Inexpensive Harp Guitars
Updated October, 2017
page is in response to the several phone calls and emails I get a month
from people hoping to spend under $2000 for their first harp guitar, and
should answer most of your questions.
October 2017: Finally! I collaborated on the design and
production of a new entry level harp guitar by Timberline, which is a
resounding success! This was in direct response to all the queries about
inexpensive, but decent quality, instruments. Check
Other than that, unless
you happen to see something
else secondhand in my Inventory,
assume that I have nothing in
stock in this price range, nor anticipate anything for the immediate
future. I occasionally may
get in a used Holloway or Emerald, or sometimes an interesting vintage instrument
in that price range.
For your immediate needs and questions: Please note that while
my Harp Guitar Music business is a part-time labor of love, it’s not
exactly a solid business plan to simply plug the wares of my
competitors. But since that
is something I have always done in my “Sir Gregory” role as the head
of Harpguitars.net and as president of the Harp Guitar Foundation, here
is a courtesy list of my thoughts on your options.
(now Dyer™) harp guitars. Holloway is no longer having
harp guitars built in China, nor are there any plans to do so again in the
future (as nice as that would be).
Instead, they are building small quantities of handmade
instruments in the range of several thousand dollars each.
I am not (nor have I ever been) affiliated with the company,
although I enjoyed a special dealer/consultant relationship with
owner Scott Holloway. I
can’t speak to anything you may read on their web site, but I know
that Jim Worland, a fine builder, is now partnered with Scott and
currently building them. If you see one of the early Chinese Holloways on eBay in
solid condition, you might be wise to consider it.
Buckey harp guitars. These
used to be seen regularly on eBay.
They’re made in a bandura factory in Ukraine.
Again, I am not affiliated with the company.
As far as I know, he only sells on eBay.
Not having seen any of the more recent instruments, I can’t
comment on any improvements to the “East European” vibe, quality
and tone. If the name on
the headstock doesn’t bother you, they might be worth considering
(with the caveat that multiple purchasers have publicly and
privately to me written of issues with non-delivery or non-refund).
in the Morning: Before Holloway, the only option out there. I
don’t believe they’re made anymore, which is probably for the
best. For the right
price, secondhand ones can be usable starter instruments.
Chinese-made harp guitars. See
my old Public Service
Announcement on some of these.
I also just learned that the "Doolin rip-off" model is now
on Amazon as a "Ktone"! And who knows what will be coming next.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
However, I have heard of brave individuals taking a chance on
these and, doing their own work, tweaking them into serviceable instruments.
harp guitars. These
are in a slightly different tier, being in the over $2000 range, but
used or “factory second” instruments can sometimes be found on
eBay or directly from the company.
They aren’t Dyer copies, having an original design
and sound, hand built in Idaho by the Powell brothers.
fiber harp guitars. Also in the $2000-3000 range, these
are professional instruments and are essentially indestructible, so
safe to buy used also.
Many other builders
can be found on the Luthiers
page of Harpguitars.net.
While most are professionals and high end builders, many are
a bit off the radar and some of these (Steve Wishnevsky, for instance) may
be happy to build you an inexpensive instrument if you’re willing
to make compromises. Their
web sites should give you some indication.
Of course, please check back on this site when you can, as instruments can turn up at
a moment’s notice.
Gregg (Sir Gregory) Miner