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Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass #2371683 01/09/15 03:22 PM
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akin Offline OP
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I have recently had the bass strings replaced on my 1910 Steinway Model O. After the technician left, I decided to take a closer look at the work that was just done, and noticed the following:

- the coils were not wound evenly around the new pins: some had gaps, others seemed to overlap in a pretty haphazard fashion, sort of crisscrossing each other

- the new felt strip was bunched up in two places, leaving some of the strings only partially bearing on the felt. The strip itself was not glued to the harp.

I would like to know if this could possibly affect the tone and future tunings of the new strings, or if it could be considered acceptable, since it's not a factory installation.

The technician is to return to work on replacing some action parts next week, and I would like to know whether his workmanship was substandard before I have him do anything else.

Most grateful for any advice from PTG folks out there

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Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371692 01/09/15 03:52 PM
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BDB Offline
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Sloppy coils lead to poor tuning stability and breakage. It is substandard work.


Semipro Tech
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371701 01/09/15 04:17 PM
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rysowers Offline
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Sounds substandard to me. Take a picture and post it. The PTG exam has a stringing portion - you lose points if the coils aren't tight, if the tuning pins aren't leveled properly, and if there is too much or two little coil around the pins.

Our shop charges around $1200 to replace a set of bass strings. That includes a few follow up appointments to help stabilize the tuning. Leveling and mating the strings to the hammers is also part of the job.

I'm curious what he charged - that may be a clue to the quality of the job.



Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371706 01/09/15 04:29 PM
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bellspiano Offline
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Good for you, paying attention to what was done. I'm sorry that it was not done right. Asking that tech to continue with action work sounds like a risky proposition.


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371719 01/09/15 05:01 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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I would like to give the technician the benefit of doubt-but if your description is accurate-the job should be redone. It may now need oversize tuning pins to result in adequate tuning pin torque if this job was done by turning the coils onto the pins already in the pin-block.

I would delay any other work until this is resolved and the technician takes the time to show you previous examples of similar work recently,(last 10 years or so) done. I think they should prove to you that they can do the work correctly before you hire them.

So sorry you are experiencing "Technician" problems at this time.
Bon Chance!


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2371778 01/09/15 09:09 PM
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kpembrook Offline
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to give the technician the benefit of doubt-but if your description is accurate-the job should be redone. It may now need oversize tuning pins to result in adequate tuning pin torque if this job was done by turning the coils onto the pins already in the pin-block.

I would delay any other work until this is resolved and the technician takes the time to show you previous examples of similar work recently,(last 10 years or so) done. I think they should prove to you that they can do the work correctly before you hire them.

So sorry you are experiencing "Technician" problems at this time.
Bon Chance!


It's a difficult situation. I would be reluctant to trust that the technician can do anything right. Perhaps it's one of my pet peeves, but if there is only one tuning pin on a piano, one could consider a second chance. But, starting off with ~210+ examples of how the finished product should look and then get it wrong takes a special kind of stupid. How can you possibly leave a job looking differently than all the rest of the pins?!? Aargh!!

It's one thing if the technician was obviously trying and maybe one or two coils weren't quite compacted perfectly or a becket wasn't fully pushed into the hole. That would be an example of a beginner or perhaps a technician who didn't have a meticulous attitude. But coils going over each other?? It is not possible to come up with an excuse to justify that kind of willful failure to follow hundreds of examples in front of their eyes.
</ending teeth-gnashing session>

Regarding the tuning pin statement. I realize that the Pacific Northwest is a somewhat different situation, but in most of the US installing new tuning pins would be mandatory for any kind of restringing unless the piano is fairly new -- say 10 years old, 20 max.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371790 01/09/15 09:36 PM
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Ugh! Poor stringing is one of my pet peeves. It's so easy to do it right and give the whole job a meticulous professional look. I'm baffled by the sloppy work out there.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371803 01/09/15 10:50 PM
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beethoven986 Offline
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Sounds like a bad job to me.

Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371819 01/09/15 11:44 PM
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BDB Offline
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What you need to do is find someone who can fix the work that was done. Then have that person do the rest of the work.


Semipro Tech
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371827 01/10/15 12:21 AM
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Bellyman Offline
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Time for a real tech... This person obviously doesn't know what they're doing, and if they do, don't care.

It's up to you whether you want to see if they guy will fix it. I tend to agree that maybe it's best that this tech not do any more work until they fix what they've already screwed up. If they won't, you don't want them messing up anything else.

Just my opinion.

Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371868 01/10/15 05:16 AM
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Have you expressed your concerns to the tech? What did the tech offer in response?


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371900 01/10/15 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by akin
I have recently had the bass strings replaced on my 1910 Steinway Model O. After the technician left, I decided to take a closer look at the work that was just done, and noticed the following:

- the coils were not wound evenly around the new pins: some had gaps, others seemed to overlap in a pretty haphazard fashion, sort of crisscrossing each other

- the new felt strip was bunched up in two places, leaving some of the strings only partially bearing on the felt. The strip itself was not glued to the harp.

I would like to know if this could possibly affect the tone and future tunings of the new strings, or if it could be considered acceptable, since it's not a factory installation.

The technician is to return to work on replacing some action parts next week, and I would like to know whether his workmanship was substandard before I have him do anything else.

Most grateful for any advice from PTG folks out there


Well, I am not PTG. I am strictly DIY. Yet, the first time I put on a set of bass strings I did better than you describe. Certainly sounds sub-standard to me.

Don


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371913 01/10/15 10:16 AM
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akin Offline OP
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Thanks so much for your input. Looks like I really stepped into it this time. Are the new strings salvageable to have them re-installed by a qualified technician?

Re the cost: the job was priced as a whole at $2,700, including new bass strings, new hammers, shanks and flanges. The strings are Mapes, and the hammers are Abel.

At this point I'm just trying to get the new parts back, and am not sure what the breakdown of labor/materials was.

Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371949 01/10/15 12:21 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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I would ask for a full refund plus the costs to properly repair what has already been done. If he/she broke it-he/she owns it.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371952 01/10/15 12:29 PM
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Gene Nelson Offline
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When you play, do the dampers in the bass section damp the strings efficiently?


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Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: Gene Nelson] #2371985 01/10/15 01:50 PM
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akin Offline OP
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The dampers don't seem to have any problems

Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2371993 01/10/15 02:20 PM
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Well possibly the tech restrung without removing dampers.
Would not be my choice.
If he removed them it requires re-regulating them and can be a bit more tedious than restringing and based on your description of the restringing job you can understand why I am curious about bass damper function.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: akin] #2372015 01/10/15 04:13 PM
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Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Originally Posted by kpembrook

It's a difficult situation.


Compounded by the absence of photos which has not prevented a multitude of opinions.

Not trying to dismiss the concerns of the OP. I would have to see the job or lack thereof previous to forming an opinion of the matter.

Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: Silverwood Pianos] #2372022 01/10/15 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Silverwood Pianos

Originally Posted by kpembrook

It's a difficult situation.


Compounded by the absence of photos which has not prevented a multitude of opinions.

Not trying to dismiss the concerns of the OP. I would have to see the job or lack thereof previous to forming an opinion of the matter.


thumb


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Urgent advice neded about restringing the bass [Re: Silverwood Pianos] #2372026 01/10/15 04:39 PM
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akin Offline OP
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I have taken the photos, but can't seem to find the way to post them on this forum. Not being on FB or any similar social network, I would be happy to email them to anyone interested to see them.

My second question remains: can these strings be used to be re-installed properly, or are they shot?

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