Percussion Clinic Adelaide

Restringing Concert Chimes - Discussions with Mark

-----Original Message-----
    From: Mark
    Sent: 17/06/08
    Subject: Restringing Concert Chimes
Can you steer me to some information on how to restring our HS bands jeNco concert chimes?

What kind of cord? One tube at a time? (How would that work it seems a bit daunting but is how they are at the moment). I told my percussion section that I would fix these for next year, they've rightfully had enough overly precise target practice.

Thanks for any help you can offer,


Hi mark.

I can't say I'm familiar with the particular chimes you mention, and I'm not quite sure what you mean by "one at a time.." Are you saying that the tubes have no frame at all yet? I'll wait to hear from you on that one. What I CAN tell you, is that tubular bells are traditionally strung using thin steel rope - you know, the kind of wire made from multiple steel strands - usually 2-3mm thick. Depending on the frame systems they are suspended in, they will sometimes also employ some plastic tube over the wire at the points where it hooks to the frame to help prevent wear and the little vibrations and rattles which can occur there. My personal preference is to have each tube on its own wire with a small loop crimped at eac end to hook onto the framework. Doing it this way means individual adjustment is easier later on, and also the tubes can be easily removed and used individually outside of the frame which can come in handy. It's amazing how many times you will do a show where you only need one or two chime notes, and you DON'T want to shift the whole frame.

Hope this helps!
Jim McCarthy

What I meant by "One at time" is I believe what you described thusly; "have each tube on its own wire with a small loop crimped at each end to hook onto the framework". So I'm guessing that I take a bit of wire rope thread it through a bit of plastic tube then through a single tube and establish the correct length to provide the correct height and somehow crimp the two ends of wire together and move on to the next tube. I see bloody hands in my future. If I ran one long rope through the "white keys" and another through the "black keys" would I lose anything beyond the ability to remove a tube or two? Since these are HS chimes that get moved frequently this method would be less likely to get a tube dropped, not that my percussionists are any less careful than other teenagers, but they are teenagers.

Thanks for the help,

Hi again Mark.
I know what you mean with "bloody hands" - that stuff is terrible to work with. No - you can use a single length of wire through all the tubes if you don't mind a permanent fix. I would still recommend a fixed hanging loop or two somewhere in the middle of the range as well as the ends. The reason is that it helps prevent all the extra "hanging length" for the collection of tubes working its way to one tube which then hangs too low. You want only a small amount of hang on each tube. I mean that the suspension hole in each tube should sit only slightly lower than the suspension points on the frame. It does need to hang A BIT lower so gravity prevents the tube sliding sideways on the wire and sitting against the framework/suspension point. Too much slack wire though leaves the tube too able to swing when struck. Plastic tube is more important where the wire passes over or through the frame's suspension points rather than through the tube itself. Some people do without tube altogether. It's not a bad idea to use plastic tube the whole way through the bells as well though to help protect the holes from wear on the wire - the thing is to make sure there is a bit of extra room around the plastic in the hole so that it doesn't have a dampening effect.

All the best.
Jim McCarthy

Awesome ebook!

For more help on instrument building you can email Jim.

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