Wound piano strings.

Posted by: Goof

Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 09:06 AM

On my large Bernard Brock upright made here in the UK in 1956 (probably), I find that the first three notes after the break can not be made to "sound",or is it resonate, as loudly as those above the break.
The two strings are wrapped to have a diameter of 1,6mm and the string wire is 1mm dia.
This scheme continues from D3 down to A sharp2 where the wrapping wire disameter is larger and the overall diameter of the string is 1,8mm.
Where the wrapped string dia increases to 2mm at G2 then the resonances increases to a reasonable loudness.
Another point is that downto G2 the sound of the note is spoilt by a percussive - DUM - sound as the hammer hits.
I'm thinking of finding some ]plaino piano wire of 1mm dia and replacing the firt few string after the break ,just see what happens!!
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 09:12 AM

Has the piano ever been re-strung?

A piano of that age usually needs at least a set of new hammer and strings.

What does your tuner say about the instrument?
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 09:28 AM

No never restrung and never had a new set of hammers.I have thought of both - definately hammers first and then the more frequently used base strings, say down to F2.
Being retired and interested in "mechanics" I would have no problems in doing the work: having already tuned and sorted out the Herburger Brooks action.
I did read that unhitching the string and giving it a one turn twist in the direction which would "pull" the wrap tighter might get rid of the "DUM".
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 09:55 AM

Be careful how you mention anything regarding “do it yourself” on your piano here. You may get pounced upon by some… (I’ve already been down that gauntlet line; or is it more like hazing? laugh ).

Rick
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 10:31 AM

Hey! Hey! I love interaction. Yaa know "Sticks and stones" and all that.
Posted by: Eric Gloo

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/08/12 11:13 AM

Before replacing strings, check to make sure there are not problems with the bass bridge, bridge pins, and/or apron. What you describe in the loss of sound from that area is one of the symptoms of bridge separation.
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/09/12 08:12 AM

How can I check for bridge separation?
How can I check that the sound board still has some convexity?
When hammers are described as 17lbs is this the total weight of all the hamers?
Which firm is a sound maker of hamers?
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Wound piano strings. - 05/09/12 09:36 AM

Simply checking for bridge seperation isn't going to address the myriad of other concerns you should have. The same applies to the convexity of the board. This is a complex instrument and you need a tech who has examined the piano to give you guidance.

No, the 17lbs. you refer to is the weight of a sheet of felt out of which a set will be cut.

Many companies make good hammers, Abel, Ronson, Renner, to name a few. However which hammer would be best is a question that again, you need a tech to help determine.
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 05:09 AM

Well! I did replace the two strings with a pair from A.Isaac Pianos in Toronto Canada.
The sound is much better but not as "good" or loud, as the plain tri cord of the D sharp above the break.
Looking through many, many, posts I read that there is a general problem with the design and positioning of the short base bridge in over strung uprights.
So !! I will continue using my well investigated piano untill I can play Debussy's premier arabesque without the music score and then I may reward myself with a digital piano.
One must understand that this is not because I favour digitals but because I will not be able to fiddle with the works !!
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 07:30 AM

Just curious... who replaced the wound strings? They have to be leveled and mated/fitted to the hammer. Also, the new strings need to be seated well at the bridge pins. If this was not done, it might make a big difference in the quality and volume of the note.

Good luck.

Rick
Posted by: Rotom

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 09:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Goof
Well! I did replace the two strings with a pair from A.Isaac Pianos in Toronto Canada.


Rick, it sounds like Goof replaced the string himself. Good points raised too smile
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 02:34 PM

Yep! all home work. I have read a couple of books on the suject.
Just for the record the flippin hammer is not 100% square to the strings and I did do some filing ! Not much and I may try again as this is definitely a point/problem.
The steel in the old the string(s) was/is very brittle. Once removed I thought I'd find out just how it would stand up to a bend.Taking one of the old strings; using two pairs of pliers; slowly bent it just below where it had left the bridge. Bing! no bendy - just a very sharp snap and a knife sharp edge.
Please do me a favour and explain what is meant by "lifting the strings" I've seen pics of tools for said proceedure; like a little hook? In the books I read, about 5yrs back, I do not remember reading of string lifting.
As for seating bridge pins, no, and I do not think I'll try as they do not look as if they will take any abuse !
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 03:17 PM

This may well be the blind leading the blind here, ( smile ) but piano wire is very stiff and tough as nails. New piano wire will bend as needed, but is still tough. Older piano wire is brittle and breaks easily… hence, the common problem of broken strings when tuning older pianos.

To level the newly installed strings, yes, you need a special tool to either raise or lower the position of the string near the agraffe or the capo bar at the front (where the hammer makes contact with the strings). The hammer and the strings need to be perfectly aligned or mated (on the same “plane” of parallel latitude) so that the hammer hits the string set equally and simultaneously. If the strings are level with the hammer face, you will be less apt to have to file the hammer strike point crooked or shim the flange to get the hammer and strings aligned.

I recently had to replace a broken treble string on my Yamaha C7 (a tri-chord). Actually, on the tri-chord notes (3-strings per note) if one string breaks, you have to replace 2, unless they are individually tied at the hitch pin. The string replacement went great but when I tuned the note, it just didn’t sound as clean and as powerful as it did before it broke (while I was playing it pretty hard smile ). I then leveled and aligned the strings with the hammer, and the tone was as rich and as powerful as it ever was.

Hopes this helps, even if it is the blind leading the blind. smile

Rick
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 04:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Goof
Yep! all home work. I have read a couple of books on the suject.
Just for the record the flippin hammer is not 100% square to the strings and I did do some filing ! Not much and I may try again as this is definitely a point/problem.
The steel in the old the string(s) was/is very brittle. Once removed I thought I'd find out just how it would stand up to a bend.Taking one of the old strings; using two pairs of pliers; slowly bent it just below where it had left the bridge. Bing! no bendy - just a very sharp snap and a knife sharp edge.
Please do me a favour and explain what is meant by "lifting the strings" I've seen pics of tools for said proceedure; like a little hook? In the books I read, about 5yrs back, I do not remember reading of string lifting.
As for seating bridge pins, no, and I do not think I'll try as they do not look as if they will take any abuse !
Yikes! You should not be filing the hammers because they are not square. While square would be nice, the angle is commonly compromised to address the angle of the strings AND clearance issues with the neighboring hammers.

You should not be lifting old strings. Seating strings should be tapped with something softer than the steel strings...like a wooden dowel or a softer metal like brass.

The only way to learn is to start with an old piano and, with low expectations, dig in with the help of others. However, keep your focus on the age and condition of parts, not design elements (the short bass bridge, angle of hammers, etc).
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 04:53 PM

Thanks,and that was what I thought. However, how does one raise the string? Is it done by putting a steel shim between it and the 2mm steel rod over which the base strings run - before their journey down to their own little bridge. With a steel flat edge on all those strings of idenical diameter I see that one new string is lower than the other. Dammed if I can see why?
This piano does not have agaffes and only the treble and tennor sections have the long capo bar. In this section all sets of tricords are level for their particular notes but there is variation in some sections.
I bought the piano with "as you say "two treble strings missing; bought piano wire from a hobby shop -teehee!
The hammers were so worn that after shaping I hit upon a plan of cutting strips of shammy leather to glue to the wood and then strech round the face, thus covering the shaped felt.
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 05:07 PM

Thank you. I see, the "string-lifting" is a sort of tuner's term and actually means "pressing down".One, I guess, should take some tension off before applying end of thin piece of hard wood?
Like me my pianos have been old(ish), and old pianos which in Brit money have never cost more than £200.
But I do have a friend who still gives the odd concert and he can make my present possesion sing so well that it brings me to tears - not joking !
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 05:31 PM

I don’t want to be laughed at or ridiculed by the pros here, but I made me a T-handle string hook out of a small titanium rod that I use for “lifting” the string upward (or outward on an upright) when string leveling. I use a flat bladed screw driver with the edges dulled (so as not to nick the string) to depress the string downward (or inward on an upright) when leveling the strings. I’ve made/fabricated several of my own piano tech tools…

I enjoy learning to tune and service my pianos as much as I enjoy learning to play… maybe I need to concentrate more on the learning to play part. smile

Rick
Posted by: Goof

Re: Wound piano strings. - 06/06/12 05:50 PM

Ricky me boy! your a man after me own heart - a Mister fix it! But you do have a point about concentrating more on playing.
I completed a Batchelors science degree at a S.African university but spent too much rebuilding old cars, when I should have been studying for a Masters degree.
Also "rebuilt" a couple of pianos and now I just can't stop tinkering !!
I think it is a way of avoiding the concentration required to learn a piece of music.
Much the same as the cars were used to avoid the study in my youth.
The compensation is that one avoids becoming a specialist and is generally usefull when others do not have a clue about what is going wrong !