The Harp Herald

A blog about harps, harpists, and other crazy stuff

Archive for the tag “Prelude”

Lyon & Healy Lever Harps: Pedal or Lever Strings?

Lever Harp Lineup at Lyon & Healy WestI was talking with a colleague over at harp.com, Lyon & Healy’s partner website for strings, accessories, and all things harp, and he told me that his customers frequently experience confusion over what type of strings to buy for their Lyon & Healy lever harp. Bow Brand, which produces strings for Lyon & Healy and harp.com, produces both pedal and lever harp strings.  The confusing thing is that many models of Lyon & Healy lever harp are designed to take pedal harp strings.

Lyon & Healy’s three current models of lever harp, the Troubadour, Prelude, and Ogden, are all string with pedal harp strings. The same is true of the Folk Harp, which is no longer produced, but there are still lots of them being played. Since Lyon & Healy is a pedal harp maker, they have long designed most models of lever harp they produce to have the same spacing, tension, and feel as their pedal harps. This eases the transition for a student who begins on lever harp and then progresses to a pedal harp once she has decided she’s crazy enough to stay with the harp. In esssence, these models of lever harp function as “starter” pedal harps as far as tension, sound, and feel are concerned.

Other models of Lyon & Healy lever harp were designed for the player who intends to stay with the lever harp. The Lyric and Shamrock are two examples. Both of these are strung with Bow Brand lever strings. The electric Silhouette is also strung with lever harp strings.

You don’t need to keep all of this information in your head if you generally order through harp.com. The site includes a form where you can select your model of harp and get a list of the appropriate strings. The problem arises, according to my friend who handles harp.com orders and shipping, is that many customers are confused when their order arrives and they find they’ve received a set of pedal harp strings for their lever harp. If you own an Ogden, Prelude, Troubadour, or Folk Harp, don’t send that order back! You’ve got exactly what you need.

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Lever Gut vs. Pedal Gut: Which Harp String Do You Need?

Lever Harps in the Lyon & Healy West Showroom

Lever Harps in the Lyon & Healy West Showroom

If you play a Lyon & Healy or Salvi lever harp, you may have noticed that these manufacturers, through their sister company, Bow Brand Strings, produce both “Lever Gut” and “Pedal Gut” strings. You might think that if you own a lever harp, you will want to buy lever gut strings, but it ain’t necessarily so.

Both Lyon & Healy and Salvi produce two varieties of lever harp. Many of the best-known models, such as the Lyon & Healy Prelude, Troubadour, and Ogden, and the Salvi Ana, are designed as “starter pedal harps.”  While they have no pedals,  they are strung with pedal harp strings and mimic the tension, string spacing, and feel of a pedal harp.

Other models, such as the Lyon & Healy Lyric and the Salvi Egan, are designed with folk and Celtic harpers in mind. They are generally lighter in construction and easier to carry, and they feature a lower string tension for easier playing and a brighter sound.

The Lever Gut strings produced by Bow Brand (and available through harp.com, among others) are designed for use with these folk and Celtic harps.

If you’re unsure of what strings to order for your harp, contact Lyon & Healy West. They can advise you over the phone, and send you a chart that shows which strings to buy for each model of Lyon & Healy and Salvi lever harp. No matter what make of harp you play, it’s a great idea to contact the maker and request a stringing chart if you don’t already have one. It’ll make replacing strings that much easier when the time comes.

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