How Do I Build a Harp?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2019
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In order to build a harp, a few simple materials and the use of a workshop are required. Though harps can be built out of a variety of different materials, wooden harps are the most common and the simplest to build. Harps need a soundbox and two sides that form a triangle when attached to the soundboard. Strings are stretched from the soundbox to one of the sides and tuned using tuning pins.

The first step required to build a harp is the construction of the soundbox. It must be sturdy enough to withstand the tension created by the strings when they are pulled tight. The air inside this box acts as an amplifier for the vibration of the strings, allowing the sound created by plucking the strings to reverberate. Though the exact dimensions of this box are not important, it needs to be long enough to accommodate all the strings comfortably.


Once the soundbox is built, the next thing required to build a harp is to construct and attach the neck and pillar, the other two sides of the instrument. The neck is a curved piece, attached to the top of the soundbox and allows strings of different lengths to be attached to both pieces. An incorrectly formed neck can make it difficult to tune the harp. The pillar is made of a straight piece of wood that is attached to the both the neck and the sound box. In order to build a harp, the shape and proportion of these three pieces to one another must be exact.

After the three sides of the harp are put together, strings must be attached. On the sound board, the strings are attached to the harp through a series of holes drilled 0.5 inches (1.3 centimeters) apart. Strings can be knotted or kept in place though the use of pegs. On the neck, the strings are attached to tuning pegs that can be turned to tighten or loosen the string. Pegs can be made out of wood or metal and need to be attached to the harp in a manner that allows them to turn freely.

The harp builder may also want to construct a base and feet. These parts are sit between the soundbox and the pillar and allow the harp to remain upright. Without them, the harp must be held in order to be played.


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