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Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a lot you should know before choosing the right harp, and Stoney End is ready to help you get there. Below you’ll find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. And if there’s still more you’d like to know, feel free call us at 877-866-3936.

How are Stoney End harps made?

All of our 12 original Stoney End harp designs are hand-crafted by founder Gary Stone and our talented staff. The Stoney End workshop where these harps are made is located in our renovated historic barn in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Each of our harps starts from the best aged Cherry, Walnut, or Maple. In the wood shop area, we begin with power saws and sanders to rough-cut wood pieces into pilars, harmonic curves, and sound boxes. We then carefully shape and fit them with handtools. The refined pieces are glued and clamped firmly in place. Once the harp is assembled, it is moved to the finishing area where we apply a water-based lacquer to enhance and protect the instrument. Finally, we string the harps and install their levers. Our Workshop

What makes Stoney End harps unique?

We pride ourselves on beautiful hand-made insturments, exceptional service, and a truely unique experience. We strive to make quality harps attainable for musicians everywhere. Stoney End Advantages

How do I choose the right harp?

Every musician has different needs, and choosing the right harp involves many factors such as playability, musical range, portability, size, price, and style. It can be overwhelming, but our experienced staff is ready to guide you through the process. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us toll-free at 1-877-866-3936 with questions. Contact Us

Does Stoney End fill custom harp orders?

Yes, there are many options to create the harp that is right for you. We have the benefit of years of experience and can guide you to an instrument that will suit your needs and exceed your expectations. See our price list for a short list of common custom options including beautiful hand-painted soundboards. Price List

I’ve always wanted to learn to play harp—can Stoney End help me?

Yes, we have harps that are suitable for beginners and children, as well as harps with lower string tension for ease-of-play and people with arthritis. Stoney End also carries a wide range of teach-yourself-harp books and can help connect you with a harp teacher in your area or the local harp community.

Can I have a harp shipped to me?

Yes, Stoney End can ship anywhere in the world. However, shipment can be quite expensive so it is best to get a shipping estimate before placing your order. We will work to get you the best shipping rate available.

What is a lever harp?

A lever harp allows a player to change the key that they play in without re-tuning the strings. The lever can be installed on each string and when engaged, it will raise the pitch of that string one-half step. For example, a lever on a C string will raise the pitch to a C#. A lever harp is suitable for Celtic, folk music, hymns, and more. In contrast, a concert or pedal harp (the instrument used in orchestras) is suited to classical music as it be quickly changed to play in different keys using pedals and a system of levers and pins.

What is the difference between Celtic and Gothic harps?

Our Celtic harps are inspired by the historical Brian Boru harp that is featured on the Irish Penny. This style was popular in Ireland and the British Isles, and is well-suited to Celtic music. The Celtic style has a higher string tension and metal-wound bass strings that give it a wide, dynamic range and full volume.

Our Gothic harps are inspired style that was historically popular in Continental Europe. This harp, with thin, graceful pillar and slender design, is often seen in Medieval European art. Although it’s Gothic, it is also well-suited to Celtic music. The Gothic style has lighter string tension and nylon bass strings, which make it easier to play for a beginner.

How many sharpening levers do I need?

Sharpening levers allow you to play in different keys without retuning the harp. Harpists who are interested in playing only Celtic music may find levers on their C and F strings sufficient, which would allow them to play in the keys of C, G and D without re-tuning. These are the common keys for Celtic music.

Harpist who are interested in playing a wider range of music including hymns may find full levers the most suitable. On a harp with full levers that is tuned in Eb, a harpist can play in the keys of Eb, Bb, F, C, D, G, A, and E without re-tuning their instrument.

Why should I tune my harp in Eb?

Eb is a very versitle tuning for a harp with full sharpening levers. Sharpening levers raise the pitch of a string so for notes without a corresponding sharp (think of the white keys on a piano that are not adjacent to a black key) engaging the sharpening lever would create two of the same note next to one another. For example, if you raise the note E by one-half step you get F natural. By tuning your harp in Eb (all of the E strings, A strings, and B strings are tuned to the corresponding flat), you can play in three flat keys (Eb, Bb and F) with those levers down, but can engage the levers to play in C major or sharp keys (G, D, A, and E).

How do I order custom harp art?

All harp artwork is created by Stoney End staff member and artist, Cathy White. Once you’ve decided on the harp model you like, you can call to discuss ideas for custom art with Cathy. We have several standard designs including red roses, Celtic knots, and ivy. Or Cathy can create a design specifically for your harp. She has been commissioned to create many designs, including blue birds, pink climbing roses, white doves, and Celtic-knot-work animals. You can also think “outside the sound board” and decorate the pillar or the sides of the sound box. Cathy’s preferred medium is watercolor, but she is also skilled at wood burning. Prices are determined by the artist and are based on the size and complexity of the design. Reach Cathy at 1-877-866-3936 or by email at pusscraft@redwing.net.