Maintenance for Unplayed Harp

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    Indra Prabowo on #240239

    Dear fellow harpist,
    I would like to have some advice how to maintain a harp that no longer played. I left my harp in another town for a job, only see it on weekends for tuning it and replacing broken strings.
    Selling it is not an option because I still love it and getting the replacement in the future is a difficult and expensive matter because I live in Indonesia, very far away from harp stores in USA and Europe.
    Please give me some insight what I have to do with my harp while I’m not playing it.
    My harp is a LH Prelude, but I also would love to hear stories from pedal harp owners who face similiar condition as mine.
    Thank you

    wil-weten on #240241

    I’ve got a L&H Prelude too. I completely understand you want to keep it.

    The main question is what is mostly keeping you from playing it.

    Is it the lack of a suitable place to play on it? In that case, do you have a family member or good friend where you may play your harp?

    Could you find time in the days you live in the other town because of your job? In that case, you might want to move it to the place you usually live.
    Or could you find time to play in the weekends where the harp is now?

    Indra Prabowo on #240242

    I have to left it in my hometown because I feel that it would be more safer to left it there than to bring it in my current town. Last New Year we have a severe flood that make me very glad to not have my harp beside me. Bring it to my weekday place is not possible then. On weekends I have so many chores and acivities that only left me very little time to play the harp, so basically it was unplayed at all.

    Biagio on #240247

    If I understand you correctly, your Prelude will be for all intents and purposes in long term storage; is that right? In that case it might be wise to slacken the strings.

    I would not usually recommend that for a harp that will be played once in a while; however, it sounds like you will only be able to check on this briefly while you are away. If you intend to check and play regularly, just be sure that it is safely stored:

    Cover it with a dust cover and be sure if possible that the temperature and humidity where it is stored are fairly constant. Place it in a corner of the room to be sure it will not get knocked over.


    Indra Prabowo on #240261

    Yes, Biagio that is exactly what I mean. Thank you for making it clear.
    It was across my mind to loose the strings a bit. But what I feared is the harp will adjust in that condition and when time comes for it to be played again it will have a hard time to adjust back to its original tension.
    That’s why every week i keep it stay in tune.


    Biagio on #240263

    I’m sorry Indra, but I should have asked how long this will be? What you are doing now will not hurt it. If however this will be for two years or longer you might as well just loosen the strings and not bother.

    It’s up to you; the strings will last longer if you loosen them while leaving it alone for that time. Yes, you would have to retune but after two or more years gut will begin to deteriorate anyway.

    I don’t suppose there is any chance to purchase a smaller nylon strung harp where you are now?

    Best wishes,

    Indra Prabowo on #240266

    Biaggio, I will tell you a silly story of mine.
    Sometimes the harp bug bite me and remind me how much I wanted to play the harp. Then I finished my weekend chores early and abandon some. After practising about half an hour good old Reality came telling me that I don’t have any callusses to support my practices, so I better left the harp and back to work. This particular harp bug comes at least once a month 😁
    Adding another harp however small and portable it is not a favorable option for now.
    About the string life expectancy, you’re verry correct. In 2 years, almost the entire gut strings have to be replaced in various time between. But perhaps it happened because the harp was homed in Bogor, a small town with relatively high rainfall frequency.
    Thank you for your insights however.


    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #241562

    I believe the main thing you should do is lower the tuning to relieve the stress on the sounding board and frame. If you are going to play it occasionally, then perhaps just a semitone. And in a very humid environment, nylon strings should last longer.

    Indra Prabowo on #241592

    Thank you for your suggestion, Saul. I will try your advice to tune the harp a semitone down. And for the nylon strings for 3rd and 4th octave I’ll consider to purchase them at next accessories shopping as I already have stocked a whole octave of gut strings last December.


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