Vertical Cracks on the Soundbox of an Aoyama

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    circulus on #197447

    I am going to ask for your expertise again, and thank you very much in advance.

    I left my 22-string lap harp in Asia, because harps are rare in Taiwan and my nine-year-old cousin thought this instrument was very interesting, and bought myself a used 34-string Aoyama lever harp today! The previous owner acquired it in 1995, used it for about 10 years, and then left it in a bag for the next eleven years. At the time I bought it, it was missing two strings, the lowest B and highest B; it was somewhat dusty; and it was not in tune. I mostly wanted to use it while I look for a harp whose sound I can love.

    I missed a few cracks when I bought it, or the cracks appeared after I tuned the strings. There are a few cracks on the soundbox. All of them are vertical and none are on the soundboard. There are only two cracks on the inside (#2 and #3) on the non-levered side of the harp and these cracks are not visible from the outside. #2 is near the bottom of the soundbox and #3 is higher up. The other cracks are only on the outside of the sound box and #5 has gone halfway through the wood, when I look at the crack’s end(s) on the edges of the soundbox holes. #1 is near the bottom, on the side of the harp without levers. #5 stretches from the second to the third soundbox hole on the harp.

    Is this harp okay to use, in this case meaning that I should not be worried about the harp spontaneously exploding from the string pressure? Are these cracks important to fix right away, and are they worth fixing? On a point more of curiosity, what might be a likely cause for these cracks?

    Also, how do I find a list of harp technicians? I keep getting lists of harp teachers or websites of harp makers (who do not live within 100 miles of me) when I try to search for a list online. I could wait until next year’s Somerset Harp Festival in NJ, I know, but I think I might need to get this harp to a technician sooner.

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    Biagio on #197464

    It is difficult to tell without examining the harp in person. Two appear to be minor separations of the veneer, the internal may be more serious.  When people speak of a “harp technician” the often are referring to someone certified to work on pedal harps which are far more complex than your Aoyama lever harp.  Any good lever harp maker is competent to deal with this.


    circulus on #197465

    Oh, I see. I thought ‘harp technician’ was the equivalent of ‘violin luthier’. Then would you happen to know how I can find a list of lever harp makers? I have been trying to find a list of the sort of people who do repairs on lever harps so that I can determine who in NJ or PA I can get to. I know there is probably at least one in NYC, but I deeply dislike driving there and do not think I can take this instrument on public transit easily.

    Biagio on #197469

    Contact the Virginia Harp Center, which has a showroom in New Jersey.  I’m sure they can examine it for you and/or direct you to a local harp maker.

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    circulus on #197479

    Fantastic. Thank you for your help.

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