that may teach the youngest students about the important features of this wonderful instrument. However whereas all this sounds like an impossible task, that is exactly what you’ll get with Royal’s 12-string Children’s Harp.
With this particular harp, we have a very simplified body that makes it simpler for anyone to play it. However, it still keeps its resonance with a very clever soundbox design. In fact, it’s not possible to make a completely functioning harp at this size and price level, but it still manages to deliver a nice performance.
And most essential, it has all the required elements that can teach a beginner about all the basic concepts. If we’re speaking about the youngest beginners, this would be the perfect instrument for them since its size ad overall features are accommodated for them.
The youngest players may get attracted to harps since these are pretty exciting instruments. However, the parents might be discouraged by the prices and the overall complex nature of this instrument.
Luckily, a harp-like this Royal’s 12-string is accommodated for even the youngest music lovers. Not to mention that the price is pretty affordable as well. So wouldn’t it be a shape if they’d not get the chance to play one?
Royal 12-String Children’s Harp features
2. Roosebeck 12-String Baby Harp (Finest Deal for the Price)
Roosebeck additionally has some very attention-grabbing instruments in its arsenal to offer. Speaking about harps, and beginner harps, particularly, they also have a great 12-string deal with their 12-string Baby Harp.
In some ways, it’s just like the one that we detailed above. We’ve got an identical type of configuration and construction. Nevertheless, we’d argue that here we have a better option of materials and overall better performance.
Actually, this harp isn’t just for the youngest students. And despite its pretty low price (which isn’t much higher than the one for Royal’s 12-string harp), you will get a pretty great performance. After all, this is far from an intermediate or professional stage instrument, but it’s still pretty wonderful how it sounds for this price category.
Although quite simple in its building, the soundbox resonates pretty well and even manages to get some subtle dynamical nuances of one’s playing. Yeah, we once again have only 12 strings right here, however, it’s pretty much enough for an absolute newbie.
Whether you’re searching for something that can match young players or those mature ones who’re just searching for an easy harp to start on, you can’t actually go wrong with this one.
In addition, this harp comes with a few goodies. You additionally get a spare set of strings, as well as a tuning device. This way, with proper instruction, you’ll also be capable to learn how to restring a harp. After all, this is a vital aspect in case you’re trying to cover all the aspects of harp playing.
Roosebeck 12-String Baby Harp features
3. Harpsicle Fullsicle Harp (Comfortable to Play)
Needless to say, many music lovers are actually keen on learning to become professional players sooner or later, or no less than semi-pros. In fact, this requires an appropriate instrument, it doesn’t matter what their choice is. This could, however, get a bit complicated with harps, as the selection is not very easy to make.
No matter the age, you’ll want something that can serve you well even if you reach an intermediate stage. When you’re really serious about your future musicianship and music profession as a harp player, then we’d suggest this nice Fullsicle Harp, which is made by a company called Harpsile.
Here we have got a harp with 26 strings. It’s about 36 inches tall, although it’s relatively light for its size, about 6.5 pounds. However, what’s actually exciting is that this harp comes with levers for its strings. This means that it’s not only a simple diatonic harp that may be played in just one key.
With all of its settings, you’ll be able to set it to be in either of those eight keys: E, Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, and A. It could be a little bit of a complicated concept for beginners, but it’s essential if they need to turn into good at playing the harp.
However, there are just a few more things that you need to keep in mind. These harps take a bit more time to be made, normally about 6 to 8 weeks. This additionally implies that Fullsicle Harps are not exactly the most affordable ones on the market. However, despite their higher prices, they’re most certainly worth it.
To date, almost all the buyers have been extremely happy, and there aren’t really that many things to complain about. What’s more, it’s normally doable to order it in several color finishes, so that’s fascinating as well.
Harpsicle Fullsicle Harp features
4. Royal Celtic Irish Knee Harp (Finest Celtic Harp)
Just like we already explained within the intro of this guide, there are additional Celtic harps, that are focused on Celtic or typically any folk music where the harp is a welcome instrument. And it’s probably not uncommon for beginners to be into this kind of music in the first place. So all those that are considering Celtic harps, there’s one nice piece by Royal Harps, that may come in useful for you.
This Celtic harp is about 27 inches tall and comes with a total of 17 strings. What’s actually surprising for this price level is the truth that its body is produced from solid wood, it has hand-engraved styles, and it’s been hand-polished.
General, this harp is pretty compact and it’s supposed for kids. However, the overall tone quality makes it stand out, and also you’ll be capable to play it even in some more advanced levels of your music journey. It’s a quite simple instrument without any additions to it. However, at the same time, it actually suits any setting where a Celtic harp could be appropriate.
What’s actually practical is that it also comes with a bag and an additional set of spare strings. Alone, these two items can be an additional important investment, so this makes it a reasonably great deal. In case you want a pleasant beginner folk harp, you just have to check this one out.
Royal Celtic Irish Knee Harp features
5. Harpsicle Harps Rees Special Edition Fullsicle Harp (Best Overall)
As we already talked about, there are beginner musicians who’re aiming for one of the best. This, nevertheless, comes with its price. On the other hand, the price is worth it in case you get a musical instrument. Although a bit complex instrument and relatively costly, this one by Harpsicle Harps is something you’ll really have to take a look at when you’re serious about turning into a great harp player.
This one is 33 inches tall and has 26 strings in total. This lever harp comes with special Rees Levers which are pretty well-made. Similar to the other model by Harpsicle Harps that we talked about, this one can be pretty light.
At the same time, it offers you a wide range and provides lots of versatility for different musical styles. It’s a bit of an advanced piece, however, beginners who’re actually keen on studying the instrument will find it to be really helpful.
Harpsicle Harps Rees Special Edition Fullsicle Harp features
How Does a Harp Work
Although it might take lots of time to completely explain how harps work, some primary concepts are simple to figure out. A harp is a stringed instrument where all the strings are plucked using your fingers.
The sting then vibrates, the body resonates, and you get a sound. The strings differ by thickness and length, with the length being determined by the instrument’s construction. These two factors determine the pitch of every string.
Harps normally have a so-called “soundbox” with sound holes. When a string vibrates, this part amplifies the sound, making it loud enough for everybody to listen to.
Pedal harps have pedals that alter the pitch of strings. By pressing them, you get outside of the diatonic bounds of the harp’s tuning and get more notes. Beginners can do nicely with some simpler harps without any pedals and other complicated controls.
How Much Does a Harp Cost
The harp is a delicate and specific instrument, so the price can vary. Easy beginner harps may be anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $1,000 or $2,000. Nevertheless, common harps can get pretty expensive.
Folk harps could be anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000, while pedal harps can get well over $10,000. Fully professional concert harps could be astronomically expensive, surpassing $100,000 or more. With more complex construction and with better materials, harp prices increase drastically.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Strings Does a Harp Have?
When shopping for the best harp for beginners that can fit your needs, one of the first things to think about is the number of strings. However, beginner harps include way fewer strings compared to professional ones. Standard full-sized pedal harps that professional concert performers play have 47 strings.
Although it is a standard, you’ll also discover some nice professional-level harps with 46 and even 48 strings, with some occasional examples going as low as 40. With 47 strings, you get six and a half octaves.
But when we’re looking into beginner harps, you’ve anything from 12 strings and up. As you may see from this guide, there are harps with 22 strings or 26 strings as well. It’s a pretty unusual instrument either way, so any number is possible from 12 to 30 within the beginner range. And, in fact, there are even these super-small harps with solely 8 strings, however, these aren’t as widespread as different choices.
What is Harp Strings Made of?
As you may already see by now, harps are versatile devices, and the general options rely on many alternative elements. So far as string supplies go, it could get a bit versatile well. Within the case of those standard classical harps, nylon is a usual material, just like you’ll find with classical or flamenco guitars. This may also be heard in their tone.
In lots of circumstances, it’s also possible to discover metal strings. As soon as once more draw a parallel with guitars, these are metal cores with a smooth copper wire wrapped around them. But there are, in fact, some other variants as well, like the phosphor and bronze combo used for the core, with either a copper wire wrapped around it or a thin soft nylon string.
Nylon strings have that softer tone with a really specific attack and an overall mellow vibe. Steel strings will resonate differently and can normally give a significantly brighter sound. Nylon strings are typical of classical music, while steel strings are supposed for many different genres, as is the case with guitar strings. In fact, you’re at all times free to experiment and do whatever suits your artistic views.
As you’ll be able to see from this guide, the harp is a pretty delicate and complex instrument. In fact, it’s far from an impossible task to figure it out and turn into good at it. Nevertheless, the harp is normally a pretty expensive instrument, and you’ll have to be prepared to give a substantial sum if you’re planning on turning into an advanced harp player.
But so far as beginner harps go, it’s simple to find some simple stuff that’s pretty reasonably priced. Actually, the harps that we detailed above aren’t any more costly than some nice beginner or intermediate-level guitars, keyboards, trumpets, or some other instruments. At the same time, you have to remember that the cheaper the instrument, the less versatile it will get.
When you’re searching for the best harp for beginners, it would get a bit tricky at some point, but any of the instruments that we talked about above are worth it and work pretty nicely for this stage.
It’s just up to you to decide what is going to suit your needs probably the most and how it will impact your overall development as a musician. In case you’re an absolute beginner, lower price and practicality are your main concerns.