String Tying Woes

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    barbara-low on #159196

    Actually, a .028 inch nylon classical guitar string MIGHT be okay until you buy the right string, but before you use that guitar string, what harp do you have and what string broke? Does the envelope you got your string from give you any clues as to the size of the string?

    You do have to be careful about the ball though. It could get stuck in the eyelet and that would not be at all good. I’d probably not use the ball end for that reason.

    I hope this will be helpful. This is how I tie the 3rd octave strings on up:
    Before you tie the knot, place the string through the soundboard. I don’t cut the length till a few days later. The clothespin idea is a good one, especially if the string is on the short side to begin with. Tie an overhand knot:

    and before closing up the knot, stick your string tie into it. Tighten knot.
    Then do a couple of half hitches with the string end closer to the board: (The technique is correct even though it’s a spinning demo)

    Tighten your knot, pull the string snug against the soundboard, thread the whole length of string through the tuning pin, secure it, and bring it up to pitch.

    Reward yourself with chocolate and wine.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #159197

    Gut is much harder to tie than nylon. Two things will help you, besides experience: thread the string through the sounding-board first, then tie the knot—that way you will have enough length and not have trouble threading it; tie a second loop around the stabilizing piece and that will usually keep it from falling out.

    Kay Meek on #159198

    Thank you for all of your suggestions and experience.
    I did finally get the strings on. I say strings because before I could get back to my project 2 more strings broke, so then I had to replace 3 strings. I got them on, but I can assure you that they aren’t a pretty sight. I had wasted all of the string for the #2 string, so I had to go ahead and use a .028 guitar string until the new strings that I ordered comes in. Then I’ll switch it out.
    After I cut the strings at the last, I burned the tips

    michael-rockowitz on #159199


    Burning the tips is not necessary, the strings will still hold.

    Karen Johns on #159200

    When you wind the string on the tuning peg, are you crossing it over after the first couple winds? This will help snug the string on the peg, especially the thinner ones.


    Audrey Nickel on #159201

    I have never burned my string ends, and honestly don’t see the point.

    Tacye on #159202

    Many of the harp string sellers will be able to tell you the gauges of strings for your harp- but you need to tell them what sort of harp you have.

    Kay Meek on #159203

    It could possibly be one of the Minstrel harps. It was given to me as a gift and didn’t have a label or have any information pamplets with it. I do know that the sound isn’t all that great, but if I learn well on this one then I will want to upgrade.

    I really couldn’t see any reason to burn the tips other than to do what they did.


    barbara-low on #159204

    Those top strings probably are .022 or .025, but getting a dial or digital caliper that reads in inches, as Michael suggests, really is a good idea. Digital is nice; you don’t have to think so hard learning how to read the dial.

    I don’t burn the tips – there’s no reason to that I can think of.

    If you do have a Minstrel 29, Robinson Strings might have a string chart. Give them a call – they are very nice people. Here’s a link to their string page:

    Barbara in CA

    Audrey Nickel on #159205

    Does it look like this one?

    If it’s carved rosewood, guaranteed it’s a Paki.


    kreig-kitts on #159206

    Sylvia Woods has a video on YouTube of tying a string. She ties the knot a little differently from how I used to. I’d put the toggle through the top loop, and she puts it through the middle of the knot itself. My toggles almost never slip while tying, and before they would fall out a lot while I tried to tighten the string.

    unknown-user on #159207

    Just as a note-

    If you tie it the way Sylvia Woods does in the above video and if the string you’re changing is thin enough, you can do a third, large loop and put the entire knot through this third loop. The anchor will never fall out this way!


    kreig-kitts on #159208

    And just to clarify, my toggles fell out before switching to the knot Sylvia Woods shows. She also shows the third loop, which I’ve done for the tiny ones before. I want to make sure nobody thinks I’m dissing her knot – it saved my sanity!

    Kay Meek on #159209

    My harp looks a bit different, but it’s probably in about the same quality range judging from the tone. This one is okay to play around with for now.
    As I said before, if I see that I can learn on this and it answers my questions dealing with aging hands and playing the harp, then I will upgrade. This one will at least give me a springboard. The question of me playing music as I get older isn’t an option, I must be able to play and create music. I’m hopeful that the harp will be an instrument that I can play for the rest of my life.

    Tacye on #159210

    If you aren’t sure exactly what model your harp is then it is probably going to be wise to measure your strings to be sure you are getting the right thicknesses.

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