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How to Make a Frame Harp


Making a frame harp is an interesting and rewarding project! It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and some patience and care, you can create a beautiful, unique musical instrument for yourself or a loved one. A frame harp is a type of harp that consists of open strings on a curved or rectangular framework. It is often made from wood, metal, or both, and can be adorned with decorative elements like woodcarving and inlay. Frame harps can be tuned to a variety of scales and have a pleasant, resonant tone. This guide will walk you through the steps of constructing and playing a frame harp.

Gather Materials

The first step in this project is to gather the materials you need. The body of the frame harp should be made out of a solid, sturdy material like wood or metal. Wood can be less expensive, while metal adds durability. The strings and tuning pegs can be purchased from a music store or online. The strings should be made from nylon or steel, depending on the type of sound you prefer. Additionally, you will need a drill, saw, glue, and other tools for the construction process.

Design the Frame

Once you have all your materials, the next step is to design and construct the frame. The shape of the frame should be determined by the size of the strings and the type of sound you want to create. A curved frame will produce a more mellow sound, while a rectangular frame yields a brighter, more vibrant tone. Consider the size of the frame and how many strings it can accommodate. For a more professional look, consider carving or inlaying decorative elements into the frame’s surface.

Attaching the Strings

Once you’re satisfied with the design and construction of the frame, it’s time to attach the strings. Begin by drilling holes in the frame to accommodate the strings and tuning pegs. Take care to drill the holes in a straight line so that the strings are parallel to each other. Secure the tuning pegs in the holes with glue and allow it to dry before moving on to the next step. When the glue is dry, thread the strings through the tuning pegs and begin tightening the strings until they are in tune.

How to Make a Frame Harp two

Finishing Touches

Once the strings are in place, it’s time to make the finishing touches to your frame harp. If your harp has decorative elements like carving or inlay, consider giving them a protective finish like lacquer or wax. If the strings are steel, you may also want to add a protective coat to keep them from rusting. Finally, make sure to check the tuning pegs periodically and retune the strings as needed.

Playing the Frame Harp

Once the frame harp is complete, you can begin playing it! Frame harps can be tuned to a variety of scales and can be played with either hands or a plectrum. Experiment with different techniques to create unique musical textures and sounds. With enough practice and dedication, you can become a master of your own frame harp!


Making a frame harp is a rewarding and enjoyable project for any aspiring musician! Gather the materials needed, design and construct the frame, attach the strings, and make the finishing touches before you can begin playing. With enough patience and dedication, you can create a unique and beautiful musical instrument just for you or a loved one. Enjoy!

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