Cleaning wire harp strings

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #158183

    Hello,

    I would like some advice on how best to clean the bass strings on my celtic harp. They are wire wrapped and over the years they have blackened so now it is hard to see the ‘f’s and C’s from the other strings. Anyone got any ideas?

    Thanks

    Participant
    jessica-wolff on #158184

    Could be you’re ready for some new strings? Just because they don’t break is no reason not to change them once in a while. They do lose sound quality.

    Here are some possibilities.

    An article on strings suggested removing them, wrapping them around a coke bottle, and then reinstalling them. It’s supposed to knock out some of the grime. No idea how well it works.

    Use tarnish-resistant strings and colored C & F basses. I don’t, based on the opinion of my harp technician and, I think, of Saul Davis Zlatkovski here on the Harp Column. (Saul, am I right? You did say the old-fashioned non-tarnish-resistant strings sound better?)

    What NOT to do: don’t use copper polish or anything like that. Save that for your samovar!

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #158185

    As soon as you can say “over the years” it means you need new strings. You’ll be amazed at how much better your harp sounds, too, probably.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #158186

    Ideally, wires should be changed about once a year, although lots of people don’t. But they’re not meant to be permanent, any more than your other strings.

    Participant
    shelby-m on #158187

    I’ve heard that you can really only put the same strings on your harp once because wires are more brittle than nylon.

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