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Tapping down strings #2913845 11/19/19 02:12 PM
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Hakki Offline OP
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What do you think about the below video? Do you employ a similar procedure? Is tapping the strings on the bridge safe (near the end of the video)?

https://youtu.be/-vHTFNHd1m8

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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2913865 11/19/19 03:10 PM
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David Boyce Offline
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The opinion these days is against tapping on the bridge. Tapping down the loop round the hitch pin, certainly. But in the video, at 1:48, where he taps the string where it leaves the hitch pin, it looks to me as if he puts a slight bend or kink in the string.

I've just bought one of these little gizmos, for addressing problems of strings across bridge pins: https://supply88.com/collections/featured-products/products/the-stabilizer-wire-bending-tool

Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2913869 11/19/19 03:17 PM
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Greetings,
I have seen the same techiques employed with more force and there was damage to a most delicate part of the piano. Hit strings hard enough and the terminal edge of the bridge, which is suppose to create a definite speaking length, will compress, allowing contact beyond the pin, It doesn't look like anything is getting smashed in this video, and I use a lot of the same techniques. There are now pliers made to relieve the curves around the bridge pins, but I haven't yet used them.

One additional thing I do on bass strings; as I work my way from the hitch pin into the speaking length, after settling the hitch, and flattening the curves in the wire where it rises to its bearing point, I place a pair of small pliers on the barrel of the hitch pin loop. That is the tightly coiled part of the bass string that finishes off the loop. I wiggle the barrel back and forth about two or three degrees and the tension in the string tends to more closely align the axes of the barrel and the wire. On freshly installed bass strings, this wiggle will often drop the pitch 4 to 10 cents. Wiggle too much and the wire can break, as its maximum stress in the loop is right there where it bends over the top coil of the barrel. I do this after I straighten curves behind the bridge, as it is not uncommon to see the wire move when the barrel is straighter and this movement allows the curve I put in the wire behind the pin to move a little closer to being centered on the pin. There is as much curve in the wire between the bridge pins as we observe on either side, it is just hard to straighten. if I straighten the rear pin's curve first, then the barrel, things seem to settle a lot faster.
regards,

Re: Tapping down strings [Re: David Boyce] #2913991 11/19/19 08:43 PM
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David - have you had occasion to use Stabilizer Wire Bending tool yet? The video certainly looked compelling. Have you had equivalent results?


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2913997 11/19/19 09:26 PM
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I think that making sure the loops are fully down at the base of the hitchpins is worthwhile, since the string can slip. One should do it when stringing. Everything else is a waste of time and possibly damaging.

When stringing I make a little bend in the string downwards towards the hitchpin, and it goes down by itself.


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914015 11/19/19 11:20 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Because of the order the strings are tapped, I assume the untapped string pairs will be used as pitch references to pull up the seated strings to. And after that the seating process will be done to the remaining string pairs.

I do not drive strings down into the bridge surface. This is bad as others have pointed out because the bridge surface will get rounded along the string path and the strings will creep back up from vibrating and wood movement leaving the string above the bridge just behind the bridge pins and this doesn't sound good.


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914021 11/19/19 11:40 PM
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I would never use a regular screwdriver on any part of the strings.


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914045 11/20/19 02:14 AM
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Hakki Offline OP
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All very informative replies. Thank you.
How would you deal with false beats on a grand piano without replacing/restringing the string?

Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914047 11/20/19 02:27 AM
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Hakki Offline OP
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Continued from the above question.
That is when holding a screw driver against the bridge pin stops the false beats.

Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914124 11/20/19 08:04 AM
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The fact that pressure on the pin eliminates the false beats tells you that the pin is not completely secure in its hole - there is some room for movement. Wicking in water thin CA glue at the base of the pin (taking great care to ensure no glue gets on the speaking length of the string) will greatly reduce false beats.

Last edited by adamp88; 11/20/19 08:07 AM.

Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914187 11/20/19 10:20 AM
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may been right use wood stick for tapping?

Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914204 11/20/19 10:54 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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The best advice about tapping I have heard is: If you used the same force hitting your hand, and it hurts, you are using too much force.

I am surprised at the sloppy stringing on this Yamaha. I would have thought they would have tapped those loops down at the factory...silly me. 😉

Pwg


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914220 11/20/19 11:33 AM
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Peter,
I think you and I both have donerightus disease.

All,
I use a brass rod when tapping so as not to harm the steel wire. I do tap on top of the bridge, but not so as to leave any marks. If the string is riding off the bridge you practically have to anyway. If the strings leaves marks easily, then its because the bridge cap wasn't dressed properly or at all. I find that most veteran technicians don't even know about dressing a cap.
-chris


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914416 11/20/19 09:26 PM
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If you do decide to use ca glue on bridge pins then it is necessary to use only very tiny micro-droplets at a time. It is very very easy for too much glue to run along the string and where it contacts the bridge. If that happens it will likely muffle the tone. It is better, if you can, to slacken the string and lift it up slightly when applying the glue and until it dries.


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2914451 11/21/19 12:07 AM
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I just wanted to say that I also recommend the Moondog "stabilizer" tool. You get a similar bend/relaxation of the string as from tapping, except it doesn't put stress on the bridge pin, and it presses the string horizontally (not down into the bridge). But I also carry a brass rod for tapping down the hitch pin loops, and it's important to do that before doing the bends at the bridge pin. And ideally the piano should tuned slightly sharp before you do the bends.

Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
If you do decide to use ca glue on bridge pins then it is necessary to use only very tiny micro-droplets at a time. It is very very easy for too much glue to run along the string and where it contacts the bridge. If that happens it will likely muffle the tone. It is better, if you can, to slacken the string and lift it up slightly when applying the glue and until it dries.


Very careful! I once had to work on a couple of pianos where someone had gotten too much CA glue on the bridge pins and it wicked in and got on the strings. It caused really nasty buzzes and I had to go in and scrape little shards of glue off the strings with a razor blade.


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2914536 11/21/19 07:50 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
If the strings leaves marks easily, then its because the bridge cap wasn't dressed properly or at all. I find that most veteran technicians don't even know about dressing a cap.
-chris



Chris,

You are correct. I've been in this for 44 years and I've never heard of dressing the cap. I'd like to learn more.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 11/21/19 07:50 AM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2915628 11/23/19 10:41 PM
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Hi Peter,
I'm sure you've seen me write about it before. I use a large screwdriver that has a round shank. Then I roll it over the bridge cap to "harden" the top. Sometimes you can actually hear the wood fibers compressing. It sure makes a difference, that's for sure.
-chris


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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2915749 11/24/19 11:29 AM
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Here’s a thought:
Seating strings at the hitch pins makes sense, but at the bridge I’m not so certain.
I have loosed the string tension and pulled the string away from the bridge pin on the speaking side only to find an abraded bridge pin where the string made an impression.
My thoughts on this are that if I seat the string it will soon return to the impression.
Repairs are needed.
And even if I were to replace the bridge pin, it’s likely the string will do the same thing.
It’s likely the bridge is low on the speaking side.
With this scenario, seating the string at the bridge makes things worse.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 11/24/19 11:29 AM.

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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2915823 11/24/19 02:45 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Hi Peter,
I'm sure you've seen me write about it before. I use a large screwdriver that has a round shank. Then I roll it over the bridge cap to "harden" the top. Sometimes you can actually hear the wood fibers compressing. It sure makes a difference, that's for sure.
-chris



This is a first for me. If I read it before I admit I paid no attention to it. I assume I could accomplish it with a length of 3/4" brass rod (which I happen to have). Have you checked somehow as to what degree of compression is occurring? (Just for fun of course).

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Tapping down strings [Re: Hakki] #2915840 11/24/19 03:26 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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As to the practice of tapping strings down at the bridge (ostensibly to quiet "false" beats), no matter what, it is a form of treating the symptom rather than the problem (generally speaking), and is wholly temporary. The problem stems (generally) from the slow but incessant degradation of the termination point of speaking length at the bridge. This situation reminds me of the (often denied) fact that pianos are (and always have been) designed to last about 30-40 years, at which point it becomes clearly evident that major needs to be done to restore original design performance parameters.

Close examination easily reveals that the technology in virtually all pianos today has not changed fundamentally in over 200 years (a few exceptions do exist). Yes, they are bigger, stronger, louder, stiffer, etc, however the DESIGN of key components of sound production, string termination, tension holding apparatus, etc is essentially the same today as it was in harpsichord days.

The fact that pianos "continue to operate" well past this mark does not mean that they were actually intended to (that the builders expected a greater lifespan). But the fact that tonal and tuning irregularities, issues, and problems really start being exhibited around this 30-40 year mark (in a moderately used instrument...much earlier in a heavily used instrument) is strong circumstantial evidence in proof. We have developed numerous "band-aid" measures to keep stuff going, to avoid the obvious (but very costly) need to rebuild the thing.

It's this "dirty little secret" that the sales person "neglected" to disclose to the buyer (for OBVIOUS reasons since it would kill the sale). All piano manufacturers know it, all sales forces ignore it and refuse to disclose it, preferring to propagate the MYTH that pianos last a "lifetime". And it doesn't matter how much one pays for the piano...the $150k piano has the same design lifespan as the $5k piano. The vast majority (including tuners & techs alike) have fallen victim to this brainwashing (of which SS could possibly be the primary culprit starting 120 years ago).

Oh well, I don't recall now exactly how I got on this soapbox, but I guess I'm done for today. 😂

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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