PROS / Sylvia Woods Harp Center sells harps and accessories and offers educational tools, listening experiences and much more.
CONS / You can only order harps after a personal conversation with the site owner, and no pedal harps are available.
VERDICT / This site cannot be beat for buying harps, learning to play them and discovering the beauty of the instrument.
Sylvia Woods is one of the most influential harpists in the harp community. Her passion for the lyrical instrument and her extensive knowledge of harps is made obvious by her website. The Sylvia Woods Harp Center site is primarily a place to buy harps online, whether you're looking for a folk instrument, a travel harp, an electric harp or a version that's perfect for young people and beginners.
You'll also be able to buy harp accessories on this site, encompassing everything from jewelry to cases, benches, strings and tuners. Furthermore, the site is teeming with educational information and free resources. In addition, videos and audio files make visiting the website feel as if you're sitting in Woods' living room, listening to her pluck the harp strings. This personal touch and enthusiasm, combined with the overall quality, is why Sylvia Woods Harp Center is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.
Woods has been a major force in the world of casual and professional harpists for decades. She authored many of the most popular books sold on her site after pioneering the use of lever harps, beginning in the 1960s. In 1980, she was one of the first Americans ever to place in the Ireland Harp Championship, and she was later named one of the 45 most influential harpists in the 20th century by "Harp Column Magazine." Since then, Woods has continued to write and record while putting her talent to work in the harp sales business.
The Sylvia Woods Harp Center website offers all kinds of harp paraphernalia for die-hard enthusiasts. Top products include harp bookmarks, Egyptian harp paintings and porcelain ornaments of angels playing harps. The jewelry for sale on the site includes earrings, pins and necklaces. Visit this site and you're sure to find the perfect gift for your harpist friends for special performances or occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Hanukkah.
Even if you aren't shopping, we highly recommend visiting the Harp Center site to learn more about the instrument. There's a reason harps have been prominent for hundreds of years in multiple cultures, and Woods can tell you all about it.
First, the blog. Harp Center owner and operator Woods uses this tool to discuss her extensive collection of harp music and to give tips and provide resources for teaching yourself to play. There are many articles available at the Harp Center as well. This collection details the experiences of harpists in an entertaining and comical way. For even more information, visit the site's FAQs page. It has some of the most interesting FAQs we've ever seen. They answer the questions real people have when they go about learning to play the harp for the first time, such as "How hard is it to learn to play the harp?" and "Can I learn if I have no musical talent?"
Next, be sure to visit the Harp Music Samples section of the site. You can click on the MP3 Audio Downloads page and you'll find some 99-cent recordings you can listen to right on your computer. We also recommend the handy search engine on the site. It enables you to filter your results by product or by information, and by price or category. Other winning features are the Harp-e-card and the Harp Parts sections of the site. If you're going to buy a harp, you really must visit the page dedicated to the anatomy of a harp.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center offers a multitude of harp accessories, but its selection of benches and covers is limited. The Harp Center has a great selection of tuning keys and a wonderful collection of harp jewelry – something we didn't see anywhere else. We also liked the instructional harp flash cards for children. In addition, harp teachers will enjoy the complimentary handouts and worksheets available to print.
Sheet music and instructional books are another important part of the Harp Center inventory. You can listen to some of this music before you buy. Some of the recordings are live, and others are electronic stimulations. You'll never have to second-guess the quality of any item sold through the Sylvia Woods Harp Center.
Sylvia hand-selects and approves of every item she sells to maintain her high quality standard. Interestingly enough, though, you can purchase an actual harp online from Sylvia's store but you can't simply add it to your shopping cart and pay. Sylvia Woods Harp Center is dedicated to helping you get the harp that you actually need, and the owner accomplishes this by personally assisting every harp buyer via email or on the phone. A new chat feature is also available during daytime hours. Woods operates this herself, so you can be confident that you're getting the best information and advice available.
The Sylvia Woods Harp Center sells lever harps by Dusty Strings, Harpsicle Harp Company and Triplett Harps. It no longer offers instruments from Lyon & Healey, but Woods is happy to refer you to other harp professionals for those harps. The site's new selection focuses on lever harps. Pedal harps, the costly kind used in symphonic orchestras, are no longer available at Harp Center.
Beyond the huge inventory and oodles of advice and instructional materials available at Harp Center, buying-related features make the site the best for harpists of all skill levels. Financing is available, as is a gift registry. You can let your friends and relatives know what you want for your birthday and holidays with this tool. There's also a printed catalog available. You can order it if you prefer to view the products Sylvia Woods Harp Center offers in hard copy.
Next, Harp Center features invaluable customer reviews. You can find out what other customers have thought of Sylvia Woods Harp Center products by accessing the Customer Testimonials section on the website. Training is also available there. The Harp Center offers dozens of how-to videos organized in a graduated fashion. In addition, the site offers a section called Teacher Handouts that is very useful to beginning harpists. Furthermore, there are dozens of videos outside the instructional section of the site. The Sylvia Woods Harp Center features more than 40 movies, including some vintage 1940s video clips.
There are also good sheet music options for sale at Harp Center. Not only does the site list the full name of every piece in every book (and compact disc), but it also offers several titles available for immediate download as PDF files.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center has an extensive Harp Care section, and the site offers a 30-day return policy for instruments. For other products, the guarantee extends to 90 days. Used instruments and trade-ins are no longer available, but rental harps are. If you choose the rental option, part of your fees will go toward purchase.
If you're just getting started on the harp, the Sylvia Woods Harp Center is a great place to go. Woods's Essentials Program allows anyone who buys a harp to receive an additional 20-percent discount on additional essentials (such as strings, tuners, benches and stands).
If you're in the Los Angeles area, you can take advantage of the free "I've Always Wanted to Play the Harp" workshops that are offered once a month in Woods' home. Sign-up is required. For the rest of us, a free monthly newsletter is available via email.
Don't let the initial amateur look of the Harp Center website turn you off to it. The site is easy to navigate and you'll find many interesting things to read about and listen to. In fact, you can hear MP3 samples of each of the 150 CDs you can buy. What the Sylvia Woods Harp Center lacks in flashy web design, it certainly makes up for in overall quality.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center is a great resource for anyone interested in the harp (learning to play the harp, buying a harp, learning about the harp). Sylvia Woods will make you feel at home on her website. She believes that anyone can learn to play the harp and therefore offers materials for teaching yourself to play the folk harp.
On the Sylvia Woods Harp Center website, you can purchase harps, learning materials, memorabilia, gifts, and recordings and videos of accomplished harpists. This is only one of the reasons we recommend Sylvia Woods Harp Center as the best place you can buy harps online. The whole service exudes Woods' dedication to the harp and to her fellow harpists. The Sylvia Woods Harp Center is music to our ears, figuratively and literally.