Pianotech

  • 1.  Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-06-2022 14:31
    Hi Folks,

    Quick question, this was a new one for me. I was asked to assess and work on a 1990 B quite far from home. I do a lot of that sort of thing, I enjoy it. This piano has never had service of any kind that I can see. So, this has potential for wonderful improvement. It has been quite protected and watched other than no real care.
    The local tech there, not in the guild and I have never heard of him ( not passing judgement, just the facts!) , complained of breaking strings in the treble, not a big surprise at this point in its life, and at a school. He mentioned to the current choral person in charge that he thinks the problem is at the hitch pins, the wires being stretched to the point of breaking. The strings are breaking at the bar as you might expect, so I was obviously skeptical. When I arrived I saw the normal issues, and still think this is normal problems for a B this old, some corrosion etc… but I will say the wire looked a little imbedded into the plate behind the high pins. Is this a thing? I am inclined to not think its an issue, but thought I would ask.

    Thank you!

    Andy

    Andrew J. Lyford, RPT
    3355 Mount Olivet Rd
    Martinsville, VA 24112

    pianotechandy@gmail.com

    1-276-732-6290

    “A painter paints their pictures on canvas. Musicians paint their pictures on silence”. Leopold Stokowski


  • 2.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-06-2022 14:57
    Two reasons for the strings breaking at the V bar. One, the new choral director, or the accompanist, is a heavy and loud player. When pianos that old are played hard, they will over stretch while being played, and will break at the v-bar. 

    The other reason might be that the local tech had heard that tapping the strings will improve sustain. What he might not know, or understand, is that strings should not be tapped at the Vbar, and only on the bridge, not in front of the bridge pins, or at the hitch pins. And even at that, with a brass rod, not with a hard screwdriver. 

    The other reasons strings will break is flat and/or worn-out hammers. If this piano is over 30 years old and has been played a lot, chances are the hammers are pretty shot. 

    Wim





  • 3.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-06-2022 15:55
    Thanks Wim, I do understand these things, I was just curious about the strings behind the hitch pins looking imbedded a bit into the plate.  I don't think it's causing the breakage, but did wonder about anybody seeing this before.  Didn't want to completely disagree with this guy if I was missing something I hadn't seen. 
    I'll be suggesting some work now and a partial restoration coming.  

    Thank you!
    Andy 

    Andrew J. Lyford, RPT
    Lyford Piano Works





  • 4.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Member
    Posted 11-06-2022 17:45
    Most likely when strings where replaced someone tapped them down at the hitch pin with a screwdriver or used a hard blow and overdid it. The likely cause is a combination of neglect, string corrosion, strings cutting into the v bar, flat strike points on the hammers, heavy play with sustain pedal down, way out of regulation. Looped strings should be flush with the plate at the hitch pin. Strings with hitch pin loops should also be seated on the plate. Examine the string on all of the hitch pins to see if the majority are just touching the plate. That my man will be the proof.

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 5.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-06-2022 18:43
    Thanks Jim!  I assumed these things at the hitch pins, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some strange issue out there I didn't know about.  

    Andy 

    Andrew J. Lyford, RPT
    Lyford Piano Works





  • 6.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Member
    Posted 11-07-2022 05:55
    If the wire is embedded into the string frame behind the tuning pins, perhaps the japan coat is a bit thick and/or soft. Or a thick finish was sprayed on and it 'pooled' around the pins as a meniscus. The wires would then be squished (technical term) into the finish. Unless the wires are breaking at the hitch pins, they are not the problem. But if they are breaking at the V-bar...

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 7.  RE: Steinway B Hitch Pin/ Plate question

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-07-2022 09:12
    Thank you Jon, that is conformation of what I was thinking.
    Appreciate the help here, it’s nice to be able to think out loud with others!
    Andy

    Andrew J. Lyford, RPT
    Lyford Piano Works