Welcome to Sligo Harp Shop.  At this point in their site, most harp vendors insert pompous marketing statements – their harps sound richer than heavy cream, look better than the young Elvis.  They tell potential buyers they care more about you, their valued customer than a good Irish son would about his sainted grandmother.    Since most folks can see a sales job coming a mile away, I decided to try something a little different –


In addition to titillating details on the harps I build, this site provides information harp players can read to understand harp construction and what goes into a well-built instrument.   New harp builders will find useful web tutorials on design theory, construction and repair. 


I hope you enjoy the site!


Rick Kemper

Sligo Harp Shop

Silver Spring, Maryland



For the harp player

I offer finished instruments as well as repair and maintenance services for players throughout the mid-Atlantic area.


Harps for sale                                     Standard Models  

Endorsements & Gallery                     Identifying a Well Built Instrument 

Repair Services                                  Replacement strings



I focus on making my own designs, but can be talked into doing the occasional custom harp.  My wait list for custom harps is 9-12 months. 

I make it a priority to promptly complete repairs for clients stranded without a working instrument.   



For New and Aspiring Harp Builders

The most useful resources I provide are Free!  The first is an on-line building guide, Building the Lever Harp which outlines, in detail, the tools and techniques I use to build harps from the design stage through levering.  The second is an online article, Structural analysis of the Folk Harp which outlines the structural loads the builder must accommodate in the harp. String Theory outlines the basics equations and parameters used for harp stringing. 


If this is your first harp, and you have a CAD program that will allow you to read and print out templates from an Autocad .dwg file, you can download and print out the plans for the 22 string Waldorf lap harp from the plans page for free!  You can also purchase paper plans for the Waldorf and five other popular models from the plans page too.  

For More experienced Builders

I have also done some Initial Trials to determine what makes soundboards break.  You may want to examine pertinent sections of the building guide for tips on vacuum forming round backs, or how to build cheap, effective fixtures for gluing the soundboard to a stave back.


I supply ready-made round-back shells and soundboards to some of the best builders making harps today.  If you have always wanted to build a fancy five octave harp in curly maple, but feel a round-back sound box is beyond your shop’s resources, don’t worry.  Think about it for a minute.  Few builders make their own levers – they subcontract that work to a specialist.  You simply fabricate your own neck and pillar following the directions in the building guide then fit the assembly to a Sligo-made sound box and soundboard, made to your specifications.   


Harp Repair

The Guide Building the Lever Harp covers many of the aspects you may need in a repair – say making a replacement sound board.  I will also be creating a series of on-line articles on common repairs and how I approach them:

Repairing a Cracked Neck

Regulating Camac Levers

Lifting/removing stubborn bridge pins

Building a hard flight case


(and Coming Soon. . . )

Reattaching a cracked knee block

Adding a T-section to straighten a bent pillar

Tips for removing Blown Boards


If you face a vexing repair challenge, feel free to write me with questions.  


The Uilleann Piping Page


Contacting Sligo Harp Shop - Why “Sligo”?  -  Popular Models