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#2118224 - 07/15/13 09:01 PM Bass Strings Keep Breaking
benny428 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi all! I gave my 1962 Wurlitzer studio a tune the other day. It was only down to an A437. And both the strings to the D key broke. Its in the octave which the copper wound strings change over to the steel wire (D3). I have gone through 6 of my replacement strings that had been given to me from years ago and it just keeps breaking ! I'm getting highly frustrated. They make it up to an A, then snap. They never make it. Any ideas? I'm loosing my patience quick. I need some advice! Thanks!
Wurlitzer Studio Upright Piano- Built in 1963
Tuner / Technician
Kenyon Piano Service

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#2118251 - 07/15/13 09:40 PM Re: Bass Strings Keep Breaking [Re: benny428]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1277
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Where are they breaking? All in the same spot? Wrong size string?
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

#2118257 - 07/15/13 09:51 PM Re: Bass Strings Keep Breaking [Re: benny428]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 389
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Might want to check for a rough spot or bent bridge pin somewhere, could be binding up and putting the squeeze on the string in that specific spot.
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

#2118425 - 07/16/13 07:41 AM Re: Bass Strings Keep Breaking [Re: benny428]
benny428 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Pennsylvania
It's all breaking near the tuning pin area. I've made sure that the copper winding is the same thickness as the original. I'm confused as to what this could be.
Wurlitzer Studio Upright Piano- Built in 1963
Tuner / Technician
Kenyon Piano Service

#2118454 - 07/16/13 09:40 AM Re: Bass Strings Keep Breaking [Re: benny428]
Craig Miller RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/27/07
Posts: 32
Loc: Atlanta GA
Assuming that this is a 900 scale, the D3 will be the last wound bi-chord below the break, with one
wound bi-chord above the break. It is a common problem in small scales to have the strings immediately
below that break be at an extremely high percent of the breaking point. There isn't much room for
an error in wire size. If you're a half size off, you will just keep breaking strings. I suggest
downloading Scale Ripper and plugging in the measurements for those strings. It will calculate the
% of breaking point. If so, use the software to adjust the wire gauges slightly to bring it down
to about 60%.
Craig Miller RPT

#2118488 - 07/16/13 10:56 AM Re: Bass Strings Keep Breaking [Re: benny428]
TunerJeff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 509
Loc: Oregon Coast

Dear Benny,

John, up at JDGrandt Strings, can also rescale your problem strings for you. Sending in measurements of the hitch to forward bridge-pin and then the speaking length, will allow a change in the scaling to help prevent your breakage problem. Their website explains the information needed.

There are many reasons for strings breaking, however.
1. Angle; If you are wrapping the strings too high, and the tuning pins are sitting too far above the bearing bar, the angle can be too much for the string to handle. POP! Make sure you are giving the tuning pins the correct height, before putting the new coil/string in place. Likewise; too low can be a problem, if there is only a bearing pin in the plate. Match the neighbors!
2. Bearing; Nicks on the upper plate bearing pin or bearing bar can also bind the string and load that upper segment too far.
3. Excessive twist; Sometimes we get too aggressive on putting a tightening twist on the bass wraps. All you need is a twist or so...I only put a twist in the direction of the wraps until I feel resistance and stop. This is rarely more than 1 to 1.5. More can cause problems and lead to breakage or a dull-sounding string.

I don't generally find a breakage problem in Wurlies. They are a solid and reliable instrument, in general. Take a hard look at the string/pin heights, and the wear on the bearing points. Otherwise....do consider a minor change in the scaling to reduce breaking strain on those wires.

Not a saleman,
for JDGrandt.com,
but their strings,
have helped me!
I remain,
Yr. svt.,
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services


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