Medieval Lap Harp
Medieval Lap Harp

The Diabolus Lap Harp is based on a number of early medieval carvings and illustrations which show a small, easily portable harp.

The body is carved from a single piece of maple. It has 17 strings, which gives a useful diatonic range of just over two octaves, from a to c'' (although other tunings are possible).

Like most medieval and renaissance harps, it has brays. These give a buzzing sound which is characteristic of early harps. They can be finely adjusted to give just the right amount of buzz, or if you prefer a modern sound, they can be "turned off" by turning them sideways.


I normally fit nylon strings, but natural gut or NylGut can be supplied at extra cost.

Sound Clips

Played by Ian Pittaway



Medival Lap Harp, 17 nylon strings. Includes tuning key.

To order or enquire, please contact me


Cases - Excellent cases can be ordered from specialist manufacturers such as Kingham MTM, but they're pricy. I can supply an attractive, custom-built plywood case, black with chrome fittings, for £180 when ordered with an instrument.

Delivery - the price depends on where you live. Please enquire.

I hate it when websites say "Phone for a quote", so to give you some idea - getting a baroque guitar in its case to America, including insurance, is currently about £130. Getting one to Kent is about half that.

Waiting time, from placing an order to clutching your new baby, is currently about 10 months. It's very approximate, because the schedule often contains items that are somewhat experimental, and they may take more or less time to complete than anticipated. Usually more.

Deposit - I usually ask for £150 (non-returnable unless I'm dead, insane, incapacitated or incarcerated) to secure an order and cover materials. Once that's paid, your order is entered into my Magic Book. Nothing happens for several months, then you receive an email to tell you I've started construction. A few weeks later, a big parcel arrives, and you squeal with delight.

A note on HUMIDITY - delicate wooden instruments are remarkably resilient, but they can have major problems with both high and low atmospheric humidity levels. I keep my workshop at the recommended humidity level, between 45% and 50%. Low humidity can shrink wood, resulting in cracks. High humidity can loosen glue joints, especially when it's coupled with high temperature. There's plenty of advice on the Web, but I'm compiling a brief summary of recommendations which I'll upload soon.