Lever that flattens instead of sharpens

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    Debra Nemeth-Tarby on #224780

    I am a beginning harpist I am looking to buy a lever harp. I looked at a beautiful used Troubadour VI today. When checking all the levers, I noticed that one of the levers is flattening the note instead of sharpening the note. Is this an easy fix by a technician? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    charles-nix on #224781

    OK. Troubadour VI. So, L&H Performance levers. Mounted _below_ the bridge pins (down the strings)…. So, when engaged they shorten the strings. So they must move the string sharper when engaged. It can’t work any other way.

    Perhaps you’re looking at a harp tuned in Eb major? So the C, D, F, and G strings are tuned to those exact notes, and the E, A, and B strings are tuned one-half step flat (to D#/Eb, G#/Ab, and A#/Bb). Engaging those levers brings the string from one-half step flat up to pitch–but the lever still raises the pitch when it is engaged.

    Can you explain further what you are seeing?

    Debra Nemeth-Tarby on #224782

    Yes, it was tuned with all the Es and Bs flat. I checked all the strings and they were close to being in tune. The fifth line F and the next note, G were close to being in tune. Then I engaged all the levers to check their tuning. When I did that, the F and the G string both sounded as the same note (f sharp / g flat). I checked it several times. When I engaged the lever for the g, it flattened the note. I know it doesn’t make sense, that is why I am asking. I am a beginning harpist, but I am not a beginning musician. I am a music teacher and a church organist/ pianist. Could the lever be upside-down?

    Miriam Shilling on #224783

    Truly, this is impossible. I would suggest that you look up harpists in your area to see if there is one who might come with you to look at this harp. You might have to pay for her time, but I think it would be worth it. Also, to get her opinion on the rest of the harp. It’s always good to have an experienced eye before making a large purchase like this. Good luck to you!

    charles-nix on #224785

    Since you’re experienced, forget an idea I had that it is the tuner acting stupid. You couldn’t make a mistake about a semitone flattening.

    Do both strings pass through the levers the same way? Do both levers do the same kind of thing to the strings when engaged? They should both hook the string at the top, and force it against the fretting part of the rotating disc at the bottom.

    Failing that, can you post a picture of the general area at the top of the strings?

    Just like a piano (or an organ) if it is made shorter, (with nothing but the length changing) it must go sharp. No exceptions to physics.
    The lever could move sharp more or less than a semitone, but it would have to move sharp.

    Could it be upside down and on the wrong side of the string? So that when up it was disengaged, and engaged flipped down?

    Grasping at straws, here.

    Debra Nemeth-Tarby on #224786

    Thanks for all these ideas. I agree, it is physics, which is why I asked if it could be upside down. I think I will try to get a picture and/or have my harp teacher look at it. Perhaps it was strung wrong.

    Debra Nemeth-Tarby on #224787

    The person selling the harp says that the string had slipped out of the groove it is to sit in when she moved it. She has fixed and sent pictures of it engaged and unengaged with a tuner. It appears to be working correctly now. I will still verify and check. Thanks for your help. Debbie

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