Harp string types

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    unknown-user on #147753

    Does anyone have a list of all the different makers of strings and the types that they produce? Also, any notes about how different kinds of strings affect the sound, tension, or wear on the harp would be great. For instance, heavy gauge strings would have higher tension, right? But would they wear out the harp more because they’re pulling up on the soundboard more? That was just an example, so please put in any information you have on any type of string. I’d really like to experiment with outfitting my harp with new types of strings…


    unknown-user on #147754

    Just replying to my own post in order to move it back onto the home page. Maybe someone will see it tonight…

    carl-swanson on #147755

    Has the Harp Column ever done an article about this? Kim??

    unknown-user on #147756

    Oh, that would be nice!

    Katherine Denler on #147757

    My information on Bow Brand vs. Burgundy is that they are the same string, the latter of which did not pass the final phase of inspection (a visual check). That’s why they’re cheaper, but have the same sound/guaging, etc. They are imported from the UK.

    Vanderbilt Classic gut is no longer available, as the manufacturer went out of business. I’ve heard that they are really nice, and a richer sound than the bow brand.

    Bowbrand Concedo has extra varnish, which is why they are opaque and good for use in orchestra. They are more expensive because of the extra varnishing process.

    I don’t know if you use nylon in the 1st octave, but depending on your climate and your harp, putting gut in the 1st octave can be really nice.

    I saw the thread where Emily Mitchel mentioned she’s using Pirastro harp strings, and said they sounded great (but were expensive).

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #147758

    My experience with Burgundy strings of the last years I used them was that they were far more defective than merely cosmetic flaws. This did not used to be the case.
    Karen Rokos, the finest harp regulator I have personally encountered, told me that it was preferable for me to use Pirastro heavy-gauge nylon strings on my aging 23, as they would regulate better, being thicker, hence the discs could be a little flatter in position but get the right pitch.
    Savarez strings, on the other hand, have a noticably higher tension, as do gut strings compared to all nylon strings.
    Heavy-gauge strings have been hard to find, but Salopian told me they could get them. Perhaps in gut as well as nylon.
    The thicker strings have always produced a warmer, preferable tone quality, better projection, and longer wear, in my experience.
    Concedos are processed differently for the color change, either more dye or less dye as well as more finish.
    Bow seems to have cornered the market, unless you seek out Pirastro, so our choices are limited. D’Addario also manufactures nylon strings, but standard, or thinner gauge.
    You would think that with Bow being owned by a harpist, that they would be much more responsive to our needs.
    I guess the other option is to go into raw fishing line and trying to find the right material.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #147759

    I have made a comparison chart for shopping purposes, and an inventory chart, but it does not include every option. It would be quite a spreadsheet, then.

    Tacye on #147760

    I think the manufacturers make more strings than the retailers have in stock.

    unknown-user on #147761

    I think I’m leaning towards switching everything over to gut. I’d also like to try heavy gauge strings because I like the feel and sound of slightly tighter stringing, but I don’t want to use them if the extra tension is not good for the instrument. Are heavy gauge strings more expensive, too?

    I’ve heard from many that Pirastro strings are not at all worth the money, so I don’t think I’ll try those. What are the Salopian or Concedo strings? (Did I spell those right? I can’t see the post that mentioned them…)


    unknown-user on #147762

    Also what are the Savarez strings? Are those the guy-nylon hybrids? I’ve heard those are REALLY bad, because the tension is high. Maybe I’m thinking of a different brand?

    Tacye on #147763

    String types are not by themselves higher or lower tension.

    unknown-user on #147764

    Yes I know about string tension. I was merely saying that I think I would prefer a heavy gauge string because that would end up being higher tension when tuned correctly and because I think they would sound better. Are there any strings that I should definitely avoid because of excess tension?

    What is the difference between varnished and oiled gut? How do they feel different/sound different?

    Opinions on Savarez versus Salopian versus the bigger names?

    Also, what are options for wire strings? Something about nickel versus silver?

    I think I’ll send an email to my regulator…

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