On Tuning and Tuners

Your new harp will need to be tuned frequently at first. If you have the time, tune it several times a day for the first week or two, or until you notice the strings are beginning to hold pitch. This can take several weeks, but if you tune frequently, the strings will stretch and stabilize quicker. After that, always tune up before you practice. It is better for your harp, and better for your ear. As a beginner, you will develop your sense of pitch more quickly if you get used to hearing your harp played IN tune rather than OUT of time. If you are not a beginner, you don’t have to read this section.

Your harp was built to withstand a certain amount of pull on the sound board. Keeping the strings in tune will help the harp develop its voice. This voice will change gradually as the harp is tuned and played. You probably won’t notice, but the harp will develop a better and richer sound over the months and years.

If you did not purchase a tuner with your harp you will need one. Although some people can tune using a tuning fork or piano, most people find a tuner much more convenient to use. You can purchase a chromatic tuner at most music stores. We also suggest a pick-up, which is a clip-on device that attaches to your tuner and then to your harp. The pick-up speeds up the tuner’s response time and increases its accuracy.

Tuning your harp is easy once you have done it a few times. Attach your tuning key to the tuning pin for the string you are gonig to tune. Hold the key in your right hand. Turn it very gradually, while plucking the string with your left hand. Always push the tuning key in towards the harp as you are turning it, to help keep the tuning pins tight. Be sure to pluck firmly, as your tuner may not be as accurate with tiny, soft sounds coming from your harp. Never tune a string with a lever engaged and always disengage all levers after practicing and when transporting your harp.

Start at middle C of your harp, or at any central note, and tune all of the strings going down first. Then start at the middle again and tune the strings gong up. Always remove your tuning key once you have tuned a string, and replace it on the next string to be tuned. Be sure you are plucking and tuning the same string at the same time.