Replacing strings

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    renate-kvalsvik on #160992

    Hi
    I bought my harp last June (a 34 string lever harp, nylon strings), which makes it a year old soon. There’s a harp technician coming to Oslo soon, and another harpist told me I should replace the bass strings before he comes. Should I also replace the other strings?

    Participant
    Audrey Nickel on #160993

    Usually you only replace strings if they’re beginning to sound “dead.”

    Participant
    renate-kvalsvik on #160994

    Thanks
    I’ve just come back from my two weeks long study trip to Ireland, and after tuning the harp the strings did seem a bit duller than I remembered. But the again I am suffering from some sort of ear infection from the flight home, and my hearing isn’t what it should be. I think I’ll have to wait until that sorts itself out before I can tell how the harp sounds like. I’m ordering a new set of strings anyway, then I’ll have them if it turns out I have to change them.
    The harpist who recommended that I changed them hasn’t heard my harp, and therefore can’t tell if the strings sound dull. My husband thought they sounded a bit “thinner” than usual, but may that just be because I haven’t played the harp for two weeks?

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #160995

    You should look carefully at each of the nylon strings to see if the string is damaged or pitted where the lever engages it. If it is, then change the string.

    Participant
    renate-kvalsvik on #160996

    Hi
    Thank you. I’ve checked them all and they seem fine to me. If nothing else I can ask the harp technician when he comes.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #160997

    Don’t wait till he comes. Email or call him now and find out. It’s going to be almost impossible for him to get a good regulation on a just-on new nylon string, so it’s best to know in time to make any changes and let things settle in.

    (If you have wound nylon in the bass, I’d consider changing those, since oils from your hands and little bits of your skin get into the windings where you play, which can affect the sound after a while.)

    Participant
    renate-kvalsvik on #160998

    Hi again
    I’m just wondering whether I have to buy strings that are intended for my particular harp, or if I can choose. My harp was intended for nylon strings, so I realise that I probably couldn’t put gut strings on it. But do I need to use the brand of strings (Morley Elysian) that my harp maker says? They are quite expensive, nearly £200, and I really am not sure if I think they sound so well. Can anyone tell me if this is a normal price for a full set (34 strings, of these 19 are polished nylon, 8 are tape wound and 7 are wire), and could anyone recommend another brand of strings if possible?
    I am really an amateur when it comes to stringing and such, so I would appreciate all the help I can get.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #160999

    If your harpmaker says you need to use a certain brand, then you do. You shouldn’t ask us about alternatives, you should ask them, since they’re the ones who warranty the harp. Using the wrong gauge of strings can void your warranty for any harp (and damage it, too), so you must check with the maker about what works and what doesn’t.

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