harp string failure

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tony lubold
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harp string failure

Post by tony lubold »

Anyone know what might be causing repeated harp string failure. I'm trying to help a friend who's having some serious trouble keeping strings on the treble end. The strings are from a reputable manufacturer whose strings I use on my two harps and they have never failed. Totally stumped.

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: harp string failure

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Just some random thoughts / questions:

Did the strings break at the same spot or random?
Maybe there's a burr on a spot where the strings contact the harp.
Are they the right gauge?
Are the strings from the same batch as the strings your using?
Did you try using strings from an other supplier?
Are you tuning up to the right pitch (and not too high)?

tony lubold
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Re: harp string failure

Post by tony lubold »

They're breaking at the soundboard end. I questioned knot failure but they're the same as on my harps which have never failed. In fact, this is the second harp that I've worked on for her. The burr was my first thought but couldn't see any and I use the little felt thingys to try to prevent any of that. The strings were new every time and they never seem to even get up to pitch. The harp owner is aware of not pushing the new strings too soon and has assured me that she hasn't. I have not tried another supplier but trust the guys we're using. Having said all of that I do wonder if the srting guage is correct. I'm not familiar with this particular harp maker but the string guage was at his recommendation. I'll give that more thought and compare it to my own harp's . It's a good conclusion, I think. Thanks for your reply

tony lubold
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Re: harp string failure

Post by tony lubold »

BTW the first harp never had this problem

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: harp string failure

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

If these are simple monofilament strings then they should (theoretically) still come up to pitch even at the thicker gauge, but at increased tension. If the strings are properly made and there are no sharp edges cutting the strings then lowering the pitch or somehow shortening the string length may be a solution. Changing the string material may also work.

tony lubold
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Re: harp string failure

Post by tony lubold »

Thanks guys. I'm thinking that the string guage might be wrong. When she bought the harp several of these strings were already broken so the maker might have misjudged the guage of the strings for this particular instrument

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: harp string failure

Post by Hans Bezemer »

It's good to hear that the problem is solved.

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Simon Chadwick
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Re: harp string failure

Post by Simon Chadwick »

As Clay says, string gauge has nothing to do with it. The same material will snap at the same pitch for a given length no matter what thickness (within reason of course...).

What kind of harp is it, who made it, who said what string is to be tuned to what pitch?

tony lubold
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Re: harp string failure

Post by tony lubold »

Simon, It's a celtic style harp with 30 strings. I've compared the maker's suggestions with the string makers and they seem to be in agreement. The string lengths are appropriate for the style. The troublesome strings are the mono treble strings, maybe the frist six or seven. It was made by a Canadian lad whose name I don't recall, the harp is not currently in my possession. Interestingly, some of those same strings were missing when she bought the harp. She has reassured me that she hadn't even brought them entirely up to concert pitch. I haven't had time to go back and do futher research but wanted to get some of your opinions beforehand.

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Simon Chadwick
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Re: harp string failure

Post by Simon Chadwick »

Well if you are 100% sure about the string lengths and pitches, and you are sure the strings themselves are not defective, then it must be the points where they bend where they touch the instrument at each end.

You mention the soundboard end - but you say there are no dings. However if the edge that the string bends over is too sharp (so the bend is too small a radius) this will weaken the string and help it to break there. So check the radius of those edges where the string touches the soundboard.

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