Leaving your harp in the car?

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    Is it advisable? I’m tempted to leave it in overnight (the car would be in my garage) as opposed to take it in and out everytime, since I need to take it with me again the next day.


    I do it all the time…sometimes a couple of days, like this weekend. I play this evening and again on Sunday, so I will stay packed. I can still practice on my other harp.


    Thanks Sylvia… I was just unsure cause I have read somewhere that we should never leave a harp overnight inside a vehicle as the temperature may not be agreeable and could therefore damage the harp.


    Would you be comfortable in the heat/cold that the harp is exposed to? That’s the real question, I believe. If it’s comfortable for you, it’s okay for the harp. If it gets too cold or too hot bad things happen.


    As above- it depends on the temperature the car will be at (midwinter or blazing sun = no) and also on what your insurance says, being in the garage may be good for this. I have done this quite frequently.


    Mine’s in the car in the garage, with two covers (the old-style canvas and a nylon one to protect the canvas.) It has been over 100 here lately. The garage has insulation in the ceiling, and it’s only 90 out there, tho it’s 102 outside my window…if the thermometer is right. I wouldn’t stay loaded and parked outside because that would be too much. I haven’t been in really cold weather for years, thank goodness, so that’s not a problem.

    I’ve been doing the overnights for years, and mine have been fine with this arrangement. In fact, that’s the main reason I bought a second harp, so I could sometimes leave one packed…saves a lot of labor.

    Another thought…I have straight soundboards, so maybe wide ones are more delicate.
    If your harp has ever been shipped, it has probably already endured temp extremes.


    Check with your insurance company for their policy on this. Mine sends letters periodically warning not to leave instruments in cars. The implication is that there may not be coverage if something happens, though they don’t explicitly say that.
    In a private, secure garage, in moderate temperatures, I think I’d be okay with it. Make sure it’s lying in such a way that there’s no stress on any part of the instrument.
    My son had a valuable instrument stolen from his locked car, so I would never leave it in a car, even briefly, in any public place.


    I have a question that I think goes well with this thread, so I didn’t want to create a new one. You sure posted your question at a convenient time!

    I’m going to be moving from Seattle to Tucson in about a month, bringing my harp with me in the car. The harp will be in the air conditioned car during the day, but since all of my stuff is going to be in my car with the harp, it’ll be very very difficult to take the harp in and out the two nights I’ll be in hotels, so I was planning to just leave it in there (although I may still decide to take it out despite the hassle, just for peace of mind).

    I’ve been checking the weather along the way, and it looks like it could be as hot as 90 degrees at night. Is that too hot for the harp at night? There won’t be any sun shining throught he windows to make the car any hotter than that, but 90 degrees for me is beginning to get uncomfortable, and I don’t want the harp to fall apart or anything.

    Thanks for any advice. 🙂

    Gretchen Cover

    Ben, my concert grand was sent from California to Florida in July two years ago. When it arrived, and I opened the box, it felt like a furnace blast. A few strings popped when I took it out. But otherwise, the harp was just fine and remains so. You may want to check with the maker of your harp. I would make sure the harp is insured before you move. If something happens on the trip,I doubt your car insurance will cover anything.

    Also be sure to pack your harp tightly so it doesn’t bounce or shift around. I use garden kneeling pads under the top of the column and base for extra protection.


    I think Ben is wondering whether to leave it packed overnight at the motels.
    I was wondering if his harp is an indoor or indoor-outdoor harp. (sounds like pets). We really don’t know what kind of environment his harp is used to.
    If Ben’s harp is only in constant AC, he may be worried about the changes it will experience in the move.

    My harps play for outdoor events and have always been exposed to extremes of temp and humidity.
    Going from WA to AZ, I’d wonder about humidity more than temp.

    As for nights at a motel, there is the possibility of theft, but the thief would need to be pretty resourceful, strong, and have a large vehicle.

    I do overniters + more all the time. This week, mine will stay packed from Thurs. nite till Sat. when I go out to play again. As I said in my message above, the temp in my garage gets up to 90.

    However, as with all harp stuff, we are all different, so what works for one may not work for somebody else.


    Ben, the manufacturers have a recommended range on temperature and humidity, which you could look up (I only think in degrees C now) – and you could buy a cheap hygrometer (humidity gauge) and a portable thermometer from the hardware store so easily to take with you and put in the car with the harp, so they will help you decide in situ. But treat your harp like your companion and take it indoors to a cool shady spot, in the heat the strings will go pop at the very least and you’ll sleep better if you are not worrying about it… I hate overheating my harp even on a short trip, you’ll never know if it introduces the start of small soundboard cracks, but if you leave it in the heat you’ll forever worry about it. A little bit of a hassle is worth it to protect your harp.


    Gretchen – thanks for the response. I’ll be sure to check with the maker on the temperature – but it sounds like it shouldn’t be too hot. Good reminder about insurance, too – I have it insured, but I’m going to go through my policy just to make sure what is, and isn’t, covered.

    Sylvia – I was worried about the chance of theft, but you’re right – the thief would have to be very prepared to steal a harp! My harp has been an indoor-only harp while I’ve owned it, but one of its former owners actually took it to Puerto Rico for a few years, and I know that it was moved around a lot before that, too. I am a bit worried about the humidity change from Seattle to Tucson, though – I’ll get in touch with my new teacher and ask how she takes care of her harps.

    Alison – Thanks for the ideas. A thermometer would be a really easy way to make sure I don’t go over the manufactuerer’s recommended temperature. And while it would be troublesome to pack and unpack the harp every night, you’re right – better to not have to worry about broken strings and cracks in the soundboard. I’ll put a thermometer on my list for things to get before I leave!



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