thanks everyone, much appreciated
THX1138 - just polys. I realised that for the most they are straight lines so I just used an 8 sided cylinder, extruded it, did a couple of cuts in areas that needed to be bent and rotated the verts. The string wrapped around the pegs are just cylinders with a few cuts that are pulled towards the center. A duplication and minor resize worked for all the other string thickensses.
A bit of a cheat and a little time consuming but I think it worked
I will go back and do the nurbs circle along a path method (not done it yet) as that would be sooo much faster
Fallenswordsman - the festive cheer might make it hard to finish but I'll try - beers up!