Retuning for leverless harp

Posted In: How To Play

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    Katia on #188038

    I did a search, but some of the posts that come up are old, which always means that on my browser I get only partial posts.

    In short: I know retuning a harp that doesn’t have levers (or not the correct levers) is much recommended, but how hard is this on the strings? Or isn’t it? (I’m used to playing violin, where it’s stressed that the strings are specifically made to work at specific tunings and doing otherwise will wear them out faster. OTOH, guitars are tuned differently all the time– though I’ve tried to avoid this myself as I’m lazy– and seem to do okay.)

    Longer backstory:
    The levers on my HSO are useless– they change the note by as much as a major third, and partially engaging them just results in buzzing, of course, and I can’t see they can be regulated without difficulty as they already appear to be situated as far down their little grooves as they can get (IOW, to regulate I’d need to completely remove them and re-drill holes. No.). So I’ve been playing only in C.

    That’s mostly fine, as I’m mostly playing by myself, and my
    Teach Yourself to Play The Folk Harp book is also in C.

    I’ve run up, however, against a song I’ve written and want to accompany my singing on the harp, and I’m not so easily transposable! I haven’t figured out the exact key I want to sing it in, but it’s definitely not C. So I’m going to need to muck with retuning…

    Tacye on #188052

    I think your harp has nylon strings which aren’t particularly high tension? It will be fine. Sure, theoretically it is a little harder on the strings but so is using levers and a harp is there to be played.

    You may need to tune the strings you are changing twice (or more) to get them to hold the new key but I have seen people do it in the middle of a concert fine.

    Katia on #188056

    Thanks! (And yes, nylon, and yes, not that high-tension!)

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