On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 10:28:42 -0500, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>Hello! Please tell me about beryllium copper wire for harpsichord
>stringing (both factual and objective/subjective will be
>appreciated). My efforts at getting 'net info have produced so much
>stuff that I know less now than I did before (I think).*
Sko senior has been using beryllium copper of various degrees of hardness
since he got a huge batch of b.c. back in, I believe, the early sixties (no
idea where). The harder kind sounds sometimes a bit sharp. What I have here
in my bag'o'strings is mostly medium hard. _What_ to use _where_ in the
instrument would be a matter of experimenting. Otherwise this stuff has a
few great advantages as compared to modern brass-for-harpsichords. Of course
I can only talk about the strings I know, no idea how beryllium copper from
other sources behaves.
1) it sounds more or less like brass, it might even have somewhat more tonal
substance than brass (depending on the instrument). All this is about taste,
obviously. I mean, what really _is_ tonal substance? I know I'm right! - but
don't believe me.
1a) breaking points are similar, meaning its suited for brass scaling.
2) Unlike new brass, B.c. loops don't slip after time, unless they're
sloppily made of course.
3) making loops isn't half as fiddly. Normally they don't break at sharp bends.
4) pitch settles after putting up a string much quicker (like in historical
wire). I might have to crank up a new string 2 to 3 times during the first 3
minutes, and maybe another time on the next morning, and that's usually it.
The tone, too, settles on how it's going to sound for the next 20 years
pretty much instantly.
5) I've had no unaccountable random breakage in any of the b.c. sections of
any of my instruments. Talking about three brass-scaling instruments and
four with a brass-iron scaling, and an experience of max 29 years (a
6) putting up a b.c. treble isn't half the agony of brass. You must be
pretty rough to make these strings go *poof*.
Downside: Beryllium is toxic.
Other downside: It looks like phosphor bronze and has caused Improvers to
toss, with a sniff and a sneer, wole sets of perfectly okay strings out of
instruments they hadn't made (while letting the owners pay through the nose,
no doubt). The maker should document what he's been doing, in other words.