Which harp…

Some harpists know exactly which model they are looking for usually through playing or hearings someone else’s Starfish harp. Of course the best way to choose between the different harps is to come and have a play and listen to them either in our music room or at a harp festival. If that is not possible, this guide gives you some general observations of the differences between our harp models.

The Student harp as the name suggests is our entry level harp. A sweet sounding relatively small harp.  It is simply constructed to keep the costs down but still uses the professional quality fittings that we use across our range. It is very popular with organisations like feisean and schools but also suits parents who often have budget restrictions and are not sure if their child will continue to play the harp for many years. Like most of our harps they retain excellent second hand value.

For something with more punch and drive we would recommend the Glencoe harp. It is larger than the Student and is designed to be louder with a fuller, more dynamic sound. An extremely responsive, powerful and beautifully toned instrument.  It has remained our most popular harp for all standards of player for many years. It is compact enough to travel with and will fit across the back seat of most cars or within the boot space. It could be described as a harp for life as you would certainly never need to upgrade it.

Giving the Glencoe a run for its money as our most popular harp these days is the Glenelle. Initially conceived as a lightweight version of the Glencoe for those wanting to travel with their harp, it has proved extremely popular with many harpists. Some of that appeal is because everyone wants a lighter harp to carry around but also for the different sound it brings. Very much based on the geometry of the Glencoe it sounds similar but the reduced amount of timber brings a brighter tone with a little less sustain and a little more clarity.

The Mamore has that bigger, louder, more powerful sound that you would expect from a celtic harp with these dimensions. The extra bass strings not only bring more range but also increase the tone and volume at the bottom end of the harp. Of course the size of it is its one drawback too; you have to put at least one seat down in the car to transport it and it is heavier and more bulky to carry around but many harpists are happy to compromise these things to get a harp with such a great sound.

All our harps are strung with lever gauge gut strings except one, the Lochaber. It is strung with concert gauge gut strings and these give it a subtle, more classical sound. The string tension is higher and so the harp is constructed slightly heavier and this brings a nice, rounded mellow sound to the instrument.

The Columba has a surprising amount of volume for a small harp.  This has been achieved by making the soundboard as large as possible which also helps to create a full warm sounding, yet transportable harp.