Install Strings and Tuning Pins
September 28, 2010
This week I am installing the new strings and tuning pins. The tools and materials used in this process are either sharp, or heavy, or both, so I cover the entire piano in protective padding except for the small section I'm working on.
I start at the top, at the highest notes in the treble, where the wire diameter is the smallest. Every 4 to 6 notes, the wire increases in size. You can just barely see the small numbers next to the tuning pin holes that tell me where to change wire sizes.
Here's the process for each string: pull some wire out of the dispensing tin and cut it to length, thread it around the hitch pin, through the bridge pins, and through the agraffe. Stick the end through the hole in a new tuning pin, twist the pin 2 to 3 turns to form a coil, pound the pin into the pinblock.
The bass strings are installed last, because they cross over above the plain wire strings. These strings, with their steel core and copper windings, are made to order from measurements and tracings of the piano, ensuring the best possible tone. Note how the copper windings of each string end at the same distance from the bridge.
Here's what it looks like with all strings installed.