Stiff Bridge Pins

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #160881


    I have a Stoney End Marion and the harp has become nearly impossible to tune! I even have the ergonomic tuning key, but my hand is throbbing after tuning all 34 strings. Is there a way to loosen up the pins? I’m hesitant about taking a hammer anywhere near my harp, but this is just ridiculous! I also have no idea which direction to push the pins.

    Please help before I develop carpal tunnel from tuning alone. 🙁


    Zen Sojourner on #160882

    Candace, I would contact Stoney End.

    unknown-user on #160883

    Oh I think I have my harp parts jumbled up. I meant to say Stiff Tuning Pins. Those are the big metal pieces that go through the harp and hold the string. The bridge pins hold the strings in place for the levers.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

    It probably is a humidity issue since I noticed this change after moving to Maryland. Its just been getting worse over the years though. I’ll give Stoney End a call.

    Audrey Nickel on #160884

    No, you’ve got it

    Tacye on #160885

    Assuming you have simple tapered tuning pins the solution is very easy- they just need to be pushed slightly towards the tuning key side- I normally detune the string by a half turn or so and then push on the end of the pin with a pad of leather over my thumb while turning the tuning key back and forth.

    Zen Sojourner on #160886

    You know I did not catch that.

    unknown-user on #160887

    Thanks everyone!

    I called Stoney End about several problems I’ve been having and they were very helpful.

    The truitt levers are very stiff as well. I was told to apply a little mineral oil to soften them up. I’ve heard elsewhere to use sewing machine oil, so the jury’s out which to use.

    The bass strings look almost rusty and he said to use steel wool to clean them up. But the harp is probably due for a new set of strings by now anyway.

    As for the tuning pins? I had to loosen them because he said the strings were exerting downward pressure on the pins and causing them to stick. I think it was partly this and the humidity factor. I moved from upper Michigan to Maryland and shortly after the move I noticed them getting harder to turn.

    So down my harp went for some good old harp surgery. Loosened a pin so that there was no more string tension. Padded both sides of the harp with towels. Then with towels covering the tuning pins themselves, one or two taps with a hammer on the string side of the tuning pin. Wah Lah! It slowly slid out and I adjusted it back to its former glory. Stoney End said to do one string at a time and put it back in tune before moving on to the next.

    I feel like I have a brand new harp again and I’ve reawakened my desire to play more often. Amazing what some basic maintenance will do. ;-)

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #160888

    I’m glad you were able to rehab your harp and make it easier and more pleasant to play. It’s important to know as much as one can about one’s instrument to keep it in shape. I think that’s a big part of being a musician. I’ll never understand someone who doesn’t do the work to figure this out. I’m glad you did. My little Eve came with original strings from 1993….filthy, rusted zither pins. The first thing I did was clean up the wood. It looks so beautiful. Then I restrung it, and while doing that, I used some very gentle emery and lightly brushed the pins so that the rust was for the most part gone. I cleaned all around the pins and put on the new strings. The harp looks like brand new, and sounds exquisite for such a tiny little thing. I’ve been acquainted with harps for just over 3 years. I wouldn’t yet want to dismantle anything but a string or a tuning peg on my pedal harp, but I have learned to use the doohicky to regulate it (Camac) and I change the strings as needed and regularly. There are so many people who thinks the strings are permanent….like a piano or something. It just freaks me out, as changing strings when they need it

    Tacye on #160889

    Hi Candace- Sewing machine oil is a readily available source of mineral oil in a convenient bottle for precise application so the jury really has nothing to debate.

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