Every piece of wood is unique; and even two identical harps, made from the same plank, will neither look nor sound exactly like the other. But these differences are very subtle, and all Camlads made from cherry, for instance, will have a strong family resemblance, and will sound more like each other than any Camlad made from another wood. No wood can be said to give the ‘best’ sound - it is entirely a matter of taste, and depends on the ear of a particular player, and the kind of music they want to play. So I always advise people to try as many harps as they can, if possible, to find the one that suits them best.

It’s hard to describe the variations in sound between different woods without sounding pretentious, and the differences are so slight and subjective that it would be hard to tell them apart in a recording.  But, in general, the dense dark woods like walnut tend to give a ‘darker,’ more meditative sound; lighter woods, such as sycamore and especially ash, are brighter, more immediate; while harps made from cherry, both Finlaggans and Camlads, always seem to be mellow and well-balanced. But although, to a professional, the sound is all-important, many people choose a harp initially - like a partner - because of looks; and there’s nothing wrong with that. In the early stages especially, having a real attachment to and pride in an instrument can create an added incentive to play, and to progress; and in my experience hardly any of the musical marriages that start in that way - though they may lead in time to polygamy - has ended in divorce.

  • Native Ash

    Native Ash

  • Native Plain Sycamore

    Native Plain Sycamore

  • Native Rippled Sycamore

    Native Rippled Sycamore

  • American Cherry

    American Cherry

  • American Black Walnut

    American Black Walnut

  • English Walnut

    English Walnut

  • American Maple

    American Maple

  • Bird's Eye Maple

    Bird's Eye Maple

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
Silver Spear Instruments
Jonathan Letcher
Ridge Farm
Bishop’s Castle
+44 (0)1588 650 416