Inconsistent sound qualtiy

Dear members,

I’ve just done some small repairs on a harpsichord (broken plectra). What was very strange was the sound quality of the instrument: a string sounds well, the string next to it sounds muted as if there is still a damper or lute stop engaged, then again good sound for a couple of string, again the muted sound, etc.

I checked everything: for the “muted” strings there is nothing hindering the vibration of the string: no damper is touching the string nor is there any leather/felt of the lute stop touching the string.

According to the owner the instrument has been restrung from steel to other(whatever this might have been) wire a couple of years ago.

Any idea what’s causing this blatant difference in quality?

Have a nice week & keep healthy,



Your own ideas sound quite good. The only thing you didnt mention was the possibility of nut or bridge pins not seated properly. I have heard of that one causing wierd sounds, though have never encountered it myself. Perhaps more information about the nature of the instrument might help to shake other ideas loose.


I have had on occasion, found a weird string with the properties you mention and discovered it was caused by too much twist occurring when I was winding the hitch pin loop. There’s nothing physically visible -no kinks or anything, yet a string that has been twisted too tightly will retain the deformity. Now, I always leave plenty of length between where I twist the loop and the end where the wire is held coming off the spool. (like at least 6 feet).

Thanks Tom. The instrument will probably come to my workshop in the coming months. I really hope that replacing the strings will result in a better and consistent sound for all strings.