The harp is one of the oldest instruments and is very enjoyable to play. Harp-making provides the builder with an instrument that will last for years. Building a harp from scratch may seem like a difficult ordeal, but it can be done relatively simply at home, provided that the craftsman has a basic knowledge and skill in woodworking.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Building plans
- Pencil or pen
- Power tools
- Wood stain (optional)
- Bridge pins
- Tuning pins
- Harp strings
- Electric tuner
Choose a hardwood. Some choices are cherry, maple, mahogany and walnut.
Trace the pattern onto the wood and cut out the pieces.
Sand the pieces to remove any marks and make the pieces fit perfectly.
Mark the holes for the tuning pins, bridge pins and strings on the neck and soundboard. Drill the holes once you have marked them.
Assemble the pieces of the harp and fasten them in place using glue and screws. Refer to the instruction manual for when to use each.
Sand the instrument once again to remove any snags in the wood or excess glue.
Stain the wood if you would like to change the colour. Then varnish the assembled harp.
Assemble the hardware. Glue the eyelets into the string holes on the soundboard. Attach bridge pins and insert tuning pins into the neck.
String the harp by tying a knot at the bottom of the string and threading it through the eyelets in the soundboard up to the tuning pin in the neck. Bring the strings up to tension. Use a tuner to make sure the harp is in tune.
Tips and warnings
- If you use a softwood such as spruce for the soundboard, you will have to add a hardwood rib "to the outside face of the harp to prevent the eyelets from pulling out of the soundboard," according to Blevins Harps.
- Do not use softwoods to build the body of your harp, as it will likely break due to string tension. Hardwoods must be used for the frame.
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