Strings…gut/carbon fibre/chicken wire!!!!

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    HBrock25 on #159047

    I have a lovely lever harp with standard gut strings – getting on a bit now. Thinking of re-stringing with light gut or even carbon fibre since it is really hard work playing folk music with them . Has anyone any experience of altering the strings on their harp – I’m a bit scared that I lose the lovely tone.?

    Tacye on #159048

    What sort of harp is it?

    carl-swanson on #159049

    Carbon fiber strings are very high tension and will over time damage the soundboard and neck. Gut strings are somewhat less tension, and nylon are considerably less tension than gut.

    jessica-wolff on #159050

    What about nylgut?

    carl-swanson on #159051

    I have no idea what that is.

    Tacye on #159052

    Despite Carl’s blanket statement about CF strings the tension of course depends on the gauge of the strings.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #159053

    Carbon fiber strings are definitely different. I practiced on a harp with them for a couple of weeks, and I was quite sore afterwards, it did some actual damage. They are much more resistant, and the tone is unattractive compared to gut or nylon. They sound like flouride for some reason. And then, you are likely absorbing flouride through your skin. How risky that is, I don’t know. I did have copper poisoning at one time, and the only likely source was harp strings. Fortunately, it has not recurred. It is not uncommon, apparently, for that to happen. I did play a wire-strung harp at one time, and it was so weird to go back to the regular strings.

    Karen Johns on #159054

    Hmmm…..that’s interesting Saul. So, the wire strung harp you had was strung with copper? Or was it bronze? I’ve never heard of this happening before. I play a wire-strung harp too, but it’s strung with steel. But it does make sense that any material/chemical you come in contact with will have a chance to

    carl-swanson on #159055

    Lever gauge Carbon Fiber strings are going to be higher tension than lever gauge gut or nylon strings.

    Audrey Nickel on #159056

    Wire-strung harps Celtic harps are traditionally strung with either bronze or brass, both of which are, I believe, an alloy of copper (I’d have to look it up to be sure…this is half-remembered information from high school, which was a long time ago).

    jessica-wolff on #159057

    Aquila nylgut. It’s a sort of gut substitute. What is hear is, the strings take forever to stretch out, but then they sound pretty good. This is mostly with reference to banjo or guitar, but they’re available for harp as well.

    Gary C on #159058

    Well, I’m new to harp, but I’ll jump in with nylgut.

    Nylgut strings I use on my ukuleles as they give a good balance between gut tone and nylon durability. They’re strung to the same tension as nylon strings. I don’t know enough about harps to say whether or not either a nylon or gut strung harp could be strung with nylgut, nor even if nylgut harp strings are available. Be a bit longer than my soprano uke sets, I’d imagine!

    Gary C on #159059

    Yes. And what jessica said. They take ages to stretch in. I understand that the alliance harp strings are similar in this regard.

    Liam M on #159060

    The formula is rather simple physics.

    Dwyn . on #159061

    Nylgut is Aquila’s synthetic string — basically nylon, but with density closer to gut.

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