What to do When Your New Harp Arrives
When your harp first arrives we want everything to be perfect so that the two of you settle in smoothly and quickly.
Tune Your Brand New Harp (A Lot!)
The first thing you will notice once you have the harp in your hands is that it is out of tune. Go ahead and tune the harp. Since the harp is very new, you will find that it will quickly go out of tune. This is normal. The strings are new and need to be stretched. Also, it will take time for the soundboard to “belly-up”. As the soundboard rises, only a small amount with each tuning, it reduces the distance between the soundboard and the tuning pins so the strings will go flat again. Keep tuning the harp two or three times a day if you can. The more you tune it up the faster the strings will stretch to their stable point and the faster the soundboard will belly-up and stabilize. You will find that within a week the harp will be staying in tune longer. In a few weeks the harp may stay in tune for a week before it needs tuning again. Once your harp is stable you will find that tunings will be far less frequent.
Typically, on lever harps, you will find that the longer strings, in the lower half of the soundboard, will go out of tune faster than the shorter strings. This is standard because the longer strings are thicker and require more stretching to reach mechanical stability.
Where to Keep Your Harp
You will find that you play more often in your harp is in a part of the house you use frequently. If it is right there, in tune and ready to go it's easy to sit down, even for five or ten minutes, in snatches during the day. But, if you leave your harp in a room where it gets really warm in the day and then quite cold in the night, or the humidity changes due to storms, etc. you will find that you have to tune more frequently. The more stable the environment the healthier your harp will remain.
There are a handful of things which are really bad for harps and these include: being displayed in a window or direct sunlight, being placed near a wood stove or heater vent and being in the direct path of air from an air conditioner or associated vent.
Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius)
If you receive your harp on a cold winter day, when the temperatures are 40 degrees F (4.44 degrees C) do not open the harp box right away. We know...this wait will probably be the most difficult of all. Your harp has probably been traveling in a freezing delivery truck for several days and the quick change in temperature, to the warmth of your home, may damage the instrument. Bring the cold boxed harp inside and leave it unopened until the exterior of the box feels like it is near room temperature. Next, open the box but do not take the harp out of the packing material. It is sometimes helpful to reach into the packing material and loosen it so that warm air can seep in to the instrument. Again, let everything sit in the room for a couple of hours so that it may warm up slowly to room temperature. Do not put the harp near a fireplace, wood stove or heater vent. Not only is heat damaging to your new harp, it is not advisable for any harp. Once your harp has been allowed to take the chill off, you can remove it from the box and packing and begin your adventure.