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Tuning Tips Needed – When to seek a technician

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  • #75407
    Neka Borders
    Participant

    Hello,

    I hope that once more, the Harcolumn community may share your insights with me. I am having trouble fully tuning my Original L&H troubadour. I purchased a $95 Seiko chromatic tuner, but to avail with tunining. Most of the middle strings are in good tune, however the outter ends (1st & 5th octvs.) will not cooperate. My (soon to be) teacher tells me since the harp has not been played for 19 years, it will need to be played and tuned daily/gradually. That said, could I … 1.simply change all the strings to get the desired tuning immediately? or 2.take it to a professional harp technician (i.e. someone who can tune it straight away, vs. gradual, such as Lyon & Healy?). Or, do I simply have to delay playing until the harp gets acclimated to once again being played after sitting idle all these years? Thanks for any insights you may have, as I am very eager to practice and play!

    Sincerely,

    Neka Borders

    (serious beginner)

    #75408
    kay-lister
    Member

    Neka,

    Have these strings been on the harp for 19 years?

    #75409
    Tacye
    Participant

    The strings and wood of the harp are unaccustomed to being in tune.

    #75410
    Neka Borders
    Participant

    Thanks for your comments. I trust I can rely on using the tuner (entirely) to decipher each note/its level of trueness? If yes, then I gather I could tune the harp at home, rather than taking it to a technician, who will likely do the same thing as I would (i.e. tune it everyday)? Also, if I do tune it daily at home, does this mean each day the notes will become more and more true until all the strings finally “grow” into proper tune?

    Thanks,

    N.

    #75411
    Neka Borders
    Participant

    Hi Kay,

    I can’t say for sure, but I believe the strings may have been on the harp all this time. I changed a few already and the sound is drastically improved. The original owner gave me nearly two full sets of extra strings. Do you think the fact that those strings are old will be problematic? Or, perhaps I should just purchase all new strings?

    Thanks,

    N.

    #75412
    Tacye
    Participant

    If I were in your situation I would replace the strings on the harp with spares from the set that came with it and just tune the harp repeatedly. A technician would probably be more confident and faster about stretching the strings and cleaning the harp, but you will get to know it well this way. You say the replacement strings sound good, and it is your ear that matters.

    #75413

    When you restring, the new strings will be out of tune for awhile….maybe 2 or 3 weeks even. But you must tune it a lot. When I restring, I tune the new strings 2 or 3 times/day. It still takes a long time for my strings to hold tune, especially the really tiny ones. Don’t leave those old strings on there. They can’t possibly be any good.

    And you have all the tools you need to do the work yourself. You have the tuner, you have changed a few strings…..as someone above me said, you need to develop a familiarity with your harp, so you should probably do this yourself.

    #75414
    Neka Borders
    Participant

    Harpers,

    Thanks so much for all your wisdom and encouragement – I must admit that I’ve been feeling rather intimidated about my newness to all of this. I think I’m going to give this tuning thing a go myself, and really get to know my harp!

    Thanks,

    Neka

    #75415
    Neka Borders
    Participant

    SUCCESS!

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