Thank you to Ed and Fred for your replies. I understand some of the challenges of working on Sabathil as I have a couple in my care. This seems to be an early model and is much less involved as his later instruments. (I have replaced 4' strings on the model with the slot in the 8' bridge that has the inverted hitch pin that is underneath the plate).
I just would like to make what they have play better and more responsibly. With just a short look at the instrument when setting up the tuning appointment, I noticed that it does not seem to have the standard capstain stops for the registars. The knee paddles are sprung so there may be a stop somewhere else.
Thank you Fred for the resource for strings.
I will let you know if I find anything that may be of help to someone else.
Sent: 03-16-2023 11:53
From: Fred Sturm
Subject: Harpsichord information
I agree with Ed, Sabathil is the worst and it is best not to try to be a hero.
For strings, you might try Juststrings
and see what they have to say. Using overwound strings for an 8' register is stupid, so you might substitute a brass or possibly phosphor bronze wire, in the .022" range.
There should be a stop function - nut, screw, whatever - on either side of the register shifts. You just need to set them so that the plectra underhang the string slightly in the on position and miss them in the off. Of course, there might be problems in the linkage or friction in the registers that are keeping them from working.
As Ed mentioned, foam rubber is likely here and there, including on the jack rail, so the jack will be hitting a deteriorating/hard substance.
It is likely that the 4' strings go through slots in the 8' bridge to a hitch pin on a metal plateau the rim of the harpsichord. Don't break one, it won't be fun to replace.
Sent: 3/16/2023 10:24:00 AM
From: Ed Sutton
Subject: RE: Harpsichord information
Of all harpsichord makers, Sabathil is the most unfortunate. The instrument may be beyond repair.
For example, Sabathil often used foam rubber cushions in the action. You can imagine the condition of fifty year old foam rubber.
There is a Facebook group "Revival harpsichords," for people who own harpsichords made with 20th century technology. You may find someone with Sabathil repair experience there.
Meanwhile, if you can get any function out of this instrument, consider it a victory.
I'm noticing in harpsichord group news, that inherited revival harpsichords are being given to churches, which probably have no idea what a monkey on the back they are adopting.
Sent: 03-15-2023 20:57
From: Rex Roseman
Subject: Harpsichord information
I will be tuning and servicing a new (to me) harpsichord at a church for their Lenten programs.It is a Sabathil & Sons single with 2X8', 4' and lute. The serial is 1457 and the year 1969.
The 4' and one of the 8' are activated with knee paddles and the second 8' with a hand lever. It seems to be out of adjustment and not shifting correctly.
It also has a wound bass string that is broken at the eye. I will be trying to see if I can splice a new eye on for the program but would like to replace it eventually.
The 2 questions that I have are as follows:
- Does anyone have any information that would help me know what to look for in adjusting the register shifts. I would also like to get a stringing schedule so I know what wires were used incase another breaks. I have asked them to check to see if the church has any documentation.
- Where would I go to get a replacement wrapped string of this small a dimension? I don't know what the core/wrap size is as of yet, but the only place I have seen such small strings are on hammer dulcimers.