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Thoughts on Fluorocarbon Strings?

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  • #76812

    I am considering an electric harp with Fluorocarbon Strings. I have never seen these kinds of strings before. Does anyone have any comments/feedback? Are they very expensive? Are they medium/high tension? Are they similar to nylon? Do they have to be replaced more often than gut?

    Thanks!
    Christine~

    #76813
    Tacye
    Participant

    Just as you can have high or low tension gut and nylon strings depending on the thicknesses chosen you can string harps high, medium or low tension with Fluoro.

    #76814
    Sylvia
    Participant

    Do they stay in tune?

    #76815
    Angela Biggs
    Member

    Christine, FC strings are around twice as expensive as nylon, I believe that makes them comparable in price to gut strings? By reputation they should last longer and hold their tune better than either nylon or gut.

    My experience: I experimented with four FC strings — from C one octave above mid C to the F above that — when I was considering changing my nylon harp to FC last winter. I didn’t like them. They were higher-tension than the comparable nylon, thinner (they hurt!), two frayed, and one broke within the first few days before it made it up to pitch. They were also much more expensive than nylon. In the end, though, it wasn’t the performance that decided me against FC strings; my harp already has a warm sound, and the FC strings made it even warmer. I thought I wanted that, but it turned out that more warmth brought the sound too close to muddy.

    I believe other people have had quite positive experiences with FC strings. To be fair, I tried them in a higher octave because they were less expensive there; they may be more sturdy/comfortable in a lower octave. I feel iffy enough about them that if I ever manage to get my hands on the Heartland Infinity I’ve been coveting, I’m going to stick with nylon even though FC strings purportedly hold their tune better (and holding tune is a big reason why I want a carbon fiber harp).

    #76816

    I didn’t know that FC strings came in different tensions. I restrung one of my harps in FC a while back and like it well enough. It gives it a more brilliant sound that it had with nylon. For my highest strings I had to stick with nylon s I just couldn’t bring them up to pitch without them breaking. But I don’t think that should be a problem with a harp made for FC strings. They are spendy. They do not last forever contrary to some claims. They will go false. Supposedly they’re less responsive to weather conditions but you know if you put them on a wood harp, the wood of the harp will change with the weather so I don’t find that it stays in tune all that much better than nylon.

    #76817

    Is there a difference between fluorocarbon strings and Alliance Savarez strings?

    #76818
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Hi Christine,
    About a year ago I test drove the “Merlin Harp” (builder-Rick Rubarth). It is strung with fluorocarbon strings. I found the harp to be responsive and easy to play, and it produced a beautiful tone, with great projection for a mid-range harp. The strings were comfortable to play, but the feel of them is different than nylon.
    I would characterize the tension of the Merlin as somewhat medium low. I have a Dusty Strings 36 lever harp, which has medium tension. So on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a lever harp with pedal tension, the Merlin was a 6. (I would put the Dusty at a 7.) Hope this helps!

    #76819

    Christine,
    I also teach viola and three years ago I bought a 5-string one that also has the top E string that violins have. This was for convenience because in my studio I teach violin and harp also, and with one student coming in after another with one of these different instruments it was so much more practical to have one bowed instrument to use both for teaching and playing. Also when entertaining at parties the client only pays for one player instead of two, since I can do much more double-stopping to produce more harmony in the music than was possible on a four-string instrument, thus sounding as if two or more players were performing. The strings on this Dahlia Viola(TM) are Helicore, medium tension, made by the D’Addario company in Farmingdale, New York, and are partly titanium. The viola was designed by Gary Bartig in Minnesota,at http://www.gelbass.com. The tone is very rich and the main reason I am writing is that I have never had to re-tune the strings or have a string break, since it came by Fed Ex. three years ago. Truly amazing.

    #76820

    Jerusha, would you mind telling me about your Silhouette? I was eyeing it before it sold, I only discovered the ad in April. I am strongly considering the Silhouette or the Camac DHC Lite (which has fluorocarbon strings). I am concerned about the tension of the L&H, and I have read that some feel the stand is wobbly (I would play mostly with the harp on the stand), and the bass is not as clear as the DHC. The L&H is cheaper by $1200 which will help me convince my husband that I need another harp 😉

    #76821

    Also Jerusha, I notice that your Silhouette had lever gut strings? Could you please tell me why you chose those strings? Or were those standard?

    #76822
    deb-l
    Participant

    Salvarez strings can sound terrible if they are played rough or rigidly, they sound sharp, piercing. They are very flexible and rubber bandish, and if played thoughtfully have a wide range of subtle nuances and tonal qualities. They also make it possible to get a full range harp in a smaller more portable package. I don’t think you can judge the strings by swapping out nylon on a harp designed for nylon with savarez. It takes a while to get used to the different touch needed to bring out them best in them. I really love how a light touch gives ornamentation a very subtle quality. I think they are a love them or hate them kind of string. If I’m not focused or stressed they can sound like a cat screeching : ) they are very responsive, not quite so forgiving …

    #76823

    So Deb with what you are saying about Salvarez strings then that should make the Camac DHC light a much lighter tension than the gut strung L&H Silhouette?

    #76824

    Deb,
    Have you had a chance to try the DHC Light yet? I’ve been looking at videos of DHC on YouTube, and it doesn’t seem as though the string tension on it is rubber band like. I’m not seeing much string displacement.

    #76825
    deb-l
    Participant

    hi Christine, does L&H Silhouette have lever gut? If so, not much lighter tension, slightly lighter than lever gut, with a little more stretch. I like the way Jerusha explained it, ‘scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a lever harp with pedal tension, the Merlin was a 6. (I would put the Dusty at a 7.)’ Dusty’s tension are similar to lever gut. I’d put my aziliz at a 5 or 6.. also the strings stay in tune better than nylon once they settle. They are as expensive as concert gut but I’ve never had a string break over the past year.

    Maria, I’ve seen a DHC Light played up close but have not played one yet. Even though they are the same type of string, I assume the diameter, length of string and other factors come into play and you can have higher tensioned savarez and lower. The way someone described it in another thread it sounded like the DHC might be lower tensioned than my harp, the strings are also spaced closer together. I guess rubber band is not the best way to describe, they are not THAT loose, by rubber band I meant it feels like you can actually stretch them when you pull them. They have an altogether different feel.

    #76826

    Yes Deb, the Silhouette is strung with lever gut strings and the DHC Light has Fluorocarbon. The new Camacs are so scarce and with them being made in France it is hard to find them in any showroom to test drive. I have read glowing reviews on both harps which is great but makes my decision more difficult. I love watching Catrin Finch play her Silhouette as much as Deborah Henson-Conant play her Blue Light.

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