The Ugly Stick Harp

by Mitsy Marx
(Redding, California)

The Ugly Stick Harp

The Ugly Stick Harp

This is my second Aeolian Harp, the first ones were plastic soda bottles with slits cut in the sides, and about 30 feet of curling ribbon tied between two fence posts. Fun and quick but annoying.

This harp I call The Ugly Stick was made of junk I had just lying around.

I first found a metal can, a candy tin that had good resonance. After putting 12 small nail holes grouped in threes around the bottom, I affixed it to a ten-foot wooden, pressure-treated tree stake with the opening of the can pointing up with metal fender washers to stabilize the thin metal around the hole and using a copper pipe-fitting nut between the post and tin to isolate the metal from the sound-deadening wood.

I then put three tiny nails on each side of the post down towards the pointed end that would be buried in the ground to hold monofilament line. Of course, zither pins would be best here, but I don't have any yet, and this is a "use what you find" wind harp project.

I then threaded some old fishing line off a reel through the tiny holes in the bottom of the can, and tied small metal washers to hold them fast to the can, and then stretched them as tight as I could around the nails at the other end of the post. Note to self: next time, use a new line that is not so brittle!

After its completion, I carried it outside to find a place in my veggie garden to set it up and a convenient breeze came by at that very moment and, right away, the aeolian harp began singing!

It's not loud, and it's not pretty. But, it was a fun harp project, and I'm already plotting more fun. I believe a PVC harp is in store for me next, or who knows?!

Comments for The Ugly Stick Harp

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Aug 07, 2011
What A Wonderful Wind Harp Project
by: Don (Webmaster)

Thank you so much for sharing your "stick harp" project with us. You've inspired me to try making my own. An outdoor wind harp would make a welcome addition to any garden or lawn, and it's a great conversation piece too.

Jul 06, 2012
Thanks For The Ugly Stick Harp idea
by: Anonymous

I made one today based on your idea. I used a number 10 fruit can that I spray painted with some leftover brown Rustoleum, a 5 foot section of scrap 4" x 4" post and 25-pound monofilament fishing line (3 strands on each side of the can/post). I heard a brief tone before the breeze stopped for the remainder of the evening. We will see how this backyard harp does on the next breezy day!

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