Fixing What’s Broken


—by Mike Lewis

The last pedal rod guide you will ever need.

(Note: To see Mike’s hands-on how-to video, scroll to the end of the article.)

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

Imagine you are driving home from a gig down an old country road and your car and cell phone mysteriously die. A bright light envelops you, and, before you know it, you are sitting behind your harp ready to play on what appears to be an alien spacecraft. The head space alien has Pachelbel’s Canon in D all cued up on your music stand. She is motioning you to play. Who are you to refuse?

You slip your C pedal into sharp and “pop!” goes the C pedal rod. It is broken. Three things run through your mind almost simultaneously: 1. “Will this now end like other space alien abductions, where they drag me on to the medical exam?” 2. “Why didn’t you upgrade your pedal rods and couplings like your harp technician suggested?” (See photo below) 3. “Did these space aliens remember to bring my back-up set of pedal rods that I always carry to gigs?” Ah, yes, they remembered your back-up set. Please allow me to give you some printed instructions you can carry with your back-up set of pedal rods.

The Prelude

The base of your harp must be raised to a nice working height if at all possible. You have several good options, including your harp transport vehicle (weather permitting); a bed; three chairs spread out in a triangle with the harp lying flat with the top of the column on one chair, the knee block on another, and the lower part of the body on the last chair; two padded piano benches; and the floor with extra padding under the lower side of the body so that the base of the harp is raised. Before you begin, put on your safety glasses.

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