How To Tune a Harp (Step-By-Step Guide)

The process of tuning a harp is very easy and can take one every few minutes to get everything right. 

Tuning a harp may be considered a difficult exercise but it is the opposite if one knows his/her way around a harp.

Of course, there are several methods one can use to tune a harp depending on the specific harp that one has.

Things You Will Need

There are some key equipment that you will need to have before you can tune a harp.

Tuning Key

This is a tool that is used to turn the peg for tuning. 

Some harps do not come with tuning and therefore it is recommended that an individual buys a rubber tuning key. 

This is because rubber tuning keys are simple to use and cannot damage the harp in the long run if one drops the key on the harp by accident. 

Basically, the rubber tuning key fits most harps.


The Korg chromatic tuner is the most common tuning machine that is used. This is because it is very much reliable and offers an accurate manner of tuning a harp. 

You can also download a tuner for free by using a smartphone. These are considered useful for students learning to use harps but they are not completely accurate.

Click here to see the best harp tuner.

Contact Mic

The Korg digital tuner usually comes with a contact microphone that is clip-on. 

The wire of the microphone is very helpful for professionals or when an individual wants to tune a harp in noisy places such as concerts or rehearsals. 

The contact mic locks all noise from the external environment and allows one to tune easily in any place. It is important to note that the microphone should be stored by detaching it from the tuner and wind the lead lose.

6 Steps For Tuning Your Harp

Most beginners usually tune the harp to the key of C which is sometimes referred to as the Do-Re-Mi scale. The C strings have a red color on the lever harp.

Step One

One should first turn the tuner on and then clip it to the harp. 

One should take caution not to fasten the clips of metal directly to the wood.

Normally, they are clipped to a tuning in which is found in close proximity to the string that is being tuned. 

A tuner is usually moved 3-4 times when the distance across the tuner is 36 strings.

Step Two 

The second step involves plucking the middle C.

The lights of the indicator and the needle on the tuner need to show the individual the note which is being produced by the string.

New harps usually tend to read something different from C and in most instances, the harp will be seen to be flat.

When the light of the indicator shows B, A or G then one should automatically know that the string is low and one needs to raise the pitch through tightening this string till the light of the indicator shows C.

The tuning wrench located on the tuning pin of middle C should be turned so as to tighten it. When one plucks the string, the pitch will be heard sliding as the string gets shorter.

Once C is reached, one should make sure that the sharp light doesn’t turn on. One should be gentle when doing this.

Step Three

Once the indicator light shows C, one should have a look at the meter. C is considered to be low when the needle reads left of center and if it reads right of center, then C is higher.

The string should be tightened or loosened respectively till the needle is at the center.

Step Four

One should be careful when tuning so that the wrench can be on the same tuning pin that is being plucked.

Now the D string can be plucked and the above steps repeated.

Step Five

The process should be repeated with other strings and once an individual gets used to it, it can take approximately three minutes.

Step Six

It is advisable to go over the entire process of tuning when a new harp or string is being used.

After the above steps, a harp is considered to be tuned and strings ready to be played for several musical adventures.

How long does it take to tune a harp?

Tuning your should only take around 5 to 10 minutes depending on how many strings your harp has.

It may even be faster if you have less strings on your harp.

How Often Should You Tune Your Harp?

The easy and obvious answer is to tune your harp when it’s out of tune but realistically you may want to check your harps tune every other day.

Checking it every other day depending on how often you play, will allow you to make sure that you are always in tune.

It will also lead to faster tuning if you do it frequently since you won’t have to tune every string every time


Learning to play the harp while your harp is off tune it becomes a thousand times more difficult than it needs to be.

Hopefully you have learned how to successfully tune your harp in an easy way.

If you need more detailed instructions then you can watch this video so you can actually see someone tune their harp with your eyes.

We hope that you learned everything about tuning your harp.

Especially if this is your first time changing a harp string or anything like that can be quite difficult.

You will need to get some critical equipment like the actual tuner or phone app and tuner key but that’s all you need to start playing your harp and have it actually sounds perfect. 

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