Pianotech

Expand all | Collapse all

Baldwin R string scale

  • 1.  Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 27 days ago

    I am wondering if anyone has a file with the string scale for an older Baldwin R. I have a 1908 Baldwin R in my shop that I am putting new strings on. It is only the second time I have installed new bass strings and the first time to replace all the strings. I measured each plain wire string with a micrometer as I removed them and as I was doing so I came across at least two instances where the string gauge changed in the last string of a three string unison. It has made me not sure of some of my measurements and I am now worried I have some of them incorrect possibly. 

       I imagine the scaling of the Baldwin R is not something that has changed much over the life of that model being produced, but maybe older American made ones differ from more recent ones?
    I also wonder if there is a significant problem with possibly having the wrong gauge on a string or two here and there. Perhaps it was restrung at some point and the strings were not matched perfectly? If anyone has a copy of the scale for the Baldwin R, I would be most grateful. 


    Nick Dedini



    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Member
    Posted 27 days ago
    According to John Travis', A Guide to Restringing:

    13 6
         4
    14 4
         5
    15 6
         6
    16 6
         4
    17 10
    18 6
    19 4
    20 2

    Or you could measure the Speaking Lengths and have it rescaled.

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

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



  • 3.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hi Nicholas.
    I used to live in Arcata!

    Baldwin R (from A Guide to Restringing)

    13 - 6
    13 1/2 - 4
    14 - 4
    14 1/2 - 5
    15 - 6
    15 1/2 - 6
    16 - 6
    16 1/2 - 4
    17 - 10
    18 - 6
    19 - 4
    20 - 2





  • 4.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thank you, Jon and Robert! Wow, that is very different from what I am seeing in the piano.

    I finished removing and measuring the strings and what I found is:
    13 - 4
    13 1/2 - 4
    14 - 6
    14 1/2 - 5
    15 - 6
    15 1/2 - 8
    16 - 4
    16 1/2 - 4
    17 1/2 - 5 (minus one string, as the next size begins on the last string of the last note)
    18 - 3
    18 1/2 - 5
    19 - 4
    20 - 2
    21 - 1 (plus one string)

    Starting with size 18, the last string of that size goes into the next note for one string, then the size changes for the other two strings of the note. This continues for the rest of the piano. This seemed strange to me, but the measurements bear it out. There are also a number of other differences between what has been shared from the book and what was in the piano. I had been using more recent texts as guides, but realized that I had a copy of the Travis Guide to Restringing in my library, and it says that Baldwin scale numbers are always printed on the plate, however that is not the case on the piano I am working on.
     I imagine it is not typical, nor a good idea, to have two string sizes within a unison. Should I revert back to the published string scale when I restring it? Or copy what was in the piano? Thoughts welcome and appreciated.


    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    Never have two strings of different sizes on the same unison.  Without seeing the piano, it sounds like someone painted over the plate and restrung it just making things up.  Unless you want to rescale it yourself, I would go with what's in the book.  





  • 6.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    The mystery deepens! I found out from Arledge that the bass string configuration is different from any Baldwin, or any other piano, he has made bass strings for. There are 8 unisons and 19 bichords. The plain wire sections are also be different from the book, as the scale from the book has 63 notes in it, but the piano has 61 notes with plain wire trichords.
        It looks like I will need to rescale it or modify the scale that was in the piano to avoid having two different string sizes in a trichord unison. The large number of unisons with two string sizes has me a bit concerned for the care that went into the scale in the piano, so maybe rescaling it is the better option? I do not know how to do this, however. Any resources or advice on how this is done?

    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    Nick:

    You haven't shared what most of us would want to hear about the piano. What is the actual length?  Is "Baldwin" cast into the plate, or does it only have the "House of Baldwin" round plate set into the plate?  (It DOES have at least one of these, right?)  

    How many singles, how many bichords, and how many tenor wound strings?   However, we can deduce some things.  You've just posted it has 8 "unisons" - you mean singles I think - and 19 bichords.  You've also listed a plain wire scale that I counted 61 plain wire notes.  Thats 27 notes with wound strings, which would match only one piano similar in length to the 5'8" Baldwin R:  The "E" scale.  You didn't say how many bass and how many tenor wound strings, but your 27 wound string notes fit the "E" scale, which has 20 bass notes and 7 tenor bichords.   

    The "E" scale is often confused with the "R" but they are two entirely different scales for the same length piano.  The "E" scale has different style or model letters, including at least "E" and "H".  The casting letter in the tail is usually "E" but I've found "SE" by the late 1930s, and even "E" with two dots below the letter.  So there were minor scale changes, no doubt.  But The Baldwin catalogs contained one "E" string scale for all of them.

    The style/model number should also be found ink-stamped with the actual serial number, under the treble belly (soundboard or belly rail).  

    The "E" scale ran from the earliest years of Baldwin under Lucien Wulsin (approximately 1900) until the late 1930s.  By then the cabinet looked like the modern "R" but the scale was still the "E."  HOWEVER, Baldwin was building the 26 bass note "G" scale for some years too, as a 5'6" model, and then it discontinued the "E" scale and put the "G" scale into a 5'8" case and called it the "R".   All are great scales.  

    I suspect you will find evidences of the "E" scale in the markings on your piano, and in the layout and count of the bass/tenor wound strings, as I've explained above.  Isn't the scale in "A Guide to Restringing"?  If not we can drum up the Baldwin catalog.

    Let us know!

    Regards,

    Bill





  • 8.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
      |   view attached
    Nick,

    I've found the file with the Baldwin service manuals, so here is the string scale page.  Hopefully the attachment will come through.

    Bill



    Attachment(s)



  • 9.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thank you, Bill, for the extremely helpful post. It is an E! There is an "E" clearly showing in the tail. There is a Baldwin Trademark seal on the plate as well. It is 5'8" with 8 singles, 12 bichords in the bass, and 7 more in the mid-range. The scale you shared from the service manual matches what is in the Travis Guide. It does not match what I measured from the piano. Some parts line up great and others do not. I will use the published scale for restringing. I am very glad to find a solution to the conundrum I was having. Thank you everyone for your replies. On to the next surprise/problem/challenge!

    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 26 days ago
    JD Grandt will rescale the piano for you if you provide measurements (for a fee I believe.) Maybe Arledge too? There’s also scaling software available, one I believe has or is still advertised (Pscale) in the classified section of the journal.

    I’m curious what the piano sounded like before removing strings. I had a U1 in my care for a spell that had one note in the high tenor that I absolutely could neither tune nor voice to sound good. I eventually figured out that the unison had two different sized strings.

    Joe Wiencek
    NYC




  • 11.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 26 days ago
    I never heard it in a fully tuned state, but the tone was strong and clear, sustain excellent. The piano was in a house that was selling and needed to be moved. I got it for free to get it out of the house for the seller. It had come with the house when they bought it just a year prior ago and they knew nothing about its history. It was quite dirty and needed new keytops and bass strings, but the case is in good shape and is structurally very solid with what seems like adequate downbearing and crown. An experienced RPT in our small chapter checked it out and recommended it as a worthwhile project as I make my way along the path to becoming and RPT. I have already learned a lot and am just getting started. Thanks everyone!

    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi Nick, Plugging your string lengths and wire sizes into a stringing program, such as PScale from Tremaine Parson, RPT, will
    provide you with much needed information and allow you to make improvements, if desired, in the original scale. I would highly recommend
    this exercise as part of a restringing. I have found these older maple rimmed Baldwins to be big powerful beasts, I love them.
    American muscle. Like a mid 60s Nova with a big block

    ------------------------------
    Fenton Murray, RPT

    Fenton
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi, Fenton,

    Giddy-up 409.

    For all the press at the time, it appears that the best that can be done
    with this basic design leaves something to be desired. Here's a link to
    an interesting project:

    https://www.enginelabs.com/news/giddy-up-409-modernizing-a-chevrolet-w-series-409-big-block/

    Done by 5800 rpm...but, getting there is half the fun.

    Back to pianos:

    Ditto to your comment about the older Baldwins. Very underrated. Work
    well with Weickert/Wurzen felt.

    Also, here's a link to Tremaine Parsons' website:

    https://tparsons.com/

    ...and, to the Computer Tools for Piano Technicians site, where one can
    get PScale:

    https://goptools.com/index.htm

    Additionally, on this page can be found Tremaine's TemperTool, which is
    a training tool for understanding ET; and how to get there. (It's free
    to PTG members.)

    Kind regards.

    Horace



    On 11/13/2022 11:00 AM, S. Fenton Murray via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > Hi Nick, Plugging your string lengths and wire sizes into a stringing program, such as PScale from Tremaine Parson, RPT, will??
    > provide you with much needed information and allow you to make improvements, if desired, in the original scale. I would highly recommend
    > this exercise as part of a restringing. I have found these older maple rimmed Baldwins to be big powerful beasts, I love them.
    > American muscle. Like a mid 60s Nova with a big block
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Fenton Murray, RPT
    >
    > Fenton
    > ------------------------------
    >


  • 14.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi Horace, Tremain helped me with my first scale analysis likely more than 20 years ago. 
    I doubt I've done a restringing since without plugging in the numbers and doing some analysis. 
    Good of you to post the links.
    I was thinking a 454, they can be hard to steer with 1000 lbs of cast iron in front.
    So nice to say hi.





  • 15.  RE: Baldwin R string scale

    Posted 25 days ago
    Thanks Fenton and Horace. I will certainly check out those links/resources.

    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Dedini
    Arcata CA
    ------------------------------