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As the harpsichord is a large, complexly designed instrument, there are a number of things that can go wrong with it. Below are some of the common problems associated with harps and tips for maintaining and repairing them. If harp repair cannot be done at home, owners should take the instrument to a music specialist for repair. Overall, harpsichord makers are rare, so it’s important to maintain the instrument to avoid expensive repair costs.
Some of the most common problems that can happen to the harp are open joints, broken strings, and broken plectra. Open joints usually involve erosion at a crease in the harp. Owners can purchase sealants to keep the instrument from further erosion. Replacing broken plectras is easy with the right supplier, and they don't cost much. Broken strings are an easy fix as well, though, as there are so many strings on a harp, a full set can be expensive and time-consuming to replace.
Depressed bridges and soundboard cracks and rubbing keys can also be detrimental and more expensive and difficult to fix. Cracks in the soundboard and rubbing keys will likely require harp repair from a specialist. For some repairs to the body, a guitar specialist may be able to help.
As the harpsichord is not typically carried in major music retail outlets, they may not offer harp repair, so a specialty shop is the next best option. Harpers generally purchase harps online or at musical retailers specializing in classical instruments. Components of the harpsichords gradually deteriorate over time, requiring replacement parts and repairs. Regular maintenance is more cost-effective in the long run rather than resorting to harp repair at a shop.
First and foremost, a harpist should take preventative measures to ensure the livelihood of the instrument and avoid harp repair. Harpists know to keep the harp out of sunlight and be aware of the climate. Like with any stringed instrument, it cannot hold up to extreme temperatures. Keeping it out of the car in the summer is recommended. A basement is another dangerous place for a harp due to prevalent moisture, which can warp the instrument's body.
Furthermore, it's important to keep the instrument in tune, play it with clean hands, and close the case and lid when not in use. It pays to keep the instrument dusted off and in one location unless moving it with a padded cover or case. Insurance is also an option for harpers. There are special add-ons to home owners insurance to cover a musical instrument whether it's damaged or stolen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the first steps I should take when my harp needs repair?
When you notice your harp requires repair, start by assessing the damage carefully. If it's a string issue, you may be able to replace the string yourself. For structural or mechanical problems, consult the harp's manual for troubleshooting tips. If the issue is beyond your expertise, contact a professional harp technician. Regular maintenance, such as keeping the harp clean and avoiding extreme temperatures or humidity, can prevent many common issues.
How often should I have my harp professionally serviced?
Professional servicing frequency for a harp depends on usage and environmental conditions, but a general guideline is to have it checked annually. This ensures that any potential issues are caught early, and the harp remains in optimal playing condition. Harpists who play frequently or professionally might require more frequent servicing to maintain performance quality.
Can I repair my harp at home, and what are the risks?
Minor repairs like replacing broken strings can typically be done at home. However, attempting more complex repairs without proper knowledge or tools can lead to further damage. For example, adjusting the tension incorrectly can warp the frame or damage the soundboard. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines or consult with a professional if you're unsure about a repair.
What are the signs that my harp needs repair?
Signs that your harp needs repair include unusual buzzing or rattling sounds, difficulty tuning, strings breaking more frequently than usual, visible cracks or warping in the wood, and loose or stiff levers or pedals. If you notice any of these issues, it's important to address them promptly to avoid further damage to the instrument.
Where can I find a reputable harp repair service?
To find a reputable harp repair service, start by asking for recommendations from fellow harpists or instructors. You can also contact harp manufacturers or dealers, as they often provide repair services or can recommend certified technicians. Additionally, harp societies or online forums can be valuable resources for finding trusted repair professionals in your area.