Here’s another question (because I’m relatively new to harp). If I’m not able to purchase the standard Ogden string set (which is more than $400) could I buy the cheaper nylon strings for the LH Shamrock or Folk Harp?
Yes, the standard Ogden, which is sometimes listed as the gut strung Ogden, is strung with Pedal harp string, so any pedal harp string of the same note and octave can be used. The recommended stringing is pedal nylon in the first and second octave and pedal gut in the 3rd through (most of) the 5th. From the 5th octave G down the rest of the way you would use bass wires.
However the harp itself is built to be able to be strung with any combination of gut or nylon you like, so you can do all nylon or all gut if you prefer as long as they are Pedal gut and nylon.
There is another version of the Ogden which is strung with Lever nylon and Lever bass wires and that one you can’t substitute the gut on it.
So is your Ogden the kind with gut or with lever nylon? If it is the gut strung version then the Shamrock string won’t work because the Shamrock uses lighter gauge string.
If it is the ogden strung with lever nylon the Folk Harp strings won’t work because the Folk Harp is strung with pedal nylon (and typically some pedal gut) which is too heavy for the lever nylon strung Ogden.
Actually I am not certain if the Ogden lever nylon strung harp can or can not handle them, but even if it could they would throw the regulation off in a big way so even if it could you would need to get the harp re-regulated. But before doing that I would check with Lyon and Healy to see if that harp is built structurally different than the gut strung Ogden or if it is just the same harp only regulated for the lighter lever nylon strings.
The only real difference is the material they are made from and the tone they produce. There may be a slight difference in diameter which might throw your regulation off a bit, I’m not certain and Carl can probably answer that (I recently broke a gut string and temporarily replaced it with a nylon until I can get a gut replacement and it does seem just slightly thicker to me), but the biggest issue is that gut produces more tension, which is why you can’t always just switch from one to the other. A harp built for nylon strings can’t always be strung with gut without the risk of damage.
Conversely a harp built for gut can be strung with nylon without fear of damage, but it might not sound so good.
And others, like the standard Ogden, is built to work well with both, although quality of the sound of each is subjective but L&H seems to have an opinion which why they have a recommended stringing that mixes nylon and gut.
So for the Ogden with gut if you might have a slight regulation issue if you switch from gut to all nylon, but otherwise
You can string your harp any way that you want to, as long as it is the right tension for your model. Do not believe factory talk that it has to be strung the way they say. They are wrong in saying that. You can certainly use good quality nylon strings in place of gut. I don’t know what strings a Shamrock or other model use, but an Ogden uses standard strings, the same as a pedal harp.