- Brass String Level
Brass string level is used to bring the strike point
of grand strings, both bass and treble, into level.
The tool is 2 oz of brass, 3/8 inch wide x 1 1/4 inch
tall. This allows the tool to be used on most grands
very near the strike point just in front of the dampers.
This tool is very useful in damper regulation, since
when strings are leveled many previously bleeding strings
will now damp correctly. When doing a damper felt installation,
the strings should be leveled first, then the wires
Leveling the trichords is done using a string hook (I
use the Hart tool) to raise or lower a string.
To check the level of the strings the tool is
placed on the string unison with the foot of the tool
across and touching all strings of the unison. Then,
with the dampers raised, each unison is plucked. The
difference in sound will reveal an open string. Watching
the bubble will show if the strings are in a level plane.
If the level rocks back and forth the middle string
is too high.
Level strings and correctly mated strings can eliminate
many voicing problems.
Q & A
about string leveling.
- Do you need to level the piano?
The level of the grand piano needs to be determined
prior to starting. I use the stretcher as a bench mark
to give me the level of the piano. If the bubble is
in between the lines and to the left, I use the left
side of the line as my new mark. If the piano needs
to be leveled as well to use the tool, place blocking
under one leg. Old houses with settled floors can present
- What tools are needed?
The tools that I use besides the level are #313
string leveling hook and #315
seating rod. Of the two, I use
the rod to seat the back scale and the hook for working
the front where the level is used. Both tools have
a groove at the tip to keep the ( brass ) tool from
slipping off the wire. When used to push or rub the
wire down I use the handle for all my tools #400. Both
the rod and hook can be used inside the action cavity
to push the string up. I mention this as there are
several models of pianos that
have a shelf that does not allow one to work the string
close to the termination point. The closer one can
work to the termination point the less likely there
will be issues with false strings.
- Which string do I move?
out I would suggest leveling the bass bi-chords first.
This will give you a better idea of what to expect
when leveling the tri-chord unison. When leveling
the tri-chord I first look to see if the center string
is too high. This will show in two ways. The level
may rock back and forth, or the the tool may stay tipped
to one side with the other side ringing open when plucked.
As it is harder to push a string down and we also want
to reduce the curl at the termination points, I lift
the outside strings until they are level and the center
string is slightly low to them, then gradually lift
the center string until all block when plucked
(dampers are blocked up at pedal safety hook).
often do strings need to be leveled?
answer to this will depend a lot on how much you need
to work the wire (how far it was changed) and humidity
changes the piano is subjected to, pitch raises or
lowering, what the piano is being used for (home use,
concert, studio recording etc.). In any event, once
leveled the following work should be much reduced.
I have become used to hearing a unison that is not
level, and you may, too.
long does it last?
above information on pitch raises or lowering.
- Do you level uprights?
if there is a shifting action of which there are
so very few. However, any upright will sound much
better with seating of strings and mating of hammers