Has anyone tried these? Do you like them? Do they compare favorably to Bow and other brands? Do they have any unique characteristics?
I wrote about the Premiere a few days ago in the thread about fluorocarbon strings. After 3 years of frustration with Bow Brand, I tried the Premiere gut strings. I love them. Very clear, resonant sound. My harp has never sounded better. My guitar partner was awestruck by the new sound. He could not believe it was the same harp. For those who used the old Vanderbilt gut, these are very similar. I did find I needed to wipe them with a microfiber cloth a few times to get rid of the initial tacky feel. You do need to give the strings a bit more slack when putting them on – at least in the 3rd octave and esp. lower strings. They loosen up after going on the harp. It was a relief to feel like a string was not going to break on me. I’ve had these on about 2 weeks and no breakage.
I highly recommend them. Premiere is made by Camac for Virginia Harp Center. The Premiere costs a little bit more than Bow. But with all the Bow Brand strings, I’ve broken, I think I may come out ahead with Premiere. Time will tell. I suggest not mixing the Bow and Premiere strings.
And, as stated before, I am hoping Bow gets their problems resolved so harpists have string choices.
Update: I restrung my other concert grand (Apollo) with Premier gut strings while my husband and son bonded Christmas day. Surprisingly, I was able to practice for 3 hours today before the harp needed a serious re-tuning. My other harp took about 10 days and constant tuning before the strings really settled in. I noticed no dramatic difference in sound as I did my other harp. The Premier strings sound more clear and the bass notes a bit cleaner sounding on my Apollo than with the Bow strings. Again, no strings broke when I put them on.
I have now had Premier strings on one harp for a year and the other for 11 months. Fabulous strings both in terms of sound and durability. I had 5 strings, mostly in the first octave break with in the first month or so. Last week a 2nd octave G randomly broke. So that is 6 broken strings on two harps in about a year. I replaced one 2nd octave C that looked suspicious, too. My harps are used a lot.
I changed the strings recently in anticipation of the harps getting regulated next week. The strings on one harp were just starting to sound a bit dull – to me, anyway, but the strings on the other harp still sounded good.
BTW, I used to keep the old upper register strings and ones that could still fit through the holes as spares but since I don’t feel the need to worry about breakage, I have stopped doing that. Also, for the past several years I have sent my used strings to harpist Patrice Fisher for her Guatemala harp project. I bought smalll plastic bags from a craft store and repackaged the strings. On the larger strings, I reused the string bag. It’s nice to know those expensive strings will continue to be used. I get a tax deduction, too.
PS/ The newest Premier still had a slight tacky feel like my first ones. After a couple rubdowns with a microfiber cloth and some playing, it went away.
That is a lot of breakage. I would never use gut strings above the 3rd octave, and I don’t like them in the 3rd octave, either. I have tried them and lost too much clarity and sustaining power. It was like playing with mittens on compared to nylon. Unfortunately, Pirastro nylon strings are not of the same quality as they used to be. So the ideal string has yet to be made.
That is hardly “a lot of breakage” especially when this is for two harps. I do not like the sound or feel of nylon strings on a concert grand harp. Anyhow, the topic is about Premier strings, not how or what strings to use on a harp. I am very happy with my harp set up and you with yours.
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