Each Harp I build is perfectly designed and crafted to fit the needs and desires of it`s owner and player, including my Custom Wire Strung Harps.
I can design and build for you a single string band Wire Strung Harp in any size from 19 to 42 strings. I usually build my wire harps in all solid hard wood, in either a four-sided rectangular, or a five-sided staved sound box configuration. But I have also designed and built some custom wire harps with Spruce sound board, for a bit softer sound, and a shorter note ringing time.
Traditional the Ancient style wire harps did not have bridge pins, but I usually build my wire harps with them, as they are wonderful in keeping the wire string band in an even plane , across all the strings.
I build my wire strung harps with different string tensions and spacing designed to match your playing technique. For example, finger tip playing technique generally requires a wider string spacing than would be needed for finger nail playing. I can also build a wire harp with either a solid Spruce soundboard, or with a solid hardwood one, depending on the type of sound desired. The solid hardwood board will produce notes with a longer sustained ringing, while the Spruce board will make a bit softer sound, requiring less string damping. The three most common metals used on wire strung harps all produce a different type of sound. Steel is the brightest, with a loud long sustain, and it is used only rarely. Bronze is by far the most common, with Brass being used in combination with Bronze, some of the time.
I have also built some of my wire strung harps with full sets of Loveland sharping levers, which work quite well on wire strung harps. Here below is a video of me demonstrating such a harp. This Custom harp is built with a solid Spruce sound board, for a more mellow sound, and has string spacing that is comfortable for finger tips or nails.
The possible note ranges can go from first octave 'A', down to low sixth octave 'E'. I can also build you a Double or Cross strung Wire harp. Please see my Cross Strung and Double Strung Harp pages for more information on these possibilities. String tension on my wire strung harps can vary some, through the range of tension variations on wire harps is not as wide as with nylon or gut strung harps. to sound their best, bronze or steel strings need to be at a high enough tension to vibrate freely, but to not be so high that they break too easily. The types of wire strings I use on my Custom Wire harps are described here below.
Bronze or Steel Strings, for Wire Strung Harps
When I custom design a bronze or steel wire strung harp, I use gauges of wire that will give a good solid ringing tone, without excessive breakage. Bronze wire strings are Very fragile, since the Bronze is not tempered the way Steel is. Instead it`s structure is more crystalline, and more easily broken. Bronze strings are also quote susceptible to going out of tune with temperature changes.
Steel strings are sometimes preferred by some wire harp players, and so I have built a number steel strung wire harps over the years. Steel has a much more pronounced metal sound, and rings quite well, for a longer time. They are also stronger than Bronze, with much less breakage, since Steel is a tempered metal.
I use a custom computer harp string designing program, as an important part of my design process. With this program, I can design for you the perfect wire string set for your Custom harp, with just the right tension and string spacing. With the proper string tension and spacing your custom Wire Strung Harp will be a perfect fit to your playing style.
Then from the string set, the number of strings and the note range you desire, I will design your harp with the style, shape and size of structure that you fills your needs, both practically and Artistically. The possible styles and sizes that I can build your Wire strung harp in, are almost un-limited, from very compact and fairly light in weight, to quite large with a Kingly presence!
As with all my custom harp designs, I will draw your proposed harp, full sized, including views of the sound board, back sound holes and the side staves, for your approval, before I start to build. I can model your harp based on any style of harp that you admire, weather one that I have created, or any historical, Ancient, or contemporary model. If you have a favorite wire harp that you play at home, or one that you have played elsewhere, I can design to match the string spacing, angle and tension for your new custom wire harp.
Any desired carving, sculpting, or painted decoration can be also shown on this drawing. In the case of painted or carved decoration, I can give you different price quotes, for different sized areas of decoration.
Here are some pictures of my custom wire strung harps.
Harps above left: Myrtle wood , 36 string Ancient Style wire harp with four sided sound box. Above right: Maple 33 string wire harp with full set of Loveland sharping levers.
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
Member: International Folk Harpers & Craftsmen Association Inc, Association of Science
and Technology Centers, Siskiyou Woodcraft Guild.
Please follow this link to take a look at my new custom harp builder blog: http://thecustomharpbuilder.blogspot.com/
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