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CLAVIERS BAROQUES -- how to determine the proper replacement wire for the broken string on your harpsichord or clavichord

Method 1 -- The most reliable guide to the correct replacement wire for a broken string is the broken string. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, if the one that was there sounded OK until it broke, a new one of the same sort will do as a replacement. So, the question is, what sort was the original string?

Method 2 -- the other fairly reliable guide to correct replacement wire is the stringing schedule for your instrument. Most builders provide them with the instrument, they are included in the instructrions for kit-built instruments. Usually it's a piece of paper (although they often get lost, especially when an instrument changes hands) but sometimes it is pencilled in on the wrestplank, sometimes behind the nameboard. A stringing schedule will give you the material and diameter of the wire used for every note on your instrument, although usually not the length, you will have to measure that. It is worth observing that builders are constantly revising stringing schedules, they are not so much prescriptions as recipes. A good builder, like a good cook, will use the schedule as a starting point but will make his/her final choice of wire based on what his ears tell him. If you do not have a stringing schedule for your instrument, one for a similar instrument will still be useful as a guide, check out our library of stringing schedules.

OK, if you're ready to order, our wire page is here, you can order on-line or the olde-fashioned way.

Do you have a specific question? Perhaps we can help via a phone call or private e-mail, feel free to contact us.

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last updated September 1, 2010

September 1, 2010