Info on the New Bow Brand WHITE Gut Strings
I predict, that in twenty years time, all harp players will be using Bow Brand WHITE Gut strings ... and natural coloured gut strings will simply become a quaint memory from the past.
Bow Brand WHITE gut strings are Bow Brand's premium natural gut strings finished with a White varnish, similar to the Red and Black varnish traditionally applied to all C and F strings. The White gut looks very striking on any harp and makes it much easier for players to see the strings, which is a great advantage to performers working in different lighting conditions ( ... as well as older players who don't wish to perform with reading glasses ).
There has always been some inconsistency in the colour of natural gut, from almost clear to slightly darker shades of yellow or brown, and this does not help either the novice or the expert player to navigate their many harp strings. Only the red and black string colours on a harp are consistent and true ... but, with Bow Brand WHITE gut strings, there is a beautiful consistent white colour to match the red and black ... perfect!
Bow Brand's new White gut strings have actually been around for a few years now, under the name Concedo Gut, but in the past they were perhaps prohibitively expensive ... but now Bow Brand have decided to sell them for the same price as natural gut! So, the only reason why it will still take quite some time before everyone is playing White Gut strings, is that it looks a little odd to mix the White gut and Natural gut on the same harp ... so, at some point, a player would have to completely re-string an older harp to take advantage of the new White Gut strings? Perhaps, just changing one octave at a time would work?
White gut strings produce exactly the same tone quality as other natural gut strings. It's interesting to note that all harp strings are varnished, as even the natural gut strings have a clear varnish applied. I have heard one or two pedal harp players suggesting that the Bow Brand White gut strings produce a slightly different tone quality ... but I suspect they are largely being influenced by the different visual appearance rather than the actual sound quality ... or perhaps they are hearing the difference between an 'older set of gut strings' and a 'newer set of gut strings' ... as we have all been playing Red varnished C strings and Black varnished F strings for many decades, without noticing any great imbalance in tone between the clear varnished natural gut strings and the red & black varnished strings.
There is perhaps a slightly different strength quality to the White varnish, compared to the clear string varnish, as the White strings are proving to be slightly more durable and offer slightly better longevity.
Some makers of higher quality professional harps, like Mark Norris Harps, are already using White Gut as standard on all their new instruments.