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Bosendorfer 225 Restring

  • 1.  Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Has anyone restrung any Bosies (specifically from the 70's) in the last few years? If so, have you encountered any issues I might want to be aware of ahead of time? This will be my first Bosie.

    Client wants me to use factory made strings straight from Austria (loops already made), AND insists that I do it in his home (will not let me move it to the shop...long story). Do you think there would be any issues with stringing section by section vs total destringing and restringing (as is the usual procedure)?

    Any suggestions and/or pitfalls to avoid would be appreciated.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago

    Are you stringing the whole thing?  I strung the capo section many years ago, but needed to take off the capo bar and reshape it with Steve Brady as it had regular string breakage.  I just used Roslau wire and nothing ever broke again.

     

    Paul






  • 3.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Peter,
    What is the serial number of that piano? Does it have 2 or 3 pedals? The reason I ask is that I may have installed the damper system during the years in the early '70s when Priscilla and I worked in the factory.  That was my specialty although we were both involved in all aspects of action building. I would have to check my "logbook" if I could find it.  On to your question:  The single loops/eyelets for each treble string are distinctive for the Bösendorfer. There was one man in the factory on Graf Starhemberggasse in Vienna that did all the bass string spinning and loop making for all the pianos. Let's see if I can describe this so it is understandable. The piano wire is bent around a steel pin sticking out of a piece of hardwood. In one gloved hand is the wire that will become the speaking length part. The other gloved hand will be making and finishing the loop. After the eyelet and the three coils are made, he did a quick motion that slipped the loop-making part of the wire back over the steel pin and gave it a tug to the right. That somehow inverted the wire and brought what would become the tail of the eyelet up at about a 45 degree angle AND put a nice looking curve on the tail when the wire flipped back over. The curve is the main characteristic that is most recognizable. At one time there was a video of him doing this but he was so fast and it seemed he stepped in front of the camera enough so that the "secret" could not be obtained from the video (job security at the time maybe?). Why does Bösendorfer do this?  When we were being briefed by the assistant factory manager for answers to questions posed during factory tours, he said (1) it showed the intensive handwork that goes into our pianos and (2) if a string breaks during performance, (a) only one out of the three strings for a particular note would be missing or (b) it would not effect two notes like when normal stringing was used if the plain wire wrapped around a hitch pin and served the two different notes.  Later, in the School for Piano Builders in Ludwigsburg, Germany I learned in scale design class that if the tuning pins and hitch pins were in a similar configuration (left pin closest to the player, then the middle pin, then the treble-most pin away from the player) it made the overall length of all three strings more equal and was closer to an ideal scale design regarding tune-ability and tuning stability.

    There should be no trouble destringing the whole piano and starting from scratch. You could certainly do it section by section if you wish.  Does the customer have some inside information that strings are available directly from the factory?  I do not know if Bösendorfer presently provides sets of strings (both plain and bass strings in your case?); you would have to be in contact with manufacture's representatives here in the US or contact the factory in Austria. Please report back here to the group what is possible as I think this question has been brought up before some time ago.

    I hope you include in your price estimate the time for several trips to the customer's house and daily set-up time. What if you wanted to remove and reshape the capo as Paul W. has reported?  (Get it back in the original place as these are designed as moveable).  There is an extra round trip.  Also, do your best to fully protect the front of the case and the arms around the pinblock area.There will be a lot of hammering involved and one slip could cause polyester repair (in the home!?!) to be done. Usually customers who insist on in-the-home repairs have those perfect, bright white carpets in the piano room. Will the customer realize that you will take reasonable precautions but are not responsible for any carpet stain when dust and dirt are knocked free of the piano during the work? Get that in writing.  It's not fair to you - or even the customer - to turn a room in someone's house into your workshop. Will you for sure have every part and tool necessary for the whole job? If not, there is another round trip. And don't forget the damper work that has to be done after stringing. It seems that you would have to devote multiple days to this one project alone and must charge for it.

    I fully agree with Jon and Will about working in the home. But you said there was a long background story and we really don't know enough about it or your desire to do this job to recommend a strong refusal under those conditions. Above all, protect yourself.

    Here is a photo from DanPiano.com found on a Google search of what Bösendorfer eyelets look like. The curve of the tail seems to diminish as you go from left to right in the picture so they are not all perfect examples. But a nice effort was made and the tails do end up at a 45 degree upward angle. As I searched the internet for hitch pin loops on Bösendorfer, virtually all the other photos had straight tails going straight out and that is not how they were made.



    These are the only suggestions I can think of at this time.  Good luck with this project and DO report back in this discussion in the future.
    Joel Rappaport

    ------------------------------
    Joel Rappaport
    Rappaport's Piano Workshop
    Round Rock TX
    512-255-0440
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 26 days ago
    To start with, I'd probably use Paulello wire, or some hybrid scale. I'd also get the bass strings from Heller. This guy is going to be looking over your shoulder and interfering with the job. I prefer to work in my shop to have all my tools at hand, instead of bringing the shop to the site. I'd pass on this micro-manager. Let him be someone else's problem.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Put on your piano snob hat, Peter.  (if it is not too late, and he sees you already as riff-raff who might soil his piano, so he has to control everything).  Of course, he thinks he knows everything, but he doesn't know what he doesn't know.

    I would start by saying that I have never restrung a piano in a customer's home (I have not), nor would I ever.  It is not a setting where I can do my best work, and there are too many things that cannot be properly addressed in the home.  The plate must come out, and ta da, ta da, ta da down a long list. Tell him that you have set standards for yourself evolved over decades of piano work,  that you are not willing to compromise them,  and that this is the only way that you are willing to work on his piano.  Further, tell him it is in his best interest to have you or anyone else do the work in this manner.  Tell him this with real conviction and let him know that you do not need this work.

    Tell him that, if any piano deserves to have this best uncompromised work done, it is a Bosendorfer.

    Going back to his home to have this conversation would be ideal, if you would like to do the job.

    What kind of shape is the pinblock in?

    I agree with Floyd on bridge terminations and their pinning.  And inverting the capo bar and dressing it.  All shop work too.

    Can I assume that the bass strings will come directly from Bosendorfer?

    It may not be a bad idea to get the bass strings and plain wire from Bosendorfer.  That way, the customer cannot blame you for the shoddy materials you used when something is less than perfect.

    I am of the mind that a piano doesn't truly reveal itself for good or bad until the plate comes out.

    About 20 years ago, a customer wanted me to restring a 9' Baldwin SD in his home.  I refused the work

    Will

    ------------------------------
    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
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  • 6.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    There is a Bösendorfer 200 in our university collection that was restrung sometime before I came on the scene.  No reworking of the bridge terminations is evident.  At some time, someone applied CA to the bridge pins in such a way as to interfere with the excursion of the treble strings at the point where they the bridge.  I've tried to address issues there, but I really think the strings need to come off again, the pins need to be pulled, and the notches re-carved if we ever hope to have this piano sing as it should.

    I am very reluctant to restring anything without careful attention to the pinning and the notching of the bridge.  There is usually improvement that can be made.  I consider the approach that was taken to this instrument that is now under my care to represent a very significant missed opportunity.

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    Floyd Gadd
    Regina SK
    306-502-9103
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  • 7.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Posted 26 days ago

    Wow wonderful and substantive post reply from Priscilla , the only time I  ever agreed to  do a full restring  in home was in the 80's  on Nantucket Island  over the winter months when the customer was not in residence and the  house key was in a hideaway  or I would coordinate with the winter caretaker . For all the reasons stated creating an efficient and tech friendly workspace in their home for me is a non starter, but I understand the cost saving of a round trip move , and if the work is scheduled for the winter months  I'd be cautious about  moving it to your workshop trying to maintain constant humidity levels in a New England  winter ...and god  forbid .."yes it's all restrung  but a couple of soundboard cracks appeared..!"
    www.snowpianos.com



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    Martin Snow
    South Burlington VT
    617-543-1030
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  • 8.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 26 days ago
    Are they Double German Loops?

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 26 days ago
    I fashioned a few dental tools to clean the wire and bridge notch after CA application.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    The double loops would have 2 circles in the eyelet and usually end in a straight tail going straight out. Original Bösendorfer plain wire loops have only the one circle. Or at least they did in my time.
    Joel

    ------------------------------
    Joel Rappaport
    Rappaport's Piano Workshop
    Round Rock TX
    512-255-0440
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Okay,

    Serial number 33221 (purchased 1979).

    Bass strings and plain wire gets ordered through Yamaha. Initially I was under the impression that they could make a duplicate set of strings from just the serial number but I have been informed that is not the case due to the age. I will need to measure everything and fill in their little form.  Also, the form states that they have changed the spec of 10mm from agraffe to winding to 25mm (probably to give the string maker a little more wiggle room).

    The plain wire loops are single, and I have in fact seen the video of the guy making them. I even practiced a bit and got pretty good at duplicating it. But it would definitely be easier to simply pull them off a wire and install at this stage of my life.

    I had not thought about the capo bar issue so I'm glad that was brought up (though my SOP is to reshape it...good reminder). This may be a significant enough detail to convince him to let me bring it to the shop. Additionally, I strongly suspect that this piano has EXCESSIVE downbearing for which I want to check and adjust (another good reason to bring er in).

    Owner is not a control freak. He is a concert pianist and retired neurosurgeon who is paranoid that it will get damaged in moving because the last TWO times it got moved it got damaged (badly). He is willing and able to pay whatever it takes to have it done on site, however I am going to attempt to convince him that my movers are better than those used before.  But some of these other issues could help tip the balance (pun not intended). The fact that my movers recently moved an IDENTICAL instrument without incident will also help (I hope).

    I am not fond of doing this type of work in the home, though it's not that far away...still fraught with uncertainties and pitfalls.

    I would also normally want to improve the scale a bit with Paulello wire but he is a bit of a stickler for reproducing the original.  I will going tomorrow to measure bass strings. We will also have a powow over a good cup of coffee.

    Pwg


    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 26 days ago
    Ron Overs has a nice way of making the double loops.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 26 days ago
    >(He is a concert pianist and retired neurosurgeon who is paranoid) = control freak, micro-manager.

    Tell him just as some medical procedures can be done at home and some in the office, others need to be done in an OR; his piano needs to go to your shop.
    There is just too much meticulous work which is time consuming and needs to be done in your controlled environment., where you can work at a comfortable pace.

    Plus having to get the parts from a manufacturer is cost prohibitive.  Better material is available on the open market.

    Don't let his preconceived notions dictate your actions. You'll be explaining step-by-step, maybe even disagreeing on how to proceed. It'll take you 3 to 4 times longer and not be able to be as thorough.

    Most people's ideas of pianos are fraught with old wives' tales and preconceived notions. Trying to convince them otherwise can be futile.


    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    HI Peter:

    I am surprised to learn that the waste lengths have gone from 10 mm. to 25 mm.  That is 1 inch!  If I wanted bass strings set to that diminished standard. I would order from Mapes, which I have not done in 20 years.

    I would bring this important fact to your customer's attention.  If you have scaling software that allows you to adjust the waste lengths, bring your notebook computer and show him how changing that measure affects the inharmonicity.  That alone will tell him that he will not be getting an exact reproduction of the original scale from the factory at the staggeringly large price that he will be asked to pay.  John Schienke will work to 12 mm., Heller is likely similar.

    Secondly, I would contact Bosendorfer and ask them if the bass string scale that they send is an exact reproduction of the 1979 scale.  If the scale has changed, tell that to your customer.  If they are not willing to answer the question because they do not want to be bothered or want to share it, tell your customer.

    He has less control over the rebuild than he thinks he has in this situation.  You are there to manage all the details that he does not even know exist.  Your decades of experience allow you to avoid the pitfalls of this process.  You are the advocate for excellence and the highest standards, and you cannot work towards the best result without having the freedom to make the right decisions on his behalf.  Both Heller and JD Grandt make superb strings, you have probably ordered from both.

    If you needed neurosurgery and you wanted him to do the work, ask if you could be kept awake during surgery so that you could instruct him on how to do do it.  Surely, he will understand the folly of that, and it can make your point that you are a better advocate for his goals than he is.  I know how meticulous and careful you are, Peter.  Make sure that he knows that, and ask for his trust in you.

    I have not heard the B that you recently finished.  I know that you and Rich are very happy with the result.  I believe that you put Heller strings on that piano.  If  the owner is willing, perhaps he could take a look at that piano.

    ------------------------------
    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Jon and Will,

    Yes, precisely. As I took my shower this morning I was thinking in all the same illustrative ways and decided that I need to bring these to his attention.

    I re-read the "form" and it says: "Distance from agraffe to winding was changed from 15mm to 25mm about 8-10 years ago".  So I was mistaken about the 10mm but not about the 25mm. This is a significant point.

    I have been very happy with both Gregor Heller's work as well as John Shienke's.  Today is decision day.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Go big or go home.  :-)

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    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
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  • 17.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    👍😁

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 25 days ago
    Keep in mind neurosurgeons have a history of being both egomaniacs, by definition, close to sociopathic in order to avoid over empathizing with their clients, and probably nuts after a career doing what they have to do, under the stress they have to do it. Just look at Ben Carson if you need convincing on this...crackers.  Then add to that, said retired neurosurgeon decides he is a concert pianist, and we push the data to the very high probability nuts, power freak end of the scale.  I've worked for some difficult personalities, but only after much thought, and, as we always do, giving my wife a veto. A second veto voice can be very useful to get around our own egos.

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    So Jim, is that retried, retired, or refried?  Any of the three might work in this situation.  :-)

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    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
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  • 20.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    True, I have seen evidence (sporadically) of all of the above...some of which surprised me, some not.

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    So we decided to go big.

    Piano is coming to shop (as soon as I compared it to doing brain surgery in my living room he acquiesced). He also was good with Hellerbass doing the bass strings (turns out he has made strings for Bosendorfer at various times and no quality difference).

    So all in all things are looking up. Will probably replace hammers too.

    Joel,

    I would definitely be interested to know if you worked on this piano #33221. Please let me know.

    Pwg​​

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    Since that was "sort of" my suggestion, I want half your profits, Peter.  :-)

    Good on ya,

    Will

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    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Posted 25 days ago
    Glad to hear... that will be much less stressful

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    Leslie Koltvedt
    Marietta GA
    734-657-7034
    lkpianos@gmail.com
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  • 24.  RE: Bosendorfer 225 Restring

    Member
    Posted 25 days ago
    That also means half of the losses...and we all know how profitable (ahem) this is going to be...get ready to pony up Truitt!

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------