Hello <waves nervously>

This morning the postie brought the new toy - another Ebay accident, I am sure you all know the syndrome...

It's an Alto psaltery, made from an Early Music Shop kit. The guy who built it sadly never really got chance to use it much, and I am hoping that it will get much more use now it's with us.

The stringing was a bit untidy - to the extent that every note played did damage to the bow, pointy bits of wire sticking out from the hitch pins all over the place...  I tried trimming them down but it wasn't enough, and the fear of destroying the bow eventually overcame all other fears.

I asked my local music shop if they had any suitable wire, and showed them the inch-long bit I cut off one of the hitch pins, they were unable to help. OK, they were stunned at being asked for wire so fine, they had never seen anything quite like it!

In desperation, I've spent the evening restringing it. I've (very VERY carefully) removed all the strings on the right side, one at a time, and reinstalled them. Thankfully they were all cut so long that the bits of trimming I had to do left me with enough to work with - but one is a bit borderline. I think it's nearly right, I expect that there will be more work to do tomorrow when it's relaxed a bit. At some stage I need to address the "dark side" but at the moment I am playing very simple tunes and haven't dared put the bow over there

My question is -  what I should use to replace any broken strings? I hate the idea of being stuck without it if I do break one, so I would like to have the wherewithal to replace straight away, should the worst happen. I don't have a micrometer or vernier caliper, so I don't know what the wire gauge is - even if I did I don't know where to buy it. I am based in the UK on the south coast (Sussex).

Here's hoping

Janey - The newest newbie

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Thank you so much for that! I am going to restring the left side, so I will do that with new wire, I think, and then do the naturals when I am feeling more brave. It seems to be staying in tune (mostly) at present and having a playable instrument is more important than perfection for now. I suspect that I might lose some of the existing strings that I rewound, as there were kinks and bends in the wire which will no doubt be fatigued and weak, but will do those when I need to.

I am so thrilled with all the help and advice you guys have offered since I arrived - I was really down about the state of the Beast, but I am feeling much more positive, and am actually starting to sound a bit I can play a bit now! Thank you all so much!

That's what it's all about.  We want you to be able to make your psaltery sing, no matter how old.  They still don't deserve to become wall hangers or tucked in the back of a closet :-)


WOW, you did a nice job Janey, but the original stringing was rather mess. You are off to a great start. Don't worry about the proper way to respond on threads, I don't really think anyone cares that much and it's not hard to follow no matter what way you manager it!



I'm along the coast in Ramsgate. and having the same trouble. busted a string and emailed hobgoblin for help, got no reply. early music just sent me a list of links to the string pages. I've had my BP for a number of years but never changed a string. hope it all works out ok.



Hey up, me again!

I ordered the wire from ebay - ordered the three sizes that Rick suggested, figured I could afford to go mad when the price was £1.39 each - it arrived this morning, which is pretty impressive service if you ask me!

Bob, let me know which gauge of string you need and roughly how long and I can put a bit in the post to you - I think I have plenty, certainly enough to completely restring the Beast, and I suspect as much as I will ever need! I think you can send me a message with a postal address...

DH played the first few bars of Scarborough Fair last night, and developed a big shiny smile for the rest of the evening!


Thank you for that kind offer,But I've ordered some size 8 from the same place. I'll let you know how I get on. I've just got a tuner. useing it should be fun. Nice to hear about Scarborough Fair. Keep up the good work. I've book you in for a solo spot at next years Broadstairs folk Fest.



Well I got my string today, and I still cant understand it. I ordered size 8 but that heaver than the one to replace, (upper c#) and all my strings seem to be the same size and a lot thinner than 8.

where do I go from here? will it be ok to replace with the new string?


Hi Bob, Size 8 on that ebay listing is .020" or .510mm.  That would seem to be very large diameter for a bowed psaltery.  It most likely will be around half that diameter. The only way to know for sure is to measure the existing strings.  A micrometer, as Janey used, is the best way to measure.

Bob, ping me your address in a DM and I will send you some of the thin stuff I bought.

had to send friend request before i can send pm.


Hello Janey,

Having been absent from this forum for a while I recently came back and I find this thread of interest as I will be ordering a better psaltery than the one I presently use from the U.S. The conversations ends all of a sudden and I'm wondering if you got your problem solved to your satisfaction?

Sincerely, Erich


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