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Thormahlen Harps

Owners Manual

Packing and unpacking

The video link below shows you how to unpack your Thormahlen harp so that you can save your box in case you ever need it. Please watch this before you receive your harp so you'll know exactly how to unpack your harp.
At the end are also some helpful hints on carrying your harp in it's case. Let us know if you have any questions. Time: 7:08

Thank you for purchasing a Thormahlen Harp. It is a fine musical instrument requiring a minimum amount of maintenance. Here are some things to know in order make your relationship with your harp a happy one.

New harps usually need to be tuned regularly so the strings can continue stretching. Tune your harp everyday at least once, and in a couple of weeks it should be holding its tune rather well.

When you get your Thormahlen Harp, it will be tuned to the key of Eb, unless you specified otherwise. This gives you the most options for playing in the most common keys. If you put all your B, E, and A levers up, you will be in the key of C.

If this is something that is too confusing to you at this time, you can tune your harp to the key of C simply by putting all your levers down and tuning all the notes to natural. You will probably want to do this with an electronic tuner. We recommend and carry the Korg CA-30 and the Korg DT-3. You can also purchase a mic clip that can be attached to your tuner.

It’s best to tune your harp with the levers down, especially where the strings have windings. The lever may get caught on one of the windings and not give you a true pitch particularly if you lower that lever to play in another key.

Here are some tuning instructions that should help you.

Tuning Pins
The tuning pins are tapered so that the diameter of the pin gets larger on the side that the tuning key fits. Sometimes a tuning pin will slip. If this happens, de-tune the string about a half of a turn, and then as you turn the pin to tune the string back up, push the pin in. You can provide counter pressure by bracing the neck of the harp with your left hand, while pushing in with the key in your right. You can see a demonstration of this at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvRomtaLDHM

Another really good video on this is from Steve Moss:


If the string angles towards the neck from the tuning pin, it could be putting back pressure on the tuning pin and pushing it out of the hole. This is more likely to happen in the low bass wires. The remedy here is to detune the string and stretch out the windings so they run straight up and down instead of at an angle. If there aren't enough windings, you probably have to put on a new string. Cut your string about 2" longer than the string length you need to allow for the extra windings.


Bridge Pins
Sometimes a string will pop off the bridge pin. Often this is because as the string stretches and tunes up to pitch, there are too many windings on the tuning pin. This causes the string above the bridge pin to be at a steep angle to the tuning pin and it pops off the bridge pin. The solution is to completely unwind the string until it is going straight up the hole of the tuning pin. Pull it up through the tuning pin about 1/2-3/4 inch, re-knot the string and tune it back up. Cut off the extra 1/2-3/4 inch of string. This should take at least 1 winding out of the string and it should help it stay on the bridge pin.

Occasionally strings break for no reason, often in the middle of the night when no one is playing the harp. You can buy individual strings or an entire string set from us. All of our harps use the same bass wires.

Our gut string sets use the pedal harp numbering system which starts at the 1st octave E. With the top 5 strings of our folk gut harp being nylon, this puts the first gut string on our harp, the second octave e, as the #8 string of the folk gut set. When ordering a string, it is best to go by the note name and string number, counting #1 from the top of the harp to make sure you get the right string. Our website has infromation on string tying and trouble shooting solutions complete with videos to help. Go to: http://www.thorharp.com/pages/strings.htm (click on string tying)

If you want to change the kind of strings you have on your harp, please call us to discuss the possibilities and proceedures for doing so. It is a little more complicated than just changing the strings and not all strings work on all of our harps.

We highly recommend that you purchase an extra set of strings. They don’t break often but when they do, it’s handy to have a replacement available right away.

The Ceili uses the Flourocarbon or folk gut strings.
Strings on any of our harps are not directly interchangeable but you can switch from one to the other with a lever regulation.


Some videos on string tying:

string tying webpage

String tying video for the upper strings (1-22)

String tying video for the midrange Folk Gut (#23-29) (see visual instructions here)

Putting the string on the tuning pin

Putting on a Bass Wire

The Camac Levers on your Thormahlen harp provide a smooth action, purity of tone and ease of adjustment. We offer a lever regulating tool kit which you can see on our website.

Cleaning your harp
The lacquer finish used on your harp does not require a lot of care. If your harp gets dirt or grime on it, simply wipe it down with a damp cloth, and follow it immediately with a dry rag. Since the wood is finished with lacquer, you should not use waxes or cleansers on it. Please consult us before using any cleaning or polishing products on your harp.

The Harp Case
When putting the harp in the case, we recommend opening the harp case entirely and laying the harp down with the lever side up. We also recommend putting the strap over your head resting it on the opposite shoulder when carrying the harp in its case.

Where to keep your harp
The harp should be kept out of direct sunlight, away from any heat source or draft. It is best if the humidity of the room in which the harp is kept is between 40% & 60% and the temperature between 50F - 75F. Humidifiers should be used if you live in a dry climate. Our warranty does not cover harps that crack from neglect.

Please call us if you have any questions or problems with your new harp. We will be happy to help you. And thanks again for purchasing a Thormahlen Harp.

Sharon & Dave Thormahlen


Thormahlen Harps | 1876 SW Brooklane Corvallis, Oregon 97333 | (541) 753-4334 | harps@thorharp.com