Harps occasionally develop buzzes which can be hard to trace. Here is a checklist with some of the common causes:

  1. Check that the buzz really is coming from the harp
  2. If it’s a metal string, check that the winding isn’t loose; this usually occurs near the levers; if it’s gut go on to no. 4
  3. Check that the ball end at the bottom of the string is seated neatly against the string bar
  4. If it’s a gut string, check that it isn’t worn with loose fibres
  5. Check that the thick bits of gut at the base of the strings are at right angles to the string bar and aren’t touching each other; check all the way up the string bar, not just in the area of the buzzing string
  6. If it’s still buzzing, check that the large nut inside the box at the base of the harp is very tight
  7. If the harp buzzes only with the lever on, check that the cap screw fixing the lever bracket to the harp is tight and also check those around it
  8. Hold the lever on firmly by hand: if this stops the buzz, then the handle may be worn and need replacing, or
  9. The handle may need tightening on its bracket
  10. The buzz may be caused by a lever handle on a different string vibrating if it is loose, so you may have to pluck the string and hold each handle in turn to check this
  11. On some older harps, the stiffener strips going vertically down the back of the soundboard inside the box can vibrate loose – check they are secure
  12. Check that the screws holding the rubber feet onto the base are tight
  13. If none of this works, are there any other parts of the harp which don’t seem secure – the screws in the base, for instance. If you can, tighten it!
  14. If none of this works  then we probably need to see the harp.

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