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String Breakage Rate - new tuner #2825608
03/11/19 08:22 PM
03/11/19 08:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 49
T
TimM_980 Offline OP
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TimM_980  Offline OP
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T

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 49
I am a new tech and reached my 100th piano tuned today. I have broken 7 strings so far.

2 bass Schafer and Sons Upright 1972 - 150% flat
1 bass Schafer and Sons Console 1986 35% flat
2 bass 115 year old upright - 90% flat
1 treble 88 year old upright - 25% flat
1 treble 84 year old upright - 70% flat

If an average piano has 230 strings, then that means I’ve tuned about 23,000 strings. With 7 broken strings, my string breakage rate is 1 in 3,285. Is this a normal rate of string breakage?

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Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: TimM_980] #2825644
03/11/19 09:52 PM
03/11/19 09:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 167
Washington State
AWilley Offline

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AWilley  Offline

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Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 167
Washington State
I can't say with nearly that level of detail, but I'm in the same ballpark as you. It really depends on the kinds of pianos you're tuning. People doing a lot of those hundred year old "upright grand" pianos will break more strings.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: TimM_980] #2825651
03/11/19 10:14 PM
03/11/19 10:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 498
Maine, USA
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Rick_Parks Offline
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Rick_Parks  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 498
Maine, USA
The way I look at that is more along the lines of 7 out of 100 pianos... 7% of the pianos you tune end up with a broken string...Not a percentage to be proud of-- IF it were newer pianos. BUT, looking at the age of the instruments, and the amount of flatness (did you pull these pianos up to pitch?!), I'd say you should have been expecting breakage...
Do you lube the friction points before tuning. Also, backing off on each tuning pin a little (going flat like an 1/8 turn, or so) on such old pianos, before pulling it up in pitch, can go far to knock free any rust or junk that might be at the coil and other friction points. I always back off a little first on the note on the really old pianos that have not been dealt with and are really flat.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: TimM_980] #2825865
03/12/19 11:53 AM
03/12/19 11:53 AM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 659
New Hampshire
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WilliamTruitt Offline
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WilliamTruitt  Offline
500 Post Club Member
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Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 659
New Hampshire
Get in the habbit of going south before you go north when doing large pitch raises. I have found that helpful in avoiding string breakage.


fine grand piano custom rebuilding, piano technician and tuner
Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: TimM_980] #2826026
03/12/19 07:07 PM
03/12/19 07:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 789
Lincoln, NE
T
That Guy Offline
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That Guy  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 789
Lincoln, NE
I agree with the lubing and backing off technique. Good advice. I would add that I think when you bring the string up using a jerking motion can also help and get it up to pitch faster. I used to be a "pull slowly" kind of tuner but the jerking motion, in my opinion, is superior, at least on most pianos. There are some that just seem to respond better to a slow pull.


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: TimM_980] #2826206
03/13/19 08:01 AM
03/13/19 08:01 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
6000 Post Club Member
UnrightTooner  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
Another thing to mention, that can be a problem with smaller pianos, is to not overwork the upper wound strings striving for perfection. Working back and forth trying to make them sound good (whic is impossible...) can weaken the string and cause it to break. If you come across a piano with spliced bass strings, take it really easy. Damhik!


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: String Breakage Rate - new tuner [Re: That Guy] #2826503
03/13/19 07:18 PM
03/13/19 07:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 498
Maine, USA
R
Rick_Parks Offline
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Rick_Parks  Offline
Full Member
R

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 498
Maine, USA
Originally Posted by That Guy
......I would add that I think when you bring the string up using a jerking motion can also help and get it up to pitch faster. I used to be a "pull slowly" kind of tuner but the jerking motion, in my opinion, is superior, at least on most pianos. There are some that just seem to respond better to a slow pull.


Good point, Scott. An impact (or jerking) method does seem to work better in these situations (IMHO).


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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