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Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?

16 Dec 03 - 09:36 PM (#1074197)
Subject: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,Wendy M. Grossman

I've been fooling around with an autoharp here, and one of its strings -- the F# above middle C -- buzzes quite badly. A few of the other strings sort of "ring" a bit, but this one is really noticeable.

Anyone know what might be causing it and whether it's fixable and if so, how? Or is the autoharp a dud?

wg


16 Dec 03 - 09:42 PM (#1074201)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Pluck the felt ... on the damper.

A pin works fine for pricking....but a used needle-threader might be prefered.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


16 Dec 03 - 09:49 PM (#1074206)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wysiwyg

Can also be a bowed chord bar. Is it a 2-row or 3-row harp?

~S~


16 Dec 03 - 09:56 PM (#1074209)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wendyg

3-row. 21-bar OS C.

wg


16 Dec 03 - 10:05 PM (#1074214)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wysiwyg

The one I had the bowed bar on was a 2-row, so I am probably not much help. The bars are a totally different design.

Another possibility tho would be a bad spring or one broken tooth on the chord-bar holder, causing the bar to squish across the strings and hit or nearly hit where it should not. But I would expect a muddy tone more than a buzz. I hate those damn combs. They are way too soft and not at all strong enough. Sometimes the teeth break just from opening up the assembly.

Or it could be poorly cut bars, but again I would expect mud, not buzz.

Is the string definitely wound around the tuning peg and the bridgepin correctly? Is it hanging up in the slotted whatchacallit at the other end?

If it still bothers, PM me an email address and I can hook you up with a good repair dude to answer in email.

~Susan


16 Dec 03 - 10:07 PM (#1074216)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: Bill D

it is 'probably' the felt not seating (pressing) on the string snugly. One problem is that Oscar Schmidt and the like did not use the best felt, and if it is a used instrument, there will be little groves worn in the most used felt bars...gargoyle has a point in that, if you raise the compressed felt with a needle, you may be able to gain some time before the true solution, which is to re-felt the bar or entire instrument.

(with some looking it is possible to find scraps of sheet felt with different resiliancy and longer life)...I have NOT tried this in the Wash DC area yet, as I still have some)..[you can simply buy standard felt from the makers.]


16 Dec 03 - 10:11 PM (#1074218)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST

What is your PM address Susan?


16 Dec 03 - 10:16 PM (#1074221)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wendyg

I see have not explained this well. The note buzzes when the string is completely open. The chord bars are not skewed, bowed, or pressing on the string. It just buzzes when you play it and it can vibrate freely.

It's *very* annoying.

I can't see anything wrong with the pins or the string's winding (though one of the top strings on this harp seems to be unable to stay wound around its peg -- the cut end keeps slipping through the peg's hole and popping out. But this I assume is fixable either with a slightly longer piece of the same weight wire or something). The string just buzzes for no apparent reason.

Perhaps it was sired by a sitar.

wg


16 Dec 03 - 10:30 PM (#1074228)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: Bill D

hmmm...I had a fellow fix a buzzing dulcimer string once by simply flattening the groove where the string went to the tailpiece..he said it was just resting on a raised spot, giving a thin profile.

But since autoharps run thru metal guides and posts, I'm not sure. If it was an improper replacement string of the wrong diameter, that might cause it....


16 Dec 03 - 10:51 PM (#1074239)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wysiwyg

PM SUSAN

It's a member feature; you need to be signed in to use it. Then to access your replies, click PERSONAL PAGE at the top of the site banner.

~S~


16 Dec 03 - 11:04 PM (#1074246)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: harpgirl

you're string is probably dead. Replace it with another of the proper gauge and type. If you still have the buzz, then examine all the places the string touches something else on the autoharp. If you do a thorough examination of the string and the rest of the harp, you will find the reason, if you are patient in your examination and you use deductive reasoning....


17 Dec 03 - 12:50 AM (#1074275)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: open mike

felt, by the way, is one of the favorite menu items
for carpet beetles, a.k.a. bow hair bugs. these critters
(in the larval stage) love munching on animal products--
fur, feathers, hair, carpet, wool, felt, leather, etc.
their little caracsses might be evident in places where
they have shed their "skins". They are found here;
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2103.html and here:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/carpbeet.html

I was at an autoharp workshop with bryon bowers once and
he recommended extending the life of felt bars by running
a layer of shoe goo, silicone seal, or barge cement over
the surface. This also serves to take up the slack in the
harp allowing quicker chord changes, sue to less travel
distance the button has to go with each chord.(of course you
don't play until it is absolutely dry!)


17 Dec 03 - 01:29 AM (#1074282)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: Bev and Jerry

What harpgirl said (hi, harpgirl!). In order to buzz, the string has to have something to buzz against. Check it out.

Bev and Jerry


17 Dec 03 - 06:57 AM (#1074381)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: Willie-O

Yeah, it's hitting something, somewhere.

Barge cement? Qu'est-ce que c'est? That fix (with any of the materials mentioned) strikes me as assuming one has the skill in applying them to get a layer down that is almost absolutely even--and spilling out the sides would be a big problem. Lot of fussing around.

I'd start by replacing the string. It should be apparent if it's happening, perhaps the wrapping has come loose somewhere on the old string and is vibrating back and forth somewhere under the bars?


17 Dec 03 - 07:35 AM (#1074406)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wendyg

I will try to look at it with a microscope today. But as noted, it's the F# above middle C, so it's not a wound string, and the string (and indeed the rest of the autoharp) is new.

wg


17 Dec 03 - 09:07 AM (#1074475)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: wysiwyg

Barge, if I recall right, is a tough cement used in shoe repair.

~S~


11 Oct 06 - 06:22 PM (#1856250)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,tvs

Wendy g
Have the same problem. It turned out to be the way the string was wound at the steel bridge where the screw secures the string. Took a small screwdriver and lightly tapped the windings towards the screw. Has worked so far. Have had several strings with the same problem. It looks as though the problem results from cutting the string too close to the bridge. Peace…
tvs


11 Oct 06 - 08:36 PM (#1856370)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

You could think of it as a feature and invent the prepared autoharp.


13 Jul 08 - 07:22 PM (#2388052)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST

I have an autoharp, which was purchased brand new, two weeks ago, and already my normal octave d# string is buzzing when I play Eb and Ab and Cm. can anyone offer help?


13 Jul 08 - 10:35 PM (#2388139)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,hg

If the string is not dead, look carefully for areas where strings contact some part of the harp which you may not be able to see upon cursory examination. Like, on or under the chord bar holder. Take appropriate action to remedy.


14 Jul 08 - 12:36 AM (#2388171)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST

I'm just not sure what this appropriate action would be. But it can be fixed, yes? I am taking it to the music shop i ordered it from tomorrow.


26 Mar 09 - 11:05 PM (#2598278)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,Marl

I also have a slight buzz on my G# string. I took all the cord bars off but it still buzzes when you pluck the individual sting. So far I cannot find the cause. Help! Does this mean I need to replace the string.


27 Mar 09 - 07:58 AM (#2598438)
Subject: RE: Autoharp buzzing string: how to fix?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work

All good pointers, above, but missing an important troubleshooting step.
I've used this on everything from an old lute to pipe organs to guitar amps to dulcimers to... well, anyway:
Play the offending note and just poke around the instrument with your finger. Prod everything you can think of. Sooner or later you will hit a spot that stops (or changes) the buzzing sound, and that will be your starting point for identifying the problem.
For a buzz to occur you must have either (1) something moving that should be tight or (2) something that is encroaching into the path of something that is supposed to be moving, i.e. a string. It may not be the string or its mountings at all, it could just be that the loose spot is resonating at that particular frequency. Another trick: drop the suspect string a half tone and see if it still buzzes. If not, the problem may be a resonance away from the string. Again, something loose that should be secure.
Hope this helps
-Glenn