Strings breaking in Lyon and Healy Ogden

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    Dear harpists,

    I recently bought a L&H Ogden with gut strings and I already had 6 broken strings in about 3 months, 5 of which at the bottom, very near to the knot where the strings are more fragile because of the bending.
    I think the breakage somewhat correlates with temperature/humidity changes, but because they’re breaking at the bottom, it makes me think if it can also be some problem with the eyelets in the soundboard.
    I would like to know if other people who own Ogdens are having the same problem. The first string broke just 2 days after I brought it home!
    I live in Chicago by the lake and the temperature has gone up in the last couple of days when the last string broke (I wasn’t home to check the humidity, though).
    Thank you!


    Hi, Joseph:

    I bought an Ogden at the end of last August, and it broke 8 strings in the first two weeks. I thought it was because of the difference in climate between here (Florida) and Chicago. After it stabilized in the first few weeks, it didn’t break any more.



    Thanks for the reply, Andy!
    Since then you didn’t break any strings even now in the summer?
    Where did your strings break, top or bottom?
    My strings broke in different octaves, most in the bottom.


    Have you tried abrasive cord? It is a gritty thread (like sandpaper) and can remove burs in the eyelets which can cut the strings.


    Hi, Joseph:

    From about mid-Sept. until I traded the harp in last month, I think I had only one string break.


    We just returned a new L&H Odgen harp due to excessive string breakage. In the 11 weeks we had it, it broke 10 strings across the midrange and high octaves. We did nothing unusual with it and it was properly stored. All the strings broke while it was sitting there not being used. They all broke at the bottom near the sound board.

    I think it is a manufacturing or materials defect. Too bad because otherwise it seemed to be a very nice harp, but it was just getting to be too much.

    Kelly Noonan

    I actually rented an Ogden for 8 months and ended up returning it due to the string breakage. I was surprised and assumed that it was my own amateur status that was causing so many strings to break, but, like you, most of them were breaking from the bottom and I was trying to do everything to take care of it properly. All of the breaks happened when I wasn’t playing it, most of them overnight. All of the breaks were at the bottom.

    It was unfortunate as I also lost a good part of my security deposit to string replacement. It’s a beautiful sounding harp, but I would not be surprised to learn that at least some of them have a major defect.


    I have one of the earliest Ogdens (SN #189), and had extreme breakage for the first 9 months or so. In consultation with the dealer I started using abrasive cord (as mentioned elsewhere here), and eventually the breakage subsided nicely. I believe I recall reading that L&H advised using synthetic strings for the second octave (rather than the original gut??), but have chosen to stick with gut.

    Nice harp – I like it and hope the issue doesn’t thwart too many buyers!


    I bought my Ogden 2nd hand from someone who I believe got tired of the string breakage. When I went to see the harp it was missing three strings in the upper 2 octaves. I loved the sound and so I bought it. Many strings later I took it into a local shop where they took a rasp to the eyelet areas. It seems to have helped. I’ve had a couple more break at the tuning pins but that’s a more normal breakage I think… I just love the way this harp sounds so for now, at that price, it’s a keeper!

    Diana L.

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