I have been asked to tune and check out two Venus concert grand harps, approx. 12 years old. The strings are the same age. They are Saverez KF Alliance strings. The harp owner insists these synthetic strings do not wear out. I am not familiar at all with Saverez strings except for guitars. I don’t believe the harps have been regulated in the past 12 years. Any thoughts?
Biago or others, I have no idea if these harps have been played or even tuned at all. Questions to ask at the visit. I am expecting strings to break. If a couple do break, I am going to stop. I’m going to check for broken disks, the flat felts, pedal felts and make sure the pedals haven’t frozen. Beyond that, I will strongly encourage her to get on the harp tech’s regulation list.
Another question: If a harp has not been maintained, can you safely put new strings on or could it hurt the sound board or neck? I do know the harps have been in a climate-controlled environment.
I use KF for the top end of my lever harp. It was designed for nylon, but I lowered the design pitch a fourth, and needed the extra density up there for the now-short scaling at the top. My nylons show tone changes after about a year. Sometimes the KFs go two years. But I agree with Biagio: all strings wear out.
The question becomes, though, what does the owner think about the sound? If they can’t hear the difference, or don’t care, how does one convince them? I’ve taken in lever harps for regulation that had never had new nylons in 15 years, and pedal harps with wrong octave strings on. Unless you can educate the owner to the difference, it is a hard sell.
Don’t suppose you can see enough wear where the discs engage to demonstrate they need changing that way, can you?
There is a school of thought that believes, “No need to change strings until they break.” Perhaps your client belongs to this school? From what you have written I think I would just tune it which apparently is what the client wants. Sure, it would be nice of you to check discs, felts, etc. but from the sounds of it the client is not an actual player, so I would not go out on a limb and do something he or she did not request. If one or two break, sure, replace them, but leave a full overhaul to an (insured) tech.
Check the boards and try to estimate the stage of belly, but if they are only 12 years old in a climate controlled place it should be safe to restring completely. Given what you have written about the client though I would not bother.
I have Saveraz on my Salvi and have been using them for 15 years now. They do wear out and need to be changed. I get a good 2 years out of them almost 3 when I wasn’t gigging, even with yearly regulation. A person not playing much can get 4 years. They are very dorable and keep tune quite well.
I also learned that they can longer be used on L&H harps they void the warranty and cause premature bowing of the soundboard. They are reccomended for Venus, Salvi, Older L&H- Pre 1999 and select Camac’s
I put strings on a school harp that sat for 20 years almost flat soundboard. The Lyon & Healy tech suggested replacing strings in stages. I did 2 octaves a week, Starting at the top. I sent him photo’s of soundboard before starting and he gave me the go ahead.
Good lock with your client, I hope I was of some help.
The density of fluorocarbon is about 20% higher than gut so it would be inadvisable to use the same diameter on a high tension harp. That’s probably why L&H will not warranty such a replacement: people don’t do the analysis and POP BANG. They also stretch a good deal more so it seems to take forever to hold pitch. I’m with you Candace – go in stages,
Thank you so very much for all the helpful replies. I really appreciate everyone’s insights and advice. I am a cautious person when it comes to harp care so I think I will take Biago’s advice and just see if the harps can be tuned. Beyond that, a professional harp tech is better suited to handle this. I personally don’t like the stretchiness of nylon strings. If the harps were to be restrung with the KF strings, I don’t want to deal with winding and rewinding strings to get them right.
Candace, out of curiosity, what do you think of the sound quality compared to gut strings? I owned a Salvi Aurora for years.
Gretchen that’s funny I have a Salvi Aurora.
I like the sound quality. I think it’s very good accept for the upper octaves octave 2-0. I have gut in those octaves. The salvi is naturally bright in the upper octaves so you can use KF strings and be content. I prefer the gut though.
I finally figured out the difference in sound between Savarez strings and other strings. Their color is somewhere between that of gut and nylon. The tension is much higher. However, the big drawback is that they do not vibrate as long, so you are losing lots of precious overtones and aftertones. It sounds less like a harp, in other words. If they have to be changed after two years, there is no point in using them as good gut and nylon strings last that long. I think most people leave them on longer, and if the tension reduces over time, that is good. But, the higher tension means more stress on your body, and I am physically unable to play on a harp strung with Savarez strings.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.