Harmonium Tuning FAQs

Harmonium Tuning FAQs

Q: Can you tune my harmonium to A440?
A: Yes. Our expert technician is one of the best in North America. He has tuned hundreds of harmoniums to this standard and would gladly tune yours as well. Our custom tuning rate is $75 per reed bank. When you purchase a new harmonium from Old Delhi Music, we drop that cost to just $25 per reed bank.

Q: How about other standards, like A432?
A: This has become a popular request. It's also a very time intensive activity requiring multiple re-tunings to get the instrument settled in this range. We offer this service at a rate of $100 per reed bank. When you purchase a new harmonium from Old Delhi Music, we drop that service fee to just $40 per reed bank.

Q: How does harmonium tuning work?
A: A harmonium is a fixed reed instrument. Unlike a stringed instrument, which gets its tone from a string tightened to a particular tension, a harmonium gets its tone from a metal reed shaped and weighted in such a way that it produces a particular frequency when air moves across the reed. These reeds are mounted inside the instrument, which means they are not easily accessible. To adjust the frequency of a reed, metal is scraped off the top or the bottom of the reed, which changes the shape and weight of the reed slightly, resulting in a change of the pitch that particular reed produces.

Q: How many reeds are in a typical harmonium?
A: This varies, but you can determine this by adding up the number of keys (32-42 is common), multiplying that by the number of reed sets (2-4 is common), and then adding the number of drones.

Q: Is tuning something I can do?
A: Technically, it's something anyone could learn. But be warned: 1) It's tedious, 2) If you are not careful, you could end up making it worse rather than better, and 3) It requires a good ear for pitch and lots of comparison between intervals and octaves if you want to achieve good results. Along with tuning, you'll need to understand how to properly gap your reeds, etc.

Q: Once a harmonium has been tuned, how long will it stay in tune?
A: A well-tuned reed will generally stay relatively well-tuned for several years. Depending on the level of use, we recommend general tuning and service intervals every 2-5 years. The frequency will vary depending on how much the harmonium is used, moved, brought inside and outside, etc. If your harmonium is kept in a climate-controlled environment and babied, expect minimal maintenance costs. If you move it around a lot, you'll probably need to send it in for servicing more frequently.

Q: Do you service instruments that have not been purchased from your store?
A: Yes we do. For more details, please call (312-869-9092) or email (olddelhimusic@gmail.com).

Q: Can you teach me how to tune my harmonium?
A: Sure. We offer support and instruction via Skype. Please call or email for additional details.

Q: I tried to tune my harmonium and ended up messing it up. Do you sell reeds?
A: We sell individual reeds ($5 each + shipping) or full reed sets. If you need an individual reed, please email a photo of the problem reed(s). In the photo, please place the problem reed(s) next to a ruler so we can verify we are sending a proper replacement.

Have more questions that we didn't answer here? For more information on the comprehensive servicing process that we put each harmonium through before shipping, click here. For all other questions, email us at olddelhimusic@gmail.com, and we'll reply shortly!