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Ron T Offline OP
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Hi all

I wanted to ask a question about what techniques you use to stabilize a new string that has been replaced after a break.

I recently did a string repair and I've gone back twice and it seems to be better but I was wondering if anyone had a particular technique they use to get the stretch out of the string and get it to stay at pitch without repeated house visits....

Thanks

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The important thing is to get everything as tight as possible. Tight coils, tight becket, straight from the tuning pin to the bearing points and from the bridge to the hitch pin.


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Ron T Offline OP
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Thanks BDB...all the above I do believe I've gotten done correctly. I've tapped it down at the hitch pins and up past the capo and it doesn't move much at this point yet it's still hasn't stabilized. I've tried running a piece of wood over the string to heat them up and they do go down when I do that I then tap down again and re-tune. I've been leaving a rubber mute in there between visits.

Do you usually go back a few times to re-tune or can you stabilize that new string right after the replacement. If so what do you do...there must be steps i'm missing

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Once the string is up to pitch:
- Tap down string at hitch pin. Tap down the loop side that is high.
- Tap the string at the bridge pins. Tap at an angle so that you are making more of a bend at each pin, in the direction it wants to go. I.e. the string should leave the bridge pin at a sharp angle. In my experience, this improves tone. It also reduces settling due to the string eventually forming this sharp bend due to the high tension over time.
- Level the strings by lifting up (grand) or tapping down (upright) so that the strings leave the agraffe/v-bar so they are level with each other. This requires, again, a sharp bend at the agraffe/v-bar.
- Use a brass rod or wooden shank and rub it along the string. This will pull the string tighter and take up more slack.
- Tune the string sharp a 1/4 - 1/2 tone, then drop it back down to pitch. I've been told that this trick induces 5 years of settling into the string. I'm not sure how someone would know that though.
- Mute off the string if possible and retune it in 6 months to a year.

Anyway, that's what I do.

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Look for slippage of the becket in the tuning pin hole.
Tuning pin slippage?

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I suppose a supplementary question would be: and which of those techniques will ensure premature breakage of the new string?


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


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Your question does not add any information that helps answer the original question. If you feel you have valuable information, you should just give it.


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Originally Posted by BDB
Your question does not add any information that helps answer the original question. If you feel you have valuable information, you should just give it.


If you were referring to my question, I deal with some heavy use pianos and really want to know the opinion of certain others.

I am not a metallurgist, are you?

Some talk of freezing strings, others friction heating them, some sharp bends, others, gentle curves. Some over- stretching the speaking length others not.

I have asked these questions in the past and not recieved a reply.

Again, I'm flattered that you think I have all the answers. Maybe this too is underlying some of the abuse??

What did you add with your post???? Even less???

Did you even think before you assumed??


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


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The wording of your question implied that one or more of the suggestions would ensure premature string breakage. Now you are saying that you do not know that any of them ensure premature breakage. You could very easily asked your question in such a way that would not have made such an implication, or cast doubt on any of the answers given by people here. You could have asked whether any of the techniques might cause premature breakage. You chose not to, and in doing so, cast doubt on everything that anyone has said here. For that, you owe everyone who posted here, and everyone who reads this topic an apology.


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"quite do, madam quite so, but these possibilities were certainties" anon WW2 joke para.

GB Shaw was right about two great nations separated by a common language.

In my neck of the woods you can bet it's unquibblably ensured. smile I have to replace 'em!!!


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


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Originally Posted by rXd
"quite do, madam quite so, but these possibilities were certainties" anon WW2 joke para.

GB Shaw was right about two great nations separated by a common language.

In my neck of the woods you can bet it's unquibblably ensured. smile


Can you translate this into plain English?


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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Originally Posted by rXd
"quite do, madam quite so, but these possibilities were certainties" anon WW2 joke para.

GB Shaw was right about two great nations separated by a common language.

In my neck of the woods you can bet it's unquibblably ensured. smile


Can you translate this into plain English?


My point exactly,Chris, thank you. English or Australian?

If anyone has a quibble with anything I wrote elsewhere lately, please address it in the appropriate thread, (there's a psychobabble pigeonholing word for that, too) and don't derail this one any more. I'll have my fun with you there.

Now back to your scheduled programming. It's a good subject.

Can we have a moderator call time on this pointless quibbling?


Amanda Reckonwith
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


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rXd, your reply does not make any sense. Is that your point?


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-Why do strings break?

-Abuse
-Fatigue

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Hi Ron,

I too, leave the string a little sharp. I explain to the customer that the new string will need to settle in and I will need to return a few times to get it to stabilize. I figure that into the price I charge for replacing a string. If the customer is on the outer edge of my service area, I too will just mute the string and just wait until the next tuning.


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Ron T Offline OP
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Thanks to those who offered advise....to those who enjoy arguing about nothing please note the amount of posts I have here. I always hesitate to ask a simple question on this forum....it's like one big PTG meeting...everyone contradicting each other trying to prove who knows more or who tunes better....YAWN it bores me to the teeth

Sad...why are Piano techs like this....

I guess I leave here knowing there is no way to stabilize a string when it's first replaced so I won't rack my brain for an answer to that question....you can't

Thanks again to those who offered advise

Bye I won't be back

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What I find is that if I am careful, the string will be fairly stable for the day I put it in, but it will have fallen significantly by the next day. If I can get back and pull it up, it will be fairly stable for at least a month. After pulling it up again, it will only be slightly less stable than the rest of the piano.


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I agree with BDB there is a "second day" effect

On freshly stringed pianos we used to pull all plain wire a semi tone high (without any other action)

Next day the pitch was about right;

Now the allowed "give" differ vastly depending of the location, the low mediums first 4 notes need to be raised a full major third to loose all extra stretch in about 8 hours, then
one octave higher a minor third and so on (up to min sec at the extreme top)This was actually a aging process proposed by K. Fenner to obtain immediate stability of the steel after 3x8 hours.

I did that once, and indeed it works but the tone did change a lot.

Knowing that , if I change a string, I have a rough idea on how much overpull is allowed before the string attain the plastic zone, it helps.

Massaging also helps and clean the tone, but the stability I obtain "immediately" is holding a few hours only, next day it is good to retune.
So I leave the string high pitched and gives a mute to the customer if it does not work he can mute the string.

No straightening of thhe bends until the strings are stable.


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I caution against pulling the string up more than 20% - 30% at most. Over stretching the string will create false beats and can destabilize the surrounding notes.

I think this is the same point rXd was making with a bit of a humorous jab (lets lighten-up.) Strings need to be handled gently. The most important bend is at the becket and must be done with care as to cause the least amount of damage to the string. Then it is very important to handle the string as not to put twist into the string while wrapping it around the hitch and into the next tuning pin.

The art of piano stringing is highly underrated by many piano techs.

Enjoy


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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Greetings,
I replace a lot of strings in the practice rooms. I watch them settle in. This is what I have found to be most effectively speed up the process. I don't take the strings over 20 cents high, I don't think there is any need.

After the install, the top coil is wrapped high, so that it is equal to or above the becket hole when under tension. Beckets are squeezed in with small vise-grips. Starting with the string 20 cents sharp, I, like Mark, begin at the hitch pin and relieve the bends by very lightly tapping down behind the aliquot bars,then in front of them, then behind the bridge,then pulling up to pitch again.

Following that, most of the slack behind the bridge will have moved toward the speaking length,(bass strings have a special case, see below). I don't bend the wire in the speaking length, yet. I do make sure I have created a bend behind the bridge so that as the back string gives up the last of its stretch, that bend will embrace the circumference of the bridge pin, possibly to relieve the lateral forces of the string on top of the bridge, to some degree.

Since the bends on either end to the speaking length may not be there after the wire has had a week or two under tension, I leave them alone at this time. What I do is pay a lot of attention to the coils. I dislike the extension of the becket beyond the pin because it interfere with some important techniques. I try to move as much slack around the pin as possible, so i wind coils so they are high and must be tapped down. Before I do this, I really flatten the bend in the becket with a pair of small clamping pliers. The jaws are ground concave so they firmly grip the coil and mash the becket all the way in . Then, I make sure the tension is still 20 cents sharp and I level the coils. This will often drop the pitch 20 cents. If so, I pull it back up and then take the pliers and squeeze the coils while I am twisting the pliers in the direction of the winding. I usually can squeeze 30-100 cents out of a coil by doing this, and strings so treated are usually stable two weeks and one touch-up later.

The bass strings have a added reservoirs of slack in the barrel and loop. The barrel is the final tight wrap on the hitch pin loop. Even under tension, it will be off axis to the string. Lightly, and I mean lightly, twisting the barrel side to side with a pair of pliers will often result in an audible click of string movement over the bridge and a 10-20 cent drop in pitch. I do this after the loops have deformed around the hitch pins as that deformation can often cause visible movement of the string, upsetting all bends farther along . On the heavier bass strings, I squeeze the loops right in front of the pins to turn the round loop into one more oval shaped around the pin. Then the bridge pin,then the barrel, then the coil.

With several weeks time, and maybe one more pull up to pitch, I lightly relieve the bends in the speaking length at the bridge, then check what sort of string level picture I have in front of the agraffes. The ability to raise a string .030" can come in handy. Some pianos, with crooked agraffes, can be leveled by raising one side string a lot, the middle a little, and the last one none.

Hope that helps,
Regards,

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