The old Irish harps have beautiful decorated brass tuning pins. I think that the pins would have been the most expensive part of the harp. Irish harp tuning pins are different from modern classical pedal-harp and lever-harp tuning pins. Irish harp tuning pins are made from brass, and they have a square drive head which is as wide as the wide end of the tapered shaft.
Standard brass tuning pins
These pins are made as copies of the old Irish harp tuning pins. The broad drive head is silver-soldered onto the brass shaft, and then filed to shape and decorated with filed lines. These pins have standard Imperial 1:48 tapered shafts. I can copy the size, shape and details of any specific old pin. If you are commissioning or making a replica of one of the old harps, I can make copies of the original pins. #4 shafts, £20 or £30 each depending on the amount of shaping required. #5 shafts, £40 each.
*This is different from how the old pins were made; the old method was to cast and/or machine the pin from a single pieces of brass. I am trying to source machined blanks which should reduce the cost of my pins.
I can also supply a handmade tuning key or an unmounted key socket to match the pins. The standard pins require a larger socket than classical pedal or lever harps, I typically suggest using a socket from 5.5mm to 6mm.
Medieval rectangular-headed pins require a key with a rectangular socket; I can supply a specially made Queen Mary harp tuning key with rectangular socket. See my tuning keys page for more info.
How to order:
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If you are not sure what you need, still get in touch and ask me. There is no commitment to place an order; just call or email and see if the price and description is really what you are after. I am happy to recommend other sellers who might have what you need.
Irish harp tuning pins are different from modern classical pedal-harp and lever-harp tuning pins. Irish harp tuning pins are made from brass, and they have a square drive head which is as wide as the wide end of the tapered shaft.
The shaft of the tuning pin is tapered. For my pins, I buy in brass shaft blanks in standard Imperial taper (1:48 ratio). This gives a consistent size and angle and allows the use of standard Imperial taper reamers to make the holes in the neck of the harp. It also potentially allows an Irish harp which has been fitted with classical steel pins, to be re-fitted with brass Irish harp pins. I use #4 and #5 pin blanks of different lengths which allows for different tip diameters from about 4.5mm up to 5.5mm.
The drive head of the tuning pin is also tapered, in the opposite direction. see my typology of harp tuning pins for illustrations of the different types. The large drive requires a much larger tuning key socket than a classical harp; I think a 5.5mm to 6mm key should fit almost any Irish harp pin drive (a classical key is typically only 4.75mm or 5mm and will be too small). The taper of the tuning pin drive head ensures a very snug tight fit to your tuning key, even if the hand-made drives vary slightly, or your key is a size bigger or smaller; the large size of the drive gives a more positive engagement of the key. Both of these factors give you a lot more control over the tuning pin, which means it is easier to tune more accurately. This is very important with the metal wire strings of an Irish harp, but is not necessary for the stretchy gut or synthetic strings of a classical pedal or lever harp.
Please get in touch to discuss your needs.