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#651832 - 03/10/08 02:47 PM Pure Sound Wire
mupianotech Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 34
Loc: Huntington WV
Several recent threads have touched on the subject of the use of Pure Sound wire.
How many techs on this list are or have used this type of stainless steel wire in your rebuilding projects?

This past summer I rebuilt a Steinway B and a Steinway M grand using Puresound and have encountered significant and disapointing string breakage in the top two treble sections.

I have run this problem past the folks on Pianotech with little helpful response. I followed carefully all the caveats suggested by the manufacturer (by way of another tech with about a dozen PS installations)e.i. polishing and lubing al the metal to metal contact points, taking care that tools (pliars,coil lifters, etc.) are absoulutely free of nicks and burrs.

I have e-mailed the supplier and manufacturer but received no response.

Every string that has broken on both pianos have popped right at the tuning pin. Not the becket, not the capo, not the bridge or hitch pin.

I have another set of PS wire to install on another S&S M but am seriously considering abandoning that idea until this breakage problem is solved.

Tech, what has been your experience? Thoughts? Suggestions?
_________________________
Paul E. Dempsey, RPT
Piano Technician Senior, Emeritus
Marshall University
Huntington, WV

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#651833 - 03/10/08 03:30 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21263
Loc: Oakland
My understanding is that stainless steel is not as strong, nor as elastic as the steel in piano wire. People have claimed that the lower breaking strength reduces the inharmonicity, but from what I have read, inharmonicity depends on the elasticity of the wire, not on the "percentage of breaking strength" which is the claim of those using this wire. It sounds like snake oil to me.

What led you to use the stuff in the first place? What results were you expecting? What results did you get?
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#651834 - 03/11/08 08:47 AM Re: Pure Sound Wire
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
OK, here's something I've wondered about. I understand that a piano with high inharmonicity will have a higher pitched treble than a piano with low inharmonicity if they are both tuned with the same type of octave, such as 4:2. If this is true, please correct me if I am wrong, then a piano with more inharmonicty would require less additional stretch to get the treble high enough to sound correct to the human ear, and have cleaner sounding octaves than a piano with less inharmonicity. So, I wonder what advantage there is in using a wire with less inharmonicity. Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.
_________________________
Part-time tuner

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#651835 - 03/11/08 10:31 AM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Pure sound is a speciality wire for some pianos from the 1800s. It was not the wire that the pianos since the late 1800s were designed with. There is plenty of stuff about this wire on the Pianotech and CAUT lists. From what I've read, it's a wire you want to stay away from unless you have a specific piano that has a low tension scale. A period piece. Really, if you have to pay that much attention to the burrs and such, I think you are tooo close to the wires extreme. Stuff like this works better when not pushed to the maximum of what it can take. IMHO
The wire that has the best tonal quality is Mapes IG.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#651836 - 03/11/08 01:03 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1708
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by UprightTooner:
OK, here's something I've wondered about. I understand that a piano with high inharmonicity will have a higher pitched treble than a piano with low inharmonicity if they are both tuned with the same type of octave, such as 4:2. If this is true, please correct me if I am wrong, then a piano with more inharmonicty would require less additional stretch to get the treble high enough to sound correct to the human ear, and have cleaner sounding octaves than a piano with less inharmonicity. So, I wonder what advantage there is in using a wire with less inharmonicity. Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. [/b]
If I understand you correctly, you have it backwards. More inharmonicity requires increased stretching of the octaves so the beating of the partials isn't objectionable.

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#651837 - 03/12/08 05:22 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Let me try to explain what I mean differently.

I believe there are three kinds of octaves: the theoretical octave where the ratio of fundamental frequencies is 2:1, the objective octave where the octave is tuned until it sounds as smooth as possible, and the subjective octave where the difference in pitch “sounds right” to the ear. Of the three, the subjective octave has the most stretch. With single octaves, there may not be much difference between the three. With double, triple and quadruple octaves, there is more and more difference.

When tuning I compromise between the objective and subjective octaves. I don’t like an octave that has too much beating nor sounds too flat. So, I believe when the strings have more inharmonicity, the objective octave is wider and there is less compromise with the subjective octave.
_________________________
Part-time tuner

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#651838 - 03/13/08 01:12 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
schmickus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 85
Loc: Bonn, Germany
mupianotech,

PureSound wire is usefull for low tension scales only, to be found on early- to mid 1800s pianos. If you want to restring a 1860 Blüthner or Bechstein use PureSound wire. But for a Steinway B this really is a bad idea.

AND PureSound is great for improving the bass-tenor transition in small uprights and grands. Just replace the strings of the last two or three notes in the tenor with Puresound wire of the same diameter. You will get a far better tonal result.

Schmickus
_________________________
physicist, hobby pianist, lyrical tenor.
As a student I used to broker pianos

Mason&Hamlin AA, 1908
Blüthner 190, 6ft3, 1903
J.L. Duysen 195, 6ft6, 1897, (under construction)

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#651839 - 03/13/08 01:48 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Salllowpad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 31
Loc: Boston, MA
Is there a rescaling program which knows how to use SS wire?
_________________________
Piano technician, Hammersmith

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#651840 - 03/17/08 04:59 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7178
Loc: France
 Quote:
Originally posted by Salllowpad:
Is there a rescaling program which knows how to use SS wire? [/b]
BONAMENS (www.banamens.nl) , an Excel program , will allow you to ascertain the kind of wire used originally on older pianos, and content the PS wire official data, Rslau and US Wire (I guess Mapes) (you can add a particular wire data if you have it)
Problem is that even with the good PS wire data used some strange things arrive, sometime 2 years after the stringing and sometime in the medium range where there is a lot of margin for breaking strain. I may only use that for the old low scale. In respect of breaking strenght, Paulello Wire (difficult to found it outside Europ but may be a technician in Michigan have some : Arno Patin)
is more robust, it also have softer qualities (3 kind) softer wire mean lower breaking strain , no matter what. You have to compute that so use a scaling program to do so (like Bonamens, sorry I don't know another that does the same).
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#651841 - 03/17/08 05:07 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7178
Loc: France
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
My understanding is that stainless steel is not as strong, nor as elastic as the steel in piano wire. People have claimed that the lower breaking strength reduces the inharmonicity, but from what I have read, inharmonicity depends on the elasticity of the wire, not on the "percentage of breaking strength" which is the claim of those using this wire. [/b]
Of course inhamrmonicity depend of the softness of the wire as well, it is linked. But why one want to have lower iH ? you only need the IH planned with the original scaling, soemtime pretty high like on Bechsteins. it is part of the piano tone. Older instruments which have really low tension scale as 60 KP and less have a rounder tone and will loose it if stronger wire is used, then one is looking for replacement wire and it is yet a little difficult to found the excat thing. Some less older wire where also harder than actually.
looking at the gauges and the lenghts can tell you what kind of tension was there and if the modern wire is suiteable for. But modern wire begin in 1837, aint a recent story. Some modern wire where softer, indeed.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#651842 - 03/18/08 11:54 AM Re: Pure Sound Wire
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21263
Loc: Oakland
I am sorry, I do not understand anything that you wrote. Do you have a reference source for your information in English?
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#651843 - 03/18/08 12:17 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7178
Loc: France
Hello, BDB
Sorry you did not understand me, I am agreeing with you basically. I just added that inharmonicity is part of the normal piano tone. it is a spectra enlargment)
There are 3 kind of pianos in that regard.

Low inharmonicity like Faziolis, Bluthners
Standard inharmonicity like Steinway's, Yamaha,
Very high inharmonicity like Bechstein.

The more iH , the more the tone catch you ears at low level, but the more there is distortion and harshness at FF.

Most of the information is unfortunately in German, see the books availeable at Bochinsky in Germany, some may be translated in English.

I know the Bonamens software have been produced by a pure sound enthusiast, but the content is good for the computation part. On the program's site there are also some information on the wire softness/breaking strain questions. You may also have a look at Jean Louchet personal pages, many are translated in English. :http://jean.louchet.free.fr/perso/pianos.html

Sorry my english is really bad, I only understand myself well enough !

Best regards
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#651844 - 03/18/08 12:35 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
I thought you were suggesting that Pure Sound manipulates the hardness or tempering of their wire to attain its characteristic sound. But I always assumed they did the opposite... manipulated its structural integrity using cryogenics. I don't know that they actually reveal what they do.

This process doesn't harden a metal. It merely removes any irregularities or faults from the crystal structure. I've been using guitar strings treated this way for years and it gives them a characteristic clarity of tone, causes them to play louder, and allows a higher tension tuning that would cause untreated strings to break... I play a baritone 28" scale guitar normally tuned to B, but prefer to bring the tuning up to the regular E typical of 25" scale guitars.

So when I had my Steinway console rebuilt last year, I arranged to have the replacement Mapes/Roselau string set sent out for treatment. Cost about $100. Only one string snapped, similarly to what Paul described, at the tuning pin. Luckily I sent out a bit of extra wire. Btw, I removed all the wire from any reels and wound it on a 16" diameter and placed it in marked extra-large double lock freezer bags before treatment. Piano sounds great, btw.

Howard

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#651845 - 03/18/08 12:55 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7178
Loc: France
I have no idea of the treatment used, they begin using some stainless wire that where availeable.
(used for the large fishing boats I was said) nothing special only that they discover that the metal had the same weight than the Firmini wire.

Having some piano wire (with all those diameters) produced is a very costly operation. With regular piano wire (steel) the wire is hardened while annealing , it is done because the initial "salmon" pass thru diamanted holes thinner and thinner , and the structure of the wire change then (the outside harden). Paulello use the speed of the annealing as a pat of the process (the wire is still made by a German wire making company )

There ar lead baths also, but I cant recall when are they used. Older French steel piano wire (Firmini wire is the name) is resistive to rust, but is not stainless, stainless is probably a too soft material to be used in modern pianos.

The original name for the process of piano wire is "patented wire" and it dates from 1837 - it relate with the lead baths for what I know but I am far from being a metal specialist.

To obtain 3 hardness quality paulello varies the content of a composant in the metal, but he told me the steel he uses is the same than Roslau in its composition, out of this parameter.

He also tod me the speed of the wire passing thru the hole is around 2 meter/second, while roslau is at 5 meters second, hence annealing is differnet.
It may take years of searches and testing to obtain exactly what one is looking for.


A friend that builds excellent fortipianas builder and restorer told me he uses by chance for years some iron wire that came from the industry, a low cost product used to pack large rolls of iron or steel wire, and that it was a perfect remplacement for pre 1837 instruments.

Unfortunately the production stopped and he was obliged to find something else.

What is the exact name of the treatment you are talkin of ?

BTW new steel piano wire once mounted is avantageously rubbed a little hard so it get very hot. This disspate elastcicity, that is what we are after, if we don't the process is done naturally but it take more time.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#651846 - 03/18/08 01:55 PM Re: Pure Sound Wire
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
It's a standard cryogenic treatment used on high stress drill bits and structural parts used in machinery, aircraft engines, oil rigs, bridges, etc. But it also seems to work wonders on brass musical instruments and guitar strings. I only came across a few references to use on piano strings with some suggestion it might require less frequent tunings but I think that part is nonsense. Here's the folks I used:

http://www.300below.com/

I also use the process on mic preamp vacuum tubes. Yields about a 10 db improvement in S/N ratio.

Howard

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