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65. Piano Wires- Turning to brighten tone

Get all piano wire supplies from us.

Now, I have a strange job for you. This technique will solve your dull bass note problem one way or other. You will turn the wires, and the bass will brighten, or the wires will break, and you can order new ones. Actually, I have only had two wires break in this technique in 14 years.

We are ONLY talking about the bass wires that are single mounted and have wire wound around them. They get dull with age from dirt in the windings and because the wire winding gets brittle.

For this job, the tools you will need are:

A small Vise Grip, preferably the long nosed type, a small screw driver, and a tuning lever. The tuning lever is available in my Mini Catalogue at the end of the book.

First, release the tension on the wire you are going to turn by loosening the tuning pin for that wire at the top. As you release the wire, check the loop in the wire down below to see when you can get it off of the anchor pin. Pull downward on the lower loop to try to get it off of the anchor pin.  Do not loosen the wire more than you need to since you can kink it, and it will break later.

Second, remove the loop from the anchor pin at the bottom end of the wire. Put your screw driver through the loop, and twist the wire IN THE SAME DIRECTION THE COPPER WINDINGS ARE GOING ON THE STEEL CORE WIRE. In other words, tighten the windings. Turn the wire one and a half turns, two maximum. Any more, and the wire will probably break when you tighten it.

Third, grab the winding just above the loop, at the end of the wire, with the Vise Grip. You will want to get the Vise Grip very tight. Now, pull downward on the wire, and put the loop over the lower anchor pin again. If it won't go, it is because you need to let the wire off a little more. Do this with the tuning lever, then finish this step.

Fourth, release the Vise Grip, and position the wire through the bridge pins in a zig zag manner just like the ones next to it.  With a blunt item and a small hammer or your shoe, tap the loop down tight around the anchor pin and the bridge pins. 

Fifth, Tune the wire to the octave note ABOVE it as instructed in this chapter, sub-topic, Tuning- Do it Yourself, Stop-gap complete tuning with all tools. If you tune the wire this way, you will get very close. Only remember that the bass wire beats are quite slow. You will have to listen carefully. DO NOT go above the correct pitch, or the old brittle wire will probably break. If you cannot hear the beats, try to set the wire at a compromise between the two wires on either side of it.

If there are several wires which are dull or dead, be sure to start with the highest tone wire you want to do, and work down to the lowest.

The turned wires should brighten, but do not raise the overall pitch on the piano to A-440, or standard pitch, if it has been a long time since it was last tuned. You could break the wires you just turned.

If the wires are still dead, and if you do not have bridge or severe sound board problems, you will simply have to order new bass wires. You can do this through your tuner, or order through my Mini Catalogue in the back of this book.

On to task 66.