Hey gang!


Having had the privilege to play a lot of psalteries by almost all the biggest manufactures, I've realized that I have absolutely NO experience with Unicorn Strings.  Soooo...I'm saving up for a Unicorn.  I know there's a LOT of Unicorn owners here just waiting for a chance to talk about them.  Please, please, PLEASE!!!  let me know what you think of your instruments.  What should I look for in a Unicorn psaltery?  What woods did you get?  What size do you like best.  What makes a Unicorn a Unicorn?  They're not the cheapest option out there, and I'd like to spend wisely.

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my unicorn is the most basic kind they make -- maple and spruce, diamond sound hole -- and i love it. in fact, since i broke my right shoulder [humerus, actually] monday, i've seriously considered learningto play it left-handed. :]

oh, and mine is a 2.5-octave tenor.

lori [aka lefty]
Gee Lori, sorry about your shoulder. Get well soon! But thanks for the reply. I tend to go for the simpler instruments myself.

Hi Lori:

Mine is 30 strings-I guess that is 2.5? does yours have one string for two notes also? One of the strings broke and I realized that I now have to change the F and the G. There are instructions that came with my unicorn, but I am still not fully understanding the instructions. Can you tell me how you changed a string, if you have? I would really appreciate it.

Lori, I'm so sorry to hear about your shoulder! Please follow the doctor's orders and recover quickly!
I got a Unicorn Strings 30-string BP on eBay. It just arrived.


It has such a wonderful, warm mellow sound!

I'd been playing a cheap, solid wood BP from Zither Heaven. That one sounded okay but very high pitched and squeaky. I figured the squeals were my lack of skill. I've also briefly tried a few other good BPs. But I don't remember any sounding quite that warm with plain steel strings.
I've just found out that the squeals in my playing weren't all me. From the moment I picked up this Unicorn, my playing sounded sooooo much better. Yeah a sour note occasionally because I am a new player. But...
I'm in love with how sweet and warm this Unicorn sounds!
The label inside says 1993. The pamphlet states it has Northern Cherry sides, Sitka Spruce sound board and Rock Maple peg board. It has the diamond rosette.
The flat stringed bow that came with it also contributes to the more mellow sound. My round-strung bow gave it a louder, less mellow sound but still somewhat mellow. It has a little sustain but not too much.

The range starts at F below middle C and goes 2 full octaves to the next A after that. So a nice range for the music I like to play.

If this BP were "an old top hat", Frosty would be alive in my living room because it definitely sound like magic!

Can you tell I like it?!

Ann - Congratulations on your new psaltery.  You'll find that you will get a much better sound out of hollowed body psaltery than a solid bodied psaltery like you had.  Also I saw in your picture when you were with Donna that the bow you were using had a high arch to it.  If the bow you have now is similar to Donna's, you'll find it will be much easier to play your psaltery.  I am even experimenting with making bows with less arch than the normal bow and I find it gives me a much faster response and the quick tempoed songs are much easier to play. 

I suspect maybe you do like it Ann!  I'm glad you're happy with it and can't wait to hear you play it!

I know we have more Unicorn owners out there....are you all as happy as Lori and Ann?

Terry, the new bow is a similar design to my existing one but with about 1/3 the arch.
But this one has a flat ribbon of hair that I find has a tendency to straddle the pin. Of course it has nothing to do with my not watching where I’m going!

Ann, i too have a unicorn strings, it has the diamond sound hole and is 30 strings, 2.5 octive, it sounds like the bow is similar, date on inside 1990,  i do not know much about woods and it was a little vague in phanphlet,which i can not find right now as i took it to our Christmas ge ttogether in KY, and i have not unpacked everything. My grands all took a turn i think, or most of them (6) and the youngest who is 6 and a half seemed to enjoy it the most.

Must admit i have not done a lot with it as have been practicing on dulcilmer for Christmas gigs but they are over now so need and yes want to  work on the psaltry. I do like the instrument very much. Good tone. 

I have a Celtic that I nicked off ebay (SCOOORE!)  I haven't a clue what the woods are, but it has a nice ring and a good sustain.  I did take a risk going that route, but luck was with me this time.  I have found that they seem to have good customer service, and the soft case is nice, having a separate pocket for the bow.  I'm not in love with their stringing method...one wire makes up two strings, so breakage and repair are double the fun.  The bow is flat, also not my favorite, and not readily rehaired by an amateur, but it does what it's meant to do!

I also have a Diamond that I picked up, also on ebay...a little less luck this time.  It's badly in need of a restring and rehair.  I called the company, and they are very receptive to doing the work for a reasonable sum.  I haven't mailed it out yet, so that's all I can say on that front.

I've heard better instruments,true, but for the price, I think a Unicorn is a good everyday player, from a company that is friendly and seems eager to back their product.

Hope some of this rant is useful!


I am dredging up this old thread to inquire if anyone knows the note range on the Unicorns?

Now that I have a much better understanding of what it all means - it would be nice to know where the unicorn starts.

Thanks :)

I have a Unicorn Strings psaltery, and the range is F4 (F above middle C) to A#7, a little more than 2 octaves above it.


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