String won't thread

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    Francesca Florance on #235460

    I have an L&H pedal harp with an inglet that will not thread. When I forced the string through, it was still getting stuck on something and buzzed like when playing a xylophonic. Looking with a flashlight, I can’t see anything blocking the hole – I tried clearing it out with a paperclip and later the “abrasive cord” available from Vanderbilt ( and still no luck. Any ideas for a solution?

    Sylvia on #235519

    Which string is it?
    Is it nylon or gut?
    What is a xylophonic?

    charles-nix on #235532

    Or is the string a wire?
    Are you threading the string through from the top or from inside?
    Are you dead sure the buzz is coming from the grommet? What about prongs/regulation or the groove on the nut?
    We also may need more info on what you mean by xylophonic–when I think of xylophonic, I think of plucking while the left hand is damping the strings right at the soundboard–which never creates a buzz sound–more like a string sound that is partially damped.

    Francesca Florance on #235566

    It’s a nylon string – F3. What I meant by xylophonic, it creates a dampened sound, apologies for the confusing terminology. I’m completely sure it’s coming from the grommet because it was very difficult to thread through, from the top or the bottom. I had given up on threading it myself (didn’t want to force it), but a student tried and was able to force it through the grommet.

    Thank you for your response.

    charles-nix on #235578

    Ok, so that is F above middle C, right? The grommet should be quite enough larger than the string for it to fit through easily.

    See if any of this sounds possible: I had a harp once in the shop where the owner had replaced a string without a toggle, then pulled the knot up into the hole, and the string broke. The knot wedged there below the grommet, buried in the sound board. The hole looked clear from both top and bottom, but you could not see through from top to bottom, or get a string through. Light would pass through, because it was a clear string. I used a pin punch that matched the hole diameter to drive it out from the top to inside the harp. The size has to be pretty close to the inside of the grommet. The owner had already tried things too small, and had only driven the knot further into the sound board.

    Unfortunately, I don’t own a L&H harp to check what the correct diameter should be for the punch in your case. If you have a machinist friend, they would have pin punch sets in every size. Where are you located? Someone on the board may perhaps be near by.

    Francesca Florance on #235668

    Yes, the F above middle C. Okay, I’ll try that out! I’m located in West Texas.

    carl-swanson on #236004

    It sounds like the hole in the eyelet is too small for the string to go through. Are you sure you are using the correct diameter string? Is the eyelet made of nylon or metal? The metal gromits that are sometimes used have a tendency to split or crack on the side the string leans on when under tension. So maybe that is what is causing the weird sound.

    You should start by measuring the diameter of the string with a micrometer. Compare that measurement to that of the strings just above and just below the missing string and see if it fits within the correct range. If it does, get a numbered drill bit that is slightly larger than the string diameter and see if you can push it through the hole. If it won’t go, you may have to drill the hole larger.

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