Strings for Harp

Posted In: Young Harpists

  • Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #165774

    What kind of strings are good for classical harp?
    Advise the brands and online stores please.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165775

    I prefer Pirastro nylon strings, and I use Bow brand gut strings and wire strings )silver/copper). You can buy them from many sources, depending on where you are, because the shipping cost will change depending on your location.

    tony-morosco on #165776

    I use Bow Brand on my pedal harp. I find them to be of consistantly good quality.

    Sid Humphreys on #165777

    Bow Brand. I use gut all the way up (of course wires on the bottom).

    carl-swanson on #165778

    I started experimenting a few years ago with thinner gauge strings on the harps that I rebuild andfr I really love them. I just strung a Wurlitzer semi-grand that I am bringing to the New York conference and initially I used standard gauge strings on that. The top, which I strung in nylon, sounded good, but I wasn’t happy with the middle register. So I switched the 4th and 5th octaves to Bow Brand Lever gauge gut and the sound just blossomed. I’ve had that happen before, and I’ve pretty much decided to use lever gauge gut all the time. I think the lower tension allows the string a greater swing when it vibrates and that gives a much fuller attack. They feel slightly spongier, but I don’t have a problem with that. I’m waiting for Vanderbilt to mail me 3rd octave lever gauge guts. As soon as they arrive I’ll put them on too. I think standard gauge nylon in the 1st and 2nd octaves works well because nylon is lower tension than gut anyway.

    The Bow Brand lever gauge gut tends to be .008 to .009(8 to 9 thousands of an inch) thinner than standard gauge. I had some old Classic lever gauge guts, and they were .014 thinner, which is a lot. I know that English harpists and perhaps harpists on the Continent also have regular access to thinner gauge strings and regularly make a choice as to which thickness string to use on their harps. Maybe it’s time or American harpists to do the same thing.

    diana-lincoln on #165779

    Carl, Is there a difference between lever gut and folk gut? I have a Prelude and an Ogden. The sound in the lowest gut strings is never good. The transition between the last metal strings and the first gut has always bugged me. I would love to hear a clear, bell like tone instead of the thud I get now… I also have a Dusty FH26(bubinga) and wondering about changing from

    carl-swanson on #165780

    Diana- I suspect that folk gut is thinner. You should be able to contact your suppliers of both folk gut and lever gut and get a print out of the specifications. It will tell you, probably in thousands of an inch, what the diameter of each string is.

    catherine-rogers on #165781

    Carl, please let us know how you like the 3rd octave lever gauge. I am considering that in lieu of the no longer available Classic gut.

    carl-swanson on #165782

    Catherine- I’m sure I’ll like them. I’ve used them before on other harps. I just completed rebuilding a style 14 and a style 18(same size as the 14) which I strung in lever gauge gut also(3rd, 4th, 5th octaves). Also my Erard Gothique, which will be featured in a program at the AHS conference, is strung in lever gauge gut AND wires. The more I use the lever gauge guts the more I like them.

    Vlad N on #165783

    Thank you all for your answers!

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