Replacing bass strings - bad idea?

Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 12:42 PM

I have a Yamaha G2 in pretty good condition, but the bass strings in the lowest octave (single cord) sound pathetic with a dull thud lack of tone. By contrast the middle register sings quite well with a full tone on pitch. Would it be prudent to replace this lower octave with new strings? The piano is about 30 years old.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 12:49 PM

Yes, that is okay as a stopgap measure to allow you to get by until the piano really needs restringing. The best way is to restring one by one, using the existing tuning pins, which will preserve the pinblock so it does not need replacement as soon.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 04:58 PM

Once the bass strings "sound pathetic with a dull thud lack of tone" they are more or less dead. Yes, there are a few techniques with which one can attempt to restore some tone to them. The results are usually inconsistent.

Bass strings can last a lot longer than a few decades, but on occasion there are 30 year old strings which are simply past their prime. Then, it is time to replace all the wound bass strings. You will be surprised at how good your piano will sound.

Talk to your technician about it.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 05:54 PM

Greetings,
There have been several Yamaha grands in my care that had dead single strings. I don't know why, but the bichords were fine. It is not a big deal to replace the bottom 10 strings. Be advised that that piano doesn't have 2/0 pins in it, so whoever installs new strings will have to understand what pin sizes are needed for a proper job.
Regards,
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 06:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Greetings,
There have been several Yamaha grands in my care that had dead single strings. I don't know why, but the bichords were fine. It is not a big deal to replace the bottom 10 strings. Be advised that that piano doesn't have 2/0 pins in it, so whoever installs new strings will have to understand what pin sizes are needed for a proper job.
Regards,


Greetings, Ed,

Since it's just 10 strings, wouldn't it be simpler to do them as single string replacements as BDB suggests?

smile
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 06:43 PM

BDB, Supply, Ed Foote, Opera Tenor - thank you for your input.

When I brought up the prospect of replacing the lower bass strings to my technician he dismissed it as prohibitively expensive. But another technician thought it a good idea saying it would make a major difference. So I am trying to figure my way through this...

During the Christmas holiday, when I am not teaching, I am planning to have the action thoroughly re-regulated and re-voiced by a well-regarded firm here in NYC for a pricey $3,500. It would go to their factory, the hammers shaved, certain parts replaced, etc., then returned for voicing. Used Yamaha G2s in good condition seem to sell for about $6-10K. I purchased mine last year for an absurdly low $3K. I am willing to invest thousands to upgrade it, but after a certain point (more than $5K) I have to wonder if it is more cost efficient to simply upgrade to another instrument.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 08:02 PM

For $3500 they should replace the hammers! Get some other estimates.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 09:10 PM


When I brought up the prospect of replacing the lower bass strings to my technician he dismissed it as prohibitively expensive. But another technician thought it a good idea saying it would make a major difference. So I am trying to figure my way through this...

I am planning to have the action thoroughly re-regulated and re-voiced by a well-regarded firm here in NYC for a pricey $3,500. It would go to their factory, the hammers shaved, certain parts replaced, etc., then returned for voicing. [/quote]

Greetings,

A new set of Yamaha hammers, factory glued to the shanks and ready to go can be installed for that amount of money, and regulated, too. you need to get three estimates from people with good referrals.
Regards,
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 09:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
BDB,
When I brought up the prospect of replacing the lower bass strings to my technician he dismissed it as prohibitively expensive. But another technician thought it a good idea saying it would make a major difference. So I am trying to figure my way through this...


Greetings,
I don't know why the tech thought it would be so expensive, but he is certainly not the one to do the job! Techs buy Yamaha strings from Mapes, now. 10 strings and a couple of hours, (outside) is all that is involved here. And if the bass is dead, what else are you going to do?
Regards,
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 09:57 PM

BDB and Ed Foote,

OK - it is clear now that I am going to take your advise and get more estimates. You have given me some substantive information to work with. Sometimes just knowing what are the best questions to ask makes a big difference. And if you have any questions you think I should pose then kindly let me know.

Thank you for your feedback!

JBaker
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/30/12 10:50 PM

Jonathan, If I may make a suggestion....If you are going to replace some bass strings, I would replace all of them. Secondly, I would consider the bass strings from Ari Isaac He makes some of the best, if not the best, bass strings that are out there. I would also consider his hammers.

I know first hand, as I replaced a new set of bass strings and hammers from 2 very well known companies that I originally had on my M&H 7ft Grand piano, with the Isaac "Profundo" bass strings and "Classical West" hammers. The differences and improvements were remarkable. His products are first rate.

Keith Akins, RPT (kpembrook), who posts here regularly, is very familiar with the Isaac products, and is a distributor for them. You might want to contact him or have your tech contact him for an estimate.


Here are a few examples I recorded with the Isaac hammers and bass strings on my M&H BB.


https://www.box.com/shared/static/58feab6692dd00098978.mp3

https://www.box.com/s/b6bc3e9462278c33da83

https://www.box.com/shared/static/63ce746c1da219b44572.mp3
Posted by: James Carney

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 10/31/12 07:49 AM

If I'm only restringing the bass, and not the plain wire section, I'd likely use the existing tuning pins if they still feel good in the block. That way, the tuning pin size stays consistent throughout the piano.

The key is to back out the pin a minimal amount and form coils on a dummy pin. At this point I can probably do this faster and more efficiently than restringing with new tuning pins...

And, if the condition of the piano is good enough, I would also consider restringing the entire bass with rescaled wires from a great stringwinder.
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 11/01/12 07:06 AM

Hi Jonathan - If you haven't yet resolved the issue, here's an article which might be useful. Bass String Removal, Duplication and Replacement. Hope it helps. Have a great weekend! Chuck Behm
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 11/05/12 11:18 AM

Thank you, Chuck!
Posted by: Grotriman

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 11/14/12 10:44 PM

It cost me some $400 to purchase all new bass strings from Heller in Germany for my Ibach (30 year old strings and they were finished). I restrung the piano myself (backing out each pin by a rotation, pre-wrapping the beckett on a spare tuning pin and slipping the coil onto the pin in the pinblock). I had the patience to do about 6 strings a day so it took me the better part of a week. Things stabilized after 6 months and the piano sounds fabulous now. Highly recommended, and not so expensive. A tech should be able to do it for you for between $600 and $1000 (depending on number of strings and string cost etc).
Posted by: SimplyBrendan

Re: Replacing bass strings - bad idea? - 11/14/12 11:54 PM

I'm restringing a Neumeyer upright, Circa 1914, at this moment and had the original Bass strings mailed to Jahn in Germany, made to pattern and sent back to me for about $600 (R4000 ZAR). All inclusive.
I'm sure if there is a string maker near you it should cost a whole lot less?
The Neumeyers Bass is 36 strings in the bass, including Bi's and 10 into the tenor section. (Just to give you an idea of how many strings I got made to the exact pattern of old AND shipped to South Africa.)
I'm fitting them myself, so that does cut costs.
$600-$1000 would seem fair to supply and fit, I think!
New strings always make a lovely difference. Added to that is of course the hammer replacement.
Hope you get it sorted.