Downspout 10 String Wind Harp

by Greg Gogates
(Worcester, PA)

3-Foot, 2-Sided Downspout Wind Harp

3-Foot, 2-Sided Downspout Wind Harp

I watched the video on making an Aeolian downspout harp and proceeded to create one: a 3x4-inch, 3 foot long, 10 string, 2 sided wind harp. I thought it would be an interesting addition to my wind chimes. I decided that a 3x4-inch downspout, with the added width would be better.

I cut a 3-foot piece, drilled 3 sound holes and spray painted it brushed copper. I cut two pieces of 2x4 to tightly fit in the ends and secured it with 2 brass screws on the narrower sides. I also cut two 5-inch square plates to put on the ends to protect the strings.

I also ordered the items below from

12 Standard Zither Pins — Great for Zithers, Harps and other Primitive Stringed Instruments by C. B. Gitty Supply.

Grover 8020 Autoharp Tuning Hammer by Grover.

KastKing DuraBlend Monofilament Leader Line, Premium Saltwater Mono Leader Materials, Big Game Spool Size 120Yds/110pound, 1.0mm by KastKing.

I placed RH brass wood screws (because no threads at the throat) on both wide sides of one end. I tied a "double surgeons loop" on a string and looped it over each screw head. The other end went to the zither pins.

I then randomly tightened them over some simple wood wedges notched for each string.

I think the whole thing looks really nice, but I cannot get it to make any sound. The monofilament is round and smooth. Not sure why.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Comments for Downspout 10 String Wind Harp

Click here to add your own comments

Awesome Looking Aeolian Wind Harp
by: Don (Webmaster)

Greg, thanks for sharing your Aeolian harp design with us. Your downspout wind harp is quite attractive and very well made. Getting the desired musical sound requires experimenting with the tension of the wires during a stiff breeze, and it can take time and patience. All part of the fun.

Updated String Diameter
by: Greg

Well, I couldn't get the Aeolian downspout harp to sing using the 1.0mm fishing leader monofilament. I invested in the same monofilament but with a 0.55mm diameter.

KastKing DuraBlend Monofilament Leader Line, Premium Saltwater Mono Leader Materials, Big Game Spool Size 120Yds/110M - Great Substitute for Fluorocarbon Leader Line, ICAST Award Winning Brand by KastKing

It now sings beautifully. The volume is low, but it works fine now. I have some disc piezo electric pickups, but hooking an amp to a wind harp seems wrong.

I have 7 feet of leftover 4-inch downspout. I think I might go crazy and build one longer then maybe the 1.0mm monofiliment will be fine.


My downspout harp
by: Geoff

I'd wanted to make an aeolian harp for a very long time. Tried several times following various instructions found on the internet but failed every time. Your downspout harp inspired me to try again.

The first one I made using a downspout failed. But, I came to the realization that the only reason it failed is because I had no idea how to tune it. A lot of time spent researching finally revealed that the strings need to be very tight. Like a guitar. Once I had brought the strings up to a proper pitch the harp sang like crazy. Even in a very light breeze.

The first downspout harp turned out to be a prototype for the one I finished yesterday. (I'd attach a pic, but this form won't let me.) I used a four string guitar bridge to tie the strings off, and a couple of viola bridges to actually play the part of a proper bridge. Then, I used guitar tuning pegs for tightening and tuning the four strings. I used very thin 25-lb test fishing line.

The resulting harp had a cavity measuring 53 inches, which translated to a 1st partial, or fundamental resonant frequency of 123 Hz. About B2 on a piano. The four strings are different lengths, so they will generate different partials, but they are all tuned to the same frequency. It sits out on my back deck and sings to me all afternoon.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Congratulations Geoff
by: Don (Webmaster)

Geoff, thanks so much for sharing your comment. It's not only informative, but it's inspiring too. Congratulations on being inspired to build your own Aeolian Harp!

Please consider returning to the Aeolian Harp page and submitting your wind harp building experiences as outlined in your comment, along with up to four photos of your downspout creation. It's made easy using the submission form, and I am sure many readers would be inspired to build their own wind harp after viewing your new Aeolian Harp.

Aeolian Harp Strings
by: Java

Would piano strings work with an Aeolian Harp?

Piano Strings
by: Greg

You can use piano strings but remember that they need to be loose so that they vibrate in wind. You can experiment by using a fan. The negative is that piano strings will rust.


Query Concerning Length
by: Les

What would you recommend as the minimum length for the harp? It will be outside in the North west of England. This area is quite windy and showery.

I make all sorts of stuff which I sell, and the money raised goes to International Trust.

Most of the materials are reclaimed, especially the timber. Hence my question.

Click here to add your own comments

Simply click here to return to Aeolian Harp. Why not join in and write your own page? It's easy to do!