Minor buzzing problem

Posted In: Coffee Break

  • Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108071

    Hi. Remember the other day when I told you that Gilligan, my Venus Classic has sound and mechanisms that are flawless? Well that was before yesterday when Gilligan began to make minor buzzing sound every time I pluck D and E strings in the lower third octave section right below middle C. The buzzing can be heard in the area of the neck where my right shoulder rests on, indicating that there’s some sort of loose screws or mechanisms inside that area.

    [rants]Wouldn’t you know it? I finally cleaned up Gilligan the best I can and the next thing I knew, this happens. Why can’t I enjoy my harp without having problems of any kind?[/rants]

    If you had similar problems like this, how did you fix it without wreaking your pride and joy?

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #108072

    First take Gilligan into another room and see if the buzz still happens. If not, it’s a sympathetic vibration coming from something in the room that’s vibrating in harmony with Gilligan. (You can’t tell much by where a buzz sounds like it originates. It may buzz under your ear and actually be buzzing from a loose screw in one of the feet.)

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108073

    Come to think of it, there is a loose foot at the bottom of the base on the left side of the harp. The feet is not supposed to move, but when I wiggle it, it does move. I’ll have to find the best screwdriver for the job and get someone who’s willing to help me fix it.

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108074

    Tighten it up as much as I can. Still makes a minor buzzing sound. I could try to move Gilligan, but the only place I can have him is in the living room of Mom’s house. Otherwise I’ll try to move him to my room if I got a dolly for him to ride up the stairs on. But there’s no room anywhere in the house for Gilligan other than the living room. Maybe the buzzing sound has something to do with the fan I have running to keep the modem cool. We’re having a lot of problems with the internet lately and I have the harp nearby. If the fan is the problem, I’ll have to move the harp so he’ll won’t interfere with the fan and I can be comfortable playing and enjoying Gilligan without problems. Any other advice to deal with the minor buzzing problem? The harp did came from Florida. Perhaps he’s trying to adjust to the Michigan climate of something.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #108075

    I didn’t mean permanently. I meant that if it doesn’t buzz in another room, then you start tracking down objects in the room that could be the cause.

    Participant
    Dwyn . on #108076

    Try pressing on the brass faceplates, near the strings that are buzzing, while you pluck the strings.

    Participant
    andy-b on #108077

    Hi, Sherry: Another thing to check is to make sure none of the string ends inside the harp are buzzing. Especially check any that seem to have a long end past the knot.

    Andy

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108078

    Thank you for all your suggestions. I took Barbara’s advice and looked around to see what’s causing Gilligan to make the buzzing sound. Turns out that I think it was the ceiling fan that was running and interfering with the harp. The sound it made match that of the sound the harp was making. So I shut it off and will be leaving it off to see if that what’s causing Gilligan to make that minor buzzing sound. If so, then the problem is solved and I can play the harp fine.

    Spectator
    Sid Humphreys on #108079

    Sherry,

    Participant
    catherine-rogers on #108080

    Sid is right. I’ve had buzzing that sounded like it was coming from the harp but turned out to be the bottom drawer of my metal file cabinet. Another time it was a loose screw in a hinge of a cabinet door (!) and once it was the metal grate cover on the heating/air conditioning duct in the floor. You just never know.

    It really helps if you can get another person to listen with you and move around the room while you pluck the string so he or she can try to find the source.

    Do get a copy of Carl Swanson’s book “A Guide for Harpists,” which is available from Vanderbilt Music and harp retailers. Not expensive and totally worth it, plus it’s a fun read if you’re into harps.

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108081

    I’m trying to follow you guys’ advice but right now I’m at a loss for words. Here’s the situation: The buzzing noise only occurs when the harp is in a natural pitch. Once D and E was the one that made the buzzing noise, now Middle C is beginning to make buzzing noise as well, making matters worse it seems. When I work the pedals, I changed the pitches only briefly before I get them back into the natural pitch, When I did, the strings seems to be plucked fine only to get back to making buzzing noises again. I made lots of guesses from ceiling fans to my metal music stand. Right now I’m assuming the metal music stand is the one that’s the culprit. If so, I’ll have to get a wooden stand. Assuming the action was a little dirty, I tried to clean it by using long handled brushes and cotton swabs, removing all that excess oil I find on the action. But the strings still produce buzzing noises, thus I’m assuming it has something to do with some of the mechanism being dirty or have slightly loose screws that I’m not aware of. Gilligan is a used harp, you know.

    Spectator
    Sid Humphreys on #108082

    I feel your frustration Sherry, I was ready to get rid of my 23 and buy a new harp while trying to figure out the buzz! I don’t think oil can cause the buzz. So it seems to have originated around D and E and is now spreading to C. Will it still buzz of the string is plucked in both directions (thumb pluck as opposed to finger pluck)? Have you tried slightly pressing pedals associated with the buzzing strings ( after finding out that it was Bflat causing my 4th octive A, G and F to buzz I temporarily fixed it by taping a piece of felt to the pedal cushion)? Please don’t mess with the mechanism yourself. That is a job for the regulator to do.

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108083

    Come to think of it– there was a piece of cloth that must have fallen from inside Gilligan when I was moving him to another location. I picked it up and threw it away thinking not too much about it. That was before I experience buzzing sounds that made me realize that felt I threw away has something to do with the harp. So I fished it out from the waste basket and put it on the music stand. Later, after I come home from harp lessons, I’ll see where the felt came from and try to fix it with glue or something.

    Participant
    Owosso Harpist on #108084

    Sid, to answer your question, it only makes a buzzing sound when I pluck the strings a little hard using both middle and index finger. Plucking the strings using my thumb and index at a gentle rate and they sound just fine. When I plucked the strings, I moved the pedals either up or down to try to stop the buzz. When I put the pedals back to natural, the strings sound just fine.

    Participant
    janelle-lake on #108085

    Try lightly touching each pedal arm inside the neck to see if the buzzing stops.

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