How to Choose a Harp for a Beginner

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How to Choose a Harp for a Beginner

The harp is an elegant stringed instrument that players pluck with their fingers to create its unmistakable sound. Choosing a harp for a beginner may seem like a daunting task. There are many different types available and you need to consider the size of the harp according to the size of the player. So be sure to research carefully before making your purchase.


Harp Types

Harps fall into two main categories: pedal and lever instruments. The lever harp is a smaller version that you can play on your lap, while the pedal harp is much larger. For a beginner, the lever harp could be quite a good start because of its compactness. Moreover, smaller harps are generally less expensive and so a good starting point if you are still practising. As a beginner, you will also need a teacher to learn how to play the harp properly. The decision of which harp to choose may depend on what kind of harp the teacher has. For a beginner, the lever harp with 34 strings is probably the right option, although you can get smaller travel versions with 22 to 26 strings. If you choose to start with a pedal harp, you can choose between a full concert harp with 47 strings or a smaller version with 42 to 44 strings, which works well for children and shorter adults.


Checking the Harp's Condition

To ensure that you enjoy playing the musical instrument, choose a harp that is in good condition. The harp should have no signs of warping or cracks around the tuning pins and in the harmonic curve and soundboard. The tuning pins should stay in position as you tune the harp. If the strings look worn, make sure they have no sharp edges on the levers. In terms of condition, you can find used harps that previous owners maintained well. It takes several years for harps to mellow because the levers may be stiff at first, so an older harp often sounds richer and warmer than its new counterpart.


Features of Student Harp Models

The student models work well for beginners and differ from professional harps not only in price but also in their features. Student models have a square back and use a less expensive wood, such as plywood, as the main material. These beginner harps are smaller than professional models and therefore require less effort from the player when using the instrument. Be careful when buying a student harp to look for good quality. Keep in mind too that stringed instruments like harps vary significantly in price and quality.

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