Piano wire or music wire, as it is sometimes called, has many different uses besides the obvious of being used for the strings of a piano. Because of the extreme amount of tension that a piano wire is under when it is pulled up to pitch, it needs to be very strong for its diameter or thickness. It is a high-carbon steel, drawn wire and is available in a large variety of different thicknesses. The wire that is used on pianos generally ranges from .029″ up to .047″ for the plain wire strings which doesn’t include the piano “bass” strings which are plain wire wrapped in a copper winding to increase the thickness while still allowing the core wire to not be so thick.
Other musical instruments also use piano music wire of other thicknesses. Instruments such as dulcimers, hammered dulcimers, zithers, harpsichords, harps, door harps, lyres among many other instruments use the same type of wire that is used in pianos. In general the wire that is used for these other instruments is smaller in diameter as the tension isn’t quite as high as in a piano. Part of the reason for this is that the structure of these instruments isn’t as strong as it is for a piano so they aren’t able to support as high of a tension.
Because of its strength, piano wire is used in many other applications besides musical instruments. Piano wire is commonly used in making cheese and soap cutters, fabrication of springs, fishing lures. It is also used in hobbies such as model railroading and radio controlled airplanes. We have had requests for the wire from wood carvers for carving wood on a lathe. One of the most common requests is to use wire for taking out automobile windshields or removing mirrors which have been glued to the wall. Piano wire is also used for making bracelets as well as many other crafts where a strong, thin wire is required.
Howard Piano Industries offers a large selection of piano music wire. You can purchase the wire in small amounts such as a 10 foot length for smaller needs or in larger coils for if you need a larger amount of wire. We have sizes ranging from .008″ up to .047″ in diameter.