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Review of Donner Pentatonic Lyre Harp

After a trip to the South Pacific, Loretta has developed an interest in ukuleles and lyres. They are fun and relaxing to play.

My beautiful new Lyre Harp!

My beautiful new Lyre Harp!

Choosing Your Lyre Harp

There are many lyres available for purchase, so a little research will ensure you make a choice you will enjoy for many years.

There are lyres with 7 strings, 10 strings, 16 strings, and more. The more strings, meaning more notes, the more tunes you will be able to play. If you are unfamiliar with stringed instruments, you may have better success with fewer strings at first. I chose the 7 string pentatonic lyre harp. I love a 5 note pentatonic scale on the piano so this seemed like a good choice for me.

Let me clarify the 7 string pentatonic since we all know pentatonic means 5. This lyre has notes D, E, G, A, B, with D and E repeating in the next octave. So your strings are D, E, G, A, B, D, E. Pitches for C and F are omitted.

In addition to the number of strings, the body of the lyre is important. The best sound will come from a wooden, not plastic, body. This lyre is made from mahogany and produces a nice, full tone.

  • Please view all thumbnail photos as they will give a better understanding of this instrument.

If your product is damaged, it's no good for you or anyone else. Order from an established business.

At last it's time to see the product and accessories!

  1. A really nice and sturdy black carrying case with a shoulder strap on the back and exterior pocket for the accessories.
  2. Accessories include a complete second set of strings, two picks for plucking the strings, a cleaning cloth, and most importantly a small and necessary tool to tune the strings.
  3. An instruction/explanation booklet.

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The mahogany wood of this instrument looks and feels luxurious. If you have the option between wood and plastic, do buy the wooden version. It sounds better and feels solid when handling.

You will use the included L-shaped tool for adjusting the pegs to tune your instrument to exact tones. A tuner is required as well. I used the Donner tuner which has modes for chromatic, guitar, violin, bass, and ukulele. I chose the chromatic mode. If a tuner is not available to you there are apps for various phone models which work as well.

Attach the tuner to the lyre or place your phone nearby. Place the tuning tool over the peg and turn ever so slightly while plucking the string to achieve the exact tone you are aiming for. When the exact tone is reached the color on the display changes from blue to green and the needle/pointer is in the center.

It is expected that your string will vary from the exact middle position as your lyre is played over time. When you notice a string sounding sharp or flat just repeat the tuning process.

There are at least three ways to hold your lyre:

  1. One easy way is almost flat down in your lap, similar to a dulcimer. Use your thumbs to pluck the strings.
  2. A second way is to mimic holding a ukulele or guitar, in front of your body with one hand, using the other hand stroking strings with your fingers or a pick.
  3. You can hold your harp upright, balanced on your lap or a table top, and pluck the strings from both the front and the back using both hands.

What can you play with only a pentatonic scale?

You may be thinking "What can you play with only a pentatonic scale"? One of my favorite pentatonic songs is "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young—a really haunting melody. K.D. Lang has a good cover of that song. "Amazing Grace" and our military "Taps" are also famous pentatonic pieces. There are many more, and you can make up your own melodies as you improvise.

Enjoy Your New Lyre Harp!

A lovely new lyre harp.

A lovely new lyre harp.

This pentatonic model is a fun, relaxing, and easy instrument to learn and play for any age. If this seems like a good fit for you or someone you know, get this lyre harp for yourself or as a gift. It really is a nice instrument.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 The Sampsons

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