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The lowest E 1 of my Grotruan-Steinweg 185cm grand broke and I am having just a single string replaced very soon. Does anyone have experience with a mid century Grotrian ? Would any of you know who was the maker of bass strings used by Grotruan six years after World War II?
This instrument has an amazing sustain from its soundboard and the base pretty much rumbles the entire piano. Should I leave this question on the official website of Grotrian? I’m debating whether to replace all the bass strings as they’re 70 years old. But I’m also 75% sure I’m going to be selling the piano… however I would be interested to learn more about how this piano can produce such an incredible sustain.

Thanks for any recommendations of a current maker of bass strings that might complement this instruments natural sustain.

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You're asking the wrong questions, it doesn't matter who made them (99% sure they were just made by grotrian) until they are made with care from quality material. What matters for sound is scale design which is strings speaking lengths, inner wire diameters, outer diameter, but also bridge placement, hammer striking point etc..

You have two options, strings made to exact current (supposedly original, but I wouldn't be so sure about that in such old instrument) speciffication, or new scale design (which can improve the tone of the piano if done well) but even strings made to current specification will improve tone because copper overwrapped string don't really sound good after 20+ years (mostly due to unavoidable slow electrolytic corrosion between inner steel wire and outer copper wrap)

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I am totally sure these strings are original as the instrument was gifted to my husband from a choir member who passed away 15 years ago. She purchased the instrument and was the sole owner of it. So I am quite sure the strings are original…!
Does anyone have hands on experience working with Grotrian-Steinweg … of this era? Can anyone recommend a current bass string maker close in scale design to these original bass strings of 1951 Grotrian grand??

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Originally Posted by Coda9
The lowest E 1 of my Grotruan-Steinweg 185cm grand broke and I am having just a single string replaced very soon. Does anyone have experience with a mid century Grotrian ? Would any of you know who was the maker of bass strings used by Grotruan six years after World War II?
This instrument has an amazing sustain from its soundboard and the base pretty much rumbles the entire piano. Should I leave this question on the official website of Grotrian? I’m debating whether to replace all the bass strings as they’re 70 years old. But I’m also 75% sure I’m going to be selling the piano… however I would be interested to learn more about how this piano can produce such an incredible sustain.

Thanks for any recommendations of a current maker of bass strings that might complement this instruments natural sustain.


Mapes. Period. That's who to use for highest quality super custom strings.

https://www.mapesstrings.com/

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Originally Posted by Coda9
I am totally sure these strings are original as the instrument was gifted to my husband from a choir member who passed away 15 years ago. She purchased the instrument and was the sole owner of it. So I am quite sure the strings are original…!
Does anyone have hands on experience working with Grotrian-Steinweg … of this era? Can anyone recommend a current bass string maker close in scale design to these original bass strings of 1951 Grotrian grand??

It works like this: Piano technician carefully measures your current strings (speaking length, hitch pin length, outer diameter, core diameter), strings rather have to be removed from the instrument first for a good measurements (high precision for diameter measurement is needed), then this whole data goes to a manufacturer and exact copy of string set is made.

I can't recomend any particular maker in the US because I'm from Europe.

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This piano is 70 years old. You should restring it entirely.


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In situations like these I like to reuse the original string if at all possible. It's not that difficult to splice a bass string. A new string will almost always sounds different.


Professional Piano Technician serving the Tampa bay area. website: mckaigpianoservice.com
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I have a Grotrian 200 from the 70s' that had a bass string replaced at some point with a universal bass string. It is possible tell the difference in tone from its neighbours when testing it, but it is very subtle, i can't tell at all while playing the instrument.

The expense of restringing the whole piano almost surely will not be recouped in case you sell the piano.

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The expense of buying a replacement piano almost surely will not be recouped in case you sell the piano. That is not why you buy a piano, nor why you do maintenance on the one you have.

The piano that I got when I first started was not as old as this one is. Restringing it was well worth doing.


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If you're in the Bay Area there are bound to be good technicians there who can help, so my recommendation is that you find out who the trusted technicians are, and take it from there. Once you restring a piano, you really should replace the damper felt as well, and then you start to get into the questions about whether you should just replace the hammers... etc... so have it assessed by a technician who will know, or at least have a good idea of whether it's worth just replacing that one string and being done to it, or whether it's worth doing more.

If you're going to sell the piano, it might be the best option just to spend the $40 or whatever it costs for a new string, and paying for the fitment, and having a bit of voicing done on the hammer for compensation, or as has been suggested just splicing the original string, depending on where the break actually is. It's not worth your while to have a lot of work done to the piano before selling it, you will almost certainly end up out of pocket that way, even though Grotrian pianos can be incredible. Think about your intention for the piano first before spending the money.


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There was some misunderstanding probably, I was talking about replacing all strings not one, in that case looking for the best maker etc does not make any sense, because even if the new string will be an exact copy of the old one, it will still sound different because the old strings are old and corroded (inside between the core and the wrap).

Originally Posted by Bill McKaig,RPT
In situations like these I like to reuse the original string if at all possible. It's not that difficult to splice a bass string. A new string will almost always sounds different.

This is best approach if possible, if not, technician will just install universal bass string, there are no other sensible options, and let face it, it was fine instrument when it was new, but now it's 70 years old and it just can't be in good condition if there werent some serious jobs or rebuild done in that period, such piano is worth not more than 5000usd, very likely closer to 2000usd.
However, it is a very good candidate for full rebuild.

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Have you not had advice from your regular tuner/technician?

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All of your comments and observations have been really helpful for me to focus my attention of whether to keep the piano, probably opt for replacing all bass strings,…OR get it ready for sale.
My regular very valued technician isn’t available until beginning of December so he gave a recommendation of another RPT. Last visit of regular technician we discussed trying a string in the base from a supplier he likes in Canada.
This instrument had hardly been played by the previous owner and I spent time gradually getting acquainted with it. Both eyes and my regular technician are VERY impressed with the length and quality of sustain this instrument can produce… this is why I’m considering keeping it and refurbishing it.
Currently replacing one string in the base makes it usable for composers that spend the entire length of the keyboard.
Grotrian is a top tier Builder and has long ener-twined with Steinway in Braunschweig, Germany. Does anyone think I might benefit from inquiring on Grotrian website about recommended maker or method to replace all the bass strength?

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If you are not going to replace all the strings, then just replace the one. If it stays in tune otherwise, the string can be replaced without removing the tuning pin, so the piano can be restrung without replacing the pin block, which would make the job much more expensive. Once strings start breaking due to age, others can follow, and it makes sense to replace them all. Not only that, but there is an audible difference between new bass strings and old plain wire strings. It is not as evident as between old bass strings and new bass strings, but it becomes more evident when bass strings are replaced and plain wire strings are not.

A single string is more expensive than the price per string for a set, but there are so many strings that it is still cheaper to replace that single string.

You can replace the strings without replacing hammers, which can be done later. A Grotrian is a decent piano, but the name recognition is not big in the US, so it makes sense to keep the costs down. If you decide to keep it for years, it makes more sense to do each job correctly as you can afford it.

There are people who will say you have to replace the pin block. They do not live and work in the Bay Area. There are many pianos that stay well in tune with old pin blocks here.


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Grotrian should have very small tuning pins so I doubt that replacing the pinblock is needed if there is no damage. I don't know about name recognition in the US, but even in Europe old grotrian steinwegs grand pianos are rather cheap for their quality, interestingly grotrian is most known for their uprights sometimes are even called "best uprights in the world" and used upright very often costs more than grands!

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My regular technician who isn’t available until December has mentioned a bass string supplier he likes in Canada— would anyone know of this supplier and his quality of bass strings?

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There is more than one string maker in Canada. I use pianophile and have always been happy. I think, but could mistaken, that J. D. Grandt also has an excellent reputation.


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It’s even more important that your tech knows how to properly measure the original string.


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If you want German-made strings, Heller Bass strings are generally regarded as of the highest quality https://www.hellerbass.eu/en/

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My bass ring was picked up and will be thoroughly measured so that a new one can be ordered from my Tech’s supplier in Canada. I’m really looking forward to sampling it. I’ll let you know if it’s a happy ending or a learning experience or something else…
I really appreciate everyone’s observations and I’ve jotted down notes, thank you all!

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