Regulation Preparation: Ways to prepare for your service
This is a guide on what you can do to prepare for your harp service/regulation. Please note that all suggestions are optional. However, in following these suggestions, you will be able to make the most out of your harp service/regulation!
Please only do what you feel comfortable with. Contact me if you have any questions or need help.
1. At least one week before: Check your strings & change any which are noticably damaged or worn.
Check and replace any strings which are frayed, pitted or about to break. This is normally easy to see and is best done at least a week before your service. Any new strings should be tuned at least once a day leading up to your service to ensure they are stretched and holding good pitch.
All string types look for:
Fraying near or on the pin windings and near the soundboard
Pitting or dents where the disc or lever makes contact with the string (especially the thinner strings)
Discolouration or fraying where the string is normally plucked
This is called necessary string changing and usually just applies to individual strings which need to be replaced out of necessity. As harpists, we should be in the habit of replacing these strings as soon as we notice them. During the service, if come across any of these strings, I will do so to ensure I am able to achieve good calibration during regulation.
Example of a frayed string.
Example of a pitted string
2. At least one week before: If your harp is due for a restring, do it now. Or book it in with me now.
Strings age with time (some types faster than others) and eventually lose their ability to vibrate clearly. Notes may begin to sound false or dull, not creating the clear harmonic resonance of a new string. This may also be exacerbated by wear or fraying to the string.
Full or partial string changes should be carried out periodically on every harp. according to the age and type of string, as well as how much they are played. New strings sound much louder and clearer beside older, duller strings. So changing them in full/partial amounts will help to maintain a consistent tone of your instrument.
Have you ever wondered: How often should I restring my harp?
If you have never done a complete or partial restring before, please proceed with caution. Please ask for experienced guidance & advice from your harp teacher or harp technician before restringing for the first time.
Every harp is different, and if you do not restring in the correct way for your particular harp, you may risk damaging or breaking the soundboard, especially for older harps.
Making sure to have the correct type and octave of strings.
Some harps have different types of tuning pins which require a different method of re-stringing.
Wire strings can be extremely difficult to change without the correct equipment, and they must be restrung with a correct amount of slack depending on which wire string it is.
Some brands and types of strings require pre-stretching.
Spare gut strings which are too old may be brittle, sound dull, and break when stringing.
If your harp is due for a restring and you feel competent at restringing, then now is the time to go ahead. Do any full or partial restringing at least a week before your service. Tune your harp as many times as possible: at least once per day, and at least 10 times in total, or until the strings are holding stable pitch. This Complete Restringing Procedure written by Master Harp Technician Peter Wiley is really useful.
If your harp is due for a restring and you want me to do it or need advice, please contact me or see my Stringing Services.
I hope to hold stringing classes in the future to further educate harpists on how to restring themselves, what strings they need for their harp, and to increase competence and practice with tying string knots. I believe this skill set is integral for harpists to have. Please email me if this would interest you!
3. Anytime before: Note down any problems you may notice and let me know on the service day.
Fingers crossed you don't have any! But if you do, now is the time to ask about them. This may include any buzzes, string noises, issues or questions you may have. I will certainly keep my eye out for these during your service and improve anything I can. Sometimes it may be a simple fix, other times it could be a lot more complicated! If it is a complex issue, I will be sure to let you know what the solution may be or procedure to address them. It is always better to know, learn and understand about your instrument and why it works and sounds the way that it does. Please be as specific as you can when trying to describe any problems, issues or questions. For example, provide pedal chart positioning or lever positioning.
If you think a part needs replacing, please contact me at least one week beforehand so I can bring the part with me.
4. On the day: Bring any spare strings and tuning keys with you.
If I need to replace any strings on your harp during a service, I would much prefer to take a string out of your spare string set. This will save you money as you won't have to pay for one of my strings if I need to replace one. Furthermore, I only carry a limited supply of strings on a harp service trip. So if one breaks during a service, there may be a chance I don't actually have the correct one to replace it with. Tuning keys can also sometimes be different sizes so it's important for me to see what you use to tune your harp.
5. On the day: When picking it up, allow time to 'test play' your harp.
If you have the time on the day, feel free to stay and 'test play' your harp. This will allow you to enjoy your newly serviced instrument, as well as ask any further questions you may have remembered.