March 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm #74608HBrock25Keymaster
I’d love to hear opinions about the sound quality of tarnish-resistant strings vs.March 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm #74609Miriam ShillingParticipant
I’ve been using Vanderbilt’s tarnish-resistant strings for years, and I’ve never noticed any appreciable difference in tone.March 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm #74610
I have always found a definite difference. They lack the brilliance and overtones of silver and copper strings. Less so, the copper, but very much so, the silver. I also found that they got even more dull with time, and by a year’s passing, even though not tarnished, they needed replacing. I don’t think they really save any money. I also don’t think we need rely on their being colored to find our way around, except in bad lighting situations. I really don’t recommend tarnish-resistant strings. Our tone quality should be our first priority, I think, not convenience.March 8, 2010 at 1:08 am #74611barbara-lowParticipant
I don’t feel there is a noticeable difference, but I stack the odds in my favor with the best strings, harps, and technique I can afford. The accurancy in tuning makes a surprisng difference too. I prefer the tarnish resistant colored wires because I play in all kinds of lighting and I appreciated being able to see.March 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm #74612Ida SlaptaParticipant
Tarnish resistant strings are good strings.March 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm #74613bernhard-schmidtParticipant
I’m sorry for the question…but do we speak here about real silver wrappingMarch 9, 2010 at 1:12 am #74614
Well, isn’t that a good question. I don’t think anyone can afford sterling-silver strings. If I play mine long enough, they wear down and change color, so I guess they must be silver-dipped copper.March 9, 2010 at 1:15 am #74615
To be specific, the difference I hear is in the brilliance of the overtones, most pronounced when the string is new. That makes the rest of the harp sing more actively, too. One possibility for playing in different lighting situations is to carry a footlight with you, or a clip-on light to illuminate the strings. I’ve only had a problem seeing strings when there was a color match to the background, like a copper-colored rug or wall, but there are lots of situations I haven’t played in. I found the tarnish-resistant strings to get quite dull after a year of use, so I don’t think you really save money with them.March 9, 2010 at 5:05 am #74616carl-swansonParticipant
I could swear that silver strings have a better tone. But my good friend Eleanor Fell, owner of Vanderbilt Music Company, told me that they have had countless ‘blind’ tests of wire strings, with harpists listening and trying to guess which strings were silver and which were tarnish resistant, and no one was ever able to tell the difference. And even if you still feel that there is a difference, the C’s and F’s are not silver wound and should therefore sound different!March 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm #74617paul-knokeParticipant
Once, when I was restringing a harp, I was able to do a side-by-side test of a new standard bass wire and a new tarnish-resistant one on the same harp. The standard had a slightly stronger fundamental tone relative to the upper partials than the tarnish resistant. However, the characteristics of the individual harp and harpist are going to make a bigger difference in the overall sound than the difference between standard and tarnish-resistant. I would say that people should use whatever strings make them happy, because if they’re happy with their harp, they’ll play better!March 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm #74618Miriam ShillingParticipant
Sometimes, too, it’s not the strings.March 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm #74619barbara-lowParticipant
I asked Mike this question and was told that the silver strings sound brighter up close, but then the question is, “Does the brightness project to the listeners?” From Eleanor’s blind test, it doesn’t appear to.
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