Harp/dulcimer suggestions?
September 5, 2013 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I've always wanted a harp, and we have a month to finish up our insurance reimbursement request from when our house was broken into two years ago. We had a lot of musical instruments on there (mainly guitars) but do not need to replace them with the same instrument. Any suggestions on harps or dulcimers, preferably in the $100-200 range?
posted by needlegrrl to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On a whim, I bought a Black Mountain dulcimer (long story--I was staying in Calistoga for a fairly long period with no instruments, and David Johnston's shop is there--fortunately he had a 58D on hand to sell me directly after giving me a tour of his shop!).

I recommend it highly--cheap, well built, handmade in America by a really nice guy who's been doing it with love for a very long time. Try to find one secondhand if you having trouble finding a new one within your range.
posted by resurrexit at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2013

Unfortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive harps that are not very good harps - the harp community sometimes refers to them as harp-shaped-objects. (They often don't hold tuning at all, or have problems that significantly affect playability.)

There's a great page from a harper and harp dealer that explains some of the issues and links to other specifics.

There's a respected maker who's designed the Harpsicle to fill some of that gap - they're made simply, but they hold tuning well, have a decent sound, and so on. They're a bit more at the lowest end than you're looking at, but you might be able to find one used very reasonably. Generally, for long-term playability and flexibility, you want to consider at least some levers (or the possibility of some).

This page also has some links to various makers: I know I've seen a few other inexpensive but well-designed models out there, but forget which.

I'm glad to discuss harps in more detail if you want to MeMail. (My own is a Stoney End Lorraine, which is out of your price range, but they do great work.)
posted by modernhypatia at 2:15 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I spent some time poking around on dulcimer message boards a while back, and people seemed to think highly of Sweet Woods instruments.
posted by neroli at 6:09 AM on September 6, 2013

I love my Oscar Schmidt autoharp a lot.
posted by missrachael at 6:27 AM on September 8, 2013

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