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How do I move my harp

This edition will address: “How do I move my harp”, recommendations for different types of moves.  

First is a long distance move or shipping your harp.  For this type of move the recommended way is to pack your harp in a heavy duty cardboard carton with the harp supported and isolated with “foam in place” or other high to medium density foam.  The foam should support the harp away from all sides of the carton so that any impact to the carton will not directly impact the harp.  This is the method that harp manufacturers around the world use for both folk and pedal harps and we use with great success.  Interestingly, Dusty Strings uses a carton inside a carton with foam blocks creating a space between the two cartons and this is another effective way to ship a harp.  Wood or fiberglass shipping crates are also available and do a good job but can be so heavy and cumbersome not only for you but experience is that airlines and removalists tend to treat a cardboard carton with more care than a heavy wood crate. If you have received your harp in a heavy duty cardboard carton it is recommended that you save it if at all possible for any future moves or occasional air flight.  If you are flying frequently with your harp then a sturdy “roadie” case from fiberglass would be recommended as even a study cardboard case will suffer from constant opening and closing and handling. In summary for occasional moves or shipping a wooden case provides good protection but may be overkill when a sturdy cardboard cartoon with foam can do the job just as well.

For local moves, transporting your harp to and from lessons or gigs by car, here are some tips.  A padded case made for your harp is highly recommended as it will minimize damage from the inevitable knocks.  The two most common areas for knocks and that care is needed are moving your harp through doorways and loading into a car. Pedal harps especially need care in doorways to clear the top of the harp.  Depending on the size of your harp a harp trolley is highly recommend as it will not only make moving your harp easier and less strain on you, but there is less chance of running into something.  Due to the angle of harps, a specially made trolley is usually needed to accommodate the harp. For folk harps there are several lower cost options to provide wheels for moving.  Some harp bags have a pocket that wheels can be slid into or there are “platform trolleys” that strap onto the bottom of the harp. Smaller harps obviously can just be carried and some smaller harp bags offer straps to make a back pack.

When loading your harp into a vehicle there are several different considerations.  For a pedal harp you will most likely need a station wagon or larger SUV/people mover so that there is ample room to lay the harp down flat on the floor.  It helps to have a foam pad for under the harp and either a temporary sheet of plywood that slides out under the foam or at least something that allows the harp to slide into the vehicle on the foam pad.  Folk harps can be transported the same way but being smaller may only require a smaller vehicle.  In fact most folk harps will fit nicely across the back seat of most cars—or in the boot.  No matter how you transport your harp it is advisable to secure it with a seat belt or other means.

Although laying your harp flat, with the lever/disc side up, is the most common way of transporting your harp, it is possible if moving several harps or with restricted space to load harps upright with their column down on a foam pad.  Some harps can be loaded on their column and supported between the two back seats.

You can find previous harp tips on our website:

Questions and comments for future “Harp Workbench” columns of this newsletter can be addressed Brandden   [email protected]

If you have a concern about harps, send us an email and we will attempt to answer your question. You can contact us on [email protected]