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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:53 am 
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I have a harp. It's a pretty thing. Sits by the front doorway of my house. But it doesn't have any sharping levers. If I wanted to add a few levers, so I could play in another key or two, would this be a difficult task? I reckon sending it off to have them installed would be a little expensive (and risky) given the size of the thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:42 am 
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Walden wrote:
I have a harp. It's a pretty thing. Sits by the front doorway of my house. But it doesn't have any sharping levers. If I wanted to add a few levers, so I could play in another key or two, would this be a difficult task? I reckon sending it off to have them installed would be a little expensive (and risky) given the size of the thing.


What kind of harp is it? Does it already have bridge pins? What kind of levers are you considering?

Installing sharping levers can be a pain, unless the holes are pre-drilled. Not so much "hard" as "fiddly," as you have to be very precise. Some harps (such as the basic Harpsicle) can't take levers, so it's important to know what you have.

You might consider asking here:

http://www.harpkit.com/mm5/merchant.mvc ... de=contact

Even though you're not working with one of their kits. They could tell you what's involved. Jerry Brown 's a big proponent of folk harps and folk harpers, and I'm sure he'd be willing to offer you some advice.

They have a bit of a video here:

http://www.harpkit.com/mm5/merchant.mvc ... ode=levers

Talks more about lever types than about installation, though.

BTW, most luthiers or instrument technicians should be able to install levers on a harp. If you have a music shop with a good technician near you, there's no need to ship the harp off to have levers installed. Cost varies, but it was about $15/lever (including the lever itself and the labor) when I had Loveland Bs put on my Ravenna a few years ago. The Ravenna has the holes pre-drilled, though, so it's a little cheaper in that regard.

You'll want to seriously consider how many levers you want, and which ones (and whether you really need them at all). For the greatest degree of chromaticism, you'd have levers on all strings and then tune to Eb, but there's a real trade-off in tone, even with the best levers. If you play primarily folk music, I'd go for Cs and Fs...possibly Bs if you also like to play things like hymns and such (F is a useful key to have available). Beyond that, it's probably not worth the cost and effort, unless you want to play classical or contemporary music.

Bear in mind that you don't need levers if you just want to play in different keys. You can always retune. Wire harpers get very quick at that, as levers aren't particularly satisfying (or traditional) on wire harps. Levers are useful if you need accidentals, or if you play in so many different keys that retuning is impractical.

BTW, I'd suggest moving that harp away from the front doorway. They're more susceptible to changes in temperature and to drafts than most instruments.

Redwolf

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:33 pm 
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Thanks for the help.

This harp is designed to accept sharping levers. The key of C really is fine for me, but I was thinking I might use it in church sometime if I could switch it into F too.

I live out in the country, not near any large city, so I don't think there is any local shop to have it done.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Walden wrote:
Thanks for the help.

This harp is designed to accept sharping levers. The key of C really is fine for me, but I was thinking I might use it in church sometime if I could switch it into F too.

I live out in the country, not near any large city, so I don't think there is any local shop to have it done.


Jerry's your man, then. Give Music Maker a call...they can guide you through selecting and installing them. If you're reasonably handy, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:19 am 
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Redwolf has given you good advice and I agree 100% that the hardest part about installing the lever is getting it in the right spot. If you do decide to do this yourself one suggestion I will make is that after you mark the lever location, take a sharp awl or punch and create a starting point for your drill bit. Do NOT attempt to start on just a pencil line.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:21 pm 
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Redwolf wrote:
Bear in mind that you don't need levers if you just want to play in different keys. You can always retune. Wire harpers get very quick at that, as levers aren't particularly satisfying (or traditional) on wire harps. Levers are useful if you need accidentals, or if you play in so many different keys that retuning is impractical.

I see the wisdom in this. My vocal range is such that I have a general preference for the key of C, anyway.
Redwolf wrote:
BTW, I'd suggest moving that harp away from the front doorway. They're more susceptible to changes in temperature and to drafts than most instruments.

Redwolf

My mother placed it there when we moved, recently. Harps really are very attractive instruments, by nature, and she likes folks to see it, but I'll be moving it.
harpmaker wrote:
If you do decide to do this yourself one suggestion I will make is that after you mark the lever location, take a sharp awl or punch and create a starting point for your drill bit. Do NOT attempt to start on just a pencil line.

Thanks. It sounds like good sense. I'm thinking I'll probably not add any. If I advance at the harp, and decide to get a nicer one, I'll probably get one with levers installed by the maker.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:34 pm 
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I built one of the Musicmakers Voyageur kits, and installed levers on it. They give pretty good directions and I didn't have a problem (using Universal levers, Lovelands may be more complicated). You use an electric tuner to get the lever in the right place, then fine-tune if necessary by adjusting the guide pin. No measuring precise locations needed, just the ability to drill holes in your harp without succumbing to a panic attack.

I wish I'd come across the idea of using a punch or tap to get the drill bit started before putting in the levers. Worked out OK though.


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