• 1.  Bass strings have gone tubby and dull

    Posted 08-11-2022 17:00


    All the bass strings of a small, 2 year-old Yangtze River V-48 grand have gone tubby and flat from the tenor break down. The tubbiness increases from the tenor break down to A0. If it's just one string I would have suspected loose copper winding, but here it's all of the bass strings.

    This piano is in Singapore, and the owner (a piano teacher) has the common unfounded fear that the relatively high RH here is bad for pianos. So she has a heater bar under the piano, closes and covers the piano when it's not in use, and put a large tub of desiccant on the sound board near the far end of the bass bridge. Could the combination of all these have caused the soundboard at the bass bridge to lose its crown?


    Benjamin Lian

  • 2.  RE: Bass strings have gone tubby and dull

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2022 17:52
    It is certainly possible that it was a bad set of bass strings, &/or that they were poorly installed (without the twist to keep the windings tight).
    It is also possible the particular desiccant she used contaminated the bass strings, causing their deterioration. Pianos often ship with desiccant pouches, which may remain if the technician doesn't dispose it (which they should). MusicSorb is a desiccant product designed/marketed for use in pianos, so there are desiccants that are safe for pianos.

    Patrick Draine RPT
    Billerica MA
    (978) 663-9690

  • 3.  RE: Bass strings have gone tubby and dull

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-14-2022 21:56
    Some questions please:

    1) You have scrupulously checked all glue joints in the vicinity of the bass bridge...yes?

    2) Have you removed one string (for example), checked for twist in the appropriate direction...if none found twisted in appropriate direction, re-installed and compared its tone?

    3) Did this condition occur over a short period or a gradual long period?

    4) Did the piano sound GREAT when brand new or simply OK when new?

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    (603) 686-2395

  • 4.  RE: Bass strings have gone tubby and dull

    Posted 08-15-2022 19:07
    Is there any type of warranty on the piano or dealer guarantee ? What are the humidity levels like there ? The dessicant may be the issue and could be emitting a vapor affecting the strings or sucking excess moisture into that area of the piano affecting the windings and core wire. MusicSorb which is a product made by Fuji is made for musical instruments . Some of the bucket types of dessicants I have seen and used (not in pianos) have different ingredients in them that could harm strings. You mention a heater bar. Is it a damp chaser with humidistat control ? Maybe the bridge/soundboard glue joint has failed ?

    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357