Stringing a Daphne in a lighter guage

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    Has anyone out there ever strung a Salvi Daphne 40 in a lighter gauge than ‘concert’ gauge?


    Yes, you can restring to a lighter gauge. Your harp will have to be re-regulated after the restringing. I haven’t done this to a Daphne, but I think you will be pleased. You are on the right track.

    Bonnie Shaljean

    [Sorry for the late reply – I’ve only just come across this thread]:

    I have not done this with a Daphne, but did so on a Pilgrim Progress (which normally has full concert-gauge strings) and am VERY happy with the result. I also string my Erard Grecian (which is about the same size as a Daphne) in a lighter gauge and it works very well there too. So I would say a resounding Yes.

    On both of these instruments I use Bow Brand Lever Gauge gut strings (though I’m sure the other makes in “lever gauge” would do just as well), which is about half an octave lighter. And it has the reds & blacks already coloured in so you don’t have to fuss with felt-tip pens.

    As Barbara says, you will probably need a regulation done, but it’s well worth it. (In fact I didn’t get my Pilgrim regulated for ages and it still worked quite well – though even better after the servicing, obviously.)

    That leaves the problem of lighter-gauge wound bass strings. I know a woman in England who custom-makes wound strings at very reasonable prices (she does a lot of work for antique pedal harps etc), and strings are fairly mail-able if you live far away. There are no doubt people in the USA who do this too, but I live in Ireland so I don’t know who they are! The British string-maker is:

    I know that Salvi (Bow Brand) also do Lever Gauge bass wires for their own harps (the Egan, the Livia etc) but I think these would be too thin for a pedal harp. I tried them on my Progress, thought their quality was excellent, but I didn’t find them satisfactory for my purposes (and the Daphne is larger than a Progress) so you may be looking at getting some custom made. But Salopian’s are no more expensive than what you’d pay a standard retailer for normal ones.

    If you need a lighter feel, I think that antique pedal harp stringing is probably what you want. There are a number of other period harp players around, so there is a market for it.

    Be sure to report back here and let us know how you get on! Best of luck –


    Jerry, I have a 1912 Lyon and Healy style 21 (which is rather small, smaller than my L&H 17). In 2006 it was re-built by Howard Bryan and re-strung with light-gauge strings (lever gut). It feels very easy on the hands, but there is still a lot of sound, and it is a beautiful, beautiful sounding harp! For bass wires, I contacted Vermont Strings, and they made me a set of “Erard Gothic” wires. They took some getting used to—but they, too, have a good, big sound.

    Jerusha Amado


    Did you lose any projection capabilities at all when you switched from concert gauge to light gauge lever gut strings?


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