First a disclaimer... I'm not a luthier, I'm a avid woodworker. BUT, I love make music, either by playing or building! I'm trying to find what size (gauge) strings would work best for a baritone bowed psaltery I just built. Here's the details... I build a 36" long bowed Psaltery which will have 3 full octaves (37 strings). I'd like to use the phosphor bronze wound strings to get a very mellow sound. Can I use wound strings even for the higher notes... which means 18 gauge, since I don't find any smaller wound strings. If I use a combination of wound and standard, won't I get a significant change in the tone of my notes when playing from one to the other? I've read a ton of stuff about how to select the proper string gauge, but I don't know how to apply it to reality! Any help?????
Like you I'm not a luthier but I have just built my first psaltery.
Mine is a 2 octave Psimple Psaltery which I have strung with bronze wound strings to get a range of G3 to G5.
The higher notes are strung with .018 strings & the shortest string on mine is 5 3/4"
I hope that helps
I worked by trial & error. On mine the longest 2 strings on each side are .022 & the shortest 4 on each side are 0.018, All the rest are 0.020.
I have to say that it sounds OK (to me at least but I'm no musician) except that the G5 sounds a bit scratchy.
This may be down to my technique or the fact that I haven't made a proper bow yet & I'm using a crude bow strung with 8lb fishing line