minstrel: Wire strings?

Pat Yarrow yarrowp at mscd.edu
Wed Dec 5 09:14:20 PST 2001

Oh!  Beg pardon.  I thought you meant strung in two courses of strings side
by side.  There are double-strung harps in both wire and nylon; Laurie Riley
and Ann Heymann have recorded on them.

I had a harp strung the way you describe, a Magical Strings Oladian. I do
*not* recommend this stringing method, as it places stress on the soundboard
(my harp burst) as well as making it near impossible to get both strings in

I'd suggest switching to ball ends or dowels.  For dowels, you wrap the
string around the dowels several turns, then fix the end to the string with
a loop - there are instructions in most of the method books.  I think Sylvia
Woods has instructions, at least for the ball end style.  I find ball ends a
little easier; again the diagrams in the books will help.  You basically
make a loop around the ball end, which is shaped rather like a donut with
raised edges.  Then you wrap the end around the string.  Let me know if this
is as unclear as it sounds; perhaps someone on one of the lists will have a
better description.


-----Original Message-----
From: Myra Hope Bobbitt [mailto:mhbobbitt at hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 10:03 AM
To: yarrowp at mscd.edu
Cc: scaharpers at yahoogroups.com; minstrel at pbm.com
Subject: RE: minstrel: Wire strings?

Mistress Vivien,

Thank you for your response.

Caera is not using wooden dowels, nor ball ends, at present.

The harp-maker, whose name I forget, called the harp "Double-Strung".  (I
had never seen this before, so please forgive me if I explain something
about which you already know plenty.)  The harp is strung with one wire for
each two notes, i.e. the low C and D are comprised of the same wire.  One
end is wound around the C tuning peg, then stretched down to the sound
board, through the C grommet, up 3/4" to the D grommet, then stretched up
again to the D peg.  To tune her low C, Caera must tune the D at the same
time, because loosening one loosens the other.  Is that typical?

It sounds like the prudent choice would be that Caera switch to dowels, as
you suggest.  I'll convey your advice.

How does one affix the wire to the dowel?  Does it hold in place like a
guitar peg in the back of the soundboard?


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