Wrapped string control

Posted In: How To Play

  • Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #251931

    I checked the Triplett website before posting and didn’t see what the string specifications are. I’ve got a used Signature 36, if that helps.

    Here’s the question: While I like the sound of the instrument, I’m not doing very well in controlling the twanging of the bass strings. Control has improved a little just through getting familiar with the thing, but I’ve yet to figure out how to stop the ringing without slamming my palm down or getting that nice, awful buzz against my nails. YouTube didn’t come up with what I needed. Suggestions?

    Participant
    charles-nix on #251932

    I’m unclear on what you are asking: is it
    1) the wound bass strings have a different tone than the others? “twanging”
    2) when you play you sometimes don’t like the tone in the bass? “control improved”
    3) the basses sustain longer than all the others? “stop the ringing”
    4) you want to learn other methods of damping? “slamming my palm down”

    The words in quotations lead me to think you’re asking about different things.

    It might also help to know what your experience level is and if you have a teacher.

    Participant
    Biagio on #251933

    The lowest (bass) strings are steel core/fiber bedding/copper wrapped; the next 3 or 4 bronze core nylon wrap.

    I gather that the “buzz” results from your nails scraping on the copper winding; if so you should adjust your hand position, trim your nails, or both. This is just based on the comments but a teacher can provide much better guidance. If you do not have a teacher refer to a good harp book with pictures of hand position. I recommend Yolanda Kondonassis “On Playing the Harp.”

    Damping is an entirely different issue; in any case do not slam your hand down (unless your are trying the slap-bass technique – side note); a light touch is all that is required.

    There are lots of Youtube videos of excellent players illustrating good harp technique.

    Biagio

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Biagio.
    Participant
    balfour-knight on #251980

    I agree, a good harp teacher would be able to look at what you are doing wrong and help you fix it. The harp is not an instrument to just pick up and play–you would develop too many bad habits that are difficult, if not impossible, to correct.

    Cheers,
    Balfour

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252031

    Hello, all. I finally remembered to check for replies.

    I acquired the Triplett perhaps 6 months ago and had been taking lessons on concert harp before You Know What happened. Since I don’t think Skype or Zoom or Fthshpeloomp! lessons would work too well, I’ve just soldiered on, searching for YT videos that might help. I haven’t found too many, oddly.

    The Triplett’s bass strings may not be copper-wrapped; they have a wrapping, all right, but most are white. In any case, they’re rather resonant and damping, and avoiding the twang of them hitting my nails aren’t going so great. I’ll be consulting the harp expert at the music store where I bought the instrument, but if y’all have YT links to recommend, I’d be grateful.

    Participant
    Biagio on #252034

    Hi again,

    There are so many good YT harp videos it is difficult to know where to start haha. So I will just throw out some names and you can view them to find what suit s you best: Josh Layne (Harp Tuesday collection), Harper Tasche (especially him playing one handed “Just for You”), Chris Caswell (You Can Play the Harp – an introduction), Christy-Lyn! (Learning the Harp), Marta Cook “Plays with rhythm”, Yolanda Kondonassis (Many videos))…..

    You might consider buying a DVD or two – Pamela Bruner’s “Play the Harp Beautifully” is very popular, sometimes used by teachers as an adjunct. For fun and education see also Caitrin Finch’s documentary “History of the Harp.”

    The strings I mentioned are those used on new Signature harps; sometimes on metal wrapped strings the wrap is tinned to deter oxidation and that may be the case here.

    Have fun!
    Biagio

    Participant
    kryptoleadonium on #252122

    Great, thanks.

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