String Anchors

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    Hi guys,

    I’ve done some searching on the forum but haven’t found the answer to the question I’m looking for so, I apologize if this has been asked, I haven’t found it in my search.

    I’m about to replace 2 3rd octave strings and my 4th octave C string. My question is about what I could use for an anchor. With the other strings I’ve replaced, I normally use what was anchoring it before it broke however, my cat got ahold of my broken strings and I can’t find the anchors that were used before. I don’t know if a piece of the 4th C would be strong enough? I’ve heard using pieces of Q-tips work however…I have the ones with the plastic stick >.> Any other things around the house that might work as an anchor (if the 4th C string wouldn’t suffice)? I feel like toothpicks would probably break too easily, ya?



    I keep pieces of old 5th octave strings and cut off anchors when I need them. If you don’t have an old one, you could cut off the end of a new one (they are always really long.) I think it’s easier to start with another anchor than taking out the anchor in a small string. Bending the thick anchor helps keep it from sliding out of the loop.

    I can’t believe your cat lost all three! She probably knows where they are if you just watch where she goes. One of my cats likes to slide little toys under the stove. I have to use a yardstick to get them out (or take out the drawer.)


    Don’t let your cat play with or chew on harp strings. They’re not digestible and could kill kitty if she swallows a piece of them.


    Yesss I’m so angry at him lol. I came home the other day and found he dragged them around the house and none of the anchors were on them. Probably my fault though for not putting them up where he couldn’t get ahold of them!

    Also, thats a good idea however, I don’t have any 5th octave strings :/ SUCH A BUMMER!!!!! But I just started learning harp. These are the first strings that have broken (with the exception of one other) so I’ve been just buying them as they’ve broken. I didn’t really want to invest in buying a full set or anything right now just because of how expensive strings are :/ Any other ideas of something I could use?

    I just looked inside my harp actually and noticed that the 4th C didn’t have an anchor to it (the two strings around it don’t have anchors) so that one should be good. But I’m wondering…would it be a terrible idea if I used a short nail in there for an anchor? The piece that the anchor/knot rests upon is raised from the back of the soundboard so I don’t think the head of the nail would damage (or even touch) it. Would this be a terrible idea? Other than the fact that I’d have to watch my fingers if I reach in there lol.


    Thanks for the advice Catherine! I’ll make sure to put them away next time lol


    I would use a triple thickness of the 4th C – and next time you are ordering spare strings ask for a stash of extra thick bits. These should just be popped in the envelope free. Or scrounge off your teacher or a harp playing friend.


    Ah okay thanks a lot, I’ll definitely do that!!!


    I always cut up my old 5th octave gut strings when I replace them, so that I have a good supply of string anchors in a little bag. I wouldn’t try a steel nail, in case it buzzes, or worse, causes damage.


    Having never yet had to replace a string I don’t even know what ‘anchors’ are. Would anyone be kind enough to relieve my ignorance please? 🙁


    Hey Lyn, the string anchor is normally a small piece of thicker gut string that you tie into the knot in the 1st-3rd (sometimes into the 4th? and “zero”) octaves that prevents the knot from sliding through the string hole and helps keep it in tune.

    Also, how long have you played harp that you never had to replace a string!? I just got my harp about a month ago and I’ve already had to replace 4 :/


    You might try the hardware store and look at cord. A piece of cord might work.
    I just remembered teaching someone how to tie strings (long time ago)…I used a piece of cord about as big around as a 5th octave string.. It was easy to handle and they didn’t have to mess up any strings practicing the ties.


    Thank you, thats a good idea 🙂 !


    I’ve used a small piece of a cotton ball in a pinch (and put it in the knot where the anchor would normally go.) Probably not ideal, but it would certainly work for the time being!


    I’d suggest buying a few replacement strings from Vanderbilt music. For free they’ll include a set of anchors cut from leftover strings and you’ll be good to go for a couple years.


    If improvising I don’t think I would like metal (too hard) or anything too squishy and likely to pull through. Nylon serves to stand in for gut as a string material so I would first look at plastic bits I had around (paintbrush handle maybe?) and secondly at hardwoods – softwood compresses more than I would like.

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