Harps occasionally develop buzzes which can be hard to trace. Here is a checklist with some of the common causes:
- Check that the buzz really is coming from the harp
- 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
- Check that the ball end at the bottom of the string is seated neatly against the string bar
- If it’s a gut string, check that it isn’t worn with loose fibres
- 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
- If it’s still buzzing, check that the large nut inside the box at the base of the harp is very tight
- 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
- Hold the lever on firmly by hand: if this stops the buzz, then the handle may be worn and need replacing, or
- The handle may need tightening on its bracket
- 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
- 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
- Check that the screws holding the rubber feet onto the base are tight
- 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!
- If none of this works then we probably need to see the harp.
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