Buzzing and Other Annoyances

Your harp has been fully checked over and the levers regulated before shipment. The string tension was slightly released to minimize stress during shipping. Therefore, you will always have to tune a new harp up to pitch.

On rare occasions, levers can be bumped during shipment. If your harp develops a buzzing sound when you pluck a certain string, please give us a call so that we may assist you.

Harp tuning pegs, though metal, function on the same principle as a violin or cello tuning peg. They have a pitch or taper and are made to fit a hole in the harp arm of the pitch. These pegs are not threaded.

When humidity is very low, a peg can suddenly feel loose due to shrinkage of the wood. In some cases, the peg may slip and lose tuning. To tighten a loose peg, push the peg firmly into the harp arm every time you tune the string.

Since wood can expand with humidity, the size of the peg hole can shrink, and pegs can sometimes seem to be stuck and difficult to turn. When a peg seems stuck, it will need to be turned counter-clockwise while pushing against the end of the peg from the string side of the arm. In most cases, this will cause the peg to free up. Some stubborn pegs may need to be tapped lightly on the string side with a small hammer until they come free.

With age, on rare occasions, a peg may seem to be too far into the harp arm in comparison to adjacent pegs. If this should happen, harp makers have for many decades backed the peg out of the hole and wrapped the peg with a think spiral of brass shim stock, easily obtained at a general hardware store.

Some harps, of the student variety, use zither pins as tuning pegs. These are usually plated in bright nickel and are the same pins found on autoharps and hammered dulcimers. Zither tuning pins are tuned from the string side of the arm. They are threaded and do not go all the way through the harp arm. When a string breaks on a harp with zither pin tuning, always remember to back the pin out of the arm a few turns before replacing the string. Otherwise, the pin will eventually reach the end of travel, and continued turning can crack the wood.