Bring a harp from too dry to proper humidity

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    I finally convinced the music department that I work for to get a humidifier for the harp and put both together in a small room. The harp has a light crack forming along the soundboard strip. It looks like it is just in the top layer of wood, but does appear to be further than just the finish.

    Once the humidifier is acquired, can I just immediately crank it up to 50% or should I step it up gradually over time?


    If you want to be as carfeul as possible step it up every day or two, by 5% at a time. However, I advise backing up a few steps here- are you sure about that 50%? What is the humidity naturally, will the humidifier be plumbed in and will the harp ever move?

    I ask because changes in humidity can be much worse than a constant low humidity and you also want to minimise the impact on the harp is the humidifier empties or the harp is moved. (Small, affordable, humidifiers in a dry atmosphere need filling with water daily, if not more often.) This could be done by looking at a humidity towards the bottom end of good, rather than right in the middle.


    Yes, 50% is probably unrealistic. For my personal instruments, I have a humidifier set at 45% right now and it seems to struggle to get it to 30 something on it’s electronic screen. A separate hygrometer in the room does still read around 45%. My understanding is that it is very hard to accurately gauge humidity and the error of any basic (cheap) hygrometer is probably around +/- 5 or 10 percent anyway.

    A student who practices on the instrument daily would be in charge of dumping water into the reservoir.

    As for harp moving, it would almost always be returned within 24 hours to the same location. Lessons would be taught in the same location. Orchestra rehearsal would be another room, but no longer than 4 hours. The only 24 hour moves would be for concerts on the stage (same building). Perhaps once every 3 years, it would be moved to another theater or go on tour. Any harp would have issues with that and you just do the best you can.

    Carl Swanson has indicated that it takes longer than a typical gig time for the wood to dry out, so I feel, except for the last rare case of going outside of the building, the harp would always return to around 45%.

    Summers though? I don’t know how high the humidity gets. That’s a different story. I can visit that senario at a later time. Now, I’m just at least getting the lower extreme moved closer to the upper extreme.

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