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What Are the Best Tips for Harp Repair?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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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.

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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.

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