I have a HVH Leprechaun and I recently lost the tuning key. It doesn’t seem to fit a standard size (pedal harp) tuning key. Does anyone know what kind of tuning key would work? Also, did they go out of business?
The concert harp tuning key fits a 0.185″ square pin. Many lever harps use that size, but there are two common smaller sizes and one larger size in use. So, my first question would be “Does the concert key not go on at all, or does it spin around once put on?”
The real way to tell is to measure across the square head of the tuning pin with a micrometer or good dial caliper. The other common sizes are 0.210″ (Rees harps, drum keys) 0.176″ (Dusty Strings) and 0.160″ (Triplett, all zither pins, some harpsichords).
Any information you can add will help nail down the specifics, like “Do the pins screw in and out of the neck when turned?” or are they smooth, tapered pins like on a pedal harp?
Interesting. This may be a little more complicated. If there is just no chance of getting the pedal harp key on, you may have the 0.210″ size. Robinson’s harp shop can help with their #5 key, or, I’ve been told that a standard drum key from any music store fits fine. They’re usually not black rubber T-handled keys, but are all metal or mounted in a wood handle.
However, you may have a situation like mine: my lever harp came with a black rubber key. It is supposed to be concert harp size, with concert size pins. However, a new black rubber key I bought will not comfortably work on that harp. Some pins it will go on very tightly; some pins it won’t go on at all; some it partially goes on. Apparently that harp has “standard concert” pins, but they are just a few thousandths oversize, and a tight, well-made concert key doesn’t fit. Both keys work just fine on a pedal harp.
So, will the key not go on at all (as would be the case with 0.210″) or will it sort of go on at least some of them?
Harp tuning peg heads are manufactured to fit standard clock key sizes and some older harps (e.g. the Clark, Caswell Bard) do not have the more common sizes. You could measure them with a caliper and then research clock keys, make a handle and so on but that seems like a heck of a lot of trouble. Others may have been a standard size but have become worn over time and use (zither pegs often have that issue)
An alternative – a bit pricey I admit – would be to buy Dusty Strings’ Universal wrench – which is adjustable. Frankly, it is just a size #0-1/4 tap wrench with a nice handle, but it will do the job for you….and any other harp that you own.
I keep that tap wrench in my goody bag (along with spare strings etc.); they only cost about $5-$10 at any hardware store.
It won’t fit at all. My harp is a mid-size lever harp, so it may not be the same as your situation. Actually though, even when I had the correct key there was one pin that that wouldn’t fit on!
The harp was made in 2005 so I don’t think age is the problem. I did think about the Dusty Strings Universal wrench but that is very expensive!
Thank you both! I think I will try a drum key and if that doesn’t work it sounds like a tap wrench is the next option.
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