Has anyone tried the new Premiere pedal harp gut strings? They’re made in France and are being carried by Virginia and Atlanta Harp Centers. I wonder how they compare to Bow Brand and the now-defunct Vanderbilt pedal gut strings in terms of longevity, tonal quality, and price.
I did some investigating. Retail price for a set of Premiere gut strings from A5-G00 appears to be about 1/3 more expensive than for Bow Brand and about twice as expensive as Burgundy by Bow. I have not compared quality or sound, but I know others have. John, Columbus, Ohio.
Jerusha and John,
I know I am biased on the Premier String as the vendor for the Premier Harp Strings line, but the premier harp strings have an exceptional sound and will work well on any model of concert tension pedal harp. We have seen very little string breakage.
As far as the price (00G-5A), the Premier Strings are about 9% higher in cost than the cost of a set of Bow Brand and 30% higher in cost than the Burgundy. However, the Premier Gut String is longer than either Bow Brand Products; allowing you to get more string lengths out of each string (down to the first few strings in the 4th Octave).
We have had a number of regulators and customers try or new string and switch. I think that says a lot about the quality.
Michael- Atlanta Harp Center
I was about to add to my post on a similar subject the other day. I was getting my harp regulated yesterday, and the technicians have switched completely to Premier from Bow. I will repeat here what they told me: They just got sick of all of the false strings and breakage and the hassle was too great. I had 5 strings removed from my harp (put on a month ago) because they were too false for tolerance. Another harp that was just restrung had about 10 removed. They have found very few false strings with Premier, and if they did, the remainder of the strand would be fine – unlike the Bow brand where the whole package would be false.
As far as sound and feel, that will be a personal preference. Since I only have 5 Premier strings now, it’s hard for me to make a judgement on sound, but it isn’t so different that a scale run between Bow and Premier is noticeable. The regulators mentioned that to their ear some harps sound better with Bow, some with Premier.
Anyway, that’s the new information I heard!
Alyson, would you mind telling us who regulates your harp? I would be interested in hearing from all the harp techs concerning how they feel about these new strings. I know Gretchen C. loves them–she must have missed this thread, otherwise she would have replied. I look forward to trying the Premier strings myself when my pedal harp needs restringing.
I guess I was slightly hesitant to name him as he didn’t give me permission to express his sentiments on the internet. Not that he seemed shy or doubtful of his opinions. That being said, if someone cares enough to do sleuthing, he’s the same guy who regulated your harp last year! 🙂
Michael, can you speak to the technical differences between Bow and Premiere gut strings? I’ve heard thru the grapevine that Premiere gut strings are a larger gauge than the same Bow strings. If that is the case, is it a larger vernier of gut? Or additional epoxy or resin? Or something else?
Also, are people ordering Premiere gut for octaves 1 and 2? Or mostly 3 and lower?
John, Columbus, Ohio
John- I too would love to know the difference. It would be nice to see a list of the string gauges for each of the Premier gut strings, and also for the Bow Brand strings. Michael, could you put the string gauges up here? If you do, I’d prefer to see them in thousands of an inch rather than metric. But I’ll take whatever you’ve got.
I’m in Italy right now. When I get home, I’ll see if I have the gauges for Bow Brand, which I think I do. That way, we can compare them. The other solution is to take a micrometer and measure the thickness of each of the Premier strings. Anyone want to do that?
Thanks, Gretchen and Alyson! John, I use Artist Nylon in my first octave, then gut until the wire strings, as specified by Lyon & Healy. I look forward to Carl’s comparison of the string gauges, and Michael’s answer about the distinctions between Premier and Bow Brand!
Have a great day, everyone!
So, the strings themselves are rather similar in gauging. We recently made a change to the 1st and 2nd gut strings per customer response to the feel of the string when playing; adding .02 thickness the the stings in the first and second octaves.
The tested different string gauges on harps before releasing our strings finding the gauging below to be the best overall sound.
Carl, I have the gauging on both the Bow Brand and the Premier Strings (updated to match the newest string gauges). They are in mm, but will give a good reference for the strings.
I don’t see a way to make a table on here, so I will give this as a reference for the gauge comparison between premier and Bow Brand.
- Premier Gauge/Bow Brand Gauge
- 0F- .48/.54
- 1E- .50/.56
- 1D- .52/.58
- 1C- .54/.60
- 1B- .56/.62
- 1A- .60/.64
- 1G- .62/.66
- 1F- .66/.68
- 2E- .70/.70
- 2D- .74/.73
- 2C- .78/.76
- 2B- .82/.80
- 2A- .86/.85
- 2G- .88/.88
- 2F- .90/.92
- 3E- .93/.95
- 3D- .96/1.00
- 3C- 1.00/1.05
- 3B- 1.05/1.10
- 3A- 1.10/1.15
- 3G- 1.15/1.20
- 3F- 1.20/1.25
- 4E- 1.24/1.30
- 4D- 1.30/1.35
- 4C- 1.40/1.45
- 4B- 1.46/1.55
- 4A- 1.59/1.60
- 4G- 1.68/1.70
- 4F- 1.77/1.80
- 5E- 1.87/1.85
- 5D- 1.97/1.96
- 5C- 2.07/2.08
- 5B- 2.18/2.18
- 5A- 2.29/ 2.29
Thanks, Michael! I don’t suppose that using heavier gauge strings like these would put too much tension on a pedal harp, or at least I hope it would not. I know that one has to be very careful about placing too much tension on a lever harp, like trying to put pedal harp strings on one that was intended for less tension, say lever-gut strings.
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