Although we have an abundance of things to choose from these days, and although nothing is pretty much a mystery, there are still some great instruments that we don’t know much about. Although we’ve seen them somewhere and know of them, harps are often overlooked in the world of music. And this is mostly because of their overall impractical nature, at least compared to instruments like a guitar or a violin or any kind of keyboard-based instruments.
But it’s not only their dimensions that present an issue here. Harp is a very delicate instrument, and not exactly the easiest one to play. And don’t even get us started on how difficult it can be for a beginner to learn, especially if we’re looking at regular classic concert harps with their pedals for controlling the pitch of the instrument and their implementation for modulations and chromatic alterations that we find in many music pieces.
One of the most often issues when it comes to harps is the price. You’ll often see those who are not familiar with the instrument asking around how much does a harp cost. This is exactly why we decided to do this brief guide and help out anyone who’s looking to get into the world of harps.
- 1 Harp Price Range
- 2 Factors That Impact the Harp Price
- 3 Famous Brands of Harps
- 4 Conclusion
Harp Price Range
When talking about harps and cost, we first need to get one thing out of the way – these are expensive instruments. These are not like guitars or keyboards where you can find just a simple cheap and reliable instrument that you can use for practice sessions and some smaller live shows. However, we have different types of harps, all designed for different uses in different music genres. So here, we’re going to split them into a few categories and see the overall potential costs.
In most cases, these beginner harps are diatonic instruments, meaning that they’re fixed to just one scale. We can have anywhere between 7 or 8 strings, and up to 20-something strings. Those with fewer strings are usually lyre-like harps and are perfect for the youngest beginners. These can cost usually from $100 to $300, with a few exceptions. Celtic or folk harps are also pretty interesting for beginners and a lot of them sit within this price range. A great example of a kid’s harp is Roosebeck’s Lily Harp with 8 strings or Royal’s 12-string harp.
If we’re talking about proper beginner harps that replicate classic harps and have 20 or more strings, then these can go anywhere between $500 up to $1500. In most of the cases, the price sits near the $1000 mark. These don’t have pedals (at least not in most of the cases) but might have levers that can change the pitch of strings and let you play in a different key.
See more: Top 7 Best Harps for Beginners Reviews
Some of the more expensive beginner harps can also come in handy for intermediate players. Either way, the choice of harps is not as diverse compared to other instruments, so this same category between $500 and $1500 fits well for intermediate players.
However, once we get to more complex harps, things can get significantly more expensive, even in the intermediate categories. If we take folk harps, like Celtic harps, these can get anywhere from $1000 and up to about $5000, sometimes even more.
The same can be said about simpler versions of regular classical harps. Roosebeck has great examples for both of these categories, like their great 36-string Celtic harp and their 38-string classical floor harp with levers. Although not a professional level, these harps are also pretty great.
But if we get to pedal harps, prices go drastically up. If you want a good intermediate to semi-professional classical pedal harp, prices go from $10000 and up. In most of the cases, these harps also have a standard number of strings, around 47 or more.
If you want a fully professional harp, these can cost quite a lot. In fact, you could even buy an entire home for this price. It goes anywhere from $50000, and even way past beyond the $150000 mark. With such a price, these are made by hand through custom orders and you can’t actually find them in an average music store. Here we have a custom harp manufacturer Lyon & Healy, and the information about their instruments can be obtained only through private communication.
Some Other Examples
Of course, as we already explained, the harp is a very complex instrument. There are actually a few different types of “unconventional” harps out there, including multi-chorus harps, chromatic harps, electric harps, or some custom-made antique-styled harps. Electric ones are becoming increasingly popular, with each of the strings bearing their individual piezo sensor (essentially a pickup). Harpsicle is a great manufacturer and they have their line of electric harps as well, usually bearing 33 strings in total.
But as for antique-styled harps, these are more expensive and are custom made, but also serve as a decoration rather than just a higher-level instrument. Morley Harps makes amazing instruments in this category and can be useful for intermediate or semi-professional performers.
Factors That Impact the Harp Price
As you can see, harps are not exactly the simplest instruments. There are certain things that can impact the price, and we’ll cover them in a few points.
Aside from the type of harp, the price of the instrument depends on the overall build quality and the materials that are used. As for the lower-price categories, manufacturers don’t use top-quality wood, eRoyal Harpsven for the harp’s soundbox.
Meanwhile, professional harps are made using quality wood that’s been not only selected by the professionals, but also stored and crafted in such a way that will affect the tone and the instrument’s overall appearance. At the same time, a quality piece of wood will significantly increase the instrument’s longevity.
Components and Mechanisms
Harps are more than just a piece of wood with strings on it. For instance, pedal harps come with very complex mechanisms for changing the pitch of the instrument’s strings. In order to work well, these mechanisms need to be designed and made by professionals with years of experience in instrument-building. And that’s never cheap.
Skilled Harp Builders
But aside from materials and different mechanisms used, you need to bear in mind that harps are made by professionals. And if we’re talking about more expensive harps, there will not only be more working hours involved, but also harp builders that have years of experience.
Famous Brands of Harps
If you’re looking for beginner harps, Royal are one of the first brands that you’ll stumble upon. They are a relatively smaller manufacturer, but they have quite a following among the lovers of smaller beginner or intermediate harps. But despite being cheaper, these are also hand-crafted.
Mid-East are a manufacturer focusing mostly on traditional and folk acoustic instrument. We can even find percussion, different wind instruments, banjos, and of course harps. The company is based in Pakistan and they also focus on harp accessories, including tuning keys, tuning pins, and harp gig bags.
Roosebeck are actually a subsidiary company of Mid-East that also focuses on traditional and folk instruments. However, they’re better-known for their harps, especially those cheaper alternatives to full-sized professional harps. Despite lower prices, you can expect good quality from Roosebeck.
If you’re looking for great intermediate instruments, Harpsicle Harps are a great brand to check out. Based in California, they create both acoustic and electric harps with levers. They also offer quality accessories, including care kits, tuners, tuning keys, and even very useful display stands.
Now, Morley Harps are a more serious company, focused on quality high-end instruments. These include lever harps and pedal harps in the advanced and semi-professional categories. Although expensive, these are still not the top-tier high-end harps, but they’re also pretty great. This is a go-to brand for serious harp students.
And then we have Lyon & Healy that are one of the most renowned brands on the market. These are fully professional instruments used by the best harps players out there. They’re made by order and you need to contact the company representatives to know more about the price and all the features. Lever harps, pedal harps, even electro-acoustic harps – you can find it all with Lyon & Healy.
Being more complex, harps are not as widespread and easy to find compared to other instruments. Aside from some small beginner and intermediate instruments, you can’t really walk into a music store and buy a high-end harp. The prices vary widely, from up to $300 in the beginner categories, over $3000 to $10000 in more serious intermediate or advanced levels, and anywhere over $150000 for fully professional examples. If you’re planning to start learning how to play the harp, you need to bear in mind that it’s not as simple and cheap compared to other instruments.