John Pratt Harp Company



The Empress






The “Empress” is a high quality 38-string lever harp, similar to the Chamber Harp but with different styling, and which exhibits the same excellent response and superb sound.  The Empress also has the unique lever harp feature of an extended soundboard—a feature generally available only in better pedal harps.  In fact, the Empress and the Chamber Harp have the same body and base as each other, except that the Empress has two additional wire strings, 6A & 6B below 6C.  The soundboard is made of veneered select Sitka spruce, tapered from center to the edges, and from bottom to top.  The concert harp-style soundboard, coupled with concert harp strings, plated brass string eyelets which transmit better the sound to the soundboard, and fairly taut string tension contributes to a very full, mature harp sound.   The sound of the Empress exceeds many pedal harps in the mid to upper ranges.


The “Empress” differs from the “Chamber Harp” only in style and an increased number of strings.  The Empress has a straight-column pedal harp appearance.  The column is octagonal in cross section, and flares out at the top giving this instrument a simple and elegant appearance.  The flared column is topped by a scalloped wooden crown.


As in the Chamber Harp, considerable hand crafted work goes into the creation of the Empress.  We feel that you will not find a comparable amount of hand work in other lever harps—especially considering the price.  The Empress is suitable as a beginner’s harp, and lends itself well to transitioning to a pedal harp, but its refined appearance makes this instrument an object of function and beauty for its own sake.


Right:  The Empress at the 2010 AHS Harp Congress in Tacoma, Washington:





The same options and option packages are available for the Empress as for the Chamber Harp.  Note the Celtic knot and soundboard border inlays in the instrument above.  Also visible are the top side strip corner bead inlays – a decorative feature generally available only in higher-end pedal harps


The Empress is available in several different standard finishes—not colors obtained merely by using different colored stains, but finishes obtained using a variety of genuine, unstained hardwoods and hardwood veneers in their natural colors and textures.  For all finishes, the neck of the Empress is made of our own hard maple laminations.  The neck is then covered on the top and the sides with the hardwood veneer of choice for that particular instrument.  The body panels likewise are always made of hardwood birch laminate, and covered with the hardwood veneer of choice. The Empress knee block, base, column, and top side plates are made solely of solid hardwood in the wood of choice.  The soundboard is covered in select, book-matched figured maple veneer of our own production. 


We also offer extra aesthetic and decorative features for the Chamber Harp as options, such as, ornamental wood inlays, exotic woods, and custom touches upon request.


The Empress comes standard with a padded transport cover set, with both a top and a base cover which attach together.  Strap handles on both the top and base covers facilitate transport and loading.


Our new transport dolly works with the transport cover on or off the instrument.





Special sapele wood Empress with optional body panel inlays.


The standard finishes we offer for the Empress are as follows:  blond—curly maple, blond—birds-eye maple, birch, cherry, walnut, African bubinga, sapele, and zebrawood, though we would consider other hardwoods or hardwood combinations.  We also do custom work on occasion.  Contact us if you have special desires or ideas.  Even on our “standard” finishes, there is often some degree of latitude in the kinds of matching or contrasting woods that may be used in some of the “standard” body inlays, such as the back body corners, or the inlays that are at the bottom of each body panel.  We often work with customers to achieve color or wood combinations that they desire, and that will work well.  We invite you to peruse these options if you desire. 


Wood Samples:


Empress Specifications:



Birds-eye maple



Curly Maple







Soundboard Width:

Width at base:

Length (front to back):


6A to 1C,  38 strings





46 lbs 

(Bubinga about 2 lbs more)



















Top of Empress column with its crown (bubinga).





John Pratt Harp Company

360 West 400 South

Manti, Utah 84642



(435) 835-3541    


Copyright © 2013 John Pratt Harp Company.  All Rights Reserved.
Prices listed here may be changed without notice.