Wire strung harps

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #162380


    does anyone of you play a wire strung harp beside a nylon or gut
    strung one? I know that the plucking technique is different on a wire
    strung harp, and now I wonder how hard you find it to change from one
    kind of playing to the other.

    Thanks for your responses,

    Evangeline Williams on #162381

    I have one that I play for fun.

    evelyn-tiffany-castiglioni on #162382

    I do not play wire harp.

    unknown-user on #162383

    I have a lap wire strung harp (it was a gift from my husband) but so far until I can find a teacher to teach me the dampening techniques, etc., it sits just for display and I play my regular harp.

    However, I have met 2 professional harpists in Maine, and at a concert they gave at Christmas, one was playing the wire harp and one the nylon harp.

    Karen Johns on #162384

    I have a Limerick model wire-strung harp that I play with my finger pads and it sounds beautiful. I refer to Pamela Bruner’s recording “Irish Journeys” as proof of this beautiful sound with finger pads on wire strings. She plays the same model on this recording and the sound is ethereal. I also play a Voyageur nylon/gut/bass wire harp from Musicmaker’s. The only difference in playing that I have seen thus far is the tremendous sustain of the wire strings and the feather-light responsiveness. A real pleasure to play simple tunes on- you don’t need to “fill-in” as much with chord accompaniment. Simple single notes within a chord sound nice on the left hand as a counterpoint to Celtic melodies, which is what I mostly utilize this harp for.

    Audrey Nickel on #162385

    My teacher plays both (and she plays wire in the traditional style…with the nails).

    Karen Johns on #162386

    I’m curious about how your teacher goes about playing both. Does she grow her nails out to play the wire harp, then trim them to play nylon? Or does she just keep them long enough to play both, being careful not to snag them on the nylon? I tried to play with the nails but never could find a “happy medium”. If you could find out please share!

    Audrey Nickel on #162387

    Well, the thing is, they don’t need to be all that long to play wire.

    Liam M on #162388

    I found you can “Shape” your nails with a file. Leaving the finger pad on the nylon string side free by filing the nail “Away” from that side.

    I am however moving solely to wire. The Clarsach sings in my voice, so my nails will no longer be an issue. I am not yet accomplished enough to afford the difference in techniques and need to devote myself to one or the other, so wire it tis.

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