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Harp String FAQS

Harp String FAQS

How do I know which string tension I need (pedal vs lever)?

All pedal harps use higher tension strings called pedal tension (often called Pedal Nylon, Pedal Gut or Pedal Wire on the packet). Most lever harps use lighter tension strings called lever tension, however there are exceptions. The following lever harps use pedal tension strings:

  • Lyon & Healy
    • Ogden
    • Troubadour VI
    • Prelude 40
  • Salvi
    • Gaia
    • Hermes (Pedal Stringing)
    • Ana (Pedal stringing)

If you’re still unsure, it’s best to contact the manufacturer or supplier of your harp.

Which brand of harp string do I need?

Most Lyon & Healy and Salvi pedal harps (and pedal-tension lever harp) are strung with Bow Brand strings (nylon, gut and wire – see more about materials below). Camac pedal harps are strung with Camac strings.

While it is possible to restring harps with different brands strings, you should discuss this with a harp technician first, as the harp will usually need a regulation once the different strings are on the instrument.

If you’re unsure, you should always contact the manufacturer or supplier first, to avoid any damage to your harp.

Which material goes where (nylon, gut, wire, etc.)?

For pedal harps, many online resources suggest Nylon from 0-2 Octave, Gut from 3-5, and Wire from 5 (F+G)-7. However, in Australia, it is far more common to use gut on the second octave. So a pedal harp will usually be strung as:

Octave 0 (G & F) – Nylon

Octave 1 (E, D, C, B, A, G, F) – Nylon

Octaves 2-4 (E, D, C, B, A, G, F) – Gut

Octave 5 (E, D, C, B, A) – Gut

Octave 5 (G, F) – Wire

Octave 6 (E, D, C, B, A, G, F) - Wire

Octave 7 (E, D, C) - Wire

On a lever harp, it is far more dependent on the make and model of your harp. For Lyon & Healy and Salvi Harps, you can look at the recommended strings for your individual instrument here:

For Camac Harps, you can see the recommended strings for your instrument here:

If you would like to purchase any of these strings or have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d be happy to assist you. For other brands of harps, ask the manufacturer of your instrument or send us an enquiry and we will help you as best we can.

How many strings are in a full set?

A full set of Concert Grand Pedal Harp strings includes 47 strings. You can also purchase a full set of Semi-Grand Pedal Harp strings (46 strings), or Petite Pedal Harp Strings (40 strings).

Do I need to buy a full set?

While we do sell individual strings, it’s best to have a full set on hand so if one breaks you don’t have to wait for a replacement. Alternatively, you can purchase what is called a ‘skeleton set’. This includes all red/black C/F strings, and then two white strings per octave, which may be used as replacements for their neighbouring strings (so F, A, C, D; A may be used for B or G, D may be used for E). This is not ideal as most string brands have a different gauge for each individual string, however, it can be a good backup or a more affordable option. You can also buy octave sets, for octaves which may break more frequently than others. Loyalty Members receive a 10% discount off individual strings, and 20% off octave sets.

Can I return the strings if they’re not correct?

As long as the strings are unopened and in a saleable condition, they can be returned within our regular returns policy of seven (7) trading days.

How should I store my strings?

For a maximum string life, strings should be stored away from extremes in temperature, humidity, and sunlight. Sudden fluctuations in the surrounding environment may affect the durability of your strings.

My strings keep breaking – is something wrong?

If random strings seem to be breaking frequently, ensure you harp is being stored out of direct sunlight, and in a stable temperature and humidity level. If an induvial string keeps breaking, it’s important to note where exactly the string is breaking (e.g. at the soundboard, at the bridge pin, at one of the discs, etc.). There may be a build-up of dirt or grime at that position and causing friction against the string, which could wear it faster. If you’re unsure how to address this, contact a harp technician.

Where can I get my harp serviced?

Harp servicing or “regulation” should be conducted by a qualified harp technician every 1 to 3 years depending on a variety of factors. Jo Baée is a certified member of the Lyon & Healy/Salvi Technicians Guild, and is available to service all types of harps in Australia & NZ. For more information, visit


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