An artistic fusion of music and craftsmanship. 

How People Like Their Harps

Letter to Kelly Reese asking her opinion of her Celtic Harp:

"I have been visiting with Rick Stanley about building a Tara 36 for me. He said that you have a Tara that he built for you. So give me your opinion-what do you think of it in all ways? I have looked at the pics of them online, and they are beautiful-but I am very skittish about buying a Harp that I haven’t played...Am trying to figure out a way to do that before I take the plunge. Any info you would Care to share would be so much appreciated! Thank you! Happy Harping"
Pat Lindemann, N. Dakota
(See Kelly Reese's response below)

(In response to Kelly’s email response below, Pat ordered a
Tara and 3 years later was still contacting us.)

"Still love the Tara!! Thank you...I was bragging on my Tara and on your craftsmanship this past week at a church Camp. Take care - Thank you!"
Pat Lindemann
Kelly's response to Pat's inquiry:

"I'm happy to talk about my harp. I completely understand your hesitancy about buying a harp without playing it first-when I think about it I can’t believe I did it. HOWEVER, it is the most splendid-sounding harp I have ever heard or played. As beautiful as it is to look at, it’s many more times as beautiful to listen to and to play.

The sound is so rich and bright, it fills my house. Rick is a fantastic musician, and plays the harp as he’s making it, he tweaks and adjusts it so that he gets the most sound out of it, and man, does it work! If I were in the market for another harp, I would order it from Rick. He’s a master. So far I’ve heard four harps that he has made, and they have all been splendid. The Tara, being larger with a bigger sound board, is the most resonant.

I sound like the Rick Stanley fan club president, don’t I? I think Rick is an amazing artist, a natural musician, and I’d love to help him get the recognition he so rightly deserves. Yup, I highly recommend his harps!"
Kelly Reese - Iowa

Kelly playing her Tara 36
"The harp is absolutely beautiful, and the sound is rich! With both the overall shape of the harp and also the carvings, the harp has real character and personality. Evan is thrilled; he especially enjoyed your playing Lover’s Heart for him. Thank you so much! The Harp is much more comfortable for Evan than his Teacher’s harp, so the ergonomic design issues including Size and wood selection for light weight have been successfully solved. The balance of the harp is designed well so that the harp does not push him back when he is playing."
Mike Lewis - Virginia

Evan with his Tara 36
"Thank you so much Rick! I absolutely love my Travel Harp. I never thought that 30 strings could sound so full, so resonant. The basses really sing and hold their note so long it sounds like my 36 string Swan. The Cherry was definitely the right choice, beautiful and so easy to carry around to sessions and workshops. Thanks again!"
Gwen - Fairfield IA

Gwen with her Travel Harp

Just thought I’d say Hi and let you know that I’ve been getting some good playing in on my new harp. The sound is filling out well and I don’t know if it could be true, but it seems to sing in the key of D! Maybe it’s my imagination but it seems to sound best there. I am very happy with the Harp."
John Howley - California

Listen to John Howley play his harp


John Howley's Sarada
"I love my harp!"
Corinne - Iowa
"The Tara harp, which Rick Stanley built, sounds more beautiful than any other Celtic harp I have ever played. I am so happy with my Tara harp! Rick and I talked before it was built; I told him what I would like the harp to look and sound like, and it turned out to be beyond my expectations!

The sound is amazingly beautiful. The sound is very,very resonant, very warm, yet bright and clear. The bass is deep with a ringing tone, and top is like crystal and silk. It is very responsive to the player's touch. I asked Rick for a certain tension on the strings, and he got it perfect!.

Not only does the harp sound great, but it looks so incredible on stage. With its mystical lines, it looks as if it just walked out of a fairytale. The colour of the harp's finish was just as I ordered; the hand carvings with the lion paw feet are extraordinary, and the exquisite hand-painting on the board was better than I expected with the detail and colour. The harp's beauty is heavenly!

Rick Stanley's Tara harp is truly a work of art, a master piece! For me, it is a dream harp! Thank you, Rick, for your great craftmanship!"

Harp Angel
Deborah Nyack, harpist
Testimonial from Harper Don Durham after seeing
and hearing Rick's Tara Harp

"Hi Rick,

While I knew from my sister or someone that you were making this special harp, I didn't know that it sounded like some sort of portal into harmony's own personal mystery garden. In all seriousness, whatever that means, based on all I've been able to hear of the Tara, I'd have to say that through your applied creative-artistic-intuitive-etc faculties as well as your meticulous pragmatic-technical methods, you've managed to bring nothing short of a living and working talisman of natural magic into manifestation.

I'm sure that these harps are respected and loved by a lot of harpers, and at the same time, I wonder if other than a very few really appreciate the magnitude of what you've accomplished with these instruments. I think probably most people intuit it without actually realizing what's going on or how rare it is--the sort of instrument that normally only comes out inadvertently, by accident, for most harp makers. A number (though certainly not many) of the highly respected harpmakers' harps sing, but not too awfully many of them sing That song!

Here I am, finally having determined that the classic Tara harp form is my all-time favorite among all the ones I've seen and loved--with its gloriously high headed harmonic curve and just-so-arched pillar, and its profile altogether that when brought back to the shoulder looks to me like an offering--and then I come to find that you have methodically and intuitively-spontaneously coaxed that ideal form into viable communion with the heart and wholeness of Beauty's archetypical harmonies and tuned it to the breath of her spirit. (Hey, how's that for a testimonial, and from someone who doesn't even own one yet?) Obviously, you've gone too far; the harp is quite beyond being what it could possibly be--but such is not all that can be said about the matter.

It can also be said that I must have one somehow. Heaven knows how--but heaven knows, for sure, as there is absolutely no doubt in my mind.

Thank you for everything, Rick,


Rick Stanley