How Many STrings Does A Harp Have?

By Mike D. Schmitt

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Have you ever wondered how many strings a harp has or how to restring one? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this piece, we will dive into the world of harps, exploring the different types, their string configurations, and how to restring them.

Harps come in various sizes and styles, so the number of strings can vary greatly. However, most harps have between 22 and 47 strings. Pedal harps, which are the most common type of harp used in orchestras, typically have 47 strings. Lever harps, also known as folk or Celtic harps, usually have between 22 and 36 strings.

  • Pedal Harp: The pedal harp, also known as the concert harp, is the largest and most common type of harp. It has seven pedals that control the pitch of the strings. The standard pedal harp has 47 strings, with a range from C0 to G7. The top strings are made of nylon or gut, while the lower strings are made of wire.
  • Lever Harp: The lever harp, also known as the folk harp, is a smaller and more portable type of harp. It has levers on the neck that change the pitch of the strings. The lever harp can have from 22 to 40 strings, depending on the model. The most common tuning for a lever harp is C Major, but other tunings are possible.
  • Electric Harp: The electric harp is a modern type of harp that amplifies its sound through an electronic system. It can have from 32 to 40 strings, and its pitch range is similar to that of the lever harp. The strings of electric harps are usually made of steel or nylon.

Now that we know how many strings a harp typically has, let’s discuss whether different types of harps have different strings. The answer is yes, the strings used on different types of harps can vary. For example, pedal harps use wire strings, while lever harps use gut or nylon strings. The wire strings used on pedal harps are under a lot of tension, so they need to be made of a strong and durable material. On the other hand, the gut and nylon strings used on lever harps are under less tension, so they can be made of a softer material.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of harp strings, let’s move on to restringing a harp. Restringing a harp can be a daunting task, but it’s essential for keeping your instrument in good working order. The process of restringing a harp involves removing the old strings and replacing them with new ones. Before you begin, it’s important to have the correct tools, including a tuning key, string cutters, and a string winder.

How To Restring A Harp

To restring a harp, start by loosening the tension on the old string using the tuning key. Once the string is loose, use the string cutters to snip the string close to the soundboard. Next, remove the old string from the tuning pin and the soundboard. Then, attach the new string to the tuning pin and thread it through the appropriate eyelet on the soundboard. Use the string winder to tighten the string, making sure it’s in the correct position on the soundboard and the tuning pin. Finally, use the tuning key to tune the new string to the desired pitch.

In conclusion, harps are fascinating instruments with unique features and a rich history. From their varying string configurations to the process of restringing, there’s so much to learn about harps. Whether you’re a harpist or simply have an interest in these beautiful instruments, we hope this piece has provided you with valuable insights into the world of harps.

By Mike D. Schmitt

Mike is your 'Go-To-Guy' for all things music and pro audio. Engineer, musician, luthier, and quite possibly the biggest gear head on the planet. With over 30 years of industry experience in the studio, and on the road, we turn to Mike and his expertise for those hard hitting music and pro audio questions.

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