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7. Broken wire emergency

We carry all sizes of plain wire and bass strings, both matched and universal.
We carry tools just for string replacement.

Though this may be found elsewhere in the book, it is here for emergency use. See Wire- Replacement of a Broken One later in this chapter for replacement.

You have heard a loud bang as you were playing, and now several keys produce nothing but a gross rattle when they are hit. There are three sections of the piano wires which you must treat differently:

a. The three wire per note section:

In the plain wire, unwrapped, section of the wire,s every note has three wires. A few pianos have two plain wires just after the bass section turns to plain wire. Each plain wire leaves a tuning pin at the top of the piano, goes down to the bottom and around the hitch pin there, and back up to the next tuning pin. With three wires and two trips, (down and up) your broken wire in fact involves two wires as you look at the wires from above.

It could be that the whole trip is down and up in the same note, which means that a middle and an outside wire in the note must be removed, A in the diagram. But, it may be that an outside wire of one note and an outside wire of the note next to it will have to come out, B in the diagram.

Using the diagram to help you understand, follow the path of the broken wire down to the bottom of the piano. Once you are sure you know which wire makes the return trip back to the top, cut that wire at C with diagonal pliers. Get back down to the far end of the strings, grab the wire at the bottom, and pull it out.


This wire is highly tempered and cuts like a knife at its ends. Keep it under control at all times, and wear goggles or glasses as you remove it and coil it up. Keep the little people at a distance also.

If you plan to order a piece of wire from me to make repairs (Wire- Replacement of a Broken One later in the chapter), cut off about three inches to send to me with your order. You may also check the wire with a micrometer in thousandths of an inch and send me the figures. I can send you a new wire with this method. Coil the rest and put it in the bottom of the piano. Your tuner can replace it later, but it would be nice for him if he could have the broken wire to gauge when he does the job.

b. Two wire section of the wires:

If one of the wound wires in the two wire notes is broken, simply open the bottom of the piano, and pull the wire out. Read the warning above please. Coil up the wire, and put it in the bottom of the piano. If you want to order a new wire from me, you will need to send me the coiled wire for a match. Again, you can mic the outside wrap of the string, and mic the core wire, and send me the figures. There are a couple of other measurements also, which you can find at our Piano Strings page in the online Catalog. If you want your tuner to replace it, keep it in the bottom of the piano until he comes to tune.

c. Single wire notes:

Open the bottom of the piano, and pull the wire out. Read the warning above. You will have to live without that note. Sorry. You can send the whole wire (coiled up) to me for replacement, or wait for your tuner to come and replace it. You may also mic the wire and call for a new one.

If you have a grand piano, this emergency treatment is even easier than on the upright. Everything is exactly the same in principle. Also, there are a very few pianos which have every wire tied off at the lower pins. This is a bit nutty of the manufacturer, but it is great for you because you only have to work the end of the broken wire off of the lower pin and store it. If you choose to replace a wire like this, you will have to put a loop in the end of it with a good number of windings so it will not come unraveled.

To go to our Piano Wire Page in the online Catalog, CLICK HERE.

On to task 8.