A while back I purchased an
Hi and thanks for two replies so far. It might well be that my instrument needs servicing, but then it hasn’t had that much use, except for practice now and again and it has never left my house or room where it is kept.
I think my point is that I’ve had it for around two years with hardly intensive use and it was relatively out of tune with pedalling right from the beginning. The “double” sounding notes have always been there from the start and I feel that this is an example of harp suppliers just importing boxes and then delivering them without checking, regulating or investigating. I wouldn’t be surprised if Morleys had simply not opened the imported crate at all prior to delivery, or perhaps for a just a cursory check.
This is a problem with many importers/suppliers of goods. They become complacent and lazy and simply act as a warehouse distributor rather than being the specialists they claim to be.
I forgot to say in response to the tuning question: when pedalling an F sharp for instance, all the F sharps are out of tune overall and even relative to themselves, suggesting that each individual cam is wrongly adjusted and simply had never been properly set up at the factory.
It is infuriating having to stop and retune for every piece, or even extended passage. The only way I can use this harp at the moment is to play everything in one key with no accidentals. Using the pedals just throws things out so badly it is excruiciating to my sensitive ears!
Did you buy the harp new or used. If it is new then surely it has some kind of warranty? You say the double sounding notes were there right from the beginning so did you mention it at the showroom when you picked up the harp? I’m pretty sure that you will have rights to get any faults fixed under the warranty so I would advise checking it. If the harp is second hand then contact Gerald Fentler at http://www.gfharpworkshop.co.uk He is a brilliant harp technician and is trained specifically to work on Aoyamas. In the mean time, try tuning in naturals rather than flats – it’s a trick that has worked for me in the past when any of my harps have been crying out for a service.
From your description the harp unquestionably needs servicing. The
tuning issues can be sorted out by a technician and standard advice is to get a new pedal harp serviced after a year.
Hard to put this tactfully, but I personally find that Morley’s pricing
relates very well to how impressed I am with a harp (except paying
for decoration) and they manage to sell this instrument about 20%
cheaper than other makers price harps of similar specifications.
I can certainly understand and sympathize with your tuning problems. Playing an out of tune instrument is in no way enjoyable. Having sensitive ears is both a blessing and a curse, if you know what i mean.
In defense of the harp (not the shop) throughout the instrument’s life, but perhaps (I’m guessing here) most especially in the first year), the instrument goes through a lot of changes because the wood is being bowed and torqued by the pressure of the strings. It has to settle in and become stable, get a nice belly and develop its voice. The mechanism may have been perfectly set up at the factory, but all the movement the harp has undergone will throw off the first regulation it received. That’s why some manufacturers will throw in a complimentary regulation within the first year after purchase of a new instrument.
You haven’t said how many years ago you purchased the harp, how old it is now, or if you’ve changed the strings and/or pedal felts from the time of purchase. All of the above plays a factor in how accurate the half steps will be.
Even so, it does sound like you need to have your harp professionally regulated. A few unsolicited suggestions to get the most out of your regulation: change all your strings right before the regulation and have them stabilized so that they hold their pitch (usually two weeks ahead with frequent tuning) and play your harp, in different keys, before the tech leaves so that you are satisfied with the intonation. Get a good tuner for your harp instead of matching pitches with your keyboard, and always tune in Cb with the pedals in flat position.
All of what you say is quite true. However, I feel the issue here is that the regulation was out from the day the harp arrived, was not properly regulated before it was sent out and that the follow up service was not good.
This is an issue that is plaguing harpists with other brands of harps as well.
Thanks for all the advice and sympathy!. I think I’ll go with the brand new string set, play them in first then get a thorough regulation. I don’t mind the cost just as long as the harp starts performing better.
I don’t tune to the digital piano usually. I just did so once to double check the well-tempered tuning. Actually I find tuning by ear quicker and more effective than those horrid electronic tuners. I do have sensitive ears (and perfect pitch) so the slightest “off” note drives me nuts anyway, but changing keys on my harp would offend even the most tolerant aural perceptions!
But even more irritating are certain upper notes that “ring” with what sounds like a double pitch, usually very close to the fundamental. These are not natural harmonics but clearly a “duff” string. I think if I had my time over again, I would recommend to others NEVER to buy a harp unseen or unheard, unless they absolutely trust the supplier and even then proceed with caution. I’ve learned my lesson.
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