Double Strung Harps
I can build your Custom Double strung harp with any number of natural notes from 19 to 36 with gut, nylon or wire strings.
I build double strung nylon, gut and wire harps in any size from 19 x 2, up to 36 x 2, strings. Possible notes range from high first octave ‘G’, down to low Sixth octave ‘D’, (in either Gut or Nylon strings), with the highest note on my double wire harps being a First Octave ‘A’. It is also possible to have more pronounced base notes on one side of a double harp. This is done by using wire base strings on one side , and nylon ones on the other. This can only be done on harps with at least 25 or more strings. And as with all my harps, there are many options possible , concerning the string spacing, tension, size and style of the harp.
A bit about Double Strung Harps
The double-strung harp has two identical diatonically-tuned (like the white keys on the piano) parallel rows of strings, and two full sets of sharping levers. You can tune the two rows differently from each other when needed. This is especially handy for pre-setting accidentals so you don’t have to flip levers in the middle of a piece, and also for modulating easily from one key to another. The styles and effects that can be done on this harp are nearly infinite. It has many more capabilities than a single-course harp, and in many cases is actually easier to play. It lends itself very well to jazz, Celtic, South American, African, Welsh, Scandinavian, New Age, pop, rock, folk, other ethnic styles, and much classical music. Because each hand has a separate and entire set of strings to itself, there is a tremendous capacity for complexity of arrangement and satisfaction of playing. And the strings tend to ring sympathetically, resulting in rich but not overwhelming harmonics. Yet the harp is simple in design and easy to play and understand.
Players who are accustomed to a larger harp can play a small double-strung harp without changing their large-harp arrangements. The left hand simply plays on the left row, and the right hand on the right row. Each hand has the freedom to play the whole length without obstructing the other hand.
To compare a double harp with single strung harps: on a larger single-course harp – let’s use 36 strings as an example – the left hand normally has about two octaves available before the limitation of running into the right hand becomes a factor at mid-range, and the right hand has about 3 available octaves. But if you have a small double-strung harp with, say, 26 strings per row, the left hand has over 3 octaves to play without interference, and so does the right hand. And imagine the possibilities with a larger one! But even a 23-strings-per-row lap model makes many more notes available per hand than a mid-size single-course harp. A 23-string double is actually a 46-string harp! And you can reach all the strings easily!
A large double-strung harp (33 to 45 strings) has a full tonal range, as would any other harp that size, a small double-strung harp has less bass range, of course. On smaller ones, the left hand will automatically overlap with the right hand (on separate rows of strings). The overlap effect can be done on purpose on a larger one. This produces a unique and beautiful echo effect, as well as lovely harmonies.
I build my double strung harp with gut, nylon or bronze strings, in both 6×6 or 5×7 stringing configurations. The string spacing on my double harps is also totally customizable, from a wide concert style, to a narrow wire spacing.
As with all my custom harps, the height of the harp and size of the sound box, the width of the sound board as well as the string tension and type of sound the harp will produce, are all very flexible custom design options. My double harps can be fitted with Loveland, (for my double wire strung harps, Loveland levers work quite well), Camac or Truitt sharping levers.
Please email me with any questions you may have !
Here below are pictures of some of my custom double strung harps.
Harp shown here: On the Left, two views of :Double nylon strung Koa wood harp, with 26 strings on one side and 27 on the other. The Left base side also has metal core strings to give a stronger base notes on that side. The style shown is a simple modified Gothic “look’. Many, other possibilities in double harp styles can be designed and built. his is just one of many possible shapes and styles that are possible for double strung harps. It was designed to as compact as possible, which caused the pillar to assume a straight shape. The owner of this harp also wanted the neck to be smooth and flowing in shape, without any of the more typical Celtic elements.
The Harp on the right is a one-of-a-kind cross strung harp. The two banks of 35 strings each are 6/6 in tuning, and each string also has a Loveland sharping lever. It is built of Cherry wood with a spruce sound board. It is 56 inches tall.
My double strung harps can be as complex in shape and style, as my other harps. If you have any ideas for your own dream, double harp, do not hesitate to ask me !
Thank you for coming to visit my Harp Pages, please let me know how I can bring your Dream Harp to Life !
Follow your Bliss, and live your Life in Joy!
Glenn J. Hill