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Square piano, bass strings

  • 1.  Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-05-2018 21:07
    Edited by Patrick Wingren 11-08-2018 03:03

    Hi all, 

    I have a customer with a square piano, made here in Finland in 1849. It's missing quite a few of the bass strings, and I was thinking of replacing the whole set. 

    These are the characteristic old-type strings where the coils bend around the pins (see attached pics). The winding is made of copper, and the core of brass. The copper is much more loosely wound than on modern pianos.

    There are most probably fellow techs in this forum that has dealt with jobs like these. My questions are:

    1) Is there a place to order older strings like these?

    2) Could it be "modernized" (the customer wants a playable piano, not necessarily an authentic stringing) by using the modern method of using winding only in the speaking length of the strings?

    Any kind of help would be much appreciated.


    Patrick Wingren, RPT
    Jakobstad, Finland

    [Edited 11/8/2018 10 AM GMT +02, reason: typos]

  • 2.  RE: Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-06-2018 08:22
    My first thought is someone did a lousy job restringing this piano several years ago and those windings should never cross over the bridge.  I've worked on several squares and never seen this.  I would make a paper pattern or do the measurements and replace with correct length strings.

    Gary Bruce

    CLICK HERE to schedule your next piano tuning.

    405-749-3540 (store)
    405-413-8863 (cell)

  • 3.  RE: Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-06-2018 16:01
    Windings over the bridge are not uncommon in 19th century pianos. The bridge pins show this is original.
    There are stringmakers in Europe who duplicate historic strings.
    You might contact Paul Polletti and ask who he recommends.

    Ed Sutton
    (980) 254-7413

  • 4.  RE: Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-06-2018 16:41
    Gregor down the street in Eschelbronn, Germany can assist.

    When replacing components I always give the owner a choice of historically correct or something else.

    Try here;

    Dan Silverwood

  • 5.  RE: Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-07-2018 00:24
    Hi Patrick,

    Yes, this is how this was originally strung.

    Yes, you can order strings from Hellerbass that will have the windings going across the bridge. He has copper and iron winding wire, as well as softer core wire types to match historical instruments.

    Yes, it can be rescaled to use modern wire, but I wouldn't recommend it. You'd also have to recap the bridge and adjust the bridge pin spacing to keep the horizontal deflection across the bridge correct. Easier to just order from Gregor.

    Philip Stewart, RPT
    NJ Piano Service

  • 6.  RE: Square piano, bass strings

    Posted 11-08-2018 03:01

    Thank you all once again! Hellerbass and stringing the original way seems to be the best option. I will contact Gregor.

    All the best,


    Patrick Wingren, RPT
    Jakobstad, Finland