Sylvia Woods Harp Center
Labor Day Weekend 2013

In this issue:top
Sylvia Woods Harp Center logo
newA Personal Note from Sylvia Woods
Witcher Celtic

How would you like to own a piece of harp history?  As you know, I'm moving to Hawaii in one month.  I've been selling lots of my possessions to get ready for the move.  I have one big item that I've saved for last: the harp from the cover of my Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book!  You could be the proud owner of this unique piece of harp history! Read the article below to find out how.

Our big harp sale a few weeks ago was fantastic.  It was so nice to see so many of my long-time customers again.  In case you missed it . . . never fear . . . we still have harps left in stock.  Email me or give me a call if you're in the market for a new or used harp.

I'm going to have another yard sale this Saturday, August 31st.  This time it is not just for you, my dear customers, it is a general non-harp yard sale open to the public.  Feel free to invite all your friends to stop by at 4409 Lowell Ave, La Crescenta, CA 91214 any time between 8 am 2 pm this Saturday the 31st, and see what fun goodies you can find to take home!

Remember, even though I am moving, I am NOT RETIRING. I'll still be here to help you and to offer you high-quality harp products.  I'll just be doing it from beautiful Kauai, Hawaii! For those of you who missed my big announcement a few months ago, you can read all about it by clicking on the Hawaiian shirt on the home page of


bronzeOwn a Piece of Harp History      Teach Yourself book 

When I wrote my Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book in 1978, I took it to one of the major music publishers in New York to see if they would publish it.  I had a meeting with the Vice President of Sales, who told me something like this: "It looks like a great book, but nobody plays the harp.  You'll be lucky if you sell 100 copies.  So we won't publish it.  However, if you publish it yourself, we'll be happy to distribute it for you."   Although I was disappointed at the time, his decision was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thirty-five years and almost 100,000 copies later, countless harp players all over the world have learned to play using this book.
Witcher Celtic
The 1978 photo of me on the cover of this book has become famous.  I always get a kick out of harp players who meet me in person for the first time and say, "You cut your hair!" 

In preparation for my move to Hawaii, I am finally willing to part with my Witcher Celtic-32 harp which is immortalized in this photo.  I am selling it through an auction on eBay.  (See below for auction information.)


This harp toured the world with me in the late 70s when I was a member of Robin Williamson and His Merry Band, and I continued to play it in my concerts until sometime in the mid-1980s.

Teach Yourself Video I also played this harp in the video (later made into a DVD) of the Teach Yourself book.

During one of our Merry Band concerts in Germany in 1979, the harp fell forward and the front t-brace cracked.  Jay Witcher, the harp maker, was kind enough to replace it with a new t-brace when I returned home from the tour.  There is now a small 1.5" crack in the harp's t-brace, which has been recently repaired.

The harp originally had 4 claw feet attached to the base. You harp feetcan see the 2 left feet at the bottom of the "Teach Yourself" photo. After a few tours, we cut the feet off so that the shipping crate could be made significantly smaller.  I still have the feet, but they are no longer attached to the harp! 

American Stonehenge LP The famous "Teach Yourself" photo was taken by Janet Williamson in front of a standing stone somewhere in upstate New York the day we were taking photos for the album cover of our "American Stonehenge" album.  I was kneeling on the ground, wearing a long, maroon-colored cape.  The original photo is in color, but it has always been in black and white on the cover of the book.

There's a funny story about this harp and the photo.  In 1980 when I went to Ireland and won the All-Ireland competition, my first stop was the O'Carolan Harp Competition in the small Irish town of Keadue.  I didn't know anyone in Ireland,  and no one knew me.  I was anonymously sitting by myself with my harp, waiting for the competition to start.  A man came up to me and asked "Was that harp made in America?  And did you know that Sylvia Woods has a harp exactly like that?"  I didn't quite know how to respond!   It turned out that he had made a harp himself, and just used the photo from the book to draw up his plans.  So he had stared at this harp for countless hours!  He "recognized" my harp by the unique knot figure in the wood that you'll see about 2/3rds of the way down the front pillar. (See yellow arrow in photo.)

Witcher Celtic

This harp is a Celtic model 32-string harp made by Jay Witcher in 1976 in Santa Rosa, California.  The serial number is 320.  As I recall, it was made from myrtle wood, and it has a spruce soundboard. The lowest string is a G (1 octave and 3 strings below middle C).  The highest note is C (3 octaves above middle C).  The height is 43.5" at the front of the harp, and 39" at the back. The dimension from front to back along the neck is 28", and the widest part of the base (without the feet) is 15.5".

As I mentioned above, this harp's original t-brace has been replaced, and there is a small crack in the existing t-brace that has been recently repaired.  The feet have been removed, and there is a crack partway through the base.  There are horizontal cracks in the soundboard, where the spruce was originally pieced. These cracks have been in the soundboard since the late 1980s.

The harp originally had sharping blades, instead of levers.  These blades were removed and upgraded to metal flip-up levers sometime in the late 1980s. The levers all work, but are in need of regulation.  By the way, you can play all of the pieces in the Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book without using any sharping levers at all!

There is some residue inside the back of the harp, on the back of the soundboard, from putty for removable amplification pick-ups used in the past.  This harp has been well used, so there are nicks and scratches throughout the harp.  But, other than what is mentioned above, the harp is structurally sound.  It is definitely playable, and has a lovely tone!  Please see the eBay listing for more photos of the harp.


The harp comes with a black soft case, a tuning key, some replacement strings, and the 4 (unattached) feet.  I will also include an autographed copy of the Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book, and a signed certificate stating that this is, indeed, the harp depicted on the cover.  The harp is sold as-is, with all faults, and is not returnable. 

The shipping charge within the continental U.S. is $195.

You can bid on this harp through eBay for the next 7 days.  The bidding starts at $999, and the auction ends on Wednesday, September 4th at 8:40:59 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Please contact me at (818) 956-1363 or if you have any questions.  Good luck with your bid!
Yard Sale
SchoolYard Sale!
Saturday August 31
8 am to 2 pm
4409 Lowell Ave, La Crescenta,
California 91214* 

Over 100 non-harp (piano, guitar) books of pop, Christmas & other music
Hawaiian artwork and gift items
Disney items
Christmas ornaments and decorations
Office and computer supplies
File cabinets and other furniture and antiques
Household stuff
and more!

*You do not need an appointment to come to our sale. 
However, if you want to come at any other time,
or you want to come and see the harps,
please make an appointment at (818) 956-1363.

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