String Tying Woes

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Kay Meek on #159181

    One of the clear strings on the highest octave of my harp broke and so I took out the correct string from the little bags of replacement strings that came with my lever harp. I went to a website where there was a PDF file showing how to tie the string on a toggle and then thread it through the little hole, then onto the peg.
    I all looked so simple that a child could do it.
    My fingers kept getting in the way of the knot, I kept dropping the little toggle stick and had to hunt for it on the carpet numerous times.
    Finally I ended up with a wad of knotted string 1/3 inch thick, but at least the toggle was secure. I cut off what I thought would be enough string to go through the hole and tie onto the peg. It was too short and wouldn’t hold to the peg. I burned the end of the string so that it wouldn’t slip through the hole, but then the string was too short to wind onto the peg.
    So, I had to start over. Well to make another disastrous story short, it’s now 3 hours into the project, I’m out of the string, have sore fingers, and totally out of patience.
    This little string looks so much like a classical guitar 1st string, which is

    dawn-penland on #159182

    I think you just need more practice.

    Barbara Henniger on #159183

    Take a look on the Sylvia Wood site and they have a great video.

    I can relate to what you are saying because it took me a couple of hours to tie a string the one and only time I did it. The video is a lot easier to follow and they show 2 ways to tie the string.

    Audrey Nickel on #159184

    When I had this issue a while back, someone gave me some great advice.

    Karen Johns on #159185

    I tried the little bead method myself, and hated it. One of them actually split in half and fell off when I pulled the string taught. Others caused a buzzing sound. I use leather washers in addition to toggles. You can purchase the leather washers from Vermont Strings or just cut some of your own from a thick piece of leather. They work great for me.


    Audrey Nickel on #159186

    One other bit of advice:

    Make the knot BEFORE you cut your string.

    Audrey Nickel on #159187

    Oh, and no…I wouldn’t use guitar string.

    michael-rockowitz on #159188

    As usual, I certainly would defer to those that know better.

    catherine-rogers on #159189

    Many years ago, the 3rd octave D on my first (lever) harp kept breaking. I ordered another one but in the meantime took a string that looked nearest the same diameter off the family ukulele (I kid you not!) and used it until the new one came so I could practice. As soon as the new string came, I put the ukulele string back where it belonged and installed the new nylon string. The harp, the ukulele and I all survived without damage.

    By the way, as soon as I ordered a complete set of strings, it never broke again. Maybe the harp was trying to tell me something–be prepared?

    jessica-wolff on #159190

    You mean I’m not the only one who has trouble tying harp strings? Whoever said it’s just as easy as changing a guitar string is wrong.

    tony-morosco on #159191

    Oh, believe me, I have cursed and sworn at more harp strings over the years than I can count.

    Like anything else, experience makes it easier. After numerous restringings of multiple harps over the years I can do it in my sleep now. But I still remember the frustration of fighting with the strings and knots.

    When I do replace a string I actually don’t cut it until it has actually settled in so that I can make adjustments to the number of windings as it stretches in case I gave too much or too little of an end. You can tell when I just changed a string because you can see the loops of extra string hanging about for a few days.

    sherry-lenox on #159192

    I agree about not cutting the string for a few days and my teacher does the same thing, at least on her Prelude.
    They look like a bunch of very musical porcupines at times, but it does ease the pain of getting to the end of the process and finding you have to start again from scratch.

    Tacye on #159193

    I suggest to students that the broken string should be used to practice tying the knot until it is under their fingers before embarking on the real thing with a new string.

    patricia-jaeger on #159194

    Once you have pushed a new string in the 3rd through first octaves, out

    jessica-wolff on #159195

    Is gut easier to tie than nylon?

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