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I am restringing a Mason Hamlin BB circa 1927.
I have a bit of confusion about the pattern of looped or single wires in the lowest tenor section, to properly fit the number of hitch pins while not going off at strange angles from the bridge pins. This piano was rebuilt once before, in the 70'. I am following that restringer's pattern, assuming smirk they followed the original Mason Hamlin scale. But it doesn't seem right.

As you can see in the photo (link below,) this pattern will use up all the hitch pins, but it requires odd wire angles between bridge and hitches, and wires that barely hang on the extreme edge of some aliquots...as well as the placement, mid-tenor, of a single loop tie-off, and uneven wire-size changes.

Has anyone here restrung a BB of this vintage, and have the pattern (photo or written description) of how the wires & aliquots should match up to the hitches? Thanks in advance :-)

https://imgur.com/qbZI8sj

Last edited by freelife; 04/03/21 08:41 PM.
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The lowest hitch pin in your photo should just be a single string. The second hitch pin holds the remaining two strings for that note.

Hope that helps you figure it out.

Last edited by jsilva; 04/03/21 09:14 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Thanks JSilva. Aware of the single string at the lowest hitch.
Based on what I listed above, I need more info than that.
Still doesn't address the odd bridge-to-hitch angles or another single string in the middle of the tenor section. Are you saying all of that is fine, correct, and all else will be fine just by following that one instruction?
Look at the 8th hitch from the left, with the single loop (following the 'original' pattern.) The wire is practically falling off the aliquot, even when forced so far to the right that it's causing the left wire of the unison to practically fall off the left side. A similar problem can be seen at the top two hitches. None of that would be changed by moving the single loop one hitch over, at the other end of my photo.
I may be missing something obvious, or getting old enough to start becoming 'foggy' over stringing scales (I've been restringing for over 40 years, including many M & H's :-) but something about this seems really odd, and I just need to see or read the proper layout for this section. Thanks

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The agraffe hole front bridge pin hole, rear bridge pin hole and termination point ( whether its the center of a hitchpin, or the side of a hitch pin)should be straight line.
I'm more concerned about the "just copying" part. A couple red flags in your post and picture. No new bridge caps?? What about downbearing?? Those are WAY more important for good tone than just putting on new wire.

-chris


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IIRC, the early BB's utilized a pattern that included both long and short aliquots and single tied strings every unison or two. I'm not sure of the exact pattern but in your photo I only see the short aliquots. Once up into the capo sections I believe they were strung normally with looped strings only, although possibly with one tied string per section.


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Freelife,
Mason used a system of one German-looped string and one out-and-back string per note in their tenor.
This allowed them to both heavily fan the string plane and keep the wire trajectory as straight as possible.
The German-loop goes on the furthest back hitch pin; inscrutable pattern.
If you look closely at the plate, you can often tell which pin had the German loop.
There should be a nick directly in front of the pin or a mark where the tang sat.
This system also allowed the choice of wire gauge for each note; not just every two.

Aliquots; If there are larger, longer aliquots, they would go in the tenor.
Masons also often have some modified aliquots to fit closely to struts.

Be well,
Craig


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Contact Bruce Clark at Mason & Hamlin. brucec@masonhamlin.com

I am confident that he can give the heads up on both the string layout and aliquots. Take some more pictures of the tenor section hitch pin layout for his info.


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Originally Posted by freelife
Thanks JSilva. Aware of the single string at the lowest hitch.
Based on what I listed above, I need more info than that.
...
I may be missing something obvious, or getting old enough to start becoming 'foggy' over stringing scales (I've been restringing for over 40 years, including many M & H's :-) but something about this seems really odd, and I just need to see or read the proper layout for this section. Thanks

I apologise for such limited information, I thought that’d help you work it out smile You seem to have a lot of experience.

If you imagine that the 7th hitch pin has only one string on the aliquot, rather than two like you have, since that hitch pin is further away the string could be angled better to get on the aliquot along with the string on the 8th hitch pin. And the aliquot could be moved over as well. Does that make sense?

Though I’m sure Bruce Clark could provide better information than I ever could.

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It looks like jsilva is correct. The lowest unison should be one tied string and one loop, and the rest should be looped, with the aliquots spaced to match. Try it with thread or string to see how it works if that is not clear.


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Thanks Bob & JSilva. Yes, making the lowest unison one single tied & one loop could result in the proper # of hitches-to-bridge pins, but only if we add 2 more single tie-offs at the other end. Or, make all the remaining looped, no more single ties, as suggested, but then end up with wires that travel in a very cockeyed line from the hitch to the appropriate bridge pin. You can see this beginning to occur even in just the first four strung hitches on the left side of my photo...and it just gets worse as we head towards the treble (based on how the hitches line up to the bridge pins.)

So thanks, William, for the suggestion to contact Bruce at M & H. I will try Monday. Oddest thing I've ever seen (and yes, I am quite experienced, never been stumped like this before.:-)

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I think it’s not as cockeyed as your image would suggest. For instance your leftmost aliquot could easily move over to the right without any issues, and the cumulative effect along with the different spacing options with using just one single followed by loops. I think it’d fall into place as you’re doing it.

Last edited by jsilva; 04/04/21 02:27 PM.
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Yes, it is not cockeyed. You will have strings that go on two notes where hitch pin will be close to the low note's aliquot, but far from the high note's.


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The lowest string will be a tied string and a loop, but which side should the tied string be on? It makes a difference as far as what will be the straightest layout, as Chris is speaking of.

There are 9 different scales for the model A, and I have rebuilt about a dozen of them. Within them, there have been a number of single string/loop layouts. I have a 1927 A6 in the shop presently. The layout for this piano in the tenor is that 27 to 45 have a single string on the bass side and a loop for the remaining 2 on the treble side. Notes 46 to 53 are also a single and a loop in a note, but the side that the single is on varies. 46 is on the treble side, 47 on the bass side, 48 is t, 49 is b, 50 is b, 51 is t, 523 is b, 53 is t.

I am not suggesting that this is the pattern of the BB, I doubt that it is. I am making the point that there are a variety of configurations that have been used. I don't think that reverse engineering this is the easiest thing to do. I am not as certain as BDB seems to be that all notes above 22 are looped.


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I agree with William that reverse engineering this is not that easy, and don't want to belabor this too much, if I am indeed successful at reaching Bruce Clark and he sends me the precise pattern.

That said, JSilva and BDB, I'm confused why you would insist it's straightforward by doing loops all the way till the one single near the treble break, that nothing goes cockeyed.

Look at the photo. Forget the current aliquot placement and forget the single loop on hitch #8 (from left.) I'm doing just what you said, loops for all of the first seven hitch pins (from the left,) and by hitch #5, with how far to the right it is positioned, the right wire would already be heading to the right bridge pin at a more slanted angle than the other two crossing that same bridge point. By the time you get to hitch #6 (still doing loops, not singles,) the angle to the bridge pins gets worse, and the gap between two wires wrapped around hitch #6 and the far left wire coming off of hitch #5 is even weirder...regardless of whether I reposition the aliquots.

Yes, J, I could easily move the leftmost aliquot over to the right without any issues, especially if I use one of the 3 remaining "short" aliquots. But this would not change the subsequent weird angles generated by how far to the right the hitches are installed, in relationship to their bridge pins, stringing loops all the way down. And introducing additional singles would require more than the current # of hitch pins.

Pulling a thread across subsequent hitches/pins, I see some of the angles get a bit straighter as we move toward the treble, while some remain noticeably angled. Perhaps that's acceptable; perhaps I'm overthinking this and several gaps and various angles of travel from rear bridge pin to hitch, in the same unison, are a non-issue. But it's definitely not straightforward.

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Count the hitchpins. There are three for every pair of notes where the strings are looped, and two for the one note where there is one looped and one tied string. There should be eleven notes for the hitchpins in that area. If there is not, something is screwed up.


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Originally Posted by freelife
That said, JSilva and BDB, I'm confused why you would insist it's straightforward by doing loops all the way till the one single near the treble break, that nothing goes cockeyed.

Because I have a BB (BB1 on the plate) and am looking at it smile The hitch pins on mine are identical to yours.

The issue is that the strings on the aliquots are off. The error starts on the second hitch pin—you have the left side of the string on the first aliquot and the right side on the second aliquot. If you had started with a tied then the both sides of the looped string on second hitch would be on the first aliquot.

Does that make sense?

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Yes. PM'ed you, please see & respond, thx.

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Just for reference, I drew the string pattern on my BB for the range in freelife’s photo. It’s not amazing but gets the point across.

http://files.rjsilva.com/mason_hamlin_bb_string_pattern.jpg

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Originally Posted by jsilva
Just for reference, I drew the string pattern on my BB for the range in freelife’s photo. It’s not amazing but gets the point across.

http://files.rjsilva.com/mason_hamlin_bb_string_pattern.jpg

I see a 4 string unison second from the right?


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Originally Posted by accordeur
I see a 4 string unison second from the right?

It does sort of look that way in the drawing, but the tied string on the right belongs to the next note and doesn’t belong to the adjacent looped string. So for those 4 strings on the 1 aliquot the last one belongs to the note for the next looped string.

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