Switching to Nylon

  • Participant
    harp guy on #73427

    Hi all,

    I looked through this forum quite a bit but couldn’t find anything specifically related to what I’m looking for. Maybe I overlooked something (I’m rather ill at the moment, so please forgive me if I’m being repetitious!).

    I have a L&H Prelude 38. It was one of the last ones produced. A restringing is WAY overdue, and I’m considering switching over from gut to nylon. It is very humid where I live and gut strings pop all the time. I’m hoping that I’ll have more luck with nylon. My main question is: how significant will the loss in tone be? Any ideas?

    I’m okay with it losing some tone. That’s fine. I am mostly looking for a more economical choice until I move next summer (probably to Los Angeles where the humidity is far lower). I am just worried that it will go from having a beautiful voice to sounding plunky.

    Any suggestions for brands would be appreciated too. At the moment I’m looking at the Vanderbilt Nylons.

    Thanks so much! I’m going off for a nap now.

    Participant
    catherine-rogers on #73428

    Using all nylon should be fine as far as the harp itself is concerned. On a lever harp, I think any change in the regulation would probably be negligible. You may notice a duller sound in the lower register, specifically 5th octave. The reason is that nylon strings below middle C are made of a softer material than the smaller diameter strings. You might want to consider wound nylons in that octave. They’re popular on folk harps and have more of a “ring” to them. You can get them from Robinson Strings and probably some other sources. Be aware that they are made to a specific length and the top end that goes through the tuning pin is just the core, not the wrapped part, so that it fits through the tuning pin hole. Might be wise to check with whoever you buy them from to be sure they have the length you need for a Prelude.

    Vanderbilt nylons are perfectly fine, and their service is excellent. You also get a discount for a full octave.

    Participant
    diana-lincoln on #73429

    I hope your recovery is quick and complete. I have

    Participant
    harp guy on #73430

    I think I’ll definitely call Lyon and Healy to get their opinion. And I apologize for being unclear. I wouldn’t change my strings once I have moved until they need replacing again (1-2 years). I shamefully admit that the strings on it now are about 2.5 years old… But then again, I haven’t played much in the last year. I’ve been focusing on my main instrument (flute). Now that I’ve re-prioritized my life a bit, I’m finding time for harp again. 🙂

    At the moment I think I will probably switch to nylon and then go back to gut when the next string change comes up (and a regulation at that point too). Being mostly a harp hobbyist (and the occasional wedding/gig that comes my way), I don’t *need* to change strings and have it regulated every year.

    Participant
    Tacye on #73431

    Personally I prefer the sound of old guts to new nylons.

    Member
    steven-todd-miller on #73432

    Almost two years ago I switched both my L&H 15 and Apollo over to nylon in the 1st – 3rd octaves. At first I thought I liked them, and stated so on the forums here. My right thumb began to split open where the nail and the tip meet- excruciatingly painful- I couldn’t figure out what was doing it. I also could never NEVER get the strings to stay in pitch; so embarrassing during orchestral work! I switched back to gut and my thumb healed and the tuning issues went away. My advice: don’t do it.

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