Guide to Harps Strings

Harps String : What is it?

Harps Strings

Harp strings are positioned perpendicularly to the harp’s soundboard. They can be made of nylon, gut, or wire. All three types can be used in a concert harps—steel-wound or copper nylon for the lower strings, gut for the middle strings, and nylon for the higher strings. They create dynamics and varying tones by plucking them in different degrees of force and using different finger positions.  

The number of strings in a harp vary depending on its type and design. Most European harps have a single row of strings for each note of the C Major scale in different octaves. They are also color-coded--the C strings are red and orange, while the F strings are black and blue.

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Types of Harps Strings

Harps StringsHarps Strings

Kinds of Harps Strings include the following:

Gut harp strings

  • Gut harp strings have string mid-range characteristics.
  • They produce a warm and mellow sound.
  • They have a distinctive voice.
  • They are easily affected by humidity, requiring frequent re-tuning.
  • They are also permeable to oil and dirt from the hands, causing the strings to weaken and break ultimately.
  • They continue to stretch, making them more difficult to keep tuned.
  • They are very expensive.

Nylon harp strings

  • Nylon harp strings produce a rich, clear sound sensitive to complementary harmonics.
  • They are harder than guitar nylon strings.
  • They are not permeable to oil and dirt, making them last and sound great longer.

Wire harp strings

  • Wire harp strings are made with a bronze or steel core, and a strand of nylon wrapped around it.
  • They are used as bass strings or transitional strings between the nylon core and the all-metal base strings.

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Choosing Harps Strings (Buying tips)

Original strings: When replacing your harp strings, choose only those that were intended for your brand and type of harp to keep their integrity and intended sound.

Coating: Choose gut harp strings with a heavy coating of lacquer to prevent them from fraying and resist humidity absorption. However, this coating can mute the strings a little and give them a brighter sound.

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