Lyre harp as an ancient instrument comes in a beautiful variety of shapes and colours, each is so fascinating, and the number of strings ranges from 7 to 27. So, with so many choices, how do you choose as a novice who is new to this instrument?
1. Choose the note arrangement you prefer
Regarding how to choose the lyre, the first thing is to determine which scale you prefer. There are two types of lyre harps in scale/note arrangement. The most common one is the lowest string on your left-hand side. It's similar to a keyboard. We recommend this type of note arrangement for beginners who have never played the harp before or those with a keyboard or piano background.
On the other hand, lyre harps have strings arranged just like a regular harp, with the highest string at your left-hand side (mostly found on a 19-string lyre harp). This scale feels counterintuitive for people who have never played the harp. And there are very few tutorials on YouTube for lyre harp arranged this way.
So our suggestion is if you planning to upgrade to the standard big harp in the future, 19 string lyre would be a good idea to start with. But if you have never learned the regular harp before and planning to learn the lyre online. We recommend you choose a lyre with the lowest string on your left-hand side (that's all the lyres we sell except 19-string or 15-string).
2. How many strings should I choose?
In general, we recommend a 16-string lyre harp for beginners who want to learn with YouTube and play popular pieces. It's smaller in size, and easy to hold and find the notes.
In addition, the 21-string heart shape lyre is a popular choice as well. The16 string lyre has enough range to play most popular pieces, with simple base notes on the left hand. A 21-string lyre can do a more complex and expressive arrangement with chords playing on one hand and melody on the other. Also, 21-string lyre has enough range to play some beautiful classical pieces.
3. Engraved notes on top of the string
In addition, another factor you might want to consider is whether the notes are engraved on top of the strings. You might notice lyre harp in many Youtube tutorial videos have letters engraved. It will be easier to follow the tutorial video if you get a lyre as such (You can see whether the notes are engraved on the product images).
With the lyres don't have notes engraved, it's not a deal breaker. You can write the letter on sticky notes, cut them to the preferred size and stick them to the corresponding strings.
4. Choose the design or sound you like the best
All the instruments we sell are not standardised or mainstream, meaning there are many ways to play them and there is no wrong way of choosing which one to buy. Even with lyres that have fewer learning materials online, we will keep making free tutorials and post them on our website. Therefore, choosing the design or sound you like the best is always a great idea! There are videos attached to each product for you to hear the sound difference.
Our all-time favourite lyre harp for beginners
Here are the links to our top favourite lyre harps for beginners. Both have notes engraved and the lowest string on the far left. Hopefully, they can help you make the decision easier.