On this page I offer tuning keys to fit almost any harp! Scroll to the bottom of the page for help choosing the right key for your harp.
Gallery of keys: click to enlarge
If you have ever gone out with your harp and accidentally left your tuning key at home, like me, you will appreciate having a keyring tuning key on your keyring! These little keys are small enough to carry all the time, and although they are not ergonomic to use they allow you to tune your harp in situations where you would otherwise not be able to!
Deluxe keyring tuning key
I can make you a miniature version of any of my full-sized tuning keys. The price will be the same as the full-sized version. I recommend the option of a suspension loop (add £15 to the basic price). contact me for details.
Choosing the right key
Your key should be softer than your pins, or at most just as hard, otherwise your pins will be worn away by the key. For brass pins, you should use a brass key. For old iron pins, a brass key is probably best. For modern steel pins, a steel key is a good choice (the hard steel pins will wear away a brass key).
Historical harps have tuning pin drives which taper slightly, so that slight variations in the size of the pin, or using a key that is a size bigger or smaller, doesn’t affect the snug fitting of the key.
Modern machine-made pins usually have parallel sided drives, which means you need to use a key that is a tight fit. Unfortunately, variation in drive sizes means that you really do need to try a key on your harp before committing. I am happy to send you trial keys for you to see which is the best fit on your harp.
In the past I have found the following sizes work well:
4.25mm fits older Ardival Kilcoy harps
4.5mm fits newer Ardival Kilcoy harps, and Dusty Strings harps
4.75mm fits newer pedal harp pins, as used on HHSI Student harps.
5.0mm fits older pedal harp pins as used on older HHSI Student harps.
The closer your key fits the drives, the easier tuning will be. Similarly, it is important that the socket of the key is not loose in the handle - if there is movement inside the key it will make tuning much more difficult.
T-shape or L-shape?
I usually make T-shaped keys as they are my preferred type. However any of these designs can be made with an asymmetrical handle (more like a tuning lever) if that is what you prefer. There is a supplement of £20 for a L-shaped key.
I have also started doing tuning keys without a cross handle at all. These ‘pendant’ keys are modelled on the earliest type of key, known from medieval times. They are not as practical or ergonomic as the other designs but they are wonderfully stylish wearable and usable pieces of jewelry.
contact me to place an order.
For more information about ancient Gaelic harp tuning keys please visit the tuning key information page.