How To Tie The Knot In A Harp String

This is one of the most difficult and fiddly parts of changing a harp string – so difficult in fact that we’ve made a whole page and video dedicated to making sure you can understand how it works. Watch the video on the right to see Allan taking you through the process of tying a bowline knot on a large scale so you can see exactly what’s happening. Alternatively you can use the screen grabs and text below to get the crucial steps.

Remember, once you have made your knot you will need a tie to insert into the knot to stop it slipping and getting jammed in the back of the soundboard. You can make these from a small piece of older harp string and about 1/2″ is usually long enough.

Allan Shiers demonstrating how to tie a bowline knot - step one

Step 1

Grip the harp string using both of your hands. Make a loop using your right hand and pass in front of your left hand

Step 2

Hold the first loop in your left hand. Do the same again further down the string – pass your right hand in front of your left until you have two loops (which should look something like Mikey Mouse)

Allan Shiers demonstrating how to tie a bowline knot - step 2
Allan Shiers demonstrating how to tie a bowline knot - step 3

Step 3

Pass the first loop through the second loop

Step 4

Gripping the first loop in your left hand, tighten the second loop with your right hand pushing it further up the string until you are left with a knot which should stay by itself – this is a bowline!

Allan Shiers demonstrating how to tie a bowline knot - step 4
Inserting the string anchor

Step 5

Insert a tie through the knot (it’s a pencil in the video but you can use a small piece of relatively thick old harp string). The red arrow indicates the path that the tie takes. Once it’s in pull to tighten the knot and you are done

If you are unclear about where the tie goes in and out of the knot watch the end of the video as it might be easier to follow.

If you want to find out how to complete the process of changing a string and wind it around the tuning, go back to our handy guide. If you need help identifying which string to change you can find out more here.