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Harp Resources

About Laurie's Harps

Laurie with Harp Collection
In 1986 I discovered the lever harp and became instantly enchanted. I didn't have enough money at the time to purchase the object of my desire so, with a desperation born of obsession, I built my first harp from a Musicmaker's kit. Then in 1988 I went to work as a luthier at Triplett Harps for two years. All that experience of sanding, drilling, finishing, stringing and risking my fingers in the table saw gives me extra appreciation for the amount of time and careful workmanship that goes into making these fine instruments. Each of my harps has a distinct personality and each lends itself to a particular style of music. Here are a few favorites from my ever-growing collection.

Laurie plays Dusty Strings harp
Dusty Strings FH36 B

This is one of my preferred harps for performance and recording. It has 36 strings and is made of koa, a Hawaiian tonewood, that delivers a rich sparkling sound. The folks at
Dusty Strings in Seattle, WA build instruments that are not only beautiful to look at and satisfying to play - they are also extremely strong and stable. This harp has withstood considerable traveling and playing at all sorts of venues, indoors and out. Together, we've serenaded countless brides and grooms on their wedding day.

Wurlitzer Starke Harp and Laurie
Wurlitzer Starke Model "I" pedal harp

This small 43-string pedal harp was built by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in 1917 and was meticulously refurbished in 2007 by Howard Bryan. At only 55 lbs and 66" tall, it's a bit easier to move than a full concert grand. The sparkling sound of this harp along with the charm of the carving and 23-karat gold leaf on the column and hand-painted soundboard add a touch of refined elegance to any celebration.

The Wurlitzer Company built approximately 1500 pedal harps from 1909-1935 in Cincinatti, OH and later in North Tonawanda, NY. They are of very high craftsmanship and quality and the few that have been maintained in working condition are still highly sought-after by modern harpists.

Laurie plays Camac Atlantide harp
Atlantide Prestige model harp by Camac

The 47-string concert grand is the harp used in the orchestra. Each of the seven pedals has three positions (flat, natural and sharp) giving this instrument chromatic capabilities. The standard classical harp repertoire is beautiful but I got this harp in 2006 specifically to play pop tunes and jazz.

Made in France, Camac Harps incorporate some modern innovations in their design; an ergonomic shape that makes sitting at the harp for long hours less fatiguing, the use of cables rather than the traditional rods inside the column to connect the pedals with the disc mechanism in the neck, and the use of carbon fiber in the column and the neck to make the harp significantly stronger and lighter - this instruments weighs 70 lbs. The tone is warm and rich for solo playing while powerfully clear enough to be heard over an orchestra.

Blue Harp
Little Big Blue acoustic-electric harp by Camac

The Blue harp sounds beautiful when played acoustically and also has pickups on every one of the 44 strings, making it easy to amplify. Played solo or in an ensemble, the sound is powerful and clear.

Fisher harp in garden
Eireann model harp by Larry Fisher

This lovely little 34-string Irish-style harp is light in weight - only about 18 lbs. The fluorocarbon strings have a comfortable tactile feel and the medium-light tension makes this instrument responsive and 'bouncy.' I find it ideally suited for playing traditional Celtic music and Irish dance tunes - ornaments roll easily off the fingers and it's forgiving even when my technique is less than perfect. The body is highly figured quilted maple and the thin soundboard of western red cedar gives warmth and huge volume to a small-bodied harp.

Built in 2007 by Larry Fisher of Fisher Harps in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.