Strings made by Josephus Harps


Jourmel Strings made by Josephus Harps are especially designed for our harps but can also be used and installed on other harps as well. We specialize in alternative bass strings with no metallic core. Metallic core strings have much greater sustain, tension and intrinsic inharmonicity than fiber core strings. Fiber core for bass strings provide a very noticeably smooth transitionsion of tone between the middle (nylon wrap) and bottom (copper wrap) strings especially if you use coated aluminum for wrapping some of the strings between the nylon and copper wound strings.  (You can see the picture of our string winding machines at the bottom of this page.)

Here are a few guidelines for the installation of new strings on harps.

We make five kinds of strings and each has a slightly different procedure for proper installation. But regardless of the type, when completed we like to have about 3 turns on the tuning pins for the bass strings and more for the thin nylon strings.

Thin nylon mono-filament

For diameters smaller than 0.032” we like to make a double bow knot as explained below. Some people like to increase the size of the knot by inserting a short piece of a thicker nylon string in the middle of the knot. The purpose of the larger knot is to make sure the string does not pull through the sound board.

Nylon mono-filament

A simple bow knot is sufficient for thicker nylon strings. But as for the thin nylon strings, some people like to insert a short piece of a thicker nylon string.

Nylon wound over nylon

On all wound strings there is a leather washer at the knot to reduce the friction and tightening of the knot at the soundboard. We like to have the winding finished just over the bridge pin but some people like to have it stop just before. That is okay if that is your preference. In any case, lat the tuning pin the string should only be the nylon core and can be cut. Never cut the string below the winding as it will let loose the winding and the string will be useless. 

Copper and Aluminium wound over fiber core

On all wound strings there is a leather washer at the knot to reduce the friction and tightening of the knot at soundboard. After the string is threaded through the tuning pin it should be cut with cutter pliers or a finger nail clipper. Then use white glue, crazy glue or clear nail varnish at the very end in order to help secure against the unwinding of the wrap. The 38 string harps have a steel core for the A1 string, and the extra length should be cut with a wire cutter. The end knot may make scary noises as it tightens up. Do not worry. 

Mixed nylon/copper wound over fiber core

These special strings are excellent at the transition between nylon wound and copper wound strings. As with other wound strings there is a washer at the knot. The winding has two parts: The larger section has both the nylon/copper winding, and the smaller section the copper winding only. The copper-only section may be cut after threading through the tuning pin but never cut into the nylon/copper winding. Use some glue as noted above to seal the copper winding in order to avoid its un-winding. We now recommend switching from this type of strings (mixed nylon/copper wrap) to aluminum wrap which was not previously available.

Simple and double bow knot

The knot is a simple “thumb” knot with the end threaded back through to make a little side bow. For the double bow, repeat using a longer section of string for the first bow and then bend it back from the other side through the knot.

Changing a string or a full set

You need to remove the broken string from inside the sound box by pulling out the knot and the leather washer if there is one and insert the new string there while making sure that the brass eyelet is not displaced.  At the top make sure the string is located properly between the forks of the lever and the bridge pin. The tuning pin may need to be pushed inside if there is not enough friction to hold the tension as explained in our manuals. If you want to change a full set of strings it is best to change one string at a time and bring it to pitch so you keep the overall tension of the harp even as you progress. New strings will take some time to stretch so they will need to be tuned often for several days before they stabilize.

Rules for tuning the harp:

1- Always tune the string from below pitch to the required note. (over pitching the string will break it prematurely)

2- Always tune the string with your levers down or disengaged. (string will break prematurely otherwise as the string will not stretch evenly))

3- Only tune while you are listening to the string. (if there is no tone change while tuning then you are not on the right tuning pin)

4- Use an electronic tuner or a smartphone app for the correct starting pitch.

5- Tune all the Cs, then Ds, Es etc... so the tension on the sound board is built up evenly. Advanced players may use circle of fifth tuning progression as an alternative method.

6- Don't leave your tuning key unattended on the tuning pin. It will fall off and damage the sound board of the harp.

7- For changing a full set of strings change all the Cs, then  Ds, Es ect... removing and then replacing one string at a time. Tune it to pitch before changing the next string. Retune the changed strings often as you progress so the tension of the harp is kept even through the entire process.

8- Tuning pins may get loose during shipping, traveling, replacing a string or changing environmental condition (temperature and/or humidity). In this case the tuning pins need to be re-tightened. The tuning pins are tapered so if you push them in as you wiggle the key forward and backward the friction on the pins will increase. Do so until the friction is sufficient to hold the tension of the strings. If the tuning pins get too hard to turn, loosen the tension on the string and then wiggle the pin back until it moves freely. Then reset as above. 


Package Price for Full String Set

All prices in CAD$. GST not included

Traveller Harp string set

$ 70

Therapy Harp string set

$ 90

Wellspring  29 string set

$ 110

Wellspring 32 string set

$ 145

Wellspring 36 string set

$ 190

Heritage / Dayspring Harps string set

$ 220

Single Replacement Strings

Monofilament nylon:
Diameter up to 0.040" $1.25 per foot, add $ 0.5 per foot for color
Diameter over 0.040" $2.00 per foot. add $ 0.5 per foot for color

Wound string, single wrap (nylon on nylon): $9.00, add $1 for color

Wound string, single wrap (copper on fibre): $ 14 up to 48" long

Wound string, mixed wrap (copper/nylon) on fibre: $16 up to 48" long, for extra length upto 56" add $5.00

Wound string, Aluminum wrap: (Aluminum on fibre): $ 16 up to 48” long, for extra length upto 56" add $5.00

Handling fee: miminum of $5 plus postage.


Below is a picture of  my string machine bench. There you see 3 types of machines: 2 manual and an automatic one on the top.

To make quality wound strings the core must be stretched to its playing tension, and then be held there while the wrap is being tightly wound. Too much or not enough tension will affect the acoustic and structural quality of the string. Since harp string bands are unique for each maker, the wrapped strings should be made specifically for each harp.

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