Being a harpist is unusual. People are surprised when I tell them what my profession is. Sometimes I have to say it twice, or make harp-like motions with my fingers before they catch on. I've grown accustomed to this, but I can't imagine how much more difficult it must be to explain to people that you're a professional harp technician, or that such a thing even exists.
Our world of harpists is small. The world of harp technicians is proportional to this, which makes it tiny. Many harp technicians travel extensively, covering staggering distances, and setting up appointments with harpists in need based on geography. Most of the time, this works out well. A certified technician shows up, and takes care of your harp - maintenance, repair, strange buzz, you name it!
But then there are those in between times, when something happens with your harp and there is no technician around and none scheduled to come to your area for months. Shipping a harp to the factory is expensive, and that only works out if you have a spare harp handy anyway. Consequently, many harpists learn to do some of their own maintenance and repair, frequently out of necessity.
I've created a few videos for specific repair situations. My approach thus far has been to wait until a repair issue crops up on a harp (sometimes my own, sometimes a friend's) and then make a video while doing the repair. This is working well, although quite slowly, so at the moment, this is just a small sampling of possible repairs needed. It seems strange to say that I hope someone has a problem with their harp soon so that I can make more videos, but if and when that happens, more videos will be forthcoming.
Changing Pedal Felts on a Pedal Harp
Each of the seven pedals of a harp have a red piece of pedal felt wrapped around them and from time to time these need to be replaced. A new set of pedal felts are a standard part of a harp regulation, but sometimes they need to be changed between regulations, generally due to wear and tear, such as the felt being compacted or developing holes.
Replacing a Lever on a Lever Harp
Every now and then a lever might break or warp and need to be replaced. This is a pretty straightforward repair and just involves removing the old lever and installing the new one.
Changing a Disc on a Pedal Harp
Once in a while the discs that create sharps and flats on a pedal harp can break. Similarly to replacing a lever, this is a straightforward repair that involves removing the old disc and installing the new one. The trickiest part is getting the new disc aligned properly.
Replacing a Broken Pedal Rod on a Pedal Harp
This is a complex and lengthy repair, and one that many harpists live in dread of having to do. Pedal rods are difficult to work with because they're so inaccessible on the harp. There are many steps to the process, all shown in great detail here.