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Maintenance and string breakage

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  • #76498

    Hey guys,
    I’m sorry in advance but I have a lot of questions about maintaining my harp and some questions about string breakage.
    I just rented a Lyon and Healy Ogden lever harp from Lyon and Healy, I got it exactly 3 weeks ago. 3 of my strings have already broken (all within the last week and a half). While I’ve searched online a lot and even emailed back and forth with the woman from L&H that rented me the harp. However, I am finding conflicting information and I just want to maybe get some additional advice and also some confirmation of some of the maintenance things I’ve read about to make sure I’m caring for my harp properly.

    Where to begin…

    I am living just outside of Chicago and I’ve read/heard a lot about the humidity and barometric pressure affecting string breakage etc..
    I’m buying a dehumidifier this afternoon to keep in my room (where I keep the Ogden) however I’m kind of confused about something. I know that the dehumidifier will help in the summer as it does get very humid here. The first couple of times my strings broke, it was humid and rainy, both days. Both of my 3rd octave B and D strings broke (about a week apart from eachother). This morning, my 4th octave C broke. I did look at the humidity however humidity here is about 57% and I’ve read that they should be kept between 50%-60% humidity? One other thing I noticed…the first two strings that broke, snapped at the tuning pin. This morning, I noticed that my C string snapped towards the bottom (near the soundboard). Does anyone know if there might be another reason why this broke? And is it normal for them to break at the base (towards the knot) than at the tuning pin? The string was put on by L&H so I wouldn’t guess that it would have been anything having to do with the way it was strung.

    Another question I wanted to clarify was the humidity it should be kept at? I’ve read between 50-60% but I want to make sure this is correct.

    Also, could my house temperature be a factor to the strings breaking? Normally the temperature is average but I do tend to keep my room slightly cooler, for my preference. And I do normally have my fan on. Would you recommend I keep it at a warmer temp rather than cooler?

    And one last question…I have read that natural gut strings break a lot and if you want, you can replace them with nylon or synthetic gut strings. Do you guys have experience with this? I was considering maybe replacing my 3rd octave with either nylon or synthetic gut since I’ve had 2 strings break in that octave but now that I’ve had a 4th octave C break, I’m just kind of nervous/confused and I want to make sure I’m taking care of it correctly and not causing more damage than helping :/
    Can anyone give advice as far as natural vs synthetic gut and/or nylon string replacement?
    Also please please please let me know if there is anything I’m doing wrong and/or advice on how to care for it correctly. I didn’t realize harps were such sensitive instruments otherwise I would have been more prepared and researched a lot more before I got it, so I could be prepared when I had it. But now I’ve only had it for 3 weeks and I’m getting anxiety over this haha.

    Thanks a lot!!!
    Tracey

    #76499

    Ogden’s are notorious for string breakage; however, if your string breakages are near the tuning pin or sound board, you probably have a sharp edge or burr somewhere. I’ve heard that a bit of abrasive cord can smooth this down for you.

    #76500
    Sylvia
    Participant

    If it’s a rental, the strings might be old. Who has to pay to replace them…you or LH? I’ll bet it’s you.

    #76501

    No its brand new, it had just been brought out of the factory the day before I went to go get it. So thats probably part of the problem, is that it hasn’t really adjusted and/or “settled” into the climate. And I have to pay for the strings. Its a rent to own. I just talked to the woman at L&H and she recommended I wait a couple more weeks before changing out the strings to nylon- if I decide to do that, and because the weather here has kinda been crazy, so hopefully it’ll get more steady, I guess

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