Camac Bardic 27 help!!!

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    mae-mcallister on #169451

    Anyone own one of these?

    If so, I really need your help…I need to know some apparently random information that is going to help me absolutely immensely and I can explain why afterwards but if someone could answer my questions that would be absolutely incredible!!!

    I need to know:
    a) the diameters of the bottom octave of strings (i.e. 5th C to 4th C)
    b) The length of the bottom octave of strings (from soundboard to bridge pin)

    and finally

    c) anyone buying alliance strings, specifically for the bottom 5 notes of the Bardic 27, how long they actually are when they come in the packet.

    I have combed the internet for a stringing chart and have found nothing – even the Camac website technical information just asks you to order “Special Alliance 5th C for Camac Bardic”, thanks Camac. Ideally I’d like the diameters and lengths of all the strings but the bottom octave will do.

    I rented one of these over the summer (such a sweet little harp) and I am kicking myself for not doing the measurements then, but at the time I didn’t know I’d need them…


    Angela Biggs on #169702

    I’m sorry I don’t have these details, but have you tried a string purveyor? A place like VT Strings keeps lots of different string charts on hand and may be able to help you.

    mae-mcallister on #172873

    I’ve tried the Camac distributer in the UK, no reply from her yet (that was almost a month ago). The internet has nothing. My occasional harp teacher has a friend who works for them so I’m trying that at the moment too. I emailed VT strings just in case (thanks) – it’s a long shot as I get the feeling that shops tend to be a bit pants at replying to things that aren’t a direct order of things!

    So annoying. If I had access to one of these, with a micrometer, ruler and a bit of string i’d have everything I need to know in 10 minutes (except part c).

    Tacye on #173274

    Part c is easy, depending on part a. See links at bottom of:

    wil-weten on #175727

    @ Mae, I really wonder what use the information you are looking for may have. If you want to find out what kind of strings to put on a relatively small harp, you may end up with an exploded harp, if the harp was not built for a fairly hard tension…

    @ Tacye, I’m afraid the link you give, just provides an example and so, does not give an answer to Mae’s question c.

    I happen to know the diameters of the bottom 3 alliance harp strings of the Camac Bardic and they are way thicker dan the example for a small harp!

    mae-mcallister on #177092

    VT strings has fallen through, thanks for the tip anyway.

    Tacye – I’d found that already but didn’t know what to make of it much, plus who knows whether they cut them to size or not at the shop…I guess all the smaller strings are probably about 1m long, I don’t think I’ve bought a small string longer than that (or have I? they always come curled up:)

    wil – I will not end up with an exploded harp:) The tension, length, frequency, diameter and density of a harp string are all connected and you can choose which ones to fix and which to play with. In my case, I’d like the range of my harp to be a fourth lower than designed (the designers say it’s ok) and for the chosen tension that I want on the harp (which is slightly lower than what it is designed for and I’ve planned it so that it’s roughly the same as my big harp with an octave shift) I need thicker strings than what nylon goes down to, hence the need for alliance strings. But I can’t convert between nylon/alliance because they are different densities, hence needing a comparison harp, plus you can only order alliance strings here by specifying the note of the camac bardic that you want rather than the actual gauge, and as you might have gathered from my long ramble I am not going to naively buy the same strings as are on the camac bardic and stick them on my harp without a few detailed calculations first:)

    In conclusion, please tell me the diameters:)

    Tacye on #177767

    You shouldn’t need to confine yourself to the few strings the Bardic has (and the Aziliz too). Years ago The Cambridge Music Gallery (on Kings Hedges Road) got exactly the string I wanted in for me and I presume some shops which stock other Savarez strings could do the same. I see Bow Brand have KF on their website under Nylon now too.

    mae-mcallister on #181423

    Tacye that’s a great idea, thanks for the tip! I will do that…

    …however, I still need the gauges and lengths of the Bardic because I need to work out what gauges I actually want on my harp as you can’t convert between nylon and KF and I was planning to use the Bardic nylon string measurements as a reference/conversion…


    Someone out there must have one…

    wil-weten on #181515

    Hi Mae, I am sorry, but your idea “The tension, length, frequency, diameter and density of a harp string are all connected and you can choose which ones to fix and which to play with. “ is partly correct. The problem is that some harps are built to withstand heavy tension while others are optimized for light tension. The Camac Bardic has a pretty heavy tension.

    As to convert nylon strings to Savarez Alliance Strings, you may like to ask them yourself: I had a question once and got a friendly and knowledgeable answer in English.

    I understand now that you want to tune your harp a fourth down. I just wonder what you mean by the ‘designers’? Every harp builder would be able to tell you what the corresponding Savarez carbon string is for the nylon string he used.

    But my biggest surprise is that ‘the designers’ said it would be ‘OK’. I think they just meant, it would not ruin the construction of the harp. I do expect that the harp just would stop sounding beautifully. If you are lucky, lowering the lowest note by one or two notes would still give a nice sound, but by four notes? So, I think you are in for a desillusion. But I do hope I am wrong.

    Also, replacing the strings by other strings may have consequences for the levers. Depending on the kind you have on your harp, they may to only need to be adapted for the new diameter, but you also run the risk to have to replace some levers.

    mae-mcallister on #181542

    wil, I don’t have any levers yet! I am building this harp and I’m not going to be able to order levers until I know what gauges the strings are going to be, precisely for the reason you mentioned! (hence the haste…) I also need to figure out if I need bigger eyelets, and how many zither pin holes to drill out to enlarge them. I haven’t got this stuff yet on purpose because I’m not converting a harp, I’m doing it from scratch, and I have thought about it quite carefully:)

    My harp is designed/built for a fairly light tension (well, actually not because it’s a double-strung but per side probably yes). I am not changing the tension much because I am not naively just tuning the strings down a fourth. I have done some fairly detailed calculations to work out what diameter of nylon strings I need to keep the tension the same as it’s designed for while at the same time dropping the pitch (i.e if you make them thicker they can be lower while not adding any tension). But I can’t do this calculation for KF strings because the harp is not supposed to have any so I have no reference point. If I have the lengths and diameters of the strings on the Bardic, I can work out – by assuming a roughly constant tension throughout it and comparing the diameters of the nylon strings that I have calculated to those on the bardic – what diameter of KF string I need for my harp’s own scale length and pitch to keep the tension constant. The only thing that changes anything is end effects (i.e. longer strings generally sound better than shorter ones) and considering this harp was never going to be the worlds most brilliantly sounding sparkly harp (I got one of those already:) I doubt it will make much difference, especially as it’s roughly the same size as the bardic and I can’t imagine that the strings are going to be hugely thicker (but until I get this information I won’t know!!!)

    The “designers” haven’t put any strings on the harp yet because they’re not the ones building it, and I won’t be able to convert between nylon and KF for the strings I need because nylon doesn’t go that thick, which is precisely why I am using KF strings in the first place…!

    It should not be this hard to get a string chart for such a common harp >:(

    wil-weten on #181570

    Hi Mae, you say that you are building a harp meant for a rather light string tension. You wish to compare it to the Camac Bardic 27, because the length of the lower strings are about as long as the harp you are building.

    One of the problem is, as I already tried to explain, that the Camac Bardic is a very sturdy harp that has fairly heavy tension strings and that putting the same strings on the bottom of your lightly built harp with maybe about the same dimensions might bring your harp in structural danger. Besides, I think that the heavy tension of the lowest Camac Bardic strings is more suitable for through pins than for zither pins.

    This: may give you an idea if you still want to compare the diameter of your nylon strings to Savarez Carbon strings.

    mae-mcallister on #181580

    Thanks for the chart, I will have a good look:)

    I keep trying to tell you that I am not going to put the same strings from the bardic onto my harp!! The strings that I do put on will be at a light tension, I just need to figure out what strings those are going to be. But there is probably some mis-communication here..

    wil-weten on #181617

    Hi Mae, well, I may have misunderstood you, but I wouldn’t know on which point.

    Anyway, as to the length of Savarez strings you are looking for:

    Edit: counting one plus one, I think, you would like to have the 22 string double Brittany tuned down from the lowest note G below middle C to C a whole octave below middle C. That would be not four but five strings lower than the harp was built for. As it is a double harp, there would be no space for through pins, so you would indeed need zither pins.

    As this is a low headed harp, I fear the sound of the lowest strings would be very dull and I think the melody strings won’t sound great either. In your thread about building this harpkit you mention help from a reputable harp builder. I think it would be a very good idea to ask his opinion on your idea (as I still think

    Biagio on #181706

    I’ve designed a number of double strungs; I’m jumping in here let’s see if I may help. First if I’m understanding the discussion I’m assuming:

    Mae is thinking of a double strung with the same string lengths as the Bardic 27, but understands that she will have to change the diameters and probably compositions as well to compensate for the doubled tension if she just uses the same as the single. One approach would be to drop the range by four steps. An additional question is how to convert Alliance KF. Analyzing the Bardic single would give her an idea of where to go from there.

    My thoughts for what they’re worth:
    1) Most makers consider their string designs proprietary which is pretty silly in my mind but that’s the way it is. But you can guess the lengths from the description, usually. It’s nice to have a comparison to a single, but really does not move one very far along. What Mae needs are the lengths (and a good string analysis program). There is a pretty good free Excel program here

    2) A drop of four steps is pretty big – around 100%-125% decrease in tension. Two steps is probably sufficient.
    3) In any case, you can’t usually just do that and get a harp that still sounds decent. But if you know the lengths you can usually get a pretty decent design using that as a starting point.
    4) Most double strungs have an average per string tension of about 20lbs/9kg up to 25lbs/11kg. Going higher requires a pretty heavy frame, and zither pins will not be adequate for high tension strings either.
    5) Doubling tension does not require doubling SB thickness; about 40% more is adequate.
    6) A typical design for a 2×27 would have nylon from treble a to around middle c, several transition strings of N/N or KF and 3 to 5 bass SFN for light tension.
    7) Converting from nylon to Alliance KF or vice versa: you just need the densities and tensile strengths: nylon 0.0385lb/in^3, 44,600lb/in^2; KF 0.0562lb/in^3, 60,000lb/in^2.

    Hope that helps!


    Tacye on #181714

    To chime in on the sounding decent at a lower pitch I have a Stoney End Eve which sounds decent at an octave lower than it had when it came to me. It now has brass strings and greatly increased tension.

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