If you want to become the best harpist you can be, at one point or the other, you’d have to own your instrument. This way, you can put in as much practice time as you need whenever you want to. But, here comes the million-dollar question — how much do harps cost?
Due to the ‘exotic’ and intricate nature of the harp, its prices tend to be high. This is especially true when you compare the prices of the harp to other instruments.
But, before you hit the panic button, not all harps are crazy expensive. In other words, you can own a harp without breaking the bank or emptying your wallets. Yes, we said it. Harps can vary hugely in prices, and we’ll tell you all about it.
In this blog post, you’ll discover all you need to know about the cost of harps on the market today. Furthermore, we’ll give you some insight into the various factors that may affect the prices of harps. But first, let us share some of the advantages you enjoy when you own your harp.
Benefits of Owning Your Harp
You may still be on the fence about purchasing your harp due to various reasons. But, there are several perks to having a harp to call your own when it comes down to it. Here are some of the advantages of buying a harp for yourself:
- You’d have an easily accessible harp whenever you need to practice or work on an assignment.
- You don’t have to worry about renting a harp.
- It is more cost-effective as you save on rental charges in the long run.
- You don’t have to wait in line for a harp in practice rooms or classrooms.
- Finally, having your harp helps you master the techniques of playing the harp faster. In other words, it shortens your learning curves!
Now that you know the benefits of owning a harp, let us examine how much the instrument costs.
The Cost of Harps: All You Need to Know
Before we start talking figures, it may help if you keep in mind that buying a harp is an investment in your musical journey. This way, irrespective of the prices you’ll see in this article, you’ll have a happy thought to keep you going. Not to worry, there’s a relatively affordable price of harps for every wallet.
To help you get a better overall understanding of the cost of harps, we’re going to break down the price range based on the harp category. In other words, we’d have three categories and their prices:
- Beginner Harps: Average $300
- Intermediate Harps: Between $500 to $1500
- Professional Harps: $50,000 to $150,000
This way, whether you’re shopping for a harp corresponding to your current skill level, or you’re looking to upgrade, you know where to look.
1) Price Range & Cost of Beginner Harps
More often than not, beginner harps are usually diatonic, which means they have only one scale. Furthermore, they usually have between only seven strings and 22 strings, making them perfect for beginners.
Understandably, most people will not want to incur such a heavy expense when purchasing a beginner harp. It looks like the manufacturers also have similar thoughts as beginner harps are the most affordable models. For as low as $100, you can own your beginner harp!
However, they may not always be that cheap. Some beginner harps can cost as much as $300.
Moreover, if you’re in the market for beginner harps that are similar to classical harps, you’ll typically pay an average of $1000. But, you don’t have to spend this much. A regular beginners harp is an excellent choice for the starting harpist.
Some great options include the 8-string Lily Harp from Roosebeck and the 12-stringed harp from Royal.
2) Price Range & Cost of Intermediate Harps
Some beginner harps on the upper range of the price spectrum can be ideal for harpists with intermediate skills. In this case, you should expect to spend between $500 and $1500 to acquire such harp.
However, for the more complex harps, or better still, intermediate harps, prices go way higher. The average price for an intermediate harp is around the region of $3000. Most Celtic harps will cost at least $1500 and can go as high as $5000, maybe more.
If you’re looking to buy simplified versions of classical harps, you expect to spend about the same amount. Some examples of such harps are Roosevelt’s Celtic harp with 36 strings and their lever-operated classical floor-size harp with 38 strings.
However, if you want a pedal-controlled intermediate harp instead, you’ll typically have to pay more. A good-quality intermediate classical pedal harp can easily cost $10000 and more. But, on the bright side, they will have the standard 47 strings.
3) Price Range & Cost of Professional Harps
Now, this can get very expensive. Some of them can even cost as much as the price of a home. So, quite naturally, most people who buy this category of harps are very invested in their musical career.
The price of a professional harp ranges anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, and beyond. So, you see, they are indeed very costly. But, you’ll be getting your money’s worth in terms of instrument craftsmanship, sound quality, and even durability.
The average music store does not stock professional harps due to their prices. So, if you want to acquire one, you’ll likely have to make a custom order.
Factors That Influence the Prices of Harps
Now that you have some insight into how much harps cost, you probably want to know why there is such disparity between each category’s prices. Well, we’ll tell you — the wide range of harp prices is due to several influencing factors. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Type of Harp
They are generally two types of harps based on its control mechanism — lever and pedal harps.
Pedal harps have seven (one per note) built-in pedals which can add two semitones to each string. Moreover, they are completely chromatic. On the other hand, level harps use levers to increase its strings but only one semitone. Plus, they are diatonic.
In terms of prices, pedal harps are usually significantly more expensive than lever harps. Most experienced harpists prefer this type of harp. However, lever harps are typically more affordable and are ideal for learning harpists.
So, depending on the type of harp you want, prices may vary greatly.
Size is another factor that plays a critical role in the pricing of harps. You see, harps come in various sizes and have varying numbers of strings on their frames. Naturally, the larger harps will usually cost more than smaller ones.
For instance, a concert harp will be more expensive than the floor-size lever harp. This is because the concert harp is considerably larger.
Interestingly, two harps may have different sizes yet still have the same number of strings. It all boils down to the designer or manufacturer’s judgement. After all, every harp manufacturer has their formula for combining aesthetics, design, and sound.
Nevertheless, the general rule is – the larger a harp is, the more expensive it may be.
Quality of Materials
A harp is only as good as the materials that make up its frame. Therefore, it is only understandable that the quality of materials that make a harp can affect its prices. Generally, the higher the quality of a harp’s wood, the more expensive it will be.
Not only does quality wood influence the harp’s aesthetic quality, but it also affects its sound production and durability. So, you can see why a harp with top-notch wood is usually more expensive.
In light of this, the wood in professional harps is one of several reasons they cost so much. The wood for a professional harp results from careful expert selection and professional craftsmanship to give the best quality possible!
Components & Mechanisms
Harps go beyond the strings that hang on their frames. They also have complex components that are essential to their sound production. This is especially true of pedal and lever harps that use special mechanisms to change their sound pitch.
Manufacturing such harps require securing the time and services of seasoned experts. This will, no doubt, come cheap. This is why some harps on the market are usually more expensive than others. Their prices are a sum-total of the resources that went into making them.
Number of Strings
Finally, the number of strings on a harp may also affect its price. Some harps may have as little as eight strings on their frame, while some may have as many as the standard 47.
As a rule of thumb, the more strings a harp, the more expensive it becomes.
Experts typically prefer harps with more strings as it allows them to play across a broader music range. Of course, they are ready to shell out the money for their instrument. However, if you’re a beginner, a harp that has fewer strings is more advisable. They are more affordable, smaller, and consequently, more portable.
Hopefully, we have helped you gain valuable insight into how much harps cost. Now, you’re probably wondering what harp to buy. Well, it all boils down to your skill level, personal preferences, and your needs.
If you’re still undecided about buying a harp due to its costs, remember that a harp is an investment. Moreover, having a personal harp means you have something to play whenever you want.
Who wouldn’t like that?