Last week we talked about how long piano strings last, today we are going to discuss whether or not it’s possible to replace only a single string. This is something I deal with on a regular basis. I have very intense practice sessions and I regularly break strings on my Baldwin SD-10 concert grand piano.
When it comes to piano, you should always have an experienced tuner or technician replace the string for you – unless you are well versed in servicing pianos. You must install the correct gauge string properly so it matches the other strings – you will want to make sure it’s wound tightly and that the becket (the part of the string that points out from the hole) is flush, among other issues that must be addressed when replacing a string. It’s not a job for an amateur.
If you’re familiar with other string instruments, like guitar for example, you know that replacing a single string can be a bit problematic. In the case of a guitar, replacing one string will cause that string to stand out from the older ones on the instrument. It will have a brighter sound and it will go out of tune much more easily than the strings you already have on there until it stabilizes. When it comes to piano, you will find similar problems.
Replacing a single string on a piano will cause that string to go out tune quite regularly. It will need to be touched up regularly – possibly eight to ten times before it holds a tuning. What a lot of piano tuners will do is to stretch the string a little sharp and insert a small rubber wedge to avoid hearing the out of tune string. The next time they come to tune the piano the string will probably hold pitch better and they can hopefully get the piano back to normal.
What I suggest for serious players is to become somewhat competent in touching up the tuning of your piano. I own a tuning hammer and a set of wedges and I constantly touch up the tuning of my piano. This enables you to enjoy your piano without having to constantly have a technician or tuner come over to tune your new strings. It’s worth learning if you find yourself breaking strings regularly. Not only that, but you can keep your piano in tune longer by touching up the tuning between piano technician visits.
When it comes to copper wound bass strings, there is a bit more involved. These strings are very specific and it may require you to send in the string to the manufacturer and have them send you a replication. Mapes is a great string manufacturer that provides this service. If the piano is very old and the bass strings are a bit tarnished, a new bass string could be significantly brighter than the others. At this point you might consider replacing the whole set of bass strings which could really brighten up the sound giving new life to your piano.
It’s not the end of the world breaking piano strings, but it requires some work and the help of an experienced tuner to remedy the situation. If you find yourself breaking strings regularly, you should consider learning how to touch up the tuning on your piano. You may also consult with your piano technician to see if there are issues with your piano that are causing strings to break.
Thanks again for joining me Robert Estrin Robert@LivingPianos.com
Last week we talked about how long piano strings last, today we are going to discuss whether or not it’s possible to replace only a single string. This is something I deal with on a regular basis. I have very intense practice sessions and I regularly break strings on my Baldwin SD-10 concert grand piano. When it comes […]Read More