Installing kantele strings is a bit of a challenge the first time around. The music wire I used is very hard and can have dangerous, sharp ends. There is a very specific way to install the strings successfully; precision is necessary to prevent small ends of sharp wire from sticking out and creating injuries when handling the instrument. I had the experience of being punctured and cut with it several times while making the looped string ends and while handling other instruments where it wasn’t done properly. I was therefore very motivated to do the final installation properly.
Strings are attached first to the varras. The loop is pulled under the varras from the bottom. A needle nose pliers is very helpful at this stage. The string is then pulled through the loop and pulled taught.
Zither Pin String Technique
- At the other end of the instrument, the string is inserted through the hole in the zither pin and then clipped off leaving about 2 ½ to 3 inches of extra string sticking through.
- The extra string is pulled back flush with the side of the pin so it doesn’t stick out.
- The tuning pin is tightened about one half turn.
- The string is pulled back taught to make a bend or becket in the string that will hold it in the hole in the zither pin without slipping.
- The string is then held taught with one hand while winding with a tuning key until tight. The turns are watched carefully while winding. Pressure from the hand and fingers holding the string is also used to push the winds of the string close together on the tuning pin.