As your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE, I am frequently asked why there are different types of strings on a piano, and why there are different numbers of piano strings on different piano notes.  The answers to the two questions are related.

If you look at the strings of your piano, you will see two basic types of strings.  One type looks like plain wire, and the second type looks like plain wire that is wrapped in copper.  We will discuss the plain wire strings first.  These strings are made of high-tension steel wire, so that it can withstand high tension without breaking.  Although they all look the same, these strings vary in diameter.  The thinnest strings are located on the highest pitches.  Every few strings, the diameter is increased by a thousandth of an inch.  This is because the thicker the string, the lower the pitch for a string of comparable length.  You may also notice that the length of the strings is gradually increased also as you move from the highest toward the lower pitches.  The design of the length of each string in combination with the choice of the diameter of each string is unique for every model and make of piano.  This is called the “scale design.”  If you look closely, you may notice that every note that has a plain wire string has three strings per note.  The purpose of the three strings is for greater volume.  When Beethoven was going deaf, a piano maker tried putting 4 piano strings per note on his piano, in order to get greater volume.

In the bass area of your piano, you will see that the plain wire strings are wrapped in copper.  The purpose of the wrapping is make the pitch of the strings lower by making them thicker.  If this were not done, and longer plain wire strings were used instead, the strings would need to be 20′ long in the lowest section.  This would not be a practical design, as the piano would not fit in your home.  The thicker bass strings will not fit three-across for each note, so two strings are used for each note in the tenor section, and single bass strings are used in the low bass where the strings are extremely thick.

If you have any questions about the design or care of your piano, please be sure to ask us, your expert Piano Tuning Wilmington DE service provider, Ken Keith Piano Services. We are always happy to help. We also serve the Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and Eastern Shore MD areas.