Whether you're a brand-new harp owner or have owned a harp for years, good care of your harp is essential to keeping its beauty and tone. Follow these tips to give your harp the TLC it needs to thrive!
Harp Care Do's
* Do tune regularly so that your harp gets used to being in tune
* Do hydrate your harp by setting a bowl of water near it, especially in dry weather
* Do polish it once a month or so with furniture oil (wood finishes only - check the harp manufacturer's recommendation first)
* Do check your strings regularly to make sure they are not corroding, fraying or wearing thin in places.
* Do use the strings recommended by the harp's manufacturer
* Do check your harp periodically for loose screws, loose joints, cracks or other minor problems. Catch them early before they turn into major problems.
Harp Care Don'ts
* Don't use strings that are not recommended by your harp's manufacturer - at the least, this may void your warranty and at the worst, you can warp your harp by using heavier or lighter strings than were intended for your harp
* Don't set your harp near a heat vent, window, front door or any other area that rapidly changes temperatures
* Don't store your harp in a very cold or very hot room
* Don't store your harp outside in a garage, barn, porch, or any other place that is not temperature/humidity-controlled
* Don't store your harp in an area where it's likely to be knocked over - harps are more fragile than they look
Troubleshooting Your Harp
* What do I do if my string is "slipping?" (i.e. the tuning pin keeps loosening, making the string go flat)
Try hydrating and polishing your harp (see above). The wood may have dried out and thus not be gripping the tuning pin tightly enough. If that doesn't work, try using violin peg drops. Just a few drops around the base of the pin will often help the wood grip the pin more tightly. Another idea that can help is to use a hammer to LIGHTLY tap the tunning pin further into the harp's wood. Do this on the TUNNING side, not the string side.
* What do I do if my lever doesn't seem to be sharping truly? (i.e. it's a little too sharp or too flat)
Most levers are mounted on the harp with a screw that goes through a slot (not a round hole) in the lever. You can loosen the lever and slide it up or down in the slot until it sharps truly again. This is called "regulating." (Note: Pedal harpists should always leave regulating to the professionals. This tip is only for lever harpists.)
* What do I do if something on my harp is buzzing or ringing and I can't figure out what is causing the problem?
Try tightening everything on your harp that screws in. All of your levers can be tightened, the harp's feet can be tightened and there may be other things that can be tightened as well. Check for string ends that may be vibrating against the tuning pin. If this doesn't work, try hydrating and polishing your harp (see above). If all of this still doesn't work, give your harp a week or two to settle down before contacting a harp service person.