Our FH harps offer you a choice of several fine hardwoods, and for most people, the decision is based on a combination of factors. The differences in price are related to the availability and cost of each wood type as well as the ease or difficulty of working with it. Our harps show the natural color and grain of the wood through a clear lacquer finish without any stain, and the visual aesthetic of the wood is often an important consideration. Also, each species of wood lends a subtly different character to the harp's tone, which is a difficult and amorphous thing to try to describe in words. Walnut, maple and bubinga are simplest to distinguish. Figured cherry and sapele seem to blend the tonal characteristics of the other woods, making them more difficult to differentiate verbally. We've done our best to give you a general overview of the tonal qualities of the different woods:
Walnut—soft, warm, mellow, and intimate
Maple—crisp and clean, very bright, focused and articulate
Bubinga—deep and full bodied, with an authoritative bass and bell-like treble and mid range
Sapele—bright and clean, with a balance of warmth and depth
Figured Cherry—both deep and bright, with a strong but very smooth voice
The FH36S has what we feel is the ideal range for a full-size lever harp: five octaves, starting and ending on C. It surrounds the player with a round, full-bodied and well articulated sound, and its generous depth, power and responsiveness make playing seem effortless. It's a beautiful piece of fine woodworking and a satisfying investment for any harp enthusiast.
The sides and back of the soundbox consist of five facets of book-matched wood. This design puts a flat facet, rather than a corner, against the player's shoulder, which some find more comfortable and which makes it easier to reach the lower strings. This soundbox shape, as opposed to the rectangular soundbox of the FH36H, gives a subtly rounder sound with a slightly fuller bass voice.
The FH36S comes with a deluxe case and a custom tuning wrench.
Figured cherry or bubinga*: $6495
*Due to export regulations, bubinga is available within the U.S. only.
Celtic knot inlaid in abalone on the pillar
Abalone inlay around the soundboard
Bird's-eye maple soundboard veneer
Koa soundboard veneer (maple harps only)
Camac sharping levers
The Dusty Harp Pickup installed
Levers: full set of Loveland levers. Camac levers available.
Note: the weight can vary by up to 2 pounds, depending on the density of each piece of wood. The case adds about 9½ pounds.
"There is no other harp I have ever played that has affected me as much as this one has - I want to play her all the time, even with sore fingers!"
-Balfour Knight (Balsam, NC)
"It was nice to be able to thank you in person for this beautiful harp that has given, and continues to give me so much pleasure - and my family and friends who hear it too! As I said at the [Edinburgh Harp] Festival, I do feel this harp has turned me into a musician - from someone who had played but not really taken it very seriously (I think because I just wasn't really enjoying playing a rather basic harp) - there is something about the beauty and quality of this instrument that immediately met and lifted my aspirations and commitment. I just love it, and so love playing it!"
-Anne Shivas (UK)
"I spent a long time carefully evaluating and scoring pretty much every floor harp [at the Edinburgh Harp Festival] and eventually ended up buying one of your magical FH36S in Bubinga, which I fell in love with the moment I sat down with it. Nothing I can say will accurately describe the simply magical sound it makes. Sparkly and deep and fresh and pure and so so so awesome. Just magic...I am so, so in love. It's only money. Harps are happiness."
-Mae McAllister (Cambridgeshire, UK)
"The craftsmanship, string spacing and easy levers are superb on my Dusty bubinga 36, but what really sold me was the big sound. The rich tone makes it easy on the fingers since it is not necessary to pull hard. I tell my friends I can play a chord, go around the block, come back and it is still ringing!"
-Louise Trotter (Houston, TX)
"Primarily a pedal harpist, I also enjoy playing on the Celtic harp. My walnut Dusty Strings 36S with its mellow tone, resonant bass and sparkly but refined treble range, sings beautifully and very responsively in use with an early music group, meditative music in church services and in lilting dance tunes and beautiful slow airs of Celtic music... What I really enjoy about my Dusty Strings harp: responsiveness - it sings so easily and allows expression of fine nuances in the music; moderate string tension and even spacing - easy on the hands, just right; even tone from the resonant bass, mellow mid-range to the sparkly treble range; moderate ring - allows very sensitive, expressive playing..."
-Cheryl Slaughter (Atlanta, GA)
"I am so impressed with my new bubinga (FH36S). It is a joy to play this instrument. I'm sorry I didn't purchase one sooner. As soon as I heard Therese Honey's bubinga, I knew that this was the sound I was looking for. And the construction of the harp is so beautiful. I couldn't ask for more. It's just perfect. Thank you so much."
-Emily Mitchell (Houston, TX)
"Very excellent instrument. Even sound through all registers, stable tuning, big sound without overplaying. Our second FH36S in the last two months! We have sold or are selling all other instruments in our collection."
-Robert Gloff (Alexandria, Virginia)
"I am a professional harpist in Southern Cal, orchestrally trained with a BM in Harp Performance, and have been playing my concert grand L&H23 for 22 of my thirty years. Recently I sat down at a Dusty Strings wenge wood model 36, staved back, and was blown away by its integrity. I immediately felt connected to this harp, and found its “heart” rather soon after sitting down with it, realizing what a huge sound and tone it had. After only having it for a week, I have already performed with it in concert alongside my full sized L&H harp, and I have received tons of compliments on its beautiful tone. I have taken it to several locations for performances, some alongside my husband who plays low whistles. What an amazing harp this is! After hauling around a concert grand pedal harp for so long, I am thrilled with my Dusty String’s portability, yet at the same time I am not compromising the big sound I am used to with my L&H. I had the shop install the pick-up system on-site, my husband is a record producer and noted how incredible the harp sounded when amplified. Thank you for making such a beautiful instrument, in every way."
-Krista Strader (Aliso Viejo, California)
"I have had my Dusty Strings FH36S in Walnut for about 6 months and I find more and more enjoyment in playing it with each passing day. The walnut wood is very beautiful and many visitors in our home are in awe at the craftsmanship, beauty and styling of the harp, as well as the lovely acoustical sound. I've tried other lever harps, but none have matched the acoustical sound, the depth of sound, and the resonance of the Dusty Strings. I have begun playing music in various modes for Harp Therapy and I can easily create and write music for various modes with the beautiful tonal sounds of the FH36S. I love my harp!!"
-Cynthy Johnson (Richmond, Virginia)
"I do not often encounter such superb craftsmanship... The sound is very sweet and clear, rich and warm in the bass, shimmering and bell-like in the treble... I must also comment on the evenness of tone: it is such a treat to play... I would like to say thanks for your excellent customer service... Should you have any Canadian inquiries about your harps, I would be pleased to give a reference."
-Kim Stefaniuk (Toronto, Ontario)
"This is my third Dusty Strings harp, and I simply can’t tell you how ecstatic I am with it... This purchase was carefully thought out, although it ends up being heart & gut as well as head. As I play the instrument, it is so satisfying. Even looking at it is a pleasure."
-Tee Campion (Highbridge, Wisconsin)
"At the Gulf Coast Celtic Harp Competition I was awed to see that 80% of all the contestants were playing Dusties and I returned home determined to own a Dusty... With the support of a very kind wife I was able to custom order an FH36S in highly figured big leaf maple. Before the harp was built, Ray Mooers called me long distance from Seattle to discuss the instrument and my specification of wood—and to ensure that what I ordered would be exactly what would be delivered. As a long-time woodworker and lover of fine hardwoods, my expectations for both the wood and the craftsmanship were very high. The instrument arrived... without a scratch... I was thrilled. Four years later, I’m still thrilled. For all the beauty of the wood and the finish and the sound, the harp is well designed and solidly built underneath; the string tension and sound are evenly balanced, and I still get enormous pleasure every time I lift the instrument out of its case."
-Marc V. Benson (Midland, Texas)