|climate-related problems where it's not practical to control the environment of the entire house.|
Why Piano Strings Break!
Imagine the sound of a whip snapping against an aluminum pie pan and you have some idea of the sound that occurs when a piano string breaks. It's startling
for anyone standing nearby, but especially so if you're seated at the keyboard!
Realize that the thin steel string are tensioned to an average of 150 pounds each and it's not hard to understand that they might break occasionally. Though
they're engineered to withstand the high tension, three main factors can cause them to fail, corrosion, hard playing, and hard hammers.
Over time, especially in a damp environment, piano strings can rust. The rust eats into the steel wire, causing weak spots which can then break during the stress
of hard playing or simply during routine tuning. Replacement is the only cure for rusty strings.
Excessively hard playing
Bend any piece of metal far enough and often enough and it will break. That's exactly what happens to piano strings. Sustained hard playing, especially the
rhythmic left hand style used in many churches, can drive the piano's hammers against the strings with such force that they eventually break. Regular
maintenance to the hammers can reduce breakage, but very hard playing will still take its toll. One solution is to amplify the piano with a microphone and sound
system so it can be played lighter and still produce adequate power.
Very hard and worn hammers
With use, the smooth rounded surface of a piano hammer wears flat. Iinstead of striking the strings with the flexible, rounded shape of a rubber ball, it smacks
them with a flat, hard surface. This can over-stress the strings, especially if the hammers are also made of very hard felt. In this case it is critical that your
piano technician keep your hammers properly shaped and their hardness adjusted through a process called voicing.
|Gina's Piano, LLC
Piano Tuning, Service & Repair