If you’re looking into starting to learn to play the harp, then you may have considered buying your own one to allow you to practice whenever and wherever you want without renting one from a music store.
However, unlike some of the more common instruments such as the piano, guitar, or even the violin, there is an air of mystery surrounding the harp and also their prices, which will ring especially true if you know no one else who plays the harp.
There is no need to worry, as some harps are relatively budget-friendly which is ideal for those just beginning to learn the instrument, and there are also some more premium options for advanced harpists who want something that will stay with them for years and years to come.
So if you’re thinking about buying a harp in the future, then you’ll want to keep on reading to find out how much they cost and also what factors will impact their price.
The Price Range Of Harps
When it comes to harps, different categories of them make them better suited for certain needs and skill levels.
For example, someone who’s just learning the ropes (or the strings) with the harp won’t need a professional standard harp at the beginning of their learning, however, a professional harpist will need a quality and professional standard harp to help them through their career.
Before we continue, you should know that harps can become very expensive especially when you decide to upgrade them further into your learning and career, so unless you’re willing to fork out a bit of cash now and again once necessary, then you may want to consider learning a cheaper instrument.
Beginner Harp Prices
Beginner harps only have one scale (considered diatonic in the musical world) and can have anywhere between 8 strings up to 20 strings.
Young harpists will start with harps with fewer strings called lyre-like harps as they’re easiest to learn from and only cost around $100 to $300 depending on where you look for them.
However, if you’re an adult looking to start playing the harp and will need one with 20 or more strings, then prices will be a lot higher as these are more advanced than children’s harps and sometimes have levers that let you play in a different key.
For an adult beginner, you could be looking at paying anywhere in the region of $500 to $1500, however, most prices will sit somewhere in the middle.
You may be able to buy a second-hand beginner harp for a lot cheaper if you look on sites like Craigslist or even some music stores.
Intermediate Harp Prices
For intermediate players, then the harp price range of $500 to $1500 will suit you too and will allow you to grow and excel your skills until you reach a more advanced level and then outgrow your intermediate harp.
The more complex your harp becomes, even if it still lies within the intermediate harp price range, it can get super expensive and sometimes unrealistic if you’re still young and relying on a guardian to help fund your musical hobby.
Folk harps such as celtic harps have prices that start around $1000 and can range up to $5,000. However, don’t let this put you off trying to progress up the ranks with playing the harp as there are simplified versions of classic harps out there at a more reasonable price point.
If you’re considering buying a pedal harp, then you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll be paying around $10,000 or more for a brand new one. Pedal harps usually come with around 47 strings and this is considered standard for this type of harp.
Professional Harp Prices
Unless you’re looking to become a professional harpist and make a living out of playing, then you won’t want to consider buying a professional harp, that is unless you have money to burn.
Professional harps can range from $50,000 (yes, that’s a deposit for a house) and up to $150,000. However, you won’t find these priced harps in your local music store and they’ll be handmade to order by a private harpist manufacturer upon request.
So as we said, unless you play the harp for your career or you’re determined to become a professional harpist, then we wouldn’t recommend buying a professional harp as you’ll probably spend years to come getting your money’s worth out of the total cost you paid for it.
The craftsmanship of professional harps is beyond comparison to the ones you’ll find in a generic music store, the sound quality will be the best of the best and you’ll be sure that it will stay with you for the next 30 years without needing too much maintenance.
Other Types Of Harps
There are also electronic counterparts of the acoustic harp which can range from around $2,000 upwards depending on how many strings there are and also what brand it is from.
They are becoming more and more popular and some of the best ones are carried by the brand Harpsicle who have a few choices for you to pick from.
However, not everyone buys a harp to play it (surprisingly) and some people even buy antique ones to get them restored to their former glory to sell on or to keep as a collectible in their homes.
Antique harps can go for as low as $200 depending on where you look for them, however, they may not be in the best condition and sometimes may even be unplayable, so you’ll want to look carefully if you do want an antique one to play.
You can also get an ‘antique-style’ one custom-made to look glorious in your home and still be able to play it but you will have to pay the premium to have one of these made for you.
Factors Impact The Price Of Harps?
So we’ve covered the price range of the different types of harps you can buy, however, we haven’t touched upon what factors heavily impact the prices of these harps and make one more expensive than the other.
These factors will be super important for you to consider if you’re looking to buy a new harp as you may have to compromise on certain things to find a harp that’s within your budget.
The Type Of Harp
There are two types of harps that you can get, pedal and lever harps, and one is significantly more expensive than the other.
Pedal harps will have 7 pedals built into the harp (one pedal for each note) which will be able to add two semitones to each string. Lever harps have levers (obviously) to increase the strings available but only have one semitone, unlike a pedal harp.
Pedal harps are usually opted for by advanced, experienced, or professional harpists and for this reason, they are a lot more expensive than lever harps.
So if you’re a beginner or a harpist looking for a good practicing harp that sticks to a more reasonable budget then a lever harp would be better.
There isn’t just one size for a harp there are various sizes you can get with the larger-sized harps typically being the most expensive sizes you can get.
However, just because a harp is larger doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have more strings than a smaller version so even though two harps could be different sizes they may have the same number of strings.
The size will also be another important to consider due to portability, if you’re someone who’ll just be learning or playing in the home then the size of your harp won’t matter, but if you’ll be performing and venues or on the road constantly, then a large harp may not be an ideal choice unless you have a truck to transport it in.
The quality of materials used to make a harp does reflect in the sound. Whilst you can still get a good-looking harp from using cheaper materials, the sound will not be as well-rounded as a harp made with more expensive materials.
A quality harp is going to cost more than one that was cheaply made but sometimes spending a bit more can be worth your while as it’ll hopefully add more longevity to your harp.
Lever and pedal harps have special mechanisms which help to change the sound of the pitch of the strings, which means they’ll require more craftsmanship to be built into the harp and also to help them operate effectively.
Basic harps that have no levers or pedals will come at a more budget-friendly price point.
Brands & Builders
Behind every harp is a spectacular craftsperson who made it, and those skills and creativity come at a price. Harps can take a long time to make and it can take years of learning and skill to be able to make a harp so they’ll need to be rewarded generously for their efforts.
There are some well-known brands that you’ll come across in your hunt for a new harp, some of which are more expensive than others but they’ll all have a good range of harps that are suited for the beginner up to a professional player.
Some brands you may come across are Lyon & Healy, Roosebeck, Harpsicle, Royal Harps, Morley Harps, and Mid-East.
If you’re going to pay a private harp builder to custom-make a harp for you then this will quickly ramp up the price you’ll need to pay.
Number Of Strings
The more strings on a harp, the more expensive it will be. So a harp that only has 8 strings may be a fraction of the price you’d pay for a harp with 47 strings.
Professional harpists will have as many strings as possible on their harps as this will allow them to play a wide range of music on just one harp.
However, beginner harpists may not need that many strings to get them started with their learning and as few strings as possible are recommended to help you learn the basics.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of fewer strings and you’ve grown confident in your ability to progress, then you can consider buying a harp with a higher number of strings to help you progress.
What Are The Advantages Of Owning A Harp?
Renting a harp so you can practice and play can quickly add up the costs, especially if you’re going to be practicing multiple times a week.
If you’re dedicated to learning and playing the harp, then it may be more cost-effective to buy your own harp instead of wasting money on renting one that you have to give back each time.
There may even be a waiting list for a harp to become available which would stop your learning it in its tracks, so buying your own harp would allow you to practice as and when you want which will hopefully make you progress quicker as well.