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#646335 - 02/05/09 07:51 PM Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 80
Polka Offline
Full Member
Polka  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 80
San Jose, CA, USA
Hi all,

This problem bothers me a lot, and I don't know how to stop it.

A customer of mine has a Yamaha Grand C2. It's about 15 years old. In the recent years, the strings (yes, several strings) break from time to time, even the one was replaced before. We (my friend and I) both use Roslau strings.

Anyone experienced this before? Could that be the person who plays the piano has super power?
Could that be the hammer problem?

Thank you


Amateur Pianist * Piano Teacher * Part-time Tuner
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#646336 - 02/05/09 07:55 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member
GreenRain  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 888
Somewhere in Europe
He plays too much Liszt.

#646337 - 02/05/09 08:27 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,568
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bob  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,568
Florida
There are probably several reasons. The player plays hard, the original strings are worn, the hammers need filing and voicing and the action needs regulating. Yamaha has low tension bass strings which help.

#646338 - 02/05/09 10:28 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 53
vin mrykalo Offline
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vin mrykalo  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 53
Kansas
Or maybe hammer replacement is in order.


Vince Mrykalo RPT MPT
UK Piano Technician
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#646339 - 02/06/09 12:14 AM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Keith Roberts  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Murphys, Ca
I had a Grotrian with this problem. The hammers are too hard. Take a voicing tool with one needle in it and see how far you can get it to go in. You should be able to push it all the way in and pull it out. The hammer has to have some spring to it. A hard hammer that has a flat top, has a corner that drives a spike into the wave pattern and the amplitude of the spike is what breaks the string. A hammer that has more spring will produce more volume and the player won't try as hard. This is the technique I used and he had no more broken string until he got the money together to hang a new set.

First shape the hammers. Picture the small end of an egg.

I took the Yamaha voicing class, a two part, taught by the head factory voicer from Japan. I have the 30 page Yamaha voicing procedure pamphlet they gave out. Laroy was there of course. When asked, the Factory guy said the lesser quality pianos do not get the full voicing treatment.
What he did was grab three hammers at a time, the stress on the center pins is acceptable and with a good weighted 6mm tri needle tool, he drove it to the hilt, 3 to 4 times on each side of the strike point, avoiding the 11 to 1:30 window. That was just the preliminary pass. Depending on how hard the hammers are, I have heard 5 to 6 times per side total. That's just the strike point needling. When you are done with the hammers you might have 60 holes in them if you have to do much mid and low shoulder. I read the CAUT list. Some guys put a needle in their dremel because you break so many. Buy a good needle.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
#646340 - 02/06/09 02:00 AM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Have you heard this person play?


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
#646341 - 02/06/09 10:13 AM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Keith Roberts  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Murphys, Ca
No I haven't, Dale.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
#646342 - 02/06/09 12:14 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Actually, Keith, I was asking Polka. How's the weather in Murphys today?

The C2 problem sounds like little more than piano abuse. I've had people tell me they play gently, yet when observed unawares a different story develops.

Polka, you may want to switch to Mapes Gold Standard wire. It seems to be a little better in the tensile strength. I have less issues since using it.


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
#646343 - 02/06/09 09:14 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Keith Roberts  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Murphys, Ca
I was kidding around, Dale. Lets see, rain. Snow level is supposed to drop to 2000 feet on Sunday. I'm at 2800. Might have to sleep in on Monday.

Do you think after 15 years, the hammers might have tightened up a little? Or if shaped, they are down to the harder underfelt. It probably is time for a new set. Have you tried the new Weikert felt from Ronson? Nice hammers. Mr Erwin even had compliments for the new Steinway hammers that is on an A that is almost finished. That's a change.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
#646344 - 02/09/09 09:22 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 80
Polka Offline
Full Member
Polka  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 80
San Jose, CA, USA
Hi Dale and Keith,

Thanks for your information.
I've heard the person plays.
She plays really well, and she is going to music school this coming fall. She is powerful but not abusing the piano. The hammers are worn badly since she plays a lot everyday in the past 10 something years. That's why I suspect the hammers caused string breaking.

What Keith said really makes sense here.
Thanks a lot, Keith. I sanded the hammers a little bit, but I didn't remove all the dents from strings because I was afraid of going down to the underfelt part.

She definitely needs a new set of hammers. Perhaps a new piano is a better choice. smile Her mom wouldn't do it becasue she is going to college this fall and the piano will not be played so often then.

By the way, it is a C3, not C2. My mistake.


Well, we'll see how it goes.


Amateur Pianist * Piano Teacher * Part-time Tuner
#646345 - 02/09/09 10:29 PM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Keith Roberts  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,009
Murphys, Ca
I don't think a new piano would be a better choice. Yamaha actions are very nice. A good set of hammers, properly matched, would would bring it back to life with a sound that I think is better.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
#646346 - 02/10/09 12:14 AM Re: Frequent string breaking  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Polka, you can expect more breakage from wire that is already work hardened at the termination points.

Some hidden/pre-existing damage will just have to show up even if new hammers fix the cause.

Maybe some good quality softer hammers?


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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