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  • Learning to Play the Harp?
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How A Harp Is Made

A harp is a simple yet beautiful instrument, it has a triangular frame and a series of strings that are all different lengths. This basic structure makes up this instrument that provides us with the lovely sounds that we so enjoy. The harp is played by plucking on those strings, and the smooth and calming sound that comes out is what we so enjoy. Harps come in all shapes and sizes and, of course, different colors as well. How harps are made is an interesting process as well, let’s take a look at what is involved.

1. Design Your Perfect Harp

Firstly, you want to choose a style and design that you are looking for when it comes to the harp. There are many types of harps, but the Celtic or Lever harp is common and easier to make. The kind of wood used in constructing a harp affects its sound quality and string tension. Harder woods allow for more string tension. Choose between maple, oak, cherry or spruce. You can find a variety of paid and free harp designs and plans online to choose from or use as inspiration. Get together the necessary tools before starting the building process.

2. Construct the Various Parts

A sound box or shell typically comes in either of these three styles: the square back, the round back, and the stave back. It’s easy to build square shells. Stave shells require a lot of precision while round shells require more time, skill and specialized equipment.

The string ribs provide support and prevent the harp from potential cracks. It is attached to the soundboard, and come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. Align the soundboard on top of the shell and glue the pieces together. A clamp can be used to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries. Staples or screws can also be used to securely fasten the soundboard.

3. Putting the Pieces Together

Next, create three holes and make sure that they all align with each other. Use three long grooved dowels to attach the neck and pillar. Then, glue dowels and join the pieces. While waiting for the glue to dry, hold them in place using clamps.

Using dowels, attach the neck and pillar to the sound box. Don’t use glue. The dowels keep the parts aligned. And the sound box angle relative to the neck and pillar holds the pieces together. After attaching the sound box, drill string holes in the soundboard.

Then, fit the bridge pins and tuning pins into their respective holes. Don’t glue these pins into the wood. From the bass end of the harp, feed the strings through the eyelets in the soundboard and pull them up to the corresponding tuning pins. Wrap the strings around the tuning pins a few times to set it. Then, tighten them to the proper tension.

While the harp looks simple to the eye you can clearly see that there is a great deal involved in the making of a harp. While it may be time consuming it is no doubt worth the time to then have such a gorgeous instrument that you will be able to play and use for years to come, providing beautiful music for all those around you.