What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Andy Culpepper
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What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by Andy Culpepper » Wed May 16, 2018 12:28 am

Hi all,
I would really appreciate some advice if anyone has any ideas. I am building a custom harp guitar with seven extra bass strings below the normal six. These strings will not be fretted.

First off, the extra strings. They will be tuned to a descending diatonic scale, with the lowest one being an octave below the low E 6th string. The vibrating length goes from 31 1/4 inches to 32 1/2 inches for the lowest, or could be a little shorter. What strings should I use?

Second, the tuning machines. I want to use straight, "peg" style tuners for the extra strings, like banjo tuners. The headstock for the extra strings is about 17mm thick. I guess I need to figure out what strings I'm using so I will know if the holes will accommodate them, but what tuners should I use? The other thing is that the machines may be as little as 15mm apart on center, which might make it awkward with the diameter of the knobs.

Thanks in advance...

soltirefa
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Re: What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by soltirefa » Wed May 16, 2018 1:43 am

Not sure this will really help you, but someone just mentioned this harp guitar maker today.

http://www.tonedevilharpguitars.com/s-1 ... rp-guitar/

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HNLim
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Re: What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by HNLim » Wed May 16, 2018 2:11 am

You can contact Olav Chris Henriksen at catlines@aol.com . Probably the only place where you can get custom-made nylon strings of up to 2m length.
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Michael.N.
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Re: What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Wed May 16, 2018 5:24 am

15 mm centres will not work. You may have to double that measurement at the very least.
Best to use a string calculator and see what diameters those notes come out at. Depends on how low you accept the string tension for those basses.
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Alan Carruth
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Re: What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed May 16, 2018 5:31 pm

Chris is a friend of mine, and knows his stuff. Also, there are harp string makers who can make up just about anything you want. Those can be expensive; $15/string, or so, but they last a long time.

I've often thought that 'Pegheds' would work well for sub-bass tuners on a nylon strung harp guitar. These look and work like friction pegs, but actually have planetary gears built in that produce a 4-1/2:1 gear ratio. I've been using them for some time, and they have worked well. They produce them in two types, made for peg boxes, such as on a lute or violin, and flat heads, as on a Flamenco guitar. They were devised by a 'cellist who got tired of dealing with the issue of friction pegs, and are virtually 'transparent' in use: neither the user nor the audience will readily see the difference, except that they work so much better and easier. They cost about the same as other good tuners.

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Andy Culpepper
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Re: What tuners and strings to use for harp guitar?

Post by Andy Culpepper » Sat May 19, 2018 12:21 am

Thanks for all the suggestions. It turns out Savarez makes a set exactly for this purpose. Here's a link on Strings by Mail for those interested https://www.stringsbymail.com/classical ... tring-468/

Al, I think we will use the Pegheds as long as they can accommodate a .086" string. I've used them before on flamenco guitars. I just have to rejigger the spacing at the headstock a bit.

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