girl playing a lever harp
Getting started on the harp...

We recognise that one of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to harps is so often simply getting hold of an instrument! Harps can be (unfortunately) very expensive, (though not without good reason!).

However, do not despair! We have a selection of good quality 34-string lever harps that are available for hire by members. And, at only £30/PCM, it's not as expensive as you might think! Please contact us for more information, and for our terms and conditions.

What type of harp do I need?

Choosing a harp can seem like a minefield: there are so many types - where do you begin?! Why are some big and some small?! Where do you even get one from?! But don't worry - harpists are always (more than) happy to talk about their harps and to show them off to others interested in learning.

photo of a pedal harp Very briefly, the two main types of harp that you will see in the UK are the Classical (pedal) harp and 'Folk' (lever) harp. The Classical harp (shown left) usually has 47 strings and is the large harp that you will see in orchestras. It is usually used (as the name suggests) for playing Classical and orchestral music. The Folk Harp (shown below right) - also known as the Lever Harp, the Celtic Harp, the Small Harp and by its Gaelic name the 'Clarsach' - is smaller (34-38 strings) and is generally (though by no means exclusively) used for playing traditional music.

photo of a lever harp

You will also see much smaller 'knee harps' (usually with around 22-27 strings). These are essentially smaller versions of the lever harps that most of our members play. They are much more portable than a standard 34-string model, but have a limited range.

There are MANY different types of harp out there, however - go have an explore and you'll find some marvellous creations, from fully electric harps to recreation wire-strung medieval harps...