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#2053658 - 03/24/13 07:25 PM Re-stringing, when should it be done?
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
What are the reasons for re-stringing a piano....solid strings. How does one know when it is necessary? Is it the sound of the strings, if so, what does one listen for? I suspect rust is not a good thing. Rust is not the issue in my case, but I am curious as to the sound effects on solid strings that are at least 50+ years old.

If you were to replace the solid stirngs on a 82 yr old 4ft 8 Weber Grand...what manufacturer would you use today for the best results?

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#2053684 - 03/24/13 08:19 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2059
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Did you measure the Weber at 4' 8"? I can't recall ever seeing or hearing about a Weber that old, that small.

The latest development in wire types is often referred to as "Hybrid" wire scales. This redesign takes advantage of the lesser longitudinal mode production and reduced transverse mode partials that "softer" types of piano wire exhibit. The high-carbon steel wire sources are Paulello in France, (distributed in US by Arno Patin), and PureSound stainless from (Holland I think or is it Portugal?), (distributed in the states by Jurgen of Pianosupply).

These special wire types are used in the portion of scales where the string length is too short to sound good with the hardest, high-carbon wire, and the introduction of fine wound strings introduces other negative issues.

Properly used a well proportioned small piano scale can be improved a lot. I have done 6 or 7 pianos so far this way.
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#2053689 - 03/24/13 08:25 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
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Those of us who restring pianos know what the difference between new strings and old strings sound like. Like so many other things, it is difficult to put into words. Tubby bass strings, and shrill but weak treble strings are symptoms. It also takes experience to differentiate the affect of new strings from the affect of new hammers.


Edited by BDB (03/24/13 08:26 PM)
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#2053758 - 03/25/13 12:31 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Ed, thanks for the info....yes I did measure. The case is 6ft, but because this is a player piano, the Duo-Art system takes up room. I measured from the front of the plate to the tail, and it is 56 inches exactly.

You mentioned PureSound stainless....I wonder it this would be a good choice given how short the piano is? I was under the impression that this kind of wire was for earlier pianos than 1930?

Bdb....thanks for your input....the hammers are new, as are the bass strings, so I don't think they are an issue. I have not had a lot of experience with older strings on pianos, hence my questions. I think I am use to the sound of my 7ft grand. wink This is a pretty short piano, and of course a different make etc.

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#2053770 - 03/25/13 01:26 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


You mentioned PureSound stainless....I wonder it this would be a good choice given how short the piano is? I was under the impression that this kind of wire was for earlier pianos than 1930?



As Ed mentioned, string scales can be improved by utilizing special wire (from PureSound or Paulello) in conjunction with modern wire. In this so called "Hybrid" scaling, this wire is typically used in the lowest plain trichords and the core in wrapped strings. Of course, the extent to which it is used depends on the particular model of piano. It's entirely likely you'd notice an improvement on your piano, but the existing scale would have to be measured and analyzed to determine the optimum modifications.
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#2053775 - 03/25/13 01:59 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
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The problem with short pianos is that most of them are designed with tensions that drop really low at the lowest point of the tenor plain wire strings. Ideally there would be more wound strings to increase the tension at that point, and the tension of the rest of the piano should be lowered as well.

I rescaled a small Bush & Gerts that way once, and it came out nice. A Kimball I rescaled was not as nice, but then, it was not as nice a piano to begin with.
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#2053837 - 03/25/13 07:25 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed Foote Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1162
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Reasons for replacing the plain wire? Breakage, loose pins, poor scale, bridge/capo problems, damaged strings, tired of looking at old strings, too much money, boredom, etc.

I have a number of 90 year old pianos in my care that, with original strings, sound better, with less false beats, than 2 year old pianos of, supposedly, the same brand. New wire is not always an improvement, sometimes we find that the steel of 1914 was a better steel than what is being used in wire today.

It has also been my experience that new strings are not a sure improvement, tonally, over the old. Most of the shortcomings are termination-related, but on a smaller grand, the wire, itself, is probably not the source of the problem. New hammers and bass strings, 82 years old, left the block and treble wire...??


regards,

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#2053879 - 03/25/13 09:09 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
Old wire type is useful to avoid too much ih when the lenght is short.

If the original lenght allows for enough tension the scale is "modern".

Wire age , above 40 years the treble is less thick, the mediums sound harder.

Very old wire is a different matter, and can be kept as "original" .

Bass strings are another problem if they sound clear I dont change them, but it is not so often.

The use made of the piano is dictating the options. Treble wire is sometime changed after 20 years of intense playing.
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#2054211 - 03/25/13 08:07 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Olek]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks for all the replies.

Going to have a pro take a listen and see if it's warranted. This piano has a LOT of sustain, all the way up to C8, so it's not a soundboard issue...it just could be that this is a short piano, and it is what it is. Perhaps the 'hybrid' stringing would help....will see.

Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.

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#2054223 - 03/25/13 08:23 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed Foote]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Ed.....The plan was to rebuild everything in the player system, not the piano itself, cost factor being the main reason. The original pin block is surprisingly solid for 82 yrs. If it had not been solid, I probably would have had it replaced along with the strings, or at least, larger pins. The sustain is really good throughout the whole piano, even in the 5th-6th octaves.

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#2054233 - 03/25/13 08:43 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.
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#2054249 - 03/25/13 09:18 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: beethoven986]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Interesting take on the Wapin....but I have to disagree. I had it done to my 7ft M&H and am very happy with the outcome...having the correct hammers for the Wapin made a significant improvement...in my case it was Ari Isaac's hammers that made that difference.

I have Ari's hammers on the Weber. The piano is 82 yrs old...it has it's original bridge pins.

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#2054299 - 03/25/13 10:52 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2059
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I have not noticed that plain wire in a piano will change it's sound due to age alone. Like ED Foote said; I have some very old really well preserved pianos that the wire sounds as good as new. I don't know if the 1914 or so steel is better than new. I do prefer the Mapes gold plain wire for high stress portions of a modern piano scale over Roslau. I haven't compared Suzuki.

We are in dire need of some independent testing for all kinds of todays piano wire for break point, elastic limit, Youngs modulus, Rockwell hardness, comparative longitudinal modes and relative amplitudes of selected sizes. The PTG foundation should organize and fund this.
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#2054303 - 03/25/13 11:10 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Boston, MA
Hey Ed, could you describe what you hear out of the Mapes Gold wire that you like better than the Roslau?
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#2054304 - 03/25/13 11:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2059
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I used to convert low breaking point trichord plain unisons at the lowest part of the long bridge to high breaking point wound bi-chords to improve the tone. These scaling protocols were developed back in the day when we though inharmonicity was a very significant determinate of tone quality.

It rarely worked well because two string unisons do not couple like three, and more prominent longitudinal modes often appeared. I now use Hybrid wire protocols that I developed which are easier to implement and so far at least-have always improved the musical utility of the piano. Thank you Juan Mas Cabre and Stephan Paulello!
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2055045 - 03/27/13 10:53 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Tunewerk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2059
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Some of us "think" Mapes international gold wire is stronger than Roslau. This thought is based on testing break point with the very crude method of comparing what pitch two samples of wire break at on a given note of a real piano. Basically string a unison with the two samples and raise pitch a little at a time on both samples until they break and note the pitch difference.

The industry needs a complete, comparative testing of all the relevant wire behavior elements, of the different types of wire.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2055064 - 03/27/13 12:05 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
Ed is not the carbon content different ?
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055067 - 03/27/13 12:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
Is not tge carbon content slightly different ? The tensile strain have certainly been tested some decades go. For the numbers provided I believe they are only from computations .

That said Roslau seem to guarantee that their wire can be hmnered on 1/3 thickness, or rolled (as done for winding) and keep the official BS .

About iH i find more pianos with less than 0,8 at note 49 the note pitch is not too much distorded then. I tend to believe that when we raise in the 1.00 range something is less pleasing, more brutal, to the ear.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055068 - 03/27/13 12:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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There are probably information sheets available on various makes of piano wire. It is used for other purposes, where that information may be more useful. However, that would probably give minimum breaking strength, and the amount of variation would not be recorded.

Trying to analyze by pitch would be fruitless. The point at which the string is ruined is the elastic limit, not the breaking point. Once the string has reached the elastic limit, it begins to distort and the pitch goes haywire.

These limits depend on the heat treatment of the wire. The usual cause of breakage is when the treatment is no longer the main influence on the strength of the wire, due to metal fatigue. That causes the elastic limit to lower, until the string breaks.
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#2055076 - 03/27/13 12:28 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
You are right to say probably, but it is in the end not really.

The wire for pianos is only for music, hence surface treatment and probably recipesvfrom the string maker on how many passes before "cooking" knowing that the elastic properties are lost at that moment, then bring back with the next passes in the drawing holes.... Speed and number of cookings beforebobtaining the wanted diameter are determining the wire elasticity, assuming the original "salmon" is made from similar steel.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055346 - 03/27/13 09:20 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Scotland
I've enjoyed reading these responses. Some nice points about what difference restringing might or might not make, and how much a piano's deterioration is due to strings or to other things, especially hammers.

I have wondered sometimes if people think of piano strings as like guitar strings. A guitar will have many sets of strings in its lifetime, not necessarily because they break, but because they do "wear out" due to the degree of deflection, the relative thinness, the acids in skin etc. I believe that there may be a false perception at large that restringing is some kind of cure-all for an old piano.

This may have been fostered by unscrupulous "rebuilders" willing to sell a restringing when it's not really neccessary. (Of course I am not talking here of reputable rebuilders who do everything in properly restoring, even improving the original design, of a piano).

I have stressed to customers that restringing on its own is unlikely to make much difference, especially if there is little or no soundbaord crown left, and/or if the hammers are not replaced.

It's funny that (at least in the UK) people ask about restringing, but they don't ask about new hammers. Or other action restoration. I have tried to address some of these issues on the Strings page of my website http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/piano-strings.php

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#2055353 - 03/27/13 09:38 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: beethoven986]
kpembrook Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.


It would not be a mistake. I think your comment is based just on seeing a particular piano post-Wapin. You need to have seen it pre-Wapin to offer any valid perspective.

In my experience of observing Wapin by others and the installations I have done, there is ALWAYS a noticeable improvement.

I have done work in various sequences such as restring first, hammers first, with/without Wapin. Wapin and then hammers and would comment that in many cases the tonal improvement from Wapin is greater than the tonal improvement from just restringing.
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2055358 - 03/27/13 09:44 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
kpembrook Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have not noticed that plain wire in a piano will change it's sound due to age alone. Like ED Foote said; I have some very old really well preserved pianos that the wire sounds as good as new. I don't know if the 1914 or so steel is better than new. I do prefer the Mapes gold plain wire for high stress portions of a modern piano scale over Roslau. I haven't compared Suzuki.


I don't think this is able to be an accurate statement -- certainly not one that a single person has observed. It may well be that a piano with old wire sounds very good. But whether it sounds as it was when new simply is not within the capability of anyone who didn't hear the piano new to make. Even then, the passage of time would likely dull one's memory of the original sound.

In any event, having done enough "modular" rebuilding to assess the impact of different procedures, I would say that yes, there is an observable improvement in tone from new wire. Not as much as new hammers, to be sure.

I have had the interesting phenomenon of letting the tension down, moving the strings slightly from one pin to the next and re-tensioning. I got a tonal improvement similar to what I observe from new wire. Apparently, getting wire that has been "worked" less at the bearing points gives some of the increased clarity/sparkle of new strings.

I have also experimented with frozen wire, (liquid nitrogen) but not enough comparison to say what all it does other than a strong impression that it stabilized more quickly.


Edited by kpembrook (03/27/13 09:45 PM)
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2055665 - 03/28/13 12:46 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
I would say that yes, there is an observable improvement in tone from new wire. Not as much as new hammers, to be sure.


Yet generally, people will ask about restringing, and not about new hammers.

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#2055735 - 03/28/13 02:53 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: David Boyce]
fishbulb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: David Boyce
Yet generally, people will ask about restringing, and not about new hammers.


Could be that way because for many popular stringed instruments (guitar, violin, etc.) restringing has a very large impact on tone, so that is what people think about. smile

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#2055863 - 03/28/13 08:30 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Scotland
Yes, that is what I suggested in Post #2055346, above.

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#2055868 - 03/28/13 08:38 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: kpembrook]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.


It would not be a mistake. I think your comment is based just on seeing a particular piano post-Wapin. You need to have seen it pre-Wapin to offer any valid perspective.

In my experience of observing Wapin by others and the installations I have done, there is ALWAYS a noticeable improvement.

I have done work in various sequences such as restring first, hammers first, with/without Wapin. Wapin and then hammers and would comment that in many cases the tonal improvement from Wapin is greater than the tonal improvement from just restringing.


I was thinking the same thing, Keith. I don't know what pianos Beethoven986 has heard, and have no reason to doubt his experience. But I do know that a significant percentage of Wapin installations have been done on pianos which didn't sound so very good to start with. Often, it is a last ditch effort to get any kind of tone at all out of an instrument. I know I've done it. Having done many Wapin installations, there has always been a before/after difference. At this point in my career, I've used it enough that I get relatively consistent, predictable results. I hear the difference immediately.

Grandpianoman has become accustomed to hearing the sound of Wapin on his Mason and Hamlin BB. He might just be missing that sound on his other piano, despite the fact that it has new hammers and good sustain. To me, there is a "Wapin sound". Now, the hammers need to be kept voiced. It can get too bright and zingy with hard hammers. But then, I think that hammers should be kept voiced on all pianos. The Issac's hammers do seem to work very well with Wapin.
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#2056646 - 03/30/13 02:39 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: RoyP]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Roy,

Yes, that is def part of the reason...I'm spoiled by a beautiful sounding 7ft M&H 'Wapinized' Grand. wink

I just found out that these treble strings were new around 2002-3~! Given that fact, I think I am not used to hearing a 4ft8 grand, short piano, short strings and all that goes with those issues. Perhaps a Wapin is in order in the future.....That being said, I think I have found the ideal tuning/stretch for it, ET that is.

The hammers are Ari's Cadenza "S" hammers..they work really well..no voicing other than Ari's pre-voicing after he made them.

Let me know what you all think of this tuning/stretch.

"It Had To Be You-- Fox Trot from 1924. https://www.box.com/s/vli1tytq10jv0310ax2y



Edited by Grandpianoman (03/30/13 05:27 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#2058584 - 04/03/13 08:07 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
RoyP Offline
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Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
The tuning sounds good, GP. I've listened to it a few times. As far as whether it is ideal? I can't say.

If the plain wire strings are only about 10 years old, they shouldn't need replaced. I doubt that you would get much improvement there.

I haven't heard of Ari's Cadenza S hammers. What are they, a light version for small pianos?
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2058795 - 04/03/13 04:29 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Roy,

Appreciate the feedback. After trying several stretches/tuning styles, it's clear to me that this short piano presents a challenge in finding the ideal tuning. Will continue to experiment.

Yes, as soon as I found out that the solid wire was only 10 or so years old, no need to replace them.

I believe they are his normal hammers, although, these are his 165 hammers.

Same tuning...recorded a few days later....a short classical piece. Playing a large classical piece on a short piano...it's not my favorite thing to do. This one is not too bad, but some of the classical rolls sound better on a larger piano. You can hear more of how the tuning works with this piece.


--HUNGARIAN DANCE-- No. 8 in A minor, Played by Harold Bauer
https://www.box.com/s/ucsjktz6o624ehhjontq

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09/17/14 10:59 PM
Proud new owner of a Yamaha P22
by amanda416
09/17/14 09:04 PM
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