SPOILER: the best lyre harp does not exist! There… we said it.
We say so because despite the lyre being a slightly ‘unconventional’ instrument, if you take a look online you’ll see there’s no shortage of lyre harps for sale. Kind of surprising, considering that you don’t catch many kids attending lyre lessons, nor them being played as part of a concert.
In fact, it’s only when you realise what a lyre is, that the fascination with this instrument suddenly makes sense. So while lyres aren’t what you’d call the stereotypical instrument of a pro, for casual play they’re actually a whole heap of fun. Factor in their size & they’re portable too. Pretty much the perfect instrument to take on holiday or play around a campfire. In that respect, lyres are a LOT like a ukulele.
However, with the lyre descending from Ancient Greece, there’s more to this nifty string instrument than what meets the eye. So if you find yourself asking question like “what’s the best lyre for beginners?” or “Is a Donner lyre harp any good?”, keep reading. We’ve put together a rundown of the best 10 lyres to make your decision that bit easier.
After something specific about the best lyres? Or just curious as to what a good lyre costs? Use the menu below to get all the info you need in record time…
NOTE: If compact stringed instruments are up your alley, be sure to also check out our reviews of the Best Soprano Ukuleles + our Favourite Concert Ukuleles.
The best lyre harps @ a glance…
12 of the best lyres (AKA small harps) you can buy
Which is the best lyre harp?… that’s a tricky question.
See, despite the fact a lyre is somewhat an unconventional breed of instrument, that’s not to say there’s little choice. Anything but! You can have lyres with 16 strings, as well as those with just 7. Factor in all the various wood types + the whole host of designs you come across nowadays & it’s safe to say that pinning down the best lyre harp for you, is a tougher task than it ever has been. However…
Luckily for you, we’ve actually done 90% of the legwork for you. So, all you have to do is sit back & read on – as we reveal our picks for the best lyre harps for sale today…
1: Donner lyre harp (16 Strings/ Mahogany)
2: Mid-East Lyre Harp
3: Aklot 16 string Lyre Harp
4: 22″ Aklot 15-String Mahogany Harp
5: Oscarina Wind Lyre Harp
6: NAkhan Traditional Irish Lyre Harp
7: AAR Lyre Harp
8: Mr.Power Ancient Greek Style Lyre Harp
9: LV Pets Lyre Harp
10: Champions Legacy 10 string lyre harp
Want to get creative? Try learning how to make a lyre…
That’s right – if you’re one for being creative, you can actually design your lyre yourself – pretty neat huh!
Especially when you consider that doing so can not only work out cheaper, but can also double as a great DIY project for kids. With everything being computerised these days, it has to be said that kids (now more than ever) need practical tasks like this to develop their problem solving skills & creative thinking.
As youngsters, we’d have loved to make up an instrument like this. Never mind paint it all colours of the rainbow & take it with us on family days out. All you need is a bit of elbow grease & this lyre kit…
11: Happyyami DIY 7-String Lyre Kit
Here’s the best Lyre harp for beginners…
In the case you’re not an experienced Lyrist, but want to try your luck with a lyre harp, then we’d suggest sticking to something small.
We say so because aside from being cheaper, a smaller lyre typically will have less strings. Something that should allow to at least get a feel for playing the lyre before investing a good chunk of £$€. Plus, for you as a beginner, a 7 string lyre is FAR less daunting – opt for full 16 strings & you may even decide that playing the lyre is too difficult… i.e. give up before you’ve even got started!!
So with that in mind, if we were a beginner, we’d be opting for the small 7 string lyre from Donner…
12: Donner lyre harp (7 string/ mahogany)
Which lyre is best? Our editor’s choice…
Putting a finger on the best lyre was (for us at least) quite a task. Each lyre on this list has it’s own distinct character + with there being that many decent lyre harps out there, narrowing it down to just 1 seems a tad… narrow minded.
So instead we’ve decided on 2 top picks which we think have the potential to be the best lyre. The first of which being the…
Aklot Lyre Harp (16 string) = Best Full-Size Lyre
An instrument that we were pleasantly surprised by. And that’s not just because of its solid feel of that mahogany & maple. When coupled with the price, this lyre is also tremendous value! Yes, it may not be as good on a ‘price-quality’ ratio as the equivalent Donner lyre harp, but we’d say that it’s a premium worth paying.
Reason? Well, aside form the design, which is good deal more funky, the sound of this lyre is (if you ask us) that bit better. Aklot have done a great job with the acoustics of this lyre. Ergerniomiyally, you can really tell that it’s been thought through. Its sound is mellow, yet punchy & you can achieve a good range of tones per strings. A lot more than you can with the typical min harp. We really didn’t expect plucking this instrument to be so involving… but it is.
Saying that though, if you’re a beginner & 16 strings seems a bit daunting, then you may be better off with the…
Donner Lyre Harp (7 string) = Best Budget Lyre
A mini harp that caught us by surprise, especially considering he price.
See, while this mini harp does only have 7 strings, it performs a LOT like lyres that retail for twice the price. The range of tones you can achieve with this lyre are pretty darn good, especially considering its small number of strings! Team that with its solid mahogany build & you can soon see why we think Donner have hit the nail on the head for beginners.
For anyone who’s daunted by the thought of a 16 string lyre, this baby 7 string is a great introduction. Plus, those who’re after a compact travel instrument, won’t be disappointed either. Bar being small, the case Donner give you with this lyre, is also pretty substantial. Great for keeping your instrument protected during a hectic road-trip.
Hats off to you Donner – as an overall lyre package, we genuinely find it hard to pick fault.
Enjoy this review of the best lyres and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Stringed Instrument Reviews,as well as the lowdown on all things Instruments. Recently, we also did a rundown of the Best Kalimbas + another on the Most Popular Guitaleles, which may also be a good read.
Or, if you’ve still got as burning question about what makes the best lyre, keep reading to discover even more about this pocket-sized stringed phenomenon…