Strings for Handmade Harp

  • Member
    jane on #209492

    Hello all! I’m in need of advice on what to use for stringing a handmade 34-string harp I just inherited from a friend’s estate. He was a musician and woodworker, so it’s built well and structurally sound. It has nylon, nylon-wrapped, and wire-wrapped strings; some are missing. I was thinking of replacing them with a Roosebeck 36 set, or even light-tension wires if I could figure out what gauges to use. Any suggestions?

    Tacye on #209497

    I would start by measuring the strings that are on it at the moment. A good enough micrometer is not expensive.

    Biagio on #209498

    I would be very leery of just throwing on an existing string set – Roosebeck or any other – unless you are sure that it was built with that specific set in mind. You do not want to over power the soundboard with too much tension, nor to have crummy tone with one that is too low.

    A good set of custom strings from a professional such as Vermont Strings or Markwood Strings (for e.g., both US firms) should not cost more than about $200, probably less. Why take a chance and possibly kill the instrument?

    As Tacye suggests, start by measuring the existing strings for diameter and, let me add, for vibrating length. This will give a professional string maker what they need to know for a replacement set. Assuming that you know the maker’s name, they may even have the original specs on file.

    Best wishes,

    jane on #209537

    Thank you both!

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