Cracking Strings

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    sidney-butler on #215677

    Why do you think this string is cracking so easily (video link below)? I’ve certainly seen strings do this, but not 100%. Every single bend I make in trying the knot cracks. I’ve never experienced this so bad and I’ve been playing the harp for 21 years. This string was shipped to me from a retailer one month ago. Is it a bad string? Or could it dry out that fast? I have no idea about the humidity in the harp room because it’s a university instrument. I just requested someone look at the humidity in the duct work and make sure it is functioning right.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by sidney-butler.
    Sylvia on #215685

    Is it Bow Brand gut? Which string is it? I’m guessing it’s 5th octave. I sent two 5A back to LH because of that. The first one, I finally got a knot in it, and when I tried to bring it to pitch, it broke…at the top. The 2nd one, I struggled toooo long trying to get a knot in it bec like you said, the string cracked at every bend. I gave up and sent that back also.
    I got a Premier from Atlanta Harp Co., but as someone else said, the lengths are very short. I play a 15, and I could barely reach. I wrote them twice because they seemed to think it was only that string, but others had complained about that. I told them I didn’t see how anyone with a bigger harp could even use them. So if your harp is bigger than a 15, be aware that the Premier might be too short. It didn’t crack, tho, and it’s on there now, doing fine.

    sidney-butler on #215688

    The cracking string is a Bow Brand string. While I recently strung Premier strings on the 4th and 5th octaves of my personal harp, I was still sticking to Bow Brand for the university instrument because of the lower price.

    I’m just wondering if this cracking problem is in the string or from sitting in storage for 1 month in a dry environment.

    If harpists reply saying “no string could dry out that bad in one month,” then I feel I could justify asking the university to pay the higher price for Premier strings at least in the 2nd octave.

    But I know this university harp breaks strings at an alarming rate because it’s in a poorly monitored, inconsistent environment…now it’s way too dry and then summer, I really don’t know how consistently the air conditioner is running. It sits all summer with no use and then I return for the fall and there are usually 10 broken strings. So it’s almost a waste to have higher priced strings in place going into summer.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by sidney-butler.
    Sylvia on #215694

    It’s still not clear which string (octave, letter) you are referring to. Are you talking about a 2nd octave gut? Most people don’t use gut up there.
    Are the strings stored in the plastic bags they come in? Most of us also put that bagged string into a bigger plastic bag that holds all the strings in that octave.
    Anyway, the string comes in its own protective plastic bag.
    I would say the string is bad.
    I live in S. TX, and my harps are in temp and humidity that varies constantly…no uniformity at all. I keep windows open as much as possible, so it may be dry or humid, hot or cool. I use temp control only when it gets too hot (in the 90s) or too cool (below 70). I’m the queen of old strings. My strings usually last forever.
    I feel LH is still selling the bad batch of Bow Brand that people were complaining about a couple of years ago. The company is still sending them, and LH is still selling them and trying to make excuses for them.
    Bow Brand is UK, and Premier is made in France, BTW, according the FAQ.

    Premier Harp Strings

    sidney-butler on #215700

    (Anyone having issues with their posts disappearing? This one seems to have disappeared.)

    I disagree, many harpists use gut in the 2nd octave. Not all, but many do. I’ve used gut in the 2nd octave for 21 years and been just fine. It depends on the climate though. L&H strings their pedal harps with gut in the 2nd octave.

    My personal harp will break 1 or 2 strings a year, the university harp will break over 20 strings in a year. It is because of it’s use by students and fluctuating climate control in the building. I am in Michigan where we get an average of 300 inches of snow per year but can also go swim at the beach in the summer. We can have negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit in winter up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer if we were to hit the extremes.

    The heating system can kill the humidity in the months of winter! I dump gallons of water into my humidifier at home each day at this time of year. But the university harp…I am wary of that humidifier in the ductwork. One year they forgot to turn it on even, so that’s why I am wondering if perhaps a month of extreme dryness could have toasted a string.

    Certainly, I keep the storage strings in their plastic bags. I also date all of the strings in my inventories (personal and university) with when they are purchased and placed in inventory. That way I know that this is a Feb 2018 2nd octave A while at the same time I replaced a 3rd oct D with 2015 string. I can’t complain about the 2015 string, but I think the Feb 2018 string should not have been cracking like this.

    The cracking Bow Brand string came from Vanderbilt Music and not Lyon & Healy.

    Sylvia on #215705

    No matter who sells it, it’s still Bow Brand from the same company in the UK.
    A couple of years ago, people were writing in about them breaking a lot.
    It seems that a string that breaks right away must not be good.
    Maybe you could find a way to keep the harp in its own little closet at the U?

    Tacye on #215707

    I am used to strings going white when bent, bow brand started doing that some years back when their strings became much clearer, but such an audible crack is interesting. I would see how it lasts on the harp, as that is what matters. I would also be tempted to get a cheap humidity meter.

    I remember the going white of strings being mentioned at a talk by bow brand as only a concern if it happened at a larger radius of curvature.

    sidney-butler on #215708

    The string already broke within three days. So it didn’t last long. I used the next part of the length and will find out if that lasted or broke next time I’m at the university.

    harpist123 on #217099

    Hello everyone! I am the “queen” of using old stored gut (and nylon) harp strings. I actually restrung my harp this past week with an entire set dated 2007 and 2008 — all new in their packages from those 2 years (I date my packages). I don’t seem to have much trouble with breaking gut strings, and typically will re-string the 3rd octave when I have 1 or 2 of them breaking…But I still have some of those ’07 and ’08 ones of those left, too! They are holding pitch after 5 days, dropping only slightly now, daily, and I am sure they will level out soon. I have heard and read so much about using only “fresh” gut strings. But I’m here to tell you that mine have not broken (and I replaced entire set of gut, from 5A through 3E). I have a good ear, so I have to say that they sound lovely! I would know if they were “duds”…And then of course I would put on a newer one(s). So, what does anyone have to say about THIS??? I am very curious! Oh, and of course I bought an entire back-up set of gut, so you are probably wondering why I would have used the old ones. And I say, “why not”? And, they were all Bow Brand…Looking forward to anyone’s comments 🙂

    billooms on #217110

    The comment “L&H strings their pedal harps with gut in the 2nd octave” is not correct. When I bought mine 2 years ago (Chicago Petite 40) it came with nylon in the 2nd octave.

    At the 1st year warranty regulation, the tech recommended I change the 2nd octave to gut prior to the next regulation as he thought it would improve the sound. I just changed them two weeks ago and he was right — to my ear it was a significant improvement in the sound for my instrument.

    When I installed the new gut strings (Bow brand Burgandy), some were a bit white when bent and some were so clear after tying the knot that I thought they were nylon. I called the place where I bought them (Kolacny) and they said the variation in appearance was common depending on the batch that the strings came from. On the back of each envelope there was a colored dot that indicated what batch the strings came from. They said they did that so that if they had customer complaints about thr quality of strings they could trace it back to a particular batch of strings.

    sidney-butler on #217111

    I need to follow up on this topic I started. The string was utter crap. I have never had such a bad string in all the 21 years I’ve been playing. It wasn’t just a slight discoloration that happens naturally when bending the string. There was not a single part on the entire length that wouldn’t make the crisp snap. I blew through the three lengths on that string in less than a month. And that harp isn’t really played but a handful of times. It was dreadful.

    This was not the normal discoloration. But anyways carry on.

    P.S. I think the Chicago 40s are then strung with more nylon by Lyon & Healy for budget reasons in the attempt to keep their profit up on a budget harp which is why your tech then recommended you switch it now that it is your personal instrument.

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