How much does a pedal harp cost? A new, full sized Concert Grand pedal harp costs anywhere from $16,000-$80,000 and above, with those in the upper price range having ornate carving and/or gilding.
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 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 tune the harp every time before practicing or performing. How often do you have to change the strings? It depends on how much a harp is played, but I usually change the wire strings every other year and the gut and nylon strings at least annually, with many of strings in the middle octaves more often. I also have a harp technician regulate the harp every year, which means adjusting the mechanical parts of the harp so that each string is in tune when it is in the flat, natural and sharp position.
What are the pedals for? Pedal harps have 7 pedals, one for each note in the scale. The pedals are connected to rods that are inside 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 my car, 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 traveling.