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.
I just got one from Ebay I only paid $100 for it. Sometimes it's just a matter of persistently checking. I love the tone the Unicorn Strings Psalterys produce. I am sorry I don't know what wood it is. it is a blonde wood. The only thing I would say about my model is that one string is used for two notes. I am not sure if all the models are like that. I also have a Roosebeck Baritone Psaltery. It has a nice tone also.
haha, my new unicorn psaltery is also a $100 ebay score. seems people discard these quite frequently - i don't know why, this one sounds amazing! of course, i'm comparing it to my only other experience, the Zither Heaven $100 22-string model. the ZH psaltery sounds a bit brighter, but the Unicorn is so very beautifully mellow and warm. i can imagine both of them being used for different types of songs. The ZH had a great sound for playing a large room (church sanctuary) with horrible acoustics - i haven't tried my Unicorn there yet, but i bet the sound will be completely different, even though the two have nearly identical pitch range.
I too have a zither heaven 20 and 22 string psaltery. they do have a brighter tone with a not of over tones which is why I feel these instruments would be good in chakra work; The Unicorn Strings Psaltery is easier to play and I can do vibrato and the slide a lot easier. I found out by reading on the label inside it was made in 1987! That is 25 years old and still plays beautifully! Unfortunately, when tuning it (it was a whole step off on all the strings) I broke the G string and found out by looking closer that I actually have to change two strings because one string is used for two notes. I have never changed a string in this manner. Any tips out there?
Mine is the 30 string, 2 &1/2 octave Celtic model. I've had it nearly 3 years and I love it. I play with a dulcimer jam group, so I'm usually in the key of D. That low F# on my Unicorn Strings psaltery sometimes enables me to play an octave lower than I otherwise would, and it's a great harmony on the final D that ends most songs in my repertoire.
I have a couple of Unicorn Strings (which friends like to borrow). They are consistent, sound good and are simple design. Service is excellent. Three models with exactly the same sound but different rosettes or color. Only one size and no choices of wood. They do one thing and do it well.
Sorry I'm so late in responding to some of the questions in this thread. A while back I found I needed to restring my Unicorn Strings psaltery. I didn't want to use the same one string for two notes method, so I found this method for using one string for each note.
1.) Make a small loop in the string and push the loop through the hole in the top pin at the point of the psaltery.
2.) Bring the other end of the string around the pin and place it through the loop.
3.) Pull the loop back into the hole on the pin.
4.) Place the other end of the string across the top of the pin and hold it tight while attaching it to the tuning pin at the bottom of the psaltery.
5.) Perform steps 1 through 4 for all of the other strings.
6.) Tension the strings to pitch.
Attached is a picture of the finished installation. I purchased a roll of string wire, so replacing the whole set of strings was accomplished at a cost of two or three dollars with plenty of string left on the roll for the next time.