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How to Change a Harp String

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email: robyn@robynsutherland.com


How to Change a String on Your Lever Harp
A step by step guide

Changing a string on your lever harp can be tricky at first, but it gets easier each time you do it. This page will guide you through the steps to replace a broken or damaged string.

1. Things you will need
Before you begin, make sure you have the following items handy:
Tuning Key: You’ll need this to adjust the tension of the new string.
String Anchor: A small piece of string or a bead to tie knots securely.

2. Identify the String to be Replaced
Ensure you have a new string that matches the one you need to replace. Different harps use different materials (nylon, gut, or wire), so you will need to make sure you have the right one. If you’re unsure, consult your harp’s string chart or visit the manufacturer’s website if you need to download one.

3. Remove the Old String
If you are replacing a string that is already on your harp, detension the string: Use the tuning key to loosen the tension on the old string. Turn the tuning pin to unwind the string until it is slack. This is usually counter clockwise but be sure to check. Gently pull the string out from the hole in the soundboard.
If you are replacing a string that has broken you will need to remove any parts of the broken string that remain on the harp.

4. Prepare the New String
Thread the string: Insert the new string through the hole in the soundboard from the front.
Tie a knot: Tie a secure knot at the end of the string using a piece of thick string or a bead as a string anchor. Make sure the knot is tight and won’t slip. There is a good description of a couple of different knots in the back of your "Teach Yourself the Folk Harp" book by Sylvia Woods.

5. Install the New String
Thread through the tuning pin: Insert the end of the string through the hole in the tuning pin from the bottom.
Wind the string: Turn the tuning pin clockwise to wind the string around it. Leave enough slack to create a few windings.
Cross the string: Cross the string over itself once on the tuning pin to lock it down.
Tune the string: Use the tuning key to adjust the tension until the string is in tune. Pluck the string and use your electronic tuner or compare it with neighboring strings.

6. Trim the Excess String
Once the string is in tune, trim off any excess string near the tuning pin.

Play, play, play - now that you have your new string on you will need to play the harp to help it to stay in tune. This is a good time (it's always a good time) to practice some finger exercises and keep retuning the new string because it will drop in pitch as the newly tensioned string stretches. The new string will settle in the more you play and retune it.

Have fun and enjoy your music!

email: robyn@robynsutherland.com or phone: 021 252 7632


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page last updated 10th May 2024