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Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E #2871498
07/22/19 02:34 PM
07/22/19 02:34 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 51
Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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TurboMatt  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2007
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Frederick, MD
After having my "new to me" piano (1980 Yamaha G5E) recently tuned and checked over, I am looking for recommendations for bass strings. The tech that recently looked over the piano agreed with my opinion that several of the bass strings are getting "tubby". So, I e-mailed Yamaha in which they told me that they do not sell the bass strings anymore and recommended Mapes. Do you feel that Mapes are of the same quality as the original Yamaha strings? If not, which strings would be the same or better than the original strings?

Thank you,
Matt

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Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872235
07/24/19 11:53 AM
07/24/19 11:53 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 51
Frederick, MD
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TurboMatt Offline OP
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I just called Mapes and spoke with someone regarding a set of strings. The original strings on my G5E are "Criss Cross Whip" Mapes recommended to stay with those strings and would build them based off of the old strings if I sent them into them. The entire set is around $400.

I asked how or why their strings cost less than some of the custom bass strings out there. Their comment was that it was possible that some of the other folks out there may be building the strings based off of what they feel would sound best and potentially sound different than the original strings . Mapes will focus on building the strings to match the scale of the original strings. Also, he mentioned that their strings are lower tension? I'm not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by TurboMatt; 07/24/19 11:54 AM.
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872247
07/24/19 12:30 PM
07/24/19 12:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,577
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Mapes has a good reputation. When I bought my Yamaha C7 (cc 1978) it had a couple of broken bass tenor strings, and a couple of mismatched tenor strings. In my research I learned that if one of the bichord tenor bass strings breaks, you should replace both as a set and not just one of the two.

I think I bought my bass string from Aldridge piano string co in Nashville, but it might have been Mapes. Aldridge seems to ring the bell louder, in my memory, as it was several years ago. I didn't send them the old strings, but I did take all the measurements they asked for, and they informed me how to take the measurements and I downloaded a template with the instructions for measuring the strings from their website.

Maybe some of the pros will chime in, but I think you would be fine dealing with Mapes. In regards to their bass strings being low-tension, if they are the same diameters of wire as the old ones, I don't see how the tension could be different, but that is beyond my realm of experience.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872266
07/24/19 01:42 PM
07/24/19 01:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,768
Atlanta, GA
PianoWorksATL Offline
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Atlanta, GA
Mapes does a nice job, they are fairly quick and reasonably priced. It's what I would recommend for your piano as well. If you were doing far more work, then you might look into some of the custom bass string makers that might have different tonal qualities or scaling options, but I don't think that describes your situation.

FWIW, Mapes has supplied Steinway and many other makers for over 100 years. I believe they are Steinway's longest continuous supplier.


Sam Bennett
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Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872424
07/24/19 11:24 PM
07/24/19 11:24 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,500
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Mapes does a decent job for scales they do all the time, but on pianos that they only do rarely, we have not been terribly happy with the final product.

However, they may do a good amount of Yamaha strings, so they might be a good choice. Much more importantly, installing strings on a piano is more difficult than stringing a guitar, for instance. Are you a piano technician? If not, I would strongly suggest involving one for this project. A badly performed installation with no guidance could possibly:

1) result in a piano that sounds no better
2) result in a piano that sounds worse
3) result in a piano that no longer holds pitch

Some food for thought.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872466
07/25/19 02:22 AM
07/25/19 02:22 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 16
Cookeville, Tennessee
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JasonInTN Offline
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Joined: Dec 2017
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Cookeville, Tennessee
Before I replaced a tubby base string, I would try twisting the string. Loosen the string, remove it from the hitch pin, twist 180 degrees in the direction of the windings, reattach and pull back up to pitch. Repeat once or twice. I've gotten good results doing this. I would certainly try it on the strings that have lost resonance before replacing them all.

Last edited by JasonInTN; 07/25/19 02:23 AM.

Some of my keyboards:
1912 Ritmuller Art Case Grand, 1976 Baldwin Hamilton 243, 1973 Hammond C3, 1987 Yamaha HX-1, Casio PX-160, Casio PX-130, 3 Older Clavinovas, 2 pump organs, and an assortment of other toys.
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: Rich Galassini] #2872540
07/25/19 08:56 AM
07/25/19 08:56 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 51
Frederick, MD
T
TurboMatt Offline OP
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TurboMatt  Offline OP
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Frederick, MD
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Much more importantly, installing strings on a piano is more difficult than stringing a guitar, for instance. Are you a piano technician? If not, I would strongly suggest involving one for this project. A badly performed installation with no guidance could possibly:

1) result in a piano that sounds no better
2) result in a piano that sounds worse
3) result in a piano that no longer holds pitch

Some food for thought.

My 2 cents,


Rich,

I am not a piano technician. I have only done some minor work (serviced the action, twisted the bass strings, tuned with software, etc) on my older 1920's Chickering grand that I still have as well. I have had a very good local technician come out recently to tune my Yamaha. I was quoted around $6500 to re-string the piano. That was quite a bit more than I would have thought. At this point I am looking for the best information on where to go for strings then focus on how to handle the actual work.

JasonInTN - I will give it a shot to twist the strings. There are 2 or 3 notes that are definitely worse than a majority of the bass section.

Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872546
07/25/19 09:06 AM
07/25/19 09:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,577
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Rickster  Online Content
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,577
Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by JasonInTN
Before I replaced a tubby base string, I would try twisting the string. Loosen the string, remove it from the hitch pin, twist 180 degrees in the direction of the windings, reattach and pull back up to pitch. Repeat once or twice. I've gotten good results doing this. I would certainly try it on the strings that have lost resonance before replacing them all.

I've tried the procedure you describe several times, Jason, and, my results were not as good as yours. So, you're better at it than I am. smile

When I've done this before with old bass strings, my results were very marginal; minor improvement, if any. I came to the conclusion that if you are going to loosen the bass tuning pin and string enough to remove it from the rear hitch pin, it wouldn't be much more effort to just replace the bass string(s) with new. Of course, you'd have to let it stretch and retune it several times before it stabilized, and it may sound different/richer than its neighbors. So, probably best to replace all the bass strings, depending on the circumstances.

This would probably be fine on older pianos, I suppose, but I believe I'd go for the new bass strings on a piano as nice as the Yamaha G5. But it's an individual decision.

I have also heard of and seen videos on YT where all the bass strings were removed and cleaned/soaked in a big vat of ammonia, then allowed to air dry naturally and reinstalled with some positive results. There are also other methods to liven up old bass strings like using a large steel-wire brush on a hand drill and buffing the windings with the wire brush to remove dust and debris, or removing from the rear hitch pin, making a circular loop and run the loop up and down the length of the string. Seems like a lot of trouble to me, for marginal results.

On the other hand, sometimes you can get more mileage out of a bass string by doing the twist... (reminds me of the oldies song "Twist" smile )

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872560
07/25/19 09:43 AM
07/25/19 09:43 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,500
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Rich Galassini  Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by TurboMatt

Rich,

I am not a piano technician. I have only done some minor work (serviced the action, twisted the bass strings, tuned with software, etc) on my older 1920's Chickering grand that I still have as well. I have had a very good local technician come out recently to tune my Yamaha. I was quoted around $6500 to re-string the piano. That was quite a bit more than I would have thought. At this point I am looking for the best information on where to go for strings then focus on how to handle the actual work.

JasonInTN - I will give it a shot to twist the strings. There are 2 or 3 notes that are definitely worse than a majority of the bass section.


I suspect there is additional work in that quote, TurboMatt. Do you have a proposal or a work summary? If not, ask for one. If that is truly just for restringing the piano only, I would get a second quote.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: Rich Galassini] #2872567
07/25/19 09:56 AM
07/25/19 09:56 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 51
Frederick, MD
T
TurboMatt Offline OP
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TurboMatt  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 51
Frederick, MD
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini


I suspect there is additional work in that quote, TurboMatt. Do you have a proposal or a work summary? If not, ask for one. If that is truly just for restringing the piano only, I would get a second quote.

My 2 cents,


That quote was to replace all of the strings and new (oversized) tuning pins. There was another quote for around $2k to service and regulate the action. That price seems inline with everything I've researched regarding cost. I do really like this particular technician and would feel more than comfortable allowing him to do the work. The quote/cost is unfortunately too expensive. There are two other techs in the area that I have worked with that I was not pleased with. So, I'm in the bit of a bind. Fortunately, I'm not in a hurry to do any of this work.

Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872586
07/25/19 11:04 AM
07/25/19 11:04 AM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 68
Colorado, USA
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Dave in Denver Offline
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Joined: Mar 2016
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Colorado, USA
The technician on my Weber Duo Art rebuild prefers Mapes, and used them on my piano. I have been happy with the results.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Re: Bass strings for 1980 Yamaha G5E [Re: TurboMatt] #2872665
07/25/19 03:04 PM
07/25/19 03:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,368
Southwest
j&j Online content
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j&j  Online Content
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Southwest
You folks are far more knowledgeable and brave than I am. Unless I was a fully trained Piano tech, I’d replace nothing. My piano tech would make recommendations, I’d pick my favorites and schedule him doing the job.
My tech has 40 years experience to my none. I also don’t do surgery on myself.


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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