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Joined: Feb 2005
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SteveT Offline OP
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I've just bought a Kawai GS30 about 1980. It looks immaculate and I only noticed once it was delivered that some of the treble strings from just after the bass strings to just before the very high ones at the top end, have a fair bit of rust where they pass under the bass strings. I've also noticed some slight metallic sound on the notes around an octave above middle C.
Since I've only had it a week (and didn't notice the metallic sounds in the shop),could this be part of it's acclimatisation to my home (it's already very slightly out of tune here and there), or is there another possible cause.
The shop changed the bass strings because they were a bit dull, now I find a bit of rust...and it's a Jap import. Does this point to a piano that was once in a very humid place. It looks as new btw, and the finish looks original. Hammers very clean, soundboard immaculate, action great.


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It is likely not from a dry place for sure, but grands are prone to rust more eaily than uprights in mildly humid climes because of the open lid letting in so much dust and the dust tends to hold moisture. Also open windows/breezes are not good. Cool breezes/night air are more humid. This rust problem is what string covers are good at preventing. Unfortunately much of the industry seems to prefer the bliss of ignorance.

Of course it could easily be from a highly humid clime as well. Let's use maritime Japan as an example...

If the rust is only under the bass strings, it's because they polished it off the exposed strings but couldn't reach under the bass strings. However it's odd they didn't polish off the rust when they had the bass strings off.

As to the metallic tone, there are many possibilities. A good one is it's going a bit out of tune due to the location change.

Regards,


Rick Clark

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SteveT Offline OP
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Thanks very much Rick.


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On a similar subject, I read somewhere that you can clean bass strings and it improves the sound considerably.

Anyone know if this is correct and if so, how do you do it? (And do you have to take the strings off the piano first?)


Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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I read somewhere that a sure way to damage a piano is to try to clean the strings.

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Quote
Originally posted by seebechstein:
I read somewhere that a sure way to damage a piano is to try to clean the strings.
This guy doesn't agree!

Seems well dodgy to me, though. eek


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For what it's worth...

A friend of mine plays folk guitar. When his strings get dirty or even rusty he takes them off and then puts them in boiling water for five to ten minutes. Afterwards he cleans them with a dry cloth. The tonal quality doesn't seem to be affected and his strings look like new again. He says he can do this up to four or five times before there's is any noticeable loss of quality.
But whether this could be applied to piano strings? I haven't tried yet... confused

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wim, even the thought of it scares me. Guitar strings and piano wire are two different animals.


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Absolutely..Curry is right. You can not take a piano wound string and boil it in water. The water will get through the winding and the steel string inside will rust. I had 2 custom made wound strings arrive from UPS in December. The envelope had been repacked and the strings and tag where soaking wet. I re-ordered the strings and put in an insurance claim. The string supplier told me they where useless.
Although it is tempting to make the copper wound bass strings look shiny, putting metal polish like brasso etc on them will destroy them. Sometimes the tone can be improved by unhitching the string and forming a loose loop in the string and pulling the loop back and forth. This is followed by twisting the hitch pin end 1/2 to a full turn. This tightens the windings. If the bass strings are dead/dull it is better to take measurments and order a set of custom made strings from a good string maker.

Sometimes bass string windings are cleaned up using a polita stone which is an abrasive eraser. You should not touch strings with you fingers because the acid in your skin can cause rust and discoloration


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:p

As I wrote : I haven't tried yet.

laugh ...and I don't think I ever will...

Wim

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SteveT,

If you still read this Forum, were you able to get the rust off your Kawai GS-30 piano strings? Was it costly for a piano technician to remove it? Were you able to completely remove the rust, just most of it or did you have to replace some of the piano strings? Do you still own the Kawai GS-30? If so, are you still happy with the way it plays and sounds?

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One of my relatives is a Nashville guitar picker. He says those guys never buy wound guitar strings. When they lose their bright tone, they loosen them one at a time and pull them away from the guitar body, letting them slap against the neck 3 or 4 times. Kind of like shooting arrows. When the string is re-tuned it is nearly bright as new. We’ve tried to figure out what happens. It’s not dirt or debris being dislodged as the strings are always wiped down and clean. I’ve been tempted to try using this approach on grand bass strings.

I have used a Dremel rotary nylon brush tool to buff the windings before, it made them look better but they still sounded dull. A polishing stone especially for the purpose sold by piano parts companies would be good for cleaning the plain strings.


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Quote
Originally posted by Dave Lotek:
One of my relatives is a Nashville guitar picker. He says those guys never buy wound guitar strings. When they lose their bright tone, they loosen them one at a time and pull them away from the guitar body, letting them slap against the neck 3 or 4 times. Kind of like shooting arrows. When the string is re-tuned it is nearly bright as new. We’ve tried to figure out what happens. It’s not dirt or debris being dislodged as the strings are always wiped down and clean. I’ve been tempted to try using this approach on grand bass strings.
The slapping may well dislodge oxidation or dirt stuck between the coils where it could not have been seen.

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I have wound Bass strings for restorations that I have done in the past ,I am also doing one next week on an Ivers and Pond grand piano 1902.The wire needs to be ever so clean of contaminants.I use an old wire wrapping machine which I can taper the ends of the copper windings tight.The copper wire windings can become streched apart with time causing the copper to slip or loosen on the steel.Causing a dull sound and even loss of volume .My customer's piano requires Hexagon steel wire strings which are on the original Bass strings.I get this wire from Mapes Piano String co.
Dont loosen the strings to clean them,if they sound to bad then have a Technician replace them.Some cleaning products contain acids and caustic materials ,which may at first shine the copper ,but also will hasten the corosion more,due to the residue left behind.
I know the piano You have .The steel in that model piano is of a very good quality and I have seen very few piano's with powder rust on the steel strings less than ten years old.
I hope I'v helped ! Good luck.


Jeffrey T. Swensen
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