Frequently Asked Questions

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General Harp Questions

How do I care for my harp? +

Your harp is your harp companion, however it does require some easy care.

What is my harp made of? +

The pillar and arch are solid maple. The soundbox is maple with a poplar tone wood soundboard which has a thin maple veneer. Poplar sounds great but it isn't very pretty so the maple veneer is that gives the soundboard that lovely, golden color. For more on our woods in general, click here. For more on our soundboards, click here.

What is lever regulation? +

When your new Rees lever harp first arrives the levers will already be properly regulated. Levers are said to be regulated when there is a half-step up in tone between being unengaged and being engaged. If your F string is tuned to F and the lever is properly regulated then when the F lever is flipped up the tone will be a true F-sharp. If you have your B strings tuned down to B-flat then when the lever is down the note will be B-flat and when the lever is engaged the note will be B. In both cases, this is an example of a half-step. Over time and due to the natural processes of aging, lever harps can come out of regulation, meaning that when the levers are engaged they no longer give a true half-step. Fortunately, all well made lever harps can be put back into regulation. Minor regulation adjustments can be done by harp owners (though we are more than happy to do them as well.) Should a harp require major regulation it can be done by the owner but we recommend that it be done by a harp lutherie or at a harp shop which offers repair servicing. Here is how it is done. Our 911-Harp Kit has all the tools you need to regulate on your own.

How often to the levers need to be regulated? +

This varies widely and depends upon how much a harp is played, how stable the humidity is in the environment and the age of the harp. If a harp is played a great deal it is reasonable to expect that the levers will need to be regulated after about five years and again, perhaps ten years later. In other words, not very often at all.

Can I play in keys with flats since lever harps only have sharping levers? +

Think of it this way, how often do you use B-sharp? Not very, right, because B-sharp is C. So, this means that the B sharping lever is, essentially, extra. Harpers, however, are a creative lot. Instead of just having an orphaned lever, they tune their B string down to B-flat so that when the lever is raised (sharped) the string is B-natural. Having B-flat, means that the harp has easy access to the key of F. It is becoming increasingly common for harpers to tune in E-flat. Here is the well-known harpist, Sylvia Woods, demonstrating how to tune a harp in E-flat and why this is an advantage. Why E-flat? Here is an article by Marta Cook.

I see a dark mark on my harp, is this a flaw? +

Nope! Not at all. Every harp is different and every coloration and characteristic tells the story of the tree that your harp is made from. Read more about wood markings here!

How do I touch-up my harp? +

It varies with the finish of your harp. If you have a natural wood harp in maple, walnut or cherry, click here for detailed repair instructions. If your harp is painted, we recommend using an acrylic craft paint from your local hardware or craft store. Our paint colors have varied over the years, so we recommend find the best match for your harp in an acrylic craft paint and if the area is large you can finish it with a deft spray or a clear acrylic lacquer. If you have one of our new stain finishes we are working on finalizing all colors so we can offer color-matched finish pens for touch-ups in the future. In either the case of a stained or painted finish, if there is a dent you can repair the dent to some degree, click here. This same page will also give you the step-by-step instructions for applying a gloss coat on top after you have completed the other steps.


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Customization Questions

Can levers be added to my unlevered Harpsicle® Harp? +

No. The basic Harpsicle® Harp has a smaller arch than do the other harps in the line so there is not sufficient room to add bridge pins and levers. It is possible to add levers to a Sharpsicle™ Harp to upgrade it to a Flatsicle™ or Fullsicle™. Likewise, a Flatsicle™ Harp can always be upgraded into a Fullsicle™.

Can I order ornamentation or a custom design for my Harpsicle® line harp? +

We offer insanely beautiful custom ornamentation and a wide variety of standard ornamentation for our Rees Concert Line Harps but this kind of time consuming, expensive handwork is outside of the current capabilities for our little lutherie when it comes to our Harpsicle® Line Harps. We do however currently have 3 designs you can choose from for our lap harp models, or keep an eye out for our Artist Series harps that are limited editions and even one of a kind harps. The Grand and Brilliant models cannot have ornamentation at this time.

Can I order a custom color? +

Sadly, no. We have to have our stains custom made by a large supplier and they do not offer the kinds of small quantity needed for a single harp. However, keep an eye on our Artist Series and Limited Edition harps. Every now and then our painter gets creative and makes limited edition colors.

I already own a Harpsicle® Harp, can you send me some ornamentation to apply to my harp? +

No, unfortunately these designs must be applied during the building process of the harp. You can however decorate your harp if you please. We have seen many customers bedazzle, paint and add decals to their harps. If you wish to paint a design on your harp we recommend using an acrylic craft paint then sealing the design with a clear acrylic lacquer or deft.


Policy Questions

Can I trade in my Harpsicle® Harp for a harp with levers? +

We only take trade-ins on our Rees Concert Line Harps but there is a thriving market for used Harpsicle® Harps. In particular harp teachers and school programs are always on the hunt. If you put the word out, you should not have a difficult time finding a new home for your old friend.

Can I get a discount if I am a harp teacher or store needing multiple harps? +

We have specific requirements for teachers, internet retailers and music stores. If you do indeed meet these standards than we do have discounted pricing available. We welcome your inquiry, us@harpsicleharps.com.

Do you offer financing? +

No, I’m sorry to say that we do not offer any type of financing. We recommend looking into PayPal Credit if you have a PayPal account or you can email us at us@harpsicleharps.com and we can direct you to a dealer who does offering payment plans.

I ordered a harp that needs to be built, why do I have to pay when I place the order? +

We are a small family business. If the harp is not in stock, we are handcrafting your harp just for you. Processing payment at the time of the order makes the whole process easier and allows us to get your harp into your hands quicker.

Can you ship a harp safely to me in ___? +

Yes. We ship harps all over the world five days a week. We have been doing so for decades now and we are really good at it. We pack our harps incredibly well and your harp will arrive safe and sound. In the rare occasion there is shipping damage, we insure our shipments and will be sure you recieve a replacement. We also have dealers all over the world, so if you are not in the USA contact us and we can direct you to the dealer closest to you.

I am in another country, will I have to pay taxes or duties? +

Likely, yes. We recommend you contact your local customs office or local post office to find out the specifics.


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String Questions

How often do I need to change the strings? +

We could be funny and just say, "when they break" but there is a little more to it than that. Monofilament nylon harp strings are not like guitar strings in that they rarely "go dead" so you really do not need to change them unless they break or sound strange.

Do these harps have standard string spacing? +

Funny story! Despite what you may have heard, there is no standard string spacing in harps. In fact, there is no standard of any kind in harps. If you do play harps by other makers and you have become used to the spacing on your harp, you will find that you will adjust to the spacing on your new harp extremely quickly, just like guitar players do when changing from acoustic to electric guitars. Give your brain some credit, it is remarkable how fluidly it adjusts. For more information go here.

What is the string tension? +

String tension is, essentially, how tight the strings feel when played. harps range from very heavy tension, as found on pedal harps, to very light tension, as found on historical harps. Generally, modern lever harps are somewhere in the middle.

Can I restring my harp with wire or gut or fluorocarbon strings? +

Every harp by every reasonably modern luthier was designed for a specific string set and these string sets are not interchangeable. If you do change to a non-standard string set you immediately void any warranty on your harp. You are also likely to do damage to your instrument. The strings on your harp were selected to optimize the voice of your harp. There is not a better string set available anywhere for our harps, if there was we would be using it.

Can my harp be restrung to a different range? +

What! Are you nuts? That may seem like a natural question to you but for a lutherie (of any kind of stringed instrument, not just harps) that kind of thing will cause dead luthiers to sit-up and scream. Nooooooooo!!!! If you go lower you would have wet spaghetti for strings and would not get anything which even faintly resembles a decent voice out of the harp. If you go higher the increased string pressure will, literally, tear the harp apart. Every harp by every reasonably modern luthier was designed for a specific string set and these string sets are not interchangeable. If you do change to a non-standard string set you immediately void any warranty on your harp. You are also likely to do damage to your instrument. If you want a harp with a lower range, you will need a larger harp. If the Grand Harpsicle® Harp or the Brilliant!™ Harpsicle® Harp is not quite enough for you, our Rees Concert Aberdeen Meadows Harp has that big, luscious, deep, resonant voice that melts even the hardest of hearts.


Accessory Questions

Can accessories like the Sticks and Stands be stained to match my harp? +

We do not stain accessories to match harps but the soundboard of all our harps is a lovely, warm, golden color and you will find that the accessories go quite nicely with this light wood. However, the stick is now offered in cherry and walnut as well to match the Special Editions.

Will the Stick or any of your Stands fit my harp, even though it is not one of your harp models? +

When we designed our accessories they were made to fit our harps perfectly. Some of our accessories do fit some other harp brands, but many do not. Harps with staved backs will not work with our accessories. If you would like to try one of our accessories and it does not fit your harp, you are welcome to do so by following our return policy.

Do I need a pickup system to hear the harp? Can my harp be heard acoustically while it is plugged into a pickup? +

This looks like two questions but it is really three and the answers are no, yes, yes. No, if you are playing your harp in any reasonably quiet place it can readily be heard without a pickup but if you are playing in a place where people are talking there is some background noise than, yes, you are probably better off with a pickup. This will be true for any harp. Trumpets and bagpipes are generally loud, harps are not. The final yes is because all of our harps, regardless of being plugged in or not, can still be heard acoustically. For basic information about amplification, click here.

How much play time does the pro pickup system have? +

The pickup system is powered by a 9 volt battery which provides 1,000 hours of playing time when you are plugged in. Make sure to unplug any cables from the harp when you are not using it. This will prevent the 9 volt batter from being drained through the cable when you are not using it.


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Travel Questions

Can I travel on an airplane with these harps? +

For our five Harpsicle® Line lap harps the answer is a resounding "yes!" Our customers do it all the time. You shouldn’t have any trouble at all. Check out our tips for traveling.

Is it ok to leave my harp in the car while I...? +

We always say, treat your harp like you would your pet. NEVER leave it in a hot car. Cars get super hot, super quick and can completely melt the glue on your harp causing total destruction and heartbreak.


Troubleshooting Questions

Still have questions? You may want to check out our Troubleshooting page to see if that gets you on your way. If not, please email us at us@harpsicleharps.com, we are happy to help.