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New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
#1500891 08/22/10 11:06 AM
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I’ve asked some questions here before about installing new bass strings on my 25 year old Tokai G 180 (5’10”) grand piano, but I’m still wondering… how much of a difference do you pros think it would make? Would the bass tones be totally different, richer, bolder, stronger, or just a little cleaner, clearer?

I’m on the verge of trading up or buying a bigger grand piano, just to have a richer, stronger sounding bass section. Yet, the middle section and upper treble on my piano sound good to me, especially after some extensive hammer voicing.

I know you all are very experienced with this kind of thing, and I just want to get a better idea of the kind of improvement I could expect from new bass strings… or should I pursue another grand piano?

If I go with the new bass strings, I know I would not recoup my investment if I sell it or trade up. So, I’m a little perplexed about what to do.

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
Rickster #1501027 08/22/10 03:05 PM
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Hi Rick:

This cannot be answered without knowing what your bass strings sound like now.

Best to have an experienced tech over to evaluate for you.

Take care,

Stev

Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
Steve Jackson #1501195 08/22/10 08:51 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Steve!

And, what you say makes perfect sense. I was just wanting some opinions on this topic.

I actually drove to Atlanta today and looked at some new/newer pianos, and the mid-section and treble section on the pianos I played didn’t sound head and shoulders better than my piano, but the lower bass section was much better.

The bass strings on my Tokai look shinny and bright and not rusted and tarnished at all. However, I know that bass strings do loose some of their luster after a while.

I’ll consider contacting our local RPT for an opinion.

Thanks,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
Rickster #1501230 08/22/10 10:17 PM
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My old upright went from sounding almost like a spinet with dead tubby bass strings to sounding almost like a 7 foot grand when I replaced the bass strings on it.


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Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
88Key_PianoPlayer #1501520 08/23/10 11:36 AM
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Rickster,

I wouldn't assume that new strings are going to be a striking difference on a piano like yours. Before replacing I would first experiment with a couple of strings.

1. Turn back the tuning pin 1/2 turn. Then play the note very hard several times, then pull the string back up to tension. See if there is a noticeable improvement.

2. Do the same as above by after putting a 1/2 twist in the string the direction of the copper winding. Sometimes a whole twist will help more than 1/2 twist.

For really crusty old bass strings you can run a loop up and down the wire to loosen up adhesions. People have also advocated a wire brush on a Dremmel tool.

3. Order one or two replacement strings from the string maker and install them. Then you will be able to compare the old next to new and see if it will be worth doing the whole set.

I've been amazed at how well some strings come back to life with a little work. On one old upright that I worked on, one of the low bass strings broke during the procedure, and I ended up replacing it with a new string. Surprisingly it was not easy to tell where the new string was just by listening. Some sets, however just don't respond as well and replacement is the only solution.


Last edited by rysowers; 08/23/10 11:37 AM.

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Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
rysowers #1501579 08/23/10 01:30 PM
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Thanks for your comments and suggestions, rysowers.

Actually, I have already done the "twist" proceedure and if it made a difference at all, it wasn't much. I'm thinking maybe the thin sounding low bass section is perhaps inherent to the piano itself. I'm sure new bass strings would be some improvement, but maybe not the kind of improvement I'm looking for.

I'm currently looking at a couple of 7' semi-concert grands. I know if I sell my piano (perhaps a difficult undertaking in this economy) or trade it in with a dealer, I'd never recoupe the additional cost of new bass strings.

Of course, it would be a nice experiment! :-)

Thanks again,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
Rickster #1502307 08/24/10 12:57 PM
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Replacing the bass string set in the Tokai is a waste of funding Rick. You will have the identical tone; just that it will be slightly cleaner in sound quality.

At 25 years of age the entire instrument will require string shortly.........trade in on another one and let someone else worry about the upgrades.

You are a player not a restorer. Spend your time playing, not fixing.....

Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
Silverwood Pianos #1502373 08/24/10 02:16 PM
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But perhaps Rick, like me, enjoys some of the tech work as a creative pursuit. If he likes the mid and upper sections, and is willing to take the chance (likely, by most views here) that new bass strings won't help much, he'd be out some time and money, but not nearly as much as getting a different piano, taking a loss on the trade and time/money spent voicing a new piano to his taste. That's the choice as I see it. YMMV.


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Re: New Bass strings... how much of a difference?
elecmuse3 #1502413 08/24/10 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Silverwood
Replacing the bass string set in the Tokai is a waste of funding Rick. You will have the identical tone; just that it will be slightly cleaner in sound quality.

At 25 years of age the entire instrument will require string shortly.........trade in on another one and let someone else worry about the upgrades.

You are a player not a restorer. Spend your time playing, not fixing.....


Hi Dan, and thanks for the advice. Yes, I am looking for a better, preferably a semi-concert grand piano. I know a trade up or a streight buy will cost a lot more than a set of strings, but I do enjoy playing my piano, a lot! (Not that I can play all that well...) grin

We will see how it goes... I hear that business has been slow for many piano dealers lately. Maybe I can get a good deal, which is usually not the norm for me...

Thanks for all the comments... I appreciate it.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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