Advice on centering stings on an erard harp

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    spencerharp on #228758

    Hi everyone,

    I have recently acquired an erard gothic harp, I bought it for a good price understanding that it would definitely need a replacement neck (it is very twisted), as well as some other restorative works. What worries me is that where the strings come through the discs they are quite far off center, particularly in the sharps. From what I’ve been told this is caused by the bellying of the soundboard and bending of the body.

    Apart from having a little belly on it the soundboard is in pretty good condition so I was hoping if someone in the know would be able to give me some advise. If the neck is replaced will it be possible to correct the string positioning with the new neck? Or is this something that can only be achieved by replacing the soundboard and flattening the body? And (showing my ignorance even more) apart from the strength of string pull that is possible will the strings being off center cause major problems with the intonation or anything else that I haven’t even considered.

    Thanks in advance.


    Biagio on #228800

    It is impossible to say exactly what might be required from a distance unfortunately. Your best bet would be to take it in to a qualified harp maker/restorer for an evaluation.

    paul-knoke on #228811

    Are the prongs on the sharp discs still gripping the strings? Can the harp be regulated adequately? If so, don’t worry about replacing the neck just yet. The strings don’t have to cross the middle of the prongs for the harp to work.

    catherine-rogers on #228829

    When the neck is very twisted, it throws everything out of alignment. A new neck fixes a multitude of issues. If this is a very old harp, check with Howard Bryan’s company ( about getting the right kind of strings, too. You don’t want to put too much stress on the instrument by using modern, heavy-weight strings if the harp is designed for earlier, light-tension strings. Just a suggestion. Congratulations on acquiring what is surely a lovely instrument! Hope you have many years of enjoyment with it.

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