Read some suggestions on string tying and trouble shooting,
and some suggestions on tuning your harp.
NYLON is often the best choice for beginners and those who like the nylon tone and feel. They are easier to keep in tune, cost less, and are more forgiving of technique than gut. They have a beautiful tone and a very nice medium tension. We use Thormahlen Bass Wires for the lowest octave and a full octave of wound nylon for the second lowest octave. The transition from bass wires to the nylon is very gradual and easy on the ears.
LEVER GUT is a light gauge of gut that has a little softer tension than Nylon. It is also called Folk Harp Gut. The tone is brighter than Concert Gut but not as bright as Nylon. They seem to be warmer in the lower end and brighter in the higher end. Many pedal harpists see these strings as a welcome change from concert gut and a nice rest for their fingers without compromising the wonderfully warm and rich tone that gut offers. Each string is actually thinner than the corresponding nylon string. We use our Bass wires for the lowest octave.
CONCERT GUT is the same stringing used on pedal harps. It has the warmest tone and the firmest tension. If you are a pedal harp player and like the feel of your pedal harp, you might choose these strings. It takes strong fingers to get a lot of sound out of these strings, so beginners should shy away from them unless you KNOW that you will play pedal harp someday. The soundboard on concert gut strung harps are built heavier to accommodate the increased tension of these strings. We use the same set of Bass wires for the lowest octave that is on all of our harps. Concert Gut strings can only be used on our specially built Concert Gut Swan model. DO NOT PUT CONCERT GUT STRINGS ON A HARP BUILT FOR NYLON OR LEVER GUT. It will void your warranty and stress your harp.
FLUOROCARBON strings are made out of a synthetic polymer. They are sometimes called carbon fiber, synthetic gut or Savarez Strings. They produce a very bright tone with a very light tension. The density of these strings are higher than other strings which makes for a thin string. They do not break often and once they are holding pitch, they hold very well. A new string will tend to stretch quite a bit thus taking some time to tune up to pitch. We only use them on our Ceili-Mor and Ceili harp models.
The Thormahlen bass wires are steel-core with a silver plated copper wrap. We use these bass wires on all of our harps giving a powerful bass octave that can really be pulled without deflecting the pitch. The full octave of wires also provides sympathetic vibrations, which give the entire range of the harp a deep, rich resonance and more sustain.
Please Note: A harp strung in nylon or lever folk gut should never be re-strung with concert gut (pedal harp) strings. The soundboard would not be able to withstand that kind of tension and the warranty would be void. Nylon strings and lever gut strings ARE interchangeable. There may be a few lever handles (for harps with Loveland Levers) that may need to be changed to accommodate the different string gauges. For Camac levers, they will need to be regulated to the new string gauges. If you need more information about this, please email or call us.
To order strings
You can order strings directly from us. Just call or email and let us know what kind of string you need (Concert Gut, Lever gut, nylon, or Fluorocarbon, the string # and string name. For example "Nylon, String #9 D" or "Concert Gut 4th octave B (String #23)" and so forth. The numbers on the Concert and Lever Gut packages will differ from our numbers but the letter names and thus their colors remain the same. The numbering system on the gut strings is caused by the standard set that starts the harp at a first octave E string 2 (36 string harp) 4 (for a 34 string harp) strings higher than our harps start so the numbering is off by 2 or 4. The #28 F gut string is really our #26 on our 36 string harp and #24 on our 34 string harp. It's a little confusing but if you go by the string note name, you should be fine.
Here are the prices for our individual strings (complete set prices are at the bottom of each column):
STRING PRICING CHART
ALWAYS give note name along with the string number (See the FLUOROCARBON chart below)
To continue on the journey, find out more About Harps in general. This is a very brief history. You'll also find a "Parts of a Harp" diagram at the bottom of that page.
Thormahlen Harps | 1876 SW Brooklane Corvallis, Oregon 97333 | (541) 753-4334 | firstname.lastname@example.org