Double Strung Lowest String

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    Biagio on #242300

    @Evolene, not to push the idea but since it has some up: frankly the Stoney End kits are harder to put together than any others I’ve seen due to the way the box is built. Four panels glued into four L shaped pieces of moulding. Get just one of those out of line and the whole thing is ruined.

    That’s not woodworking it’s being accurate when you glue! Given the relatively low price for one of their finished harps it does not seem worth the trouble to buy it as a kit. I won’t belabor the subject but just quote what one master luthier says: “If you can build a dog house you can build a small, simple harp.”

    A bit of history: the modern double came into being after Liz Chifani and Laurie Riley had a breakfast conversation and approached their sponsor harp makers, respectively Gary Stone and Steve Triplett. William Rees then liked the idea and went on to make an entire line of doubles, from 3 to 5 octaves which are still offered today. Dusty finally made the 3 1/2 octave FH26 after a bit of prodding but did not see enough of a market to go any further. I think the lever cost is one major reason that doubles are a small market still.

    A lot of things affect the sound of a harp so I won’t comment on specific comparisons other than one case: compare the DS Allegro to the Ravenna to the FH26. I don’t hear much of a difference – at least not enough to justify the cost differences. Others may.

    There are three doubles players in my local harp society; one played a Stoney End for years and finally bought a Rees with parallel strings. She says that the difference is a revelation. The disadvantage to that is that to get the most out of the design the sound board should be wider than a single. Rees does that, Dusty and Stoney End do not.

    It’s all an adventure and I’m not knocking Stoney End, they make good economical harps. I just wish that more luthiers made doubles – but then I feel the same about wire strungs! “Back in the day” when folk harps started to be popular in the US you had to either make one yourself or have a friend who would; techniques designs and materials have come a long way since then which is a good thing; the downside being that while their are more harp players (and choices) fewer of them want to design their own or understand the technical aspects. I suppose that’s also a good thing, but it seems a pity.

    Hi Ho!


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Biagio.
    ancient on #242340

    I just received my Stoney End Brea double strung harp a month ago, which had been on order for around 5 months. I am finding it to be a very fun harp to play. The double row of strings allows for some interesting ideas for creative playing. There are, definitely, things you can do with this harp that can’t be done on a single strung harp. I went with the Small Brea F-F in cherry with full Camac levers, as I wanted a small harp that would be easy to travel with. I, also, ordered the stand so I can play it as a floor harp, which is what I do most of the time. After a month, its tone is developing and it has a wonderful feel. I think Gary Stone and his staff built a very nice little harp and I am very happy with it.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by ancient.
    evolene_t on #242343

    @ Biagio, thank you for your input! Something to discuss on another three I guess. I think most people could build a harp if they put their minds to it, but taking the first step into any kind of craft (woodwork, etc) is the hardest.

    @ Jackie and Linda : so happy to see more people picking up the double-strung!
    Do check out the posts in the sub-forum called “Mine’s a triple!” here on HarpColumn Forums, there are a few interesting posts there, including a compilation of available resources for the double-strung that could be useful 🙂

    tinyknit on #242350

    Jackie, so glad to hear that you’re enjoying your new Brea! I notice they also have a double string Briar Rose, which somehow I missed on the Stoney End website but it shows up on their price sheet. Another harp to consider! I definitely want an F or C string as my lowest string.

    Evolène, I did see that other forum, but it was after I posted here. Oops! I will keep watch on it now though 🙂 Thank you again for all the information about double strung harps.

    Biagio, you have shared a wealth of information here, and I truly appreciate it. If we decide on a Stoney End, we will likely get it “In the White” so all that precision gluing won’t be an issue. I think it’s just finishing, strings and levers.

    ancient on #242477

    The Brea is strung F-F, whereas the Brittany is the same harp but strung G-G. Since I wanted the smaller sized harp, I chose the F-F configuration. My other harps are tuned to E flat, but I tune my Brea to F, which is a key I like. When I first got this harp, I kept treating that low F like it was a C, as on my other harps. Had to change that habit right away. Now, it comes so easy and fun to play; and I can change over to my Ogden without problems. With regard to building from a kit: I prefer to let the pros do what they do best.

    Biagio on #242486

    Jackie, I think you are confusing names with stringing regime. The Brea is the same harp as the Brittany in all respects EXCEPT that you chose one with a range F-F, rather than G-G.

    Let me put it another way: my “Selchie 34” model may be strung C-a or A-c. You could if you wished string a Dusty FH with gut instead of nylon. Does that make one different from the other? No, they are the same harps.

    tinyknit on #242487

    Jackie, that is the big advantage with the Brea and Brittany as compared with the Briar Rose and Braunwyn double strung harps. It would be great to have something so portable! I might get levers on F, C, G, and B. My first harp had just those levers and it never seemed to be a problem.


    tinyknit on #242488

    Good to know, Biagio! Love the low notes so I’m always looking for the lowest string I can get on any model.

    Biagio on #242637

    Linda, one has a fair degree of leeway especially with with composite (wound) strings. The “trick” is to keep the tension where the maker intended so it comes down to the strings’ mass and frequency as to how low you can go, since that the vibrating lengths are fixed. Ask your harp maker about this if you think you want to lower the range.

    Some will be happy to accommodate, others may prefer not to – for instance Dusty winds the strings themselves and would probably not want to change the setup. In that case you would go to a professional string maker such as Robinson’s or Markwood and they will do the analysis for you. Caveat: doing so might invalidate the warranty so check with the maker first.

    tinyknit on #242754

    Thanks, Biagio! I think we’re going to try Stoney End for this harp. Perhaps they’ll have some ideas for lowering the range.

    Molly K on #244173

    Hi Linda,
    I have a custom-made double-strung Brittany for sale if you might be interested. It has levers on the B’s, C’s, and F’s, along with the third-octave G on the right side. It’s a superb harp in every regard, but just a bit too small for my 6’4″ frame and large hands. I’ll try to include a picture. The harp has a very nice sound for its size. Contact me if you’d like more info.

    Hello! I’m not Linda, but if she isn’t interested and the harp is still available, I am very interested :). I’ll shoot you an email!

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