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Time to change the hammers and strings (Read 2765 times)

Offline Dr.Love

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Time to change the hammers and strings
« on: August 02, 2002, 05:31:23 AM »
When exactly is the time to change either the hammer or the strings?

Offline Brian Lawson, RPT

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Re: Time to change the hammers and strings
«Reply #1 on: August 02, 2002, 08:19:24 PM »
When the hammers are so worn that there is insufficient felt for refacing.

When you've held so many parties that the spilt wine and coffee is making a groth around the bass strings and no amount of brasso wil get them to come clean :)

Seriously, that they are dead or too many rattle or buzz
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa
http://www.lawsonic.co.za
Piano Tuning and Restorations - world wide

Offline e60m5

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Re: Time to change the hammers and strings
«Reply #2 on: October 28, 2002, 04:21:59 AM »
Yup... what that guy said lol   ;)

Hammers should be changed only once the felt is so worn down that voicing can no longer result in a satisfying tone.

Strings should be replaced when they break, or if a piano hasn't been used for years and years... and you're completely rebuilding it... then the strings should be replaced. Otherwise, strings shouldn't be replaced just for the hell of it...

Offline rachfan

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Re: Time to change the hammers and strings
«Reply #3 on: January 05, 2003, 06:00:56 AM »
On the first go-around, hammers can simply be gently brushed with a small wire brush almost the size of a toothbrush to get the metal oxide out of the groves that have formed on the striking surfaces, thus improving the sound and making it slightly less strident.  The next time out, the hammers will likely need to be filed and shaped.  This operation can be done more than once.  Some voicing might be needed as well along the way.  Your technician will be able to tell you when the felt is finally beyond useful life and replacement is in order.  (Your ears will be informing you as well.)

String replacement is normally only required when a string breaks.  If you live in a humid area during warm weather, you can gently wipe (not rub)  the tops of the steel strings with a piece of steel wool to remove minute rust particles that form on the top of those strings from the humidity, thereby prolonging their life.  Don't do that with the wound strings in the bass though.  

Hope this helps.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline tosca1

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Re: Time to change the hammers and strings
«Reply #4 on: January 07, 2003, 11:54:59 PM »
I have been told that the acoustic life of a piano string is about 30 years but I suppose that can vary according to piano use and the many other factors that can affect the piano.

My tuner/ technician also told me,  and I have found that this works remarkably well, to keep the the unwound strings clean and free from rust, clean them gently with teflon pot scouring material. Cut the teflon into small pieces and gently clean the rust or oxidation spots off the strings. Apply only a light, gentle pressure to avoid stretching the strings. Do not use the teflon on the copper wound strings as the particles can clog the  the windings and affect the acoustic response of the string.
In  the humid climate where I live, unwound strings particularly on grand pianos are susceptible to rust spots which if left unchecked can ultimately damage the strings.  
Your piano unwound strings can be kept in pristine condition by this simple method of cleaning.

In piano love and care,
Robert.

Offline Brian Lawson, RPT

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Re: Time to change the hammers and strings
«Reply #5 on: January 10, 2003, 08:32:51 PM »
Steinways at NYC restring pianos in their concert fleet every 15 years, but those are high end use pianos.

I would think a dampp-chaser heater bar would help you for your humidity. I tuned a piano by the coast before christmas ( in view of the sea) with such installed, barely a minor tanish on the strings, yet a peice of iron artwork nearby was heavily rusted.
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa
http://www.lawsonic.co.za
Piano Tuning and Restorations - world wide