How to Restring an Upright Piano

By Cathy Moeschet
Restringing a piano means replacing the whole set of strings.

According to Piano Finders, restringing is the process of replacing the strings in a piano. Usually, the entire set is replaced at once. While piano owners can generally get decades of use from their instruments before this procedure becomes necessary, various factors can result in the need to restring the piano. These include frequent use, inappropriate handling, excessive dust or moisture, loose tuning pins or bad string quality,

Have the right tools on hand. The Schaff stringing kit contains all the tools you will need to restring a piano, according to Vanda King's Piano Showcase.

Take measurements before you remove the old strings. Measure the wire (or string) sizes. Note where the sizes change, as this occurs approximately every six notes. You will need to measure the placement of the duplex bars and the size of the tuning pins. Piano Finders recommends lowering the tension on the old strings uniformly and gradually, to protect the plate from cracking.

Reinstall the plate and pin block assembly. Next, reinstall the small plate fittings (duplex bars and agraffes), according to Piano Finders. The new strings are the next step. The bass strings are patterned after either the old strings or a paper template. You will cut the treble strings to the correct length as you continue restringing. You will encounter about 15 sizes of treble wire.

Wind 2 1/2 turns of wire onto each tuning pin. You will then drive each tuning pin into the appropriate hole on the tuning block. The diameter of each tuning pin should be a bit bigger than the hole into which it is seated, according to Piano Finders. This mismatch in diameter provides enough resistance to keep the strings in tune, but not enough to make tuning difficult. Once the piano is at the proper pitch, you will have three coils of wire around each tuning pin.

Tip

You may want to use packing material to protect the piano's finish from accidental damage before removing the old strings, advises Piano Finders.

Warning

Piano Finders notes that the piano will need to be tuned more than once before leaving the shop. This is also true in the first year following restringing, as the strings are new and still stretching.

About the Author

Cathy Moeschet has been writing since 1988. Credits include a public affairs show for WLFL-Channel 22 in Raleigh, N.C., a video for the Handicapped Student Services Office at North Carolina State University and short fiction in Jackhammer II and Planet Relish e-zines. She holds bachelor's degrees from NCSU and Western International University. She is pursuing a Master of Education from Grand Canyon University.