Camac gut string question

  • Participant
    xcodef on #217985

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for keeping up this forum, I have a string question that hopefully makes sense to someone here! I have been playing a 40-string Camac Mademoiselle and everything has been good so far with my strings until very recently. the E on the second octave broke and decided to change it for a new one (just in the same manner that I have changed other strings in the past) but surprisingly it was breaking when it was passing the D# tone and never making it to E! I double checked and the envelope says it is clearly a Mi (E) – Oct 2 (Pedal harp #8, Celtic harp #4). The strings were provided my the same provider that sold me the harp and branded under Camac label. Is it possible that I am using the wrong string? I was going to try the very next one (which I assume would let me go as high as E) but thought that I may ask here before I do something silly 🙂

    Thank you in advance and any help is appreciated!


    You must be logged in to view attached files.
    charles-nix on #218003

    First question: exactly where is the string breaking?

    It is counter-intuitive, but putting a larger or smaller gauge string should not result in breakage. A larger diameter will require more tension to come up to pitch–but it is a stronger string. Only a vibrating length too long (determined by the harp’s design) or a faulty string or faulty installation will cause broken strings. The wrong gauge will result only in the wrong sound, and heavier gauges throughout may break the harp because the overall tension will also increase.

    So, where is the string breaking? If at the knot, are you using the Camac knot on the wood toggle?

    Charles Nix

    emma-graham on #218017

    It looks like the mademoiselle is strung with nylon for the first 3 octaves, not gut. That might be your problem.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by emma-graham.
    charles-nix on #218022

    That is a good thought. The sound change should be noticeable at the least. The Mademoiselle info says that string lengths are exactly identical to their concert harps. so I would expect either to come to pitch.

    I once worked on a harp where the owner had replaced a string, not routing it over the bridge pin, but running straight from soundboard to tuning pin, and winding it on the tuning pin backwards. She could not figure out why the string could not be brought up to pitch without breaking, and why the lever both buzzed and raised the pitch _two_ semi-tones.

    xcodef on #218025

    Thank you for the replies, Charles and Emma! I really appreciate it 🙂

    For the first one, it is always breaking in the same place and it is in the top part… also made sure to not bend it or damage it in any way in case it was something else breaking it. I took a photo and attached to this comment if it helps (not sure if it is clear enough to show the broken string, sorry for the quality! 🙂 ).

    For the second one, I am really not sure 🙁 these were provided by the company who sold me the harp and look very similar to the ones next to the other ones… but I can see your point, perhaps should I get some Nylon ones and give it a try?

    You must be logged in to view attached files.
    charles-nix on #218035

    A couple of observations: the strings below nearby do look like gut, as you say. It looks like the string is breaking just as it starts to turn around the tuning pin. I think you have a faulty string. I’m assuming every time you tried was with a length out of that one package, since the packaged length should string that note three times.

    Because you have the harp and the string from the same store, can you take it there and let them put it on?

    Other things to watch: 1) are you leaving enough slack before winding on? I would guess the amount would be enough to pull the middle of the string a fourth or fifth up, or about three fingers’ width extra length. That should give you the three or four turns needed. I would expect lack of slack to cause a break right at the hole in the pin, though. 2) be sure to use one of the several methods to “lock” the tail of the string in place. Again, I don’t think this is your problem: this would cause the string to slip, not break. Several others, particularly 2A, look like they were just stuck through the hole and wound on. Works if you can get away with it, but can be a source of problems. I can’t see clearly from the photo, though.

    Are all your tries from the same package? How far away is the store?

    xcodef on #218151

    Thank you Charles,

    You are completely right, I feel that must be a faulty string and I did attempt it with the same string batch so will try to buy a new one and give it a new try… I was just a bit shocked that I wasn’t able to reach the note and was wondering if it was something common. About purchasing a new string, or taking the harp to a store, is a bit difficult 🙂 unfortunately, here in Australia, music stores that deal with harps are very very rare and the closest one would be hours away (and the one I bought the hard from is easily more than 2000 kilometers away! haha ) but after your detailed explanation and considering all these new factors, I will give it a second try with a new one and will let you all know here the results!

    Thanks again for walking this through with me, it is all valuable information and I do appreciate it.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.