If you don’t know what wires you need, you can look at my stringcharts page, or get in touch and I will be happy to advise.
Yellow brass wire
I recommend Malcolm Rose’s yellow brass wire for stringing your harp. I can cut whatever length you want, at £2.50 per meter. I have the following sizes in stock (nominal diameter in mm):
Soft iron wire
If your treble strings are too long for brass, I recommend Malcolm Rose’s soft iron wire. In theory you can string the entire harp with iron wire; I asked Malcolm to make the thicker sizes as a special order for me, but I have not yet got round to trying an all-iron setup. Maybe that will be a project for the coming winter. I can cut whatever length you need at £2.50 per meter; I have the following sizes in stock (nominal diameter in mm):
Red brass wire
Some people like to use red brass in the bass of their harp. I have tried these on my harps but I don’t use red brass basses any more. In my opinion they have a duller sound and don’t speak as well as yellow brass. I have the following sizes of 90/10 red brass from Malcolm Rose in stock (nominal diameter in mm):
I have the following sizes of 85/15 red brass from Rio Grande in stock (nominal diameter in mm):
I have the following sizes of 85/15 red brass from Marc Vogel in stock (nominal diameter in mm):
The Vogel red brass is £5 per meter; the others are £2.50 per meter.
The strings are attached inside the harp with hardwood toggles. These are 30p each on their own, or £1.80 each wound onto the ends of your strings. You can download a free instruction diagram showing how to wind the toggles and how to install the string on your harp. Always use hardwood dowel – the wire can slice through softwood.
Yellow brass is also sometimes known as cartridge brass or spring brass. It is made from 70% copper and 30% zinc. You can use any 70/30 brass wire for making harp strings.
The reason I prefer Malcolm Rose’s wire is because he makes it especially as old-style music wire, controlling the hardness and crystal structure of the metal for the best sound.
Here are two short videos, where you can listen to Malcolm Rose talk about his work making the wire:
Malcolm Rose died at the end of 2022. I understand that his daughter Leonie will continue the business. In the meantime, I still have lots of reels in stock here.
Strings for Other instruments
While my main business is the floor-standing traditional wire-strung Irish harps, I am happy to also advise or supply strings for other wire-strung instruments, such as medieval harps, psalteries, harpsichords, etc. I can wind a harpsichord-style loop on the end of a string if you want.
String marker pens
Wire-strung Irish harps in the inherited tradition never had coloured strings. The system of coloured strings comes from classical harp, and is useful (perhaps necessary) when you use classical harp fingerings and patterns. Coloured strings are totally unnecessary and can be off-putting if you use the traditional Irish harp playing techniques as described in Sylvia Crawford’s book. For people who want the classical style coloured strings on their harp, I have limited stock of acrylic marker pens which can be used to add bright colour to metal wire strings. The colour can be completely removed by rubbing with a damp pot-scourer. £7 per pair (one red, one blue).
How to order:
Send an email to email@example.com, or phone or text me, telling me what you would like.
Please note: postage is charged extra. Click here for payment information.
If you are not sure what you need, still get in touch and ask me. There is no commitment to place an order; just call or email and see if the price and description is really what you are after. I am happy to recommend other sellers who might have what you need.