Replacement Harp Strings
If you don't have a Musicmakers harp, follow the instructions below. A good place to start would be the "Start Here" tab.
The best thing to do is to order your strings directly from the harp maker.
If that is not possible you may be able to order a suitable replacement from us but you'll need to do a little bit of research. Follow our instructions and you should be able to order a string from us that will work.
Most folk, lever, or celtic harps will have two types of strings:
- Composite or wound strings (usually used only in the lowest five to ten strings
- Monofliment nylon strings (used for the remaining strings)
Note: Some harps do use gut strings. We don't stock gut strings. It is safe to substitute a nylon string for gut but substituting gut for nylon is generally not recommended without first consulting the harp maker.
To order a replacement nylon string - you'll need to know the note. Click on the note tab to figure out the correct note then click the Replacement Nylon Harp Strings product below.
To order a replacement wound string - you'll need a bit more info. Click on the Wound Strings tab above and follow the instructions.
Wound strings are custom made for specific harps. If you need to replace a wound string for your harp, it is always best to purchase the string directly from the maker.
If that is not possible, however, Musicmakers may be able to provide you with a wound string that will work. Please follow the instructions below carefully before purchasing a replacement wound string. Careful reading and accurate information will help you choose the correct string. We cannot provide refunds for wound strings.
You need to know three pieces of information to order a suitable replacement wound string for your harp -
- The Musical Note
- The Vibrating Length (VL)
- The Composition
This information is often found on the string chart. If don't have a string chart, you'll need to make one. Print this blank string chart and fill it out for your harp. Use the info on the Note, Vibrating Lenth, and Composition tabs to help you fill out the form.
Once you've collected this information, scroll down, click on the string for your note and use the drop down selector to find the closest match for the vibrating length and composition.
Study the picture below. The harp shows five octaves, 36 strings, with a range of C2 to C7. Each string on the harp corresponds to a white key on the piano keyboard.
We use Scientific Pitch Notation to identify the octaves. Middle C is C4. The octave numbers change every C. So the C one octave above Middle C would be C5. Study the keyboard and this should make sense.
Correctly identify one note on your harp and then you can extrapolate to figure out the rest of the notes. Many free tuner apps will display the octave number next to the note so you could start there. If you don't have that type of app on your phone, here is a sound file that plays Middle C (C4).
Play the sound file and pluck the C strings on your harp until you find the matching note. That is Middle C (C4). From there you can count up or down and identify the rest of your strings. Write down the Note name and octave number. (ex. D2)
Vibrating length. This is the length of string that is free to vibrate when plucked. For harps, this is usually the distance between where the string leaves the soundboard and where it first makes contact on the neck on the bridge pin. Measure the vibrating length in inches and write it down.
There are three basic types of wound string compositions. Below is a picture of each type along with an explanation. Study the pictures and explanations and write down the composition of your string that needs to be replaced. If you are unable to identify the type of string, that is probably OK as long as you match the Vibrating Length and the Note.
(SFB) Steel core with bronze wrap.
These strings have steel core, surrounded by a fiber bedding, and finally a bronze wrap. The picture shows a C string so the wrap has been colored red.
You'll notice that the windings or wrap extend all the way to the end of the strings. The bronze winding will hold its shape even if cut. If you were to unwrap some of the winding you would expose the plain steel core.
(SFN) Steel core with Nylon wrap
These strings have a plain steel core with nylon wrappings. You'll notice that the wrapping does not extend all the way to the end of the string, leaving the core exposed.. The nylon wrapping won't hold its shape and must be tied off below where the strings need to be cut. If you cut into the nylon wrapping, the entire wrapping will unwind and the string will be useless.
(NN) Nylon core with nylon wrap.
These strings have a nylon core and a nylon wrap. The nylon wrapping does not extend to the end of the string and must be tied off below where you will cut the string.. Do not cut into the wrapping on these strings.