I am no expert but Regulation is when the Harp Maker performs the final master tuning that sets the tone and pitch of the open strings and the engaged levers, ensuring that the semitone is exactly one half step above the open note, all the way along the harp. But I purposely do not call them sharping levers as depending on the Key they produce either Flats or Sharps.
Harps with full levers need regulating at other times also.
My capacity to hear pitch, tone, is above electronic equipment, which can be a two edge sword with levers, and regulation. In the main you should be able to put your tuner on and note the open string and then engage the lever and not the sharp is it a perfect F# or off? When my equipment says OK i can often hear a muddiness in chords if their is a problem.
I have many floor harps from the US Troubadour VI, 4 Dusty Strings FH models, 2 Triplett models Eclipse and Celtic II. I have never had trouble with the big names in tone and the quality when engaging their levers. I love Camac, L&H Performance levers, Dusty Loveland.
Recently I have purchased a harp of lesser quality harp but still considered a good harp made more locally but from US parts.
When I tune to Eb, the levers when engaged sound awful. A mixture of poor tone, buzzing, and just when I think it is OK the chords sound out, don’t hold. Strangely though it can sound OK in the Key of C after some tool kit work on the levers.
After some research I found the Harp maker had regulated my harp to the Key of C. As I understand, large Harp making companies with harps sold with full levers always regulated in Eb? This allows the levers to be used for flats and sharps giving the player the greatest range.
What I was told after many e-mails and excuses, “To have your harp regulated in Eb would probably solve the problem but the fact it was regulated in C is not the problem.” Hmmmmm!
This would costs $500.00 dollars to and from, I don’t think so! Australian freight is bloody expensive.
I have had some smaller harps come in over time and they sounded off, know matter what I did…. I had just thought must be cheap!
Each time the harp has had a problem it has been with a company where levers are optional!
Now I am questioning the adage “you can regulate in any key”.
I believe that if you order a harp with full levers the harp must be regulated in Eb and would be worthwhile checking it is done.
I would like to hear about any other experiences or if this rings any bells for others who have had similar experiences?