Would you like to make your own glass harp? In this tutorial I will explain every step to help you get a decent instrument with the least effort. All the information is based on my personal experience, so keep in mind that it can be improved and you are free to improvise anything depending on your personal needs or situation. If you ever discover anything interesting please share your information, if it's useful I will publish it.
The first thing to do is select all the glasses you need. They don't have to be made of crystal or any special material: don't go for the expensive decorated ones, better plain, simple wine glasses. For the low notes maybe cognac glasses are better.
I suggest you try to find 25 glasses that can be tuned in a chromatic scale. 25 half tones can cover a musical extension of 2 octaves and you will be able to play almost any tune. If you just want a diatonic scale (no sharps) your research will be easier but your musical possibilities will be limited to folk music and simple melodies, all in the same key. It will be more like a party trick than a proper musical instrument, but anyway of great effect.
Before buying the glasses there are a few things to know. The glasses will be tuned by adding water, the more water you pour into a glass the lower the pitch will be. However, the best sound a glass will give is when it's empty. The water reduces the vibrations taking away the harmonics that make the rich sound for which this instrument is known. So the less water you add for the tuning the better it will sound.
This means that you should try to find glasses that are slightly higher than the note they have been assigned when tuned. If the pitch is spot on there will be no need to add water and that's your best choice. I suggest you try to find glasses that don't need a pitch drop of more than one tone. It won't be very easy and it depends much on your luck, especially at your first attempt, so it will be easier to start with what you can find and eventually evolve your instrument slowly when you have the chance. If you're having a hard time finding the ideal glasses make them drop the pitch as far as they can go (normally 3 to 4 tones). The most important thing is to start so you can enjoy your new instrument as soon as possible.
It's important to try your glasses before you buy them. This will drive shopkeepers crazy and they won't make much profit with you. Be diplomatic so you can disturb them as much as possible. Tell them to visit www.youtube.com/roberttiso so they can have a look at what you're talking about, they might find it interesting and be willing to help you.
Visit glass shops with a chromatic instrument tuner, a bowl and some water to wet your fingers and a clean cloth to dry and polish the glasses after trying them. Wash your hands, rinse well and your ready. Try as many glasses as you can and select the best ones. Consider the pitch first but also listen to the sound, it must be sweet and clear. Some are better than others even if they come out of the same box and they are an industrial production. Your ears and personal taste are the only judges for this factor!
Once you have found all the glasses (at least 25) it's time to decide how you would like them set out on the board. There are many solutions and you can even create your own. The most common is like the piano keyboard, it has been used for centuries and most musicians are familiar with it. I think the best disposition is a variation of the button accordion, you can see it in the picture below. It gives good possibilities and keeps the dimensions reduced.
The glasses should be fixed to a wooden board, each one should stand on a block especially made to keep all the rims at the same height. This will make playing much easier and enjoyable. Once the blocks are all glued to the the board drill 4 holes on the outside of each glass's base and fix them with plastic straps. (normally used for tying electric cables).