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This is where we list reviews of harps and harp accessories from previous years/months. For our current reviews, see our reviews section.

Harp Cart Review - Aug. 29 '06
Kart-a-Bag harp cart
This review was originally posted on the Harp Blog.

I thought I would give the harp cart I use a little plug, since it saved my sanity several times last weekend, and the two gigs where I was without it I sorely regretted it. The one I use is the "Kart-a-Bag" folk harp cart, which I got through Sylvia Woods. You can find out more about it here. I picked mine up at the Somerset harp conference several years ago, so I didn't have to pay for shipping to Canada (which would have probably been dreadful, especially when you add in customs). However, even if I had to pay shipping, it's definitely worth it. It just perfectly fits my 34-string Gerhard Wanney harp in its case; the bungee cords that come attached to it just barely stretch far enough, so if you have a bigger harp you might need extensions. However, although they're just long enough, due to the shape of the harp there's still a fair bit of give, so I can slip in a few extra things like a folding chair, a little battery- powered amp, and/or book bag and a water bottle snugged up next to the harp. It can apparently handle up to a 300 lb load, but I've never come close to that.

Things I like about it:
  • It collapses down to a managable shape and size, and even comes with a carry bag (although the wheels on mine are usually so dirty that I tend to leave it out of its case most of the time).
  • It is really easy to set up (once you've practiced a couple of times), and even easier to collapse again. You can do a lot of the functions one-handed if absolutely necessary.
  • It handles off-road terrain with surprising ease. Most of the time I've needed to lug my harp the equivalent of a couple city blocks, it's been down a dirt road (e.g. at the local pioneer village), through a park complete with mud (this past weekend's folk festival), or up and down grassy or pebbly slopes (some of the resorts I play at).
  • Even when pushing one-handed, it's relatively easy to control, even at a brisk walking pace. This is very important when trying to wend your way through unruly crowds of festival goers who will completely ignore you and your heavy burden, no matter what you might think about the love-the-earth granola types being kinder and gentler. I suspect they're just distracted by all the lovely, interesting, colourful things going on around them; being one of that sort myself this is no means meant as a slur against.... oooh, look, shiny! I'll be right back...
Ahem. Okay, back on topic. If you do a lot of regular gigging, or if you think you might ever be called upon to play somewhere without car access (which happens far, far more often than you might think), get a trolley/cart /dolly - whatever you want to call it. It might just save your life (or at least, your shoulders and your sanity). - T.H.

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Guest Review May 11 '06
Harpsicles/Sharpsicles and Learning on a Lap Harp - by Cynthia Zutavern
Are you a beginner harper, planning to learn on a lap harp? Here are some considerations.
I had never played an instrument of any kind so purchasing a harp vs. renting was a big deal....would I/ could I play a Harp!?! Where I live there are no harps to rent....I drove 5 hours (one way) to Wm Rees in Rising Sun, Indiana and met with the staff and toured their factory....(The town is great, the shop is nice, the factory is interesting , the staff is helpful and the resident dog is delightful.) They offered rentals or purchase of their fine instruments, though no rentals on the Harpsicle/Sharpsicles. Darlene recommended I try the Harpsicle/Sharpsicle for the price ($295/$495) it would be about the same as renting for an extended period. She mentioned I could either keep it as a travel harp if I wanted to add a floor harp or sell it.
That sounded reasonable to me so I bought one.... And this is what I discovered.
Learning on a small travel harp is HARD....I was struggling to learn to read the music...find the the strings and try to hang onto a tiny harp....ALL AT THE SAME TIME... Yikes!!!! So after about a month of struggling I purchased a LAPSTICK...a very useful feature....the harp no longer felt like it was going to fall off my lap and I was able to relax my wrists to play properly. That made a tremendous improvement.
As for the actual harp....Rees does a lovely job in craftsmanship...excellent finish and attention to the details....My harp is a year old this month and looks as nice as it did when new. It took a while for the strings to adjust... as a novice I didn't understand to tune several times each day, though I probably was told....and it most likely appeared in the informational booklet that comes with the harp. Now.... the sound is wonderful and consistent...holds tune nicely...I had a harp teacher play mine so I could really hear and appreciate what a master could do...the sound is light and sweet. The touch of the strings is lighter than a floor harp... but the spacing is similar if not exactly the same...I really can't tell a difference. The harp has a one year guarantee and the folks at Rees Instruments are very nice to deal with. You get a lot of harp for your money and it is made in Indiana.
As for a recommendation....I think an experienced harpist looking for a light weight small portable harp would enjoy playing the sharpsicle.... and a beginner should purchase a LAPSTICK.....that does add to the initial cost but it is worth it. My friend's 1st grader played it with no difficulty with it propped up on a stool and lapstick in a great harp for kids, too.
All in all...since I wasn't even sure I would have any aptitude in music...the Sharpsicle served me well, fit my budget and I just sold it recovering 75% of my investment. Overall, cheaper than renting.
    Editor's note: Harpsicle prices are included in our sample list of harp prices, if you want to compare, and more information on this line of harps can be found on the company's website at - T.H.

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