Advice to new Harpers
I always recommend that you buy:

1. As much harp as you can -- i.e., as many strings, the best sound you can imagine or have
ever heard, the most beautiful, the best quality  as you can afford. Stretch yourself a bit more
to get exactly what you want. You probably won't (until you turn into a harp addict) buy
another harp for  a while, so you want to be thrilled with it now AND in the future!

2. A harp with a full, even sound throughout the registers; bright but not tinkly in the higher
octave, not too hollow sounding in the bass. (If you cannot try a harp, insist on an actual

3. If a floor harp, get some bass range; i.e. buy at least 30 strings to begin with, more if you
can afford it with the harpmaker you like the most.

4. The sound you like the most. Good looking, if  possible, but sound is what you will make
every day, and listen to every day. So sound is what  needs to move your soul. When your soul
is moved, buy it!

5. A floor standing harp. Unless you are a small harp buff or going travelling (or your
finances are limited)

6. A stave back or round back on any harp is not only more comfortable but asthetically more
attractive AND commands a higher resale value.... Stave back means that the back of the
sounding box is five-sided. Some harpmakers use a four-sided back. This is not only
uncomfortable on your right shoulder, but it also limits your reach with your right arm. Harps
that are rounded or staved in the back of the box also allow an easier reach with the right
arm. Stay away from 4-sided harps especially for the larger sizes. It doesn't matter so much
for the smaller sizes, because your arms can easily reach the smaller number of strings.

So, you have to take all this into consideration, and decide what YOU like and want.  Maybe
make a chart to compare, using features such as:

(1) Number of strings
(2) Woods available
(3) Quality of sound (bright, dark, small, large, tinny)
(4) Evenness of tone from top to bottom
(5)Tension of strings
(6) Fullness of sound
(7)Quality of craftsmanship
(8) Warranty
(9) Staved/round/flatback?
It is hard to make recommendations because most
folks are on a budget....and the pocket rules in most need to consider a few things
before buying, to save regrets and dissapointments.