This is my first post here (although I’ve been reading as a guest!) and wondering if anyone has advice. I recently sold my old 36-string Markwood harp (nylon strung) I had for several years. I liked it well enough in terms of sound but I’m about to move back to the US from Europe and I have wanted a new harp for years, so I figured it was time to rehome that one and make way for the new. I expect to be in the market for the new harp in two to three months once settled in the new home, and so I’m looking around at different models. So far I have a serious Internet crush on the Dusty Strings Boulevard Classic from the few sound samples I have heard, and am leaning toward that one. I suspect what I like about the sound so much is the gut strings.
What’s giving me pause, however, is that I have been reading that you should expect to replace gut strings every year or two(?), and that they are more fragile and break more frequently than nylon strings? As a reference, I never had any major problems with strings with my old Markwood harp. Maybe there were one or two strings breaking each year that I had it, and I think there were some that I never replaced a single time in the whole 15 years or so I owned it, so gut strings sound like a lot of trouble to me if what I read is true. I’m going to be starting a medical residency and don’t expect to have large amounts of time to play for the next couple of years, just maybe a half hour here and there a couple of times a week, and I don’t want to be dealing with ordering replacement strings all the time and then having to wait for them to stretch out and hold tune. Can anyone with more experience in this area enlighten me as to how big of a difference in terms of maintenance there is between nylon and gut? Is it really that big of a deal?
An alternate I have in mind is maybe the R-harps Merlin if “fluorocarbon” strings are more durable as I have read to be the case, so comments on those would also be appreciated if it is indeed true that gut strings are so tricky. I like the sound samples of the Merlin too, but it doesn’t get me as excited as the Boulevard for various reasons. I am planning to try to see a few models in person before deciding but I won’t be in a region with lots of stores to choose from that stock harps, so it may end up being an Internet purchase regardless.
Thanks in advance for advice!