Feeling Hot, Hot Hot

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Mike Lewis is a San Francisco-based harp technician and owner of HarpTech.

Mike Lewis is a San Francisco-based harp technician and owner of HarpTech.

How to keep your harp cool in your car. 

Some like it hot, just not your harp. So how hot is too hot for your harp? My rule of thumb is if you are comfortable, your harp is comfortable. Better yet, treat your harp as an older parent or a newborn baby, and, yes, I know they sometimes act the same. Your harp may not be a living breathing person, but its longevity and survival may well depend on the choices you make.

Here are my guidelines for keeping your harp in extreme temperatures (in Fahrenheit):

• maximum temperature: 110 degrees

• maximum temperature variation for a day: 20–30 degrees

• minimum temperature: 50–60 degrees (This is important as you don’t want water condensing on the harp if the temperature reaches dew point.)

Why these numbers? Heat and water vapors are enemies of the glue joints of your harp. Since your harp is under constant strain due to string pressure, and to a lesser extent gravity, you might want to help your harp stay glued together.

For years I’ve been asked how to keep a harp safe in a hot car. My response has always been, “Don’t put your harp in a hot car or a cold car; in fact, don’t leave it in a car at all.” Harps hate change. You may have an Obama sticker on your car but your harp is a conservative.

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2 Comments

  1. tonie-ogimachi on

    Any thoughts on harps in Hawaii? I will soon be moving to the rainy Hilo side of Hawaii Island. One of my harps is carbon fiber, but I have a more traditional pedal harp as well. I’ve been worried about the effects of humidity there.

  2. Denise Hoffman on

    Could a harp be damaged being shipped from Oregon to Florida, in 85 degrees(average ), across the U.S…. 6 days in a truck, enclosed in a case with 2 layers of a cardboard box?
    I have been advised to NOT ship and “no problem” TO ship in the summer. It’s a new harp.
    Any experience?

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