Breaking Strings

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    anna-garrett on #166711

    Hello everyone.

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #166712

    How old is the harp? How old are the strings? What kind of strings are you using? What is the weather like where you live? Where is your harp kept in the house?


    Sid Humphreys on #166713


    Strings need to be replaced at least once a year as they get worn and break or go “false”. Not knowing the enviroment where you live I think you should contact Lyon and Healy (or your harp instructor) to find out if nylon or gut would be better for you.Take my advice and get the best strings that you can afford, your harp will sound better for it. Hope this helps!


    anna-garrett on #166714

    The weather in my area right now is cold.

    Sid Humphreys on #166715

    I do agree with Hannah. Covering your harp does very little to keep it warm, it doesn’t generate heat the way we humans do. Move it away form the window by several feet if you can. Also, after a year is normally when strings start to break. Get some new strings and (if you haven’t already) find a good time to relpace them. If you’re playing in the next few weeks just replace the ones you have to. What I do is write the date on the ziplock that the string comes in so I know how new or old that one is. If you don’t have a performance for at least a month then take some time every evening to relpace an octives worth of strings. This way you’re not overwhelmed with a big job to do at once. Remember that the new strings will go flat frequently for a while.It takes me about two weeks before new string hold their tune well enough for my taste.


    tony-morosco on #166716

    Keeping it near a window in cold weather is almost a sure fire way to break strings. Strings contract in the cold and unless you have super insulated double pain windows with inert gases between then almost certainly it will be colder near the window than away from it.

    And as others point out, a cover doesn’t keep it warm. Also if you turn the heat down when not playing but up when you are then the constant temperature change will take its toll on the strings over time.

    String age is definitely a factor but weather is most likely the main culprit.

    anna-garrett on #166717

    I was also wondering if a dehumidifier would also help with my problem of breaking strings.

    catherine-rogers on #166718

    I don’t think you’d want a dehumidifier now when it’s cold and the air is likely to be drier than usual because of the heating system (unless you have steam heat). You may need a humidifier; there’s been a lot of discussion of that on another thread.

    Tacye on #166719

    You can get quite cheaply gadgets that measure temperature and humidity and will record the maximum and minimum since it was last reset.

    catherine-rogers on #166720

    I imagine you all know this, but for anyone who doesn’t, the instrument to measure humidity is a hygrometer and can be purchased many places. Nice to have a thermometer, too, in the same room.

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