Strings & care -does BRAND NAME matter? – L&H Troubadour

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    Neka Borders


    I’m a begining harpist seeking to learn all I can about harp care (for the long term resiliance). I have an original Lyon & Healy Troubadour (30 years old, and in very good condition – I want to keep it that way as long as possible). I need to replace strings, but am conflicted and concerned about striking that delicate balance between price, quality, and subsequently, BRAND name. Also, the harp has been in storage for a long time and is both dusty and dirty is some places (maybe something was splattered near it?) But alas, my questions:

    1. Does is it matter if you replace strings from a manufacturer other than that of your harp maker’s? Is it okay, or will it make any difference at all if I don’t purchase L&H brand strings?

    2. When replacing “gut” strings, is there an alternative to strings NOT made of animal products?

    3. I’m advised to only wipe my harp with a dry, cotton cloth (it has an ebony finish, no inlays). But, there are clearly some spots that need to be cleaned. Is there anything I can use to clean it? The dirty spots are solely located along the sound board, which is made of spruce wood.

    Thanks for your thoughts on any, or all of the above inquiries.




    While it is important to use the harp manufacturer’s own strings for some kinds of harps, mostly many folk strung lever harps, Lyon and Healy’s Troubadour harps are strung with Pedal Harp strings and so any brand of Pedal Harp strings will be usable.

    Both my Lyon and Healy lever harp and Lyon and Healy Pedal harp are strung with Bow Brand strings. I have other harps that need specific strings, such as my Camac lever harp that uses Savarez Carbon Fiber strings. But the Lyon and Healy Troubadour is fine so long as they are standard Pedal Harp gauge.

    You can switch from gut to nylon typically without any problems. Going the other way can be an issue as gut produces more tension than nylon, so a harp designed to be strung with nylon may or may not be able to withstand the extra tension and so the manufacturer should always be consulted before that switch.

    But going the other way isn’t a problem in terms of the structure of the harp. However you may find the regulation off if you switch so the harp may need to be adjusted. Also it simply may not sound as good, but that is subjective.

    While you do need to be careful with water on a harp because it can cause clouding of the finish, it won’t hurt to use a damp cloth to clean. Just make sure it isn’t too wet and that you dry immediately after you wipe.

    Lyon and Healy also makes a


    When I got my 10 year old harp, I took it to a harp technician to have new strings put on and he also regulated the harp.


    It could be a matter of the right strings for the particular harp. If a harp maker built the


    I find different brands of strings have very slightly different tones, and don’t particularly want to mix varieties in a random fashion.


    You can go from nylon to gut on a Troubadour. Mine sounds 1000 times better with gut on it than with those nylons.


    Neka Borders

    Thanks for all of your responses!


    Dwyn .


    For strings not made from animal products, I would highly recommend Nylgut made by Aquila.

    Neka Borders


    This is an excellent resourse. Thanks for taking the time to send me this detailed information, along with the requisite links.



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