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Tips On Installing a Piano Wire?


Polkahero

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I have to replace a broken piano wire at my church, trying to save the church some money by replacing it myself rather than have a tech come out. I have what was left of the old wire removed, any tips on installing the new wire? Someone told me to back off the tuning peg a few turns before wrapping the new wire around it. I assume other than that, it will be similar to changing the strings on my bass guitar. Any other tips from the forum techs would be appreciated!

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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If you're not sure of the string size you need a micrometer to measure it. It should be the same size. Take care in turning the tuning pin as the more it gets turned the hole gets burnished and eventually looser. If you have an extra tuning pin you can offset that by wrapping the string around the pin and take it off to put on the original pin. This allows less movement of the pin. Keep the coil tight like the others. The hard part is how much string to cut so you don't have too little or more coils. Use about the size of your palm for the extra length.
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The tuning pegs on a piano are nothing like those on a guitar. The pins (as they're called) are into 5-7 layers of laminate wood (called a pin block). The pins have a very fine thread-like texture on them to create friction.

They can strip easily, but if they grip, they can crack the pin block if you put too much tension on them.

 

My advice would be to have a piano tuner put the string in and do it properly. You can easily damage the pin block and that would be prohibitively expensive.

 

Muzikteechur is Lonnie, in Kittery, Maine.

 

HS music teacher: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, Music Theory, AP Music Theory, History of Rock, Musical Theatre, Piano, Guitar, Drama.

 

 

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What type of string is it - a wound bass string, or a 'plain' tenor/treble string ?

 

It's a wound bass string, the C below Middle C on an upright console.

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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You can't just buy a wound bass string. You have to have it made, as I understand it.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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You can buy universal bass strings from piano supply companies. Then you have to unwind the correct amount of copper from the universal string to match the one that broke. You also get to deal with the joy of winding the string around the peg in an orderly fashion, not as easy as you might think. There are little tricks to get it to hitch to the pin, to get it to wind evenly, etc.

 

This is really not something I would recommend you do unless you've seen it done and have experience doing it. And I'm all about DIY. Just call the tech.

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Universal bass strings are just that. You'll be lucky to match the sound with the other strings unless you send it in to a string shop and get it custom made. If the piano is a good one, I'd send it in. A piece of junk, use universals. But since you probably don't have a universal just get it made. You do have to twist the string about 3 times before tightening. It's an experience.
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I'm no fan of universal bass strings either. The unison will never tune correctly unless the strings are as close to identical as possible. Same core diameter, same overall diameter, same winding length. The other important measurements are from hitch pin to the start of the winding and from hitch pin to the end of the winding. Clonk here to order your string.

 

Save a few bucks by ordering the string yourself and touching up the tuning after it's been installed, but it's best to have a pro install the string. You're not going to get it right without the proper tools, you're not going to get it right on the first try, and you will draw blood if you try.

 

--wmp
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Having restrung a CP-70B before, which uses basically the same pin block constuction, I can safely tell you... spend the money to have a tech do it. While doing it yourself might save money initially, in the long run it could end up costing you more in tuning costs and potential problems.

 

Go with someone that is a guild member. These guys go through an apprenticeship prior to being accepted into the guild. The church, and the congregation will thank you.

 

Don't be surprised if you have to have it tuned a couple times before it gets stable, even with a tech. I read somewhere that there is 20 TONS of tension on the harp of a baby grand piano. When a string breaks, the notes around the break will go sharp. So it will take a little bit for the new string to stretch, and the other strings to settle back in.

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

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Now everybody's got the blues."

 

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You might already know this, but this usually involves removing the action.

 

Also, the hammer will probably need voicing in order to match the surrounding notes' sound.

 

If it's really a junk piano and you have time to spare and a tuning hammer, I'd say go for it but wear safety glasses.

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I have to replace a broken piano wire at my church, trying to save the church some money by replacing it myself rather than have a tech come out.

 

Save the money in the long run, have a tech do this work. Otherwise, you could end up sending the tech's kids to college (cf. Home Simpson & the hot dog vendor at the ball park ;) ).

 

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You also get to deal with the joy of winding the string around the peg in an orderly fashion, not as easy as you might think. There are little tricks to get it to hitch to the pin, to get it to wind evenly, etc.

 

This is really not something I would recommend you do unless you've seen it done and have experience doing it. And I'm all about DIY. Just call the tech.

+1

 

I've also replaced a string or two on my old CP70. I'm pretty handy, and you'd be impressed to see how perfectly wound all the strings are on my guitars. I ended up with a complete botch job of the CP70 string. Well, it worked, but it didn't have quite the right number of turns and wasn't nested neatly (I didn't have the required tool), and I frequently had to touch up that unison; it was always the first to go out.

 

I finally paid a tech to replace them, which is what I should have done in the first place.

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Yeah, reminds me of the time I tried repairing my washing machine...a weekend lost, and I still ended up calling Mr. Maytag.

 

Let the church pick up the tab, maybe the tech will offer a discount, or you can pay for it as a donation,and ask them to issue you a receipt.

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Probably been said already but I would get someone who knows what they are doing. You can crack the pin block .... or lose an eye. But by all means be there when it is done. Piano repair and maintenacne is cool to watch. But, replacing the pin block won't be cheap when you crack it.

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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What type of string is it ?

It's a wound bass string, the C below Middle C on an upright console.

In that case, the advice I'd offer (as money is obviously tight),

 

would be to send the string to a string maker/piano supply house, or sent it via mail to your tech.

 

An exact duplicate will then be made for you.

 

This will save the time/cost of a call-out charge from the tech.

 

I, as others have said, would strongly advise you not to attempt this yourself.

 

Apart from requiring the correct tools -which will cost more than the cost of having a tech do it-

 

all sorts of complications could happen that lead on to more expense.

 

 

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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I worked with a stringer who lost an eye in a rebuild shop.

That's a good'un :D. . . !

 

(For the non-techs, an 'eye' is the loop at the end of a string,

 

that attaches the string to the hitch-pin on the iron frame).

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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I worked with a stringer who lost an eye in a rebuild shop.

That's a good'un :D. . . !

 

(For the non-techs, an 'eye' is the loop at the end of a string,

 

that attaches the string to the hitch-pin on the iron frame).

 

No, he actually got hit in the eye with a string restringing a grand.

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I've been stung by stringing a guitar. The amount of force stretched across a Piano harp is something I find amazing. I never learned how to tune a piano. The thought of it I always found a little scary.

 

Piano wire used to be used to decapitate people. Makes for a pretty nasty garrot.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Yes, if you open a grand and see cracking behind the hitch pins, gently close the lid, leave the room, and don't go back.

 

Guitar string are under tension on the order of 10 to 20 pounds each. Piano strings are typically in the 160 to 180 pound range, with some over 200 pounds.

 

A bass string from my 9' Henry F. Miller took a nice chunk out of the rim before taking out my picture window.

 

More of a cheese slicer than a garrot.

 

 

--wmp
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I'm surprised, John. I knew jogger wasn't kidding. They're like elastic bands, which can hurt, except that they're made of steel.

I knew full well that jogger wasn't kidding wmp...

 

it's just that the irony (eyerony?) of the statement was too much for me to resist !

 

For the record, over the last 30 years in the trade I have done dozens of full restringings,

 

+ hundreds more replacements of individual strings, with the finger cuts & blisters to prove it !

 

So I'm well aware of the potential danger involved. :thu:

 

 

 

 

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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Ever string an entire piano without drawing blood? Best I ever did was about halfway through.

 

And yes, even if you're good at it, there's a good chance you'll bleed installing a string or two. What's important is leaving the tuning pin at the same height, three nice tight coils, a nice tight beckett bend, and leave no blood behind.

 

 

 

--wmp
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What type of string is it ?

It's a wound bass string, the C below Middle C on an upright console.

In that case, the advice I'd offer (as money is obviously tight),

 

would be to send the string to a string maker/piano supply house, or sent it via mail to your tech.

 

An exact duplicate will then be made for you.

 

This will save the time/cost of a call-out charge from the tech.

 

I, as others have said, would strongly advise you not to attempt this yourself.

 

Apart from requiring the correct tools -which will cost more than the cost of having a tech do it-

 

all sorts of complications could happen that lead on to more expense.

 

 

John,

 

I already have the wire that I ordered through my local music store directly from Yamaha. What other tools are required other than the standard piano tuning hammer? From the comments on here so far, I doubt if I'll be attempting this myself.

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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