Your New Harp Arrives!
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 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”. Each time you tune, the strings shorten and they cause the soundboard to rise just a bit more. This is good. Keep tuning the harp two or three times a day if you can. The more often you tune it, the faster the strings will stretch to their stable point and the faster the soundboard will also stabilize. 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, 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
There are a handful of things that are really bad for harps and these include: being displayed in a window or direct sunlight, being in a hot car, being placed near a wood stove or heater vent or being in the direct path of air from an air conditioner or associated vent. All of these conditions are to be avoided at all cost. Such conditions can be considered neglect and can void your warranty.
Other than these extremes, if your harp is in a part of the house you use frequently, it is likely you will play it more often. Having it near to hand, in tune and ready to go, makes easy to sit down, even for five or ten minutes, in snatches during the day.
But accessibility is not the only concern. If you leave your harp in a room where it gets really warm or quite cold or where the humidity changes dramatically, you have to tune much more frequently. The more stable the environment the healthier your harp will remain.
Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 C)
If you receive your harp on a cold winter day, when the temperatures are 40 degrees F (4.44 degrees C) or below, do not open the harp box right away. We know...this wait will probably be the most difficult of all.
Your harp has been traveling in a freezing delivery truck for several days and the quick change in temperature, due 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 warms up slowly. 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 the packing and begin your adventure.