Removing & Replacing the SAME Harp String…

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    stardust on #227852

    Hello everyone!

    I got a harp with threaded tuning pins a few months ago, and I noticed that some of the tuning pins already seem like they may be sticking too far out on the lever-side of the harp.
    I don’t think it has gone far enough to require string replacement yet, but I imagine it may well happen over the next few weeks…
    However the harp strings are too new, IMO, to actually REPLACE them with new ones when I need to back the tuning pins back out…

    So to my question. I was wondering, since I cannot find any information about it on the web, whether it is possible to remove, and replace, the same harp string on a harp, or will it be too short to rewind?

    Sorry if this is a silly question – I’m a beginner. 🙂

    hearpe on #227853

    It shouldn’t be a problem- if you don’t break the string in the process and that just means: be careful. Unwind the string gently, then take it out of the pin hole and unwind it some more to take the unwanted length out You should watch to see how much the peg moves with each turn to help you gauge this. Then put the string back on- and wind it carefully back to tension.

    stardust on #227858

    Thank you, hearpe!

    talfryn on #227859

    Hello Stardust as Hearpe suggests this isn’t difficult. One advantage of threaded pins is you have the ability to reset the offset between the string hole and the neck. If you follow what Hearpe explains you should get it right.
    I have just had to repair a 29 string harp which was dropped down a stairs, I needed to repair the neck to base joint, so I actually released all of the strings, I left them still in the soundboard taped out of the way, dismantled and repaired the neck. I then reassembled the harp and reattached the strings. When I brought them up to tuning the harp played well when tuned first time.
    A few things to look out for, nylon strings stretch quite a bit especially new ones, so if you have nylons on the harp you will probably find they stick through the tuning pin more than when you removed them, it is unlikely when you reset the pin that you get the same number of windings afterwards. My advice would be not to trim them immediately because if you’re not happy with where they end up, you can just unwind them and start over again. If you trim them and your not happy with the final position then you may not have enough string to start again. When I did the repair I gave the harp a haircut a few days later when I was happy all was correct.
    One other thing, you may know this already, the thin nylon strings can have a tendency to slip out of pin whilst tuning, some people will slip the free string end around up coming string as it winds around the pin to stop this happening, there are various ways to do this, I picked my method up from a Camac video on YouTube.

    stardust on #227902

    That is extremely helpful! Thank you for sharing! My harp does have nylon strings.

    As an aside, how much are the tuning pins supposed to stick out when this is done correctly?

    (Need I mention I cringe at the thought of a harp dropped down a stairs… It must be quite a hardy one to have survived without exploding, and with the strings intact as well!)

    Biagio on #227914

    Ideally, when the strings are wound up to tension they should fall at a slight angle back from bridge pin to peg. Assuming those bridge pin grooves are 1/2″ (1.27cm) from the neck that suggests the pegs should project around 3/4″ (2cm).

    What’s more important though is to make sure that the string does not make too steep an angle from the bridge pin.


    talfryn on #227922

    Hello Stardust
    It’s trial and error for me when I set the tuning pin, it depends on the threaded bridge pin you have. The harp I fixed was one I built a few years back for my son who works on boats so it’s strong and waterproof but that a story in itself… I used Mikel Celtic threaded pins, the thread is fine but not sure they are microfine like other threaded pins, they work extremely well and are a good price which is why I use them. When I set the string I look by eye and wind the tuning pin until the string hole is just on the neck side of the bridge pin groove, I then thread the string into the tuning pin hole and pull tight. Then winding the tuning pin up I try to end up with 3 turns of the sting around the pin. The windings should wind up so the string moves closer to the neck to end up with the angle Biagio explains. The small string angle towards the harp actually give a small force which pushes the bridge pin towards the neck, which is good to stop them coming loose.
    This is just how I do it, and it depends on the type of threaded tuning pin and the string diameter, which is why I say it’s trial and error, if it doesn’t work first time you can always try again.

    duckspeaks on #227926

    If metal string, please wear gloves. I didn’t and ended up with a smiling doctor holding a syringe needle digging out the loose winding that went into the finger. In the end he give me a local before continuing the digging! Quite a lot was dug out, because there is no clear vision around an open wound with constant blood supply. It took long to heal because a lot of flesh was gone. Injury by metal string is very nasty because there seems to be no nicer way of dealing with it when the doctor cannot see clearly.

    stardust on #227941

    Ow, duckspeaks, that must have been painful! My harp has nylon strings, but it’s good of you to put out the warning all the same. Another reminder to be careful and do this slowly, it seems… I hope your finger healed well, in the end.

    Biagio & Talfryn, I’ll print this right away so I have these details handy for future reference. It seems I will need to do some measurements and, as Talfryn says, go through some trial and error. I feel much more prepared now, though 🙂

    Biagio on #227944

    Hi Stardust,

    stringing a harp is sort of like sewing up a hem – it just takes a little practice but you really don’t need to be absolutely precise. If wind up too little or too much, just back up and try again.

    Most harp makers and beginner books give instructions; this one from Dusty Strings is quite good and it’s in PDF ready for you to print.

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