It makes a difference
May 27, 2014
Many schools in Finland have a 5-string kantele which was donated by the Kantele to schools project during the 80’s. Unfortunately their wooden tuning pegs are experienced difficult to tune and thus these kanteles are often left unused. At some schools I’ve now installed bronze or brass strings in unused kanteles with wooden tuning pegs, and their sound has become beautiful (See At the School of Katariina).
As a part of the VS-kantele project I collaborated with the teachers at the School of Lemu in Masku last winter. They also had one old kantele which even missed two of its tuning pegs. Fortunately we were able to get suitable wooden tuning pegs from the instrument builders in Leppävirta, and I started to experiment bronze strings on it.
With the 0.016 inch wire I was able to tune the instrument into B-minor (string #1 set to B3), and I combined it with the most used D-major kantele with steel strings. Then I changed the string diameter into 0.018 inch bronze wire, and the timbre changed dramatically: