How much does a pedal harp cost? A new full sized Concert Grand pedal harp costs from $15,000-25,000. Those with intricate carvings or gold leaf can cost an additional $10,000 - $60,000. You can save several thousand dollars by buying a used harp, which is what my family did, after confirming that it was structurally sound, etc.
How many strings does your harp have? 47, which gives a harp about the same range as a piano. And why are some of the strings different colors? All of the C strings are red and F strings are black. This enables the harpist to know "where they are" on the harp. How do you tune your harp and how often do you have to do that? The end of the strings at the top are wound around pegs and I have a small tuning key that's kind of like a socket wrench that is used to turn the pegs. As for how often I do that, I try to check the tuning every time I practice. Sometimes I get lazy and start practicing without tuning but that can be irritating playing a harp that's out of tune. How often do you have to change the strings? It depends on how much a harp is played, etc., but I change all 47 strings about every other year and also have a harp technician regulate the harp at that time, which means adjusting the discs, etc. so that each string of the harp is in tune when it is in the flat, natural and sharp position. I also immediately have to change any strings that break. This is usually due to heavy use or a change in temperature or humidity.
What are the pedals for? Pedal Harps have 7 pedals, one for each note in the scale. The pedals are connected to rods that go thorough the inside of the column and link to discs at the top of each string to make the string essentially shorter (as in using frets on a guitar). Each pedal has 3 positions at the base of the harp. The highest position is flat, the middle is natural and the lowest is sharp. So, if I move the C pedal down from the middle to the lower position, for example, that changes ALL of the C strings from natural to sharp. The pedals enable me to change the flats and sharps as many times as needed while playing a piece of music.
How much does the harp weigh? Mine weighs 81 pounds, which is about average for a pedal harp. How many moving parts does it have? Over 2,000, and that's because of the pedal system described above. How do you transport it? I have a 3-piece padded transport cover set that protects the harp while it's being moved. After I put the cover set on my harp I strap it to a dolly/harp cart and move it to the van, where it rides comfortably on a custom made foam mattress.
Does the harp require any special care? Yes. Like many instruments made of wood, a harp requires a humidity controlled environment, usually about 40-60 percent. Below that can cause the soundboard to crack. Also, extreme cold or heat can cause damage to the instrument and many harpists will not play their harp outside for that reason. For an extra measure of safety, I also use a custom made mattress in my vehicle to cushion my harp when travelling.