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#1587229 - 12/30/10 01:34 PM To Splice or Not to Splice?
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
I thought this lively discussion deserved it's own topic.

Here is a few of the good quotes from the other topic:

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: jpscoey
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
...Broke another string in the bass and broke a previous splice, also.

Five splices total, so far…



For me, a splice is only a temporary fix - next time round fit a new string?

If you've have five 'splice repairs' so-far, doesn't that suggest something?


I do understand what you mean. But it is like a little bird and a big worm. Where do you try to bite it off, if you can, when you start to eat? Five new strings, four of them in bichords would make the bass sound odd. Even replacing the other four, nine strings, and the bass still sounds odd. So replace them all, but not the treble strings on a 1950s piano? OK, replace the treble strings, too. And the hammers and dampers? Now we are talking about re-what-evering, which I am not set up for, and I don’t have anyone to recommend for a low-level piano. How about a new Yamaha console for about the same price?

And so I leave such thoughts entirely to the customer. If they are happy with a tuning every few years with a free splice thrown in, why shouldn’t I be happy, too?

Originally Posted By: Loren D
How about starting with "when a string breaks, replace it?" smile Sorry, but I'll state again that I am firmly anti-splice. I just see it as a sub par repair. Yes, I've heard lots of rationalizations about why it's better than replacing, but in the end you still have a string that's tied in a knot.

If my car needs repairs, I want it done right, not band-aided. I just tell the customer there's a broken string, it needs replaced and I'll order a new one. I've yet to have a new string in a piano sound objectionable. They may stand out in appearance, but an accurately made replacement has never left a piano I serviced sound peculiar.

I realize there's a pretty strong debate about this in the trade, with strong opinions on either side. Makes for good discussion. smile


Originally Posted By: Emmery
Not all pianos are fixed for the same purpose. Higher end and most newer pianos benefit from a repair that leaves them looking and playing like they never had a problem.

Older pianos that are nearing the end of their life can be revived with simple procedures like splicing a string (non speaking length). Cosmetics and having a knot is not an issue with most of these but it is essential to explain this to the customer before hand. I would not call it a "band aid" solution because if its done right, it could and should outlast the piano. If its done right, no one can hear the difference and it introduces no additional problems.

I had a customer with a 30+ y/o spinet that occaisionally suffered from broken strings near the upper bass. They always broke near the tuning pin. Part of the problem was because of the pins being bashed in too deep along with some poorly located tuning pin holes in the block. They were charged for string replacements several times by another tech but the problem continued. I backed the pins out and CA'd the hole and then set the pins in at the proper height. I fixed the problem with some oversized wire splices and no more breakages occured. It was cheaper and more permanent fix.

The customers' over all impression was that the previous tech didn't know or care to splice it and did the only thing he knew how to do, replace with a new string and leave the underlying problem there. This is a band aid solution also, just a more expensive one for the customer whose resentment will remain with that tech.


Originally Posted By: Emmery
You are correct Loren, but very few of these customers care about a knot being there let alone lift the lid on their uprights to look inside. I simply discuss the matter with them and give them the option to choose.

There is no solid evidence to show that a properly spliced string is in any way inferior to a new one other than cosmetics when the cause of breakage is addressed as I mentioned. Why would you not offer this cheaper option and exhibit your flexibility and capabilities in dealing with the problem in a more frugal manner?


Originally Posted By: Emmery

With some practice and the right tools you can make these knots quite small and quite close to termination points. I have some needle nose pliers that I cut short and ground down a bit to make a tight small loop. Some of my splices are done so that they end up very close to the termination point after the string is pulled to tension.

As for looks, I actually prefer to see a small knot instead of a whole shiny new wound string on these older pianos. As for bichords a spliced original string will usually sound better than changing out only one of the pair with a new one as I see done very often around here.

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
One way I get the knot tighter is with an altered pair of hammer shank knurling pliers. I ground a thin slot in the jaws in the same plane as the handles. I can then put the straight part of the string(s) in the slots and squeeze the knot tighter.

Originally Posted By: BDB
As I said in an earlier discussion, I look at knots as a temporary repair, which sometimes outlasts the piano. Knots are definitely less strong than a new piano, as the tight bends induce fatigue.

If you were to replace 5 bichords, both strings, you are getting to the point where it is as cheap to replace all of them, but sometimes replacing the piano is cheaper. Craigslist here has a fairly new Chinese studio piano for $500 now, which is a better deal than repairs on a piano that is breaking a lot of strings.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587234 - 12/30/10 01:37 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
I love the look of a tidy string splice - it says to me "a Pro was here"! The thing about them is that they take a lot of practice, and sometimes we go months without needing to do one!

It really helps to have someone really good at them spend some time showing how it's done. This is an important skill in a piano technician's arsenal. I once had the pleasure of spending a day with Steve Brady (author of "Under the Lid" ) with a couple of other folks doing nothing but string repairs. It was very helpful!

Being a stubborn "I never splice" technician seems strange to me. It would be like never splicing a hammer shank, or never fixing a cracked bridge with epoxy, or using CA on a pinblock.

The main reason I can see for not splicing a wire, is that it's hard! I can't remember the number of times I've performed blood sacrifice during a string repair! And there's always that moment when you pull it up to pitch - a good time to practice deep breathing and going to that "happy place".
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587240 - 12/30/10 01:44 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
I never splice hammer shanks.
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Semipro Tech

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#1587256 - 12/30/10 02:09 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: rysowers
I love the look of a tidy string splice - it says to me "a Pro was here"! The thing about them is that they take a lot of practice, and sometimes we go months without needing to do one!

It really helps to have someone really good at them spend some time showing how it's done. This is an important skill in a piano technician's arsenal. I once had the pleasure of spending a day with Steve Brady (author of "Under the Lid" ) with a couple of other folks doing nothing but string repairs. It was very helpful!

Being a stubborn "I never splice" technician seems strange to me. It would be like never splicing a hammer shank, or never fixing a cracked bridge with epoxy, or using CA on a pinblock.

The main reason I can see for not splicing a wire, is that it's hard! I can't remember the number of times I've performed blood sacrifice during a string repair! And there's always that moment when you pull it up to pitch - a good time to practice deep breathing and going to that "happy place".

I don’t like splicing strings. I can’t remember the last time I did one. But that doesn’t mean they are not an appropriate repair. And next time a string breaks while I’m tuning I’ll probably have to struggle some to remember just how to make one. But I’ll probably figure it out.

Done well, they work—and they work for a long time. I’ve discovered them all rusted and corroded on pianos that have come in for rebuilding. They had to have been there, working away nicely, for decades.

The only place I don’t like them—and won’t tolerate them for long—is in the speaking length of the string. This, it seems, is most often found on wrapped strings just behind the agraffe (or termination pin). But, even here, I’ve found them years or decades later.

(I’ve been known to splice a few hammershanks from time to time as well. And I use a lot of epoxy. Not much CA, though. I hope this doesn’t disqualify me as a professional whatever-it-is-that-I-am.)

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1587267 - 12/30/10 02:30 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Del]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1342
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Del

The only place I don’t like them—and won’t tolerate them for long—is in the speaking length of the string. This, it seems, is most often found on wrapped strings just behind the agraffe (or termination pin). But, even here, I’ve found them years or decades later.


Agreed. I would only do a speaking length splice in a dire emergency and would correct it ASAP.

Quote:

(I’ve been known to splice a few hammershanks from time to time as well. And I use a lot of epoxy. Not much CA, though. I hope this doesn’t disqualify me as a professional whatever-it-is-that-I-am.)


Dunno, Del. No CA? You're skating on the edge there . . .
laugh
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1587277 - 12/30/10 02:44 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Call me crazy, I think a piano string should be in one piece. And I've yet to have someone convince me that is as professional (both in appearance and performance) than a new string.

Like I said, put yourself in the customer's shoes. Do you want your things fixed right or corners cut?
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1587283 - 12/30/10 02:52 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Call me crazy, I think a piano string should be in one piece. And I've yet to have someone convince me that is as professional (both in appearance and performance) than a new string.

Like I said, put yourself in the customer's shoes. Do you want your things fixed right or corners cut?
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1587295 - 12/30/10 03:02 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: BDB]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: BDB
I never splice hammer shanks.


Neither do I!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1587324 - 12/30/10 03:46 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: BDB
I never splice hammer shanks.


Neither do I!

Would either of you please explain why not?

You show up—as I have—to tune a grand for some performance and find out that the local amateur tuner broke the top three hammershanks the last time he pulled the action. You know the kind of break; snapped right at the hammer. Gluing it back together as is just isn’t going to make it. What are you going to do? Tell the artist, “Sorry, it is my policy to never splice hammershanks so you’ll have to wait until I can obtain three new hammershanks from wherever to repair these three notes. You’ll just have to avoid playing them tonight.”

A good scarf joint is as strong as the original, looks good and will last until the local tuner breaks them again.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1587352 - 12/30/10 04:16 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Call me crazy, I think a piano string should be in one piece. And I've yet to have someone convince me that is as professional (both in appearance and performance) than a new string.

Like I said, put yourself in the customer's shoes. Do you want your things fixed right or corners cut?


Well, for starters, a properly spliced string will stabilize much more quickly than a new wire.

Secondly it alerts a technician in the future that the string broke - it's a marker of sorts. It says "proceed with caution!"

Third: It's more economical for the client

Fourth: It is quicker - it allows for a repair under rigid time constraints

Fifth: There is no difference in tone.

Sixth: As mentioned earlier it can be very long lasting.

Seventh: It demonstrates skill and professionalism if done properly.

Eighth: It is part of the PTG Technical Exam: So if you can't do it, you will lose points. (if you get enough other things right you will still pass - kinda like parallel parking on the driving test!)

OK. Now lets see...reasons to NOT splice:

One: A perceived notion that it is inferior, without any real physical or accoustical reasons to support the notion.

Two: Perhaps allows the technician to make a little more money off the client.

Three: Gives another opportunity to see the client in the near future. A bonus if you really like the client's company.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587353 - 12/30/10 04:17 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: BDB
I never splice hammer shanks.


Neither do I!


I've done this many, many times over the years and have yet to have one fail.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587366 - 12/30/10 04:25 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
I have tons of old grand hammer shanks lying around, so replacing them is no problem. It is easier to replace an upright shank than to get a good joint on one of them. It is even harder to get a good scarf joint on a grand shank. I have broken a lot of spliced hammer shanks.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1587371 - 12/30/10 04:35 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1105
Loc: PA
Here's a question...

Would you consider splicing bass strings that break at the hitch pin end? I've had this happen to me with a very old upright. I replaced the strings. But, I've wondered what other folks would have done.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1587377 - 12/30/10 04:50 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
Quote:
Well, for starters, a properly spliced string will stabilize much more quickly than a new wire.


Maybe, maybe not.

Quote:
Secondly it alerts a technician in the future that the string broke - it's a marker of sorts. It says "proceed with caution!"


I can usually spot a replaced string, too. If I cannot, chances are the piano is new enough that a warning will not help.

Quote:
Third: It's more economical for the client


Maybe, maybe not.

Quote:
Fourth: It is quicker - it allows for a repair under rigid time constraints


I can replace a plain string faster than I can splice it.

Quote:
Fifth: There is no difference in tone.


Perhaps.

Quote:
Sixth: As mentioned earlier it can be very long lasting.

Or not, but a new string definitely will be.

{quote]Seventh: It demonstrates skill and professionalism if done properly.


So does replacement.

Quote:
Eighth: It is part of the PTG Technical Exam: So if you can't do it, you will lose points. (if you get enough other things right you will still pass - kinda like parallel parking on the driving test!)


I can do it two ways. It is just not my preferred method.

Quote:
OK. Now lets see...reasons to NOT splice:

One: A perceived notion that it is inferior, without any real physical or accoustical reasons to support the notion.


I have broken a number of strings at the splice. I have also come across splices that rattle

Quote:
Two: Perhaps allows the technician to make a little more money off the client.


I do not make any significant money from tuning compared to my investment income. In any case, there is no monetary advantage in splicing a plain string, and very little in replacing a wound string, when you consider the time involved in ordering the string.

Quote:
Three: Gives another opportunity to see the client in the near future. A bonus if you really like the client's company.


A knot tightens over time, too. There is not that much difference. You have to go back, or let them put up with poor tuning.

Had you listed these in the opposite order, you could probably find 8 advantages to replacement and 3 advantages to splicing.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1587379 - 12/30/10 04:53 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2199
Loc: Maine
I do a lot of string splicing mainly because they hold pitch better than a new wire. The repair is quick and looks nice (tight knot with no ugly tails).

Splices are particularly useful in the lower tenor range where replacing wire would require fishing the new wire under bass strings. I'll almost always try a splice in bass strings unless the break is in the speaking length.

'The hitch pin end of bass strings? I generally reach for the package of universals and advise a replacement. I do remember once clipping the end of a universal and using that in a splice. 'Don't remember the exact circumstances.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#1587386 - 12/30/10 05:01 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
String splicing is fine for a beat up old klunker upright or grand, but I would never splice wire on a new or somewhat newer $50-100,000 grand in a home setting.
Temporary splicing is ok in a concert situation, but new strings go on when the piano has some downtime. Same for hammer shanks.
The piano didn't come out of the factory with splices, nor should it live its life with splices. Too damn ugly.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#1587419 - 12/30/10 05:57 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: David Jenson]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1105
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
...

'The hitch pin end of bass strings? I generally reach for the package of universals and advise a replacement. I do remember once clipping the end of a universal and using that in a splice. 'Don't remember the exact circumstances.


I didn't think anyone else would. I keep old universals with me on the road... ones that cannot be sold as new because over time they have cosmetic/discoloration problems.

Thanks !
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1587425 - 12/30/10 06:08 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: daniokeeper]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Here's a question...

Would you consider splicing bass strings that break at the hitch pin end? I've had this happen to me with a very old upright. I replaced the strings. But, I've wondered what other folks would have done.

I've done it successfully a couple of times. AND unsuccessfully a couple of times!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587432 - 12/30/10 06:15 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
For the splice to be stable you have to really snug the not together. I squeeze the loops with pliers to tighten them up, and also put some needle nose pliers on the wire just on either side of the knot and tap the pliers on the side towards the knot to snug it up even more. Sometimes it holds pitch really well, and sometimes it still wants to slip a little flat - but not nearly as much as a new piece of wire.

But I'll agree with the fact that a knot that is not stabilized will be as unstable as a new wire. So the extra work is the key.

When splicing I usually try to use the original wire as the lead. This also seems to hasten stabilization.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1587451 - 12/30/10 07:08 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: curry]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2199
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: curry
String splicing is fine for a beat up old klunker upright or grand, but I would never splice wire on a new or somewhat newer $50-100,000 grand in a home setting.
Temporary splicing is ok in a concert situation, but new strings go on when the piano has some downtime. Same for hammer shanks.
The piano didn't come out of the factory with splices, nor should it live its life with splices. Too damn ugly.


Yea. That's a point that I overlooked in my post. I tend to encourage replacement with new wire in higher priced pianos ... although, ... I remember a few that were temporarily spliced and the customer never wanted the spliced string replaced. 'Guess my splices are just things of beauty. wink

Incidentally, I eventually came to the place where I charged the same whether the string was a new replacement, or a splice. Each job comprised about the same amount of work.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1587464 - 12/30/10 07:36 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: BDB]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: BDB
I have tons of old grand hammer shanks lying around, so replacing them is no problem. It is easier to replace an upright shank than to get a good joint on one of them. It is even harder to get a good scarf joint on a grand shank. I have broken a lot of spliced hammer shanks.

In the past I’ve also had a lot of old shanks sitting around in boxes—I don’t have that many these days. Moving tends to provide incentive for ditching stuff. I figure if I haven’t opened the box for ten years I probably don’t really need to keep it around. A bunch more are headed for the land fill as we speak. (Translation: I’m getting ready to move again….)

Most often when I see the need to splice a hammershank that need is immediate, not after I’ve driven back to the shop to sort through boxes of used parts, found the appropriate part and driven back to the location.

Done properly scarfing a hammershank is quick and relatively easy. And done properly the shank will break again before the scarf comes apart. If a scarfed hammershank comes apart it was done wrong.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1587474 - 12/30/10 08:11 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Del]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: BDB
I never splice hammer shanks.


Neither do I!

Would either of you please explain why not?

You show up—as I have—to tune a grand for some performance and find out that the local amateur tuner broke the top three hammershanks the last time he pulled the action. You know the kind of break; snapped right at the hammer. Gluing it back together as is just isn’t going to make it. What are you going to do? Tell the artist, “Sorry, it is my policy to never splice hammershanks so you’ll have to wait until I can obtain three new hammershanks from wherever to repair these three notes. You’ll just have to avoid playing them tonight.”

A good scarf joint is as strong as the original, looks good and will last until the local tuner breaks them again.

ddf


Del, in an emergency situation like that, then yes of course. I'm talking about general non-emergency repair out in the field.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1587481 - 12/30/10 08:20 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Del, in an emergency situation like that, then yes of course. I'm talking about general non-emergency repair out in the field.

Even so...I don't carry spares of all the different hammershank designs around with me. If I have to travel back to the shop and select an appropriate replacement--assuming I have one--and back somebody has to pay the bill and it's not going to be me. Not when a simple, reliable and professional looking scarf can be made in a matter of minutes.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1587484 - 12/30/10 08:39 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers


Well, for starters, a properly spliced string will stabilize much more quickly than a new wire.


That may save the tech a trip back, but what's the benefit to the customer? Does the customer get a better repair having a string without a knot in it, even though it may be an inconvenience to the tech?

Quote:
Secondly it alerts a technician in the future that the string broke - it's a marker of sorts. It says "proceed with caution!"


I can't count the times I had a string break and thought "Damn, I sure wish there had been a marker there." smile :p

Quote:
Third: It's more economical for the client


If my tires need rotated, but the mechanic doesn't rotate them and then claims he saved me money, am I really further ahead? I still need service.


Quote:
Fourth: It is quicker - it allows for a repair under rigid time constraints


I can't imagine it taking less time to do a neat splice than to replace a string, but I'll admit that I don't know on that one.

Quote:
Fifth: There is no difference in tone.


Cutting corners is ok if no one can tell?

Quote:
Sixth: As mentioned earlier it can be very long lasting.


I'll give you that one. smile

Quote:
Seventh: It demonstrates skill and professionalism if done properly.


To me, nothing demonstrates skill and professionalism more than someone who takes the time to do something right and with respect to the instrument and the client. Carefully and neatly installing a new string surely shows as much professionalism and skill as does splicing.

Quote:
Eighth: It is part of the PTG Technical Exam: So if you can't do it, you will lose points. (if you get enough other things right you will still pass - kinda like parallel parking on the driving test!)


Knowing how to do it for testing purposes and doing it routinely out in the field are two different things.

Quote:
OK. Now lets see...reasons to NOT splice:

One: A perceived notion that it is inferior, without any real physical or accoustical reasons to support the notion.


Are you saying an intact string and one that has broken and been knotted are the same, all things being equal? I don't agree, but if I'm wrong, why not at least do the one that looks better, then?
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
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#1587520 - 12/30/10 09:37 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
backdoor Offline
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Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 18
So does anybody can explain how to splice wire?

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#1587572 - 12/30/10 11:33 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Emmery Offline
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A splice is handy to know how to do and I'm sure that if piano tech schools teach it and the PTG tests for it they also think the practice has some use. I know it has worked for my customers many times when they would otherwise not have spent the money for a full replacement. It will also salvage an iron wound string that you cannot replace (with iron winding)and it will sound the same as its neighbouring iron wound strings. It can immediatly solve a problem at a concert and it can make for a relatively cheap, no hassle fix for customers who don't mind having a knot inside their piano. A knotted string obviously does not have the same strength as one intact, but for practical purposes, it holds up the same under normal use (at least in my experience). It will also be more stable in pitch than a new replacement.

The tire rotation analogy is not very relevant since its purpose is to keep the tire wear even amongst the four tires. A piano with a spliced string does not cause a problem of wear or any other issue if left that way. Like it was said before, the splices are usually done on old clunkers or as a temporary fix until a proper string gets put on.
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#1587601 - 12/31/10 01:36 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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There is a substantial cost savings to the client if you can splice a bass string instead of replacing. I charge $90 to replace a bass string. That covers the cost of the string, the time involved in measuring and ordering it, the time involved going back to install it and the time involved in going back to retune it (once. Additional touch-ups are $15 or more depending on travel).

A splice done in the course of a regular tuning costs my clients $0. If they need me to come touch it up the fee may be $15 or more depending on travel. But sometimes this isn't necessary.
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Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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#1587603 - 12/31/10 01:40 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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Your policies are not different from mine. We are arguing semantics.
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#1587765 - 12/31/10 11:19 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4232
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Well,
I guess I am in the non-splicer camp. I don't splice anything unless it is an emergency situation.

In an old clunker I suppose I would consider it.....but for some reason I don't have a lot of strings breaking when I tune....
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Dan Silverwood
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1587770 - 12/31/10 11:25 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Les Koltvedt Offline
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Dan, I'd like to be that camp too...only in an emergency situation.
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LK Piano
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#1589447 - 01/03/11 07:31 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
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Loc: Bradford County, PA
Does anyone use the square knot instead of the standard one that looks like a figure eight? I got playing around with it this weekend and it is kind of neat how the two parts are identical and can be “snapped” together without having to thread the ends through the loops. Well, you can snap together the figure eight type, but it is a bear.

I figure that if the string that broke still looks new, replace it with a new one. Otherwise splice the old one. Like old wine and new bottles.
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Jeff Deutschle
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1589448 - 01/03/11 07:33 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: backdoor]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Originally Posted By: backdoor
So does anybody can explain how to splice wire?


Here is a link to a video that Ron Koval made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV-O7b0xfy8
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Jeff Deutschle
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1589825 - 01/03/11 06:12 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
David Jenson Online   content
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In the video Ron Koval says he's using a square knot. When done it looks like a figure "8". With some refinements, that's the one I use.

What are you calling a square knot, Jeff?
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David L. Jenson
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Jenson's Piano Service
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#1590171 - 01/04/11 07:18 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Here's the knot I am talking about, but made by forming two bights seperately and then marrying them:



I haven't watched Ron's video for a while. He probably did not mean to say square knot. And for the record, the splice usually used for piano wires in not a figure eight knot. This is a true figure eight knot:



I don't know what the official name of the figure eight splice might be. I don't remember seeing it in the Ashley Book of Knots.
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Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1590218 - 01/04/11 08:58 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
David Jenson Online   content
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The funny thing is I've seen a video of the use of the square knot (two loops married, or at least living together), and I think it was Ron Koval who did it. 'Can't find it now. It works nicely and I've used it on occasion, but I generally tend to stay with the traditional knot.

I do remember a few technical presentations of the traditional music wire splice where the instructors called it a square knot, but were quick to point out that "square" wasn't really the correct term.
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Jenson's Piano Service
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#1590243 - 01/04/11 09:31 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Maybe it was first used on square pianos???
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1591552 - 01/06/11 12:08 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Del Offline
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Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
I had to tune a Yamaha G2 this afternoon. The piano is located in a local Pentecostal church where, as you might suspect, it is rather heavily used. The piano has reached an age at which string breakage is beginning to be a regular problem. There was evidence of at least two different technicians having serviced the piano in the past.

In the wrapped string section there were two unisons that have “new” strings. Actually, they are so-called “universal” strings and sound like it. They don’t tune properly—inharmonicity is way off—and they don’t sound right; one note is tubby and dull and the sound of the other is just out of place and, no matter the hammer voicing, will never blend in. In the top treble section there are three strings that have been broken and tied. If one didn’t know to look in the right spot (between the V-bar and the counter-bearing bar) they would go unnoticed. The strings tune well and the sound is, well, just like the neighbors.

I was told that with each of two notes in the bass it was just one string of the pair that had broken but the tuner chose to replace both strings with those god-awful universals. Sorry, but a simple tie in the one broken string would have been a much better repair. If, indeed, the strings really did need to be replaced later on the proper strings could have been ordered and installed during a subsequent visit.

ddf
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Delwin D Fandrich
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1591660 - 01/06/11 06:48 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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As I've said before, universal strings are universally good for nothing, save for the occasional TEMPOrary repair.
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#1591696 - 01/06/11 08:27 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Quote:
Sorry, but a simple tie in the one broken string would have been a much better repair. If, indeed, the strings really did need to be replaced later on the proper strings could have been ordered and installed during a subsequent visit.


I agree with Del. I can't STAND it when people carry around a universal string and use these instead of ordering a proper replacement. It is a total waste the time to install them because they do not match the other wire. 99% of the pianos I encounter with these universal strings supposedly being the "temporary solution;" instead, turned out to be a permanent solution until the next tuner arrived. And, guess why the NEXT tuner was called? Because that note never got replaced or because that note sounded horrible even to the customer.

Universal strings in my opinion, should not be used. They sound crappy. I've not had one good sounding universal wire yet. If, they are a temporary solution, why bother wasting time installing it in the first place? Take the proper measurements, replace the wire or splice the old one instead until the new one arrives. Not unless it's a dead note ah, but, then there is splicing. smile Frankly, I see nothing wrong with splicing. Who wants to remove an action on a Betsy Ross Spinet with plastic parts breaking them along the way, when one can easily tie a nice looking tidy knot in the wire instead without even removing the string from the piano?

My opinion is that unless one cannot do a "spiffy job" that works, (I'm surprised at how many tuners cannot do this) tying a nice, neat, tiny wire that will not break at the knot, then yes, by all means, don't use it. But, for those of us that can, it is certainly better than wasting time installing a universal wire that doesn't match its neighbor or even come close to it.

It should go without saying that in better quality pianos, Steinway etc., yes, wires should be replaced and I do so.

On the other hand, I have had plenty spliced wires that matched the sound of the neighboring wires perfectly, held a great tuning and never broke again at the spliced part of the knot. I left well enough alone.
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Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

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#1591710 - 01/06/11 08:46 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
I install the universal to prevent hammer wear, and schedule the return appointment to install the right string before I leave the customer's house.
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1591793 - 01/06/11 10:30 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Dale Fox Offline
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Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Del and Jerry,

the more I hear people oppose any use of splicing, particularly in a situation like you just described Del, the more I am reminded of the days before soundboard replacement was fairly commonplace. Those who could NOT replace a board, never found one that was bad enough to need replacing. In this case, I wonder if those who object to splicing object because they have never developed a consistent skill in doing so.

The resistance I find a bit curious, as it is such a reasonable and long lasting repair, especially for abused and older pianos.


Edited by Dale Fox (01/06/11 10:33 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling
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Dale Fox
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#1591797 - 01/06/11 10:34 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Dale, are you implying that a desire to do the best possible repair is somehow indicitative of a lack of skill? Really?
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#1591860 - 01/06/11 11:47 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Performing a nice splice is more difficult and requires more skill than replacing a string IMHO.
"Best possible repair"? Then you could argue that you should always replace hammers instead of reshape them. You should always recap or replace a bridge instead of using epoxy.

There are appropriate places for repairs. Sometimes total replacement is not the most appropriate for a given situation. smile
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Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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#1591867 - 01/06/11 11:53 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Good points sure enough, Ryan. I still prefer strings in a single piece.

I was just surprised that anyone would have a problem with someone being opposed to something in principal, to the point of suggesting being incapable of it.
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#1591872 - 01/06/11 11:56 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Just a thought to toss into the conversation: if universals are only good for a very temporary repair as to prevent hammer wear, why not just install an unwound string for the hammer to hit in the case of a bichord? It would probably be so quiet that the tone would not be affected and would be more economical, too.
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Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1591877 - 01/06/11 12:03 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada


Oh c’mon here you can measure and order and have the new string inside of 7 days if you need to. There is no need to install a replacement; the instrument will not be played enough to make any difference at all to the hammer or flange……let’s stop all of the dancing around and obfuscation.
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1591925 - 01/06/11 01:04 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
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Registered: 09/04/03
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Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Good points sure enough, Ryan. I still prefer strings in a single piece.

I quite agree; I prefer string in a single piece as well. In fact, I prefer strings that don’t break. I also prefer bright shiny new strings to old dull string. I also prefer nice new hammers to old hammers that have been sanded a couple of time. And capstan block felts with no discernable indents. And a lot of other things that I can’t always have in an older piano.

Taking the Yamaha GP I wrote about earlier as an example, new wrapped strings of the right size and dimension—even had they come from Yamaha—would, in my opinion, still have been an inappropriate repair. Why, you might rightfully ask? To which I would answer; this piano, while not old as measured in piano-years, is old enough that the wrapped strings no longer have that “new” sound. They are far from dead but they do have a few miles on them. In each of the two unisons just one (of two) strings broke. The break, apparently, was at the tuning pin. A professional tie would have restored the function of the broken string leaving the sound of the original string intact. A well-tied knot would have been reasonably stable by the time the tuner left the premises; certainly so with just one follow up. Aside from aesthetics the original string is now back doing its job and the piano players cannot tell that any repair has been made. Replacing the broken string with a duplicate of the original—or both of them, for that—simply doesn’t give the same sound as either the original or the adjacent strings on either side. So now, even after the new strings finally do stabilize there remains a tone difference.

In the not too distant future this piano is going to need restringing. More strings are going to break and it will become cost effective to simply start over. If I do the restringing I’ll give the piano a bass scale that will be a bit more robust than the original so string breakage should be less of a problem. But, in the meantime, it seems to me that the best, most professional repair is the one that achieves the least bad acoustical results consistent with reasonable life expectancy. A nicely tied string is acoustically the same—it should be, it is, after all, the original string producing the sound. As for longevity, well, the experience of technicians through the ages has provided the evidence that a nicely tied string should last as long as its neighbors.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1592040 - 01/06/11 03:58 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
curry Offline
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Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Dale said...."The resistance I find a bit curious, as it is such a reasonable and long lasting repair, especially for abused and older pianos".

Splicing is fine for older pianos. I just won't do it for a concert instrument or a new/newer expensive grand/vertical in a home situation. I'm just ocd about keeping things in factory new condition, and the pianos don't come out of the factory with splices.
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#1592152 - 01/06/11 06:07 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Obfuscation? By stating that universal strings are good for nothing except a temporary repair? I can have a string inside of 7 days, but I usually can't reschedule a return trip for 4-6 weeks. Don't want it without a string that long.
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#1592154 - 01/06/11 06:10 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: UnrightTooner]
BDB Offline
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Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Just a thought to toss into the conversation: if universals are only good for a very temporary repair as to prevent hammer wear, why not just install an unwound string for the hammer to hit in the case of a bichord? It would probably be so quiet that the tone would not be affected and would be more economical, too.

I had to do that for a concert grand I tune. Splicing did not work when a unison broke, and universal strings are too short. So I put plain wire in it as a stopgap. I tuned it to something that sounded like it was at pitch, then listened to it a little more and dropped it an octave so it was at pitch. It was a learning experience.
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#1592202 - 01/06/11 07:28 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
David Jenson Online   content
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In my experience even new bass replacement strings sound different enough (as Dell alluded to) that the universals, if carefully sized and installed, aren't that much different from the supply house, or even the manufacturers replacements.

I try a splice first. If that keeps breaking (after my shattered nerves calm down) I give the customer a choice of a universal or a new replacement. In most cases where a new replacement was chosen they aren't that much better than the universals. It's a new wire paired with an old one, and it sounds like it.

That unfortunate difference in sound was the driving force that encouraged me learn to splice.
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#1592218 - 01/06/11 07:52 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
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Universal strings are not made to match the tonal qualities of any bass wires. They are just that "universal." A temporary fix. But, like I said, why waste all of that time in the first place? It really isn't necessary but, hey, if that's what someone prefers? Then, so be it.

Personally, I think they sound crummy. A nicely tied knot would sound much better and then, if a new string is still preferred fine. At least in the meantime, the existing wire will sound good.

Also, as mentioned by BDB, they are often not the correct length either in which case they won't even fit. On top of that, in many instances, an awful lot of copper wire needs to be removed in order to get the wire to match the neighboring wire and by that time, more tone of the universal has been lost. Not to mention that as you remove the wire, on the smaller diameter wires, even the bigger ones too, the copper breaks off easily so, more time is pissed away fooling around with it trying to get it "just so." By the time we unwrap the universal, I could have tied 3 knots. smile I've found too that after all of that trouble, many of the universals wind up buzzing. Splice here we come! smile

I'm booked weeks ahead too but, in situations where a new wire needs replacing, I order it and go back at night if I need to for a concert setting or what have you.

Basically, I don't have a problem with anyone that prefers replacing wires in any situation. That's great but, by the same token, I also don't have a problem with someone that prefers splicing them instead either.

Quote:
In most cases where a new replacement was chosen they aren't that much better than the universals.


Better to order two new wires for a better match then. If you use a good company for string replacements, they should sound much better than a universal wire unless incorrect measurements were taken or the string maker screwed up. But, I agree with the splicing attempts first. But, that's just me.

Yep, universal's are good for nothing me thinks. grin
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Jerry Groot RPT
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1592233 - 01/06/11 08:09 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: David Jenson]
daniokeeper Offline
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Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1105
Loc: PA
Just to add my 2 cents...

I've had both good and bad experiences with universal strings... both installing them and finding them already installed. There are plenty of cheap consoles and spinets out there where the original bass strings match each other poorly and where there are awful false beating problems.



Edited by daniokeeper (01/06/11 08:19 PM)
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#1592374 - 01/07/11 02:12 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Dale Fox Offline
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Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Good points sure enough, Ryan. I still prefer strings in a single piece.

I was just surprised that anyone would have a problem with someone being opposed to something in principal, to the point of suggesting being incapable of it.


Last point first. Certainly there are those that I've run into that will not do certain repairs because they are not comfortable with doing the repair. I guess that would indicate a lack of skill/knowledge in most cases, depending somewhat on the tech's reasoning, though that is not my point here. In your case it seems to be the principle of the thing, not the skill set issue.



Main point: Being opposed to something in principle is fine if the principle is founded on good rationale. In this case, I stated that splicing was a good choice for SOME pianos. More to the point, I believe it to be a better repair in some cases than installing a new string which will not tonally match up to the older wires. Installing a temporary universal wire that will almost certainly sound worse than the existing wire, go out of tune immediately, require a followup to replace it with a new and substantially more expensive new wire which will also require several followup tweakings, not being able to get back to the piano for several weeks to perform the task and not giving the customer the option of a less expensive, good repair, with a better tonal match that may well be better for the instrument (Again, an older or not so good condition piano) is in opposition to good "principle". At least it is in my mind.

There are several really respected techs saying the same thing on this thread. A whole lot of collective experience.

While I appreciate people who stand on principle and include myself as one, at least in my view of myself, the more important principle to me is what is best for the client. I just don't agree on this point, though I think you make your point well.

You sound like a really conscientious tech who is trying to do the best for your clients. My point is that we should consider adding the splice (or any other repairs that are "Good" repairs) to our arsenal of repairs, when it better meets our clients needs. Splicing should not be disregarded as a somehow "substandard" repair.

BTW, I prefer one piece strings, too! So long as they don't become a voicing issue.

Best regards,
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1592415 - 01/07/11 06:20 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Fair enough, and well put, Dale. I'll concede that I really can't disagree with anything you said in your last post. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1594109 - 01/09/11 04:51 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I'll add my 2 cents: I rarely break a string but when I do, I almost always splice it and leave it as a permanent repair except in the case of a very new or restored/rebuilt/restrung piano under warranty. Other exceptions include those Yamaha P-22's where the highest two single wound strings break. I don't give blood anymore for those.

A recent Steinway Model A had a tenor wound string break while the owner was playing it at the agraffe. I told him that it was still possible to splice that string and have it sound fine but in this case, considering the value of the piano and the fine, delicately wound string that was in question, it was a better idea to put in a new string and deal with the instability.

A couple of summers ago, an ancient Steinway D at the Frank Lloyd Wright estate popped one of the lowest Bass strings. That was again an instance where I was not about to give blood for an entity that is very slow to pay its bills, a rusty string of the heaviest gauge wire and only about an inch of string between the tuning pin and the agraffe. I opted for "putting in a new spark plug" as one of my colleagues would call it. that's what it looked like too: a shiny new tuning pin and bright copper string amongst other material that is over 100 years old. It is now the best sounding note on the whole piano!

By the way, that piano is going to undergo a complete restoration. It may even be happening right now. I know they were planning on it and had a fund raiser for it but I was not informed if it had happened yet or not. Del Fandrich was there to see it a few years ago and was interested and he was on their list of restorers to consider.

I have had a set of universal strings for years and never used a single one of them until last week when I worked on an old upright that had a string missing. It worked just fine in that application but otherwise, I would never use one of them. That is what they are for, an odd replacement on a lower quality/value piano when there is a missing string and getting the specs for and ordering a new string is more trouble than it is worth. They cannot be used when a double wound string is missing, however.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1618759 - 02/13/11 07:07 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
I have a few questions regarding splicing.

One string of a bichord unison close to the top end of the bass bridge in my Ibach broke directly at the coil. My Ibach has hex-core bass strings, original from all appearances, and they tend to become wedged inbetween the V-bar and the termination pins. (I posted about this recently.)

1) I've tried the knot that Ron shows in his video (the same one shown in Arthur Reblitz's book - he calls it the "piano tuner's knot") on a test-piece of copper wire, and subsequently put it under increasing tension, up to the point of failure. Four times out of four, the knot broke at the point where one of the wires enters the knot, i.e. the sling of the one wire actually pinches the other wire right off. Is there any way to prevent this? Or is it quite normal that the knot is the "weakest link" of the spliced wire?
2) I also tested the square knot that Jeff showed here, and two times out of four, the knot held while the straight wire failed.
3) Which of these knots would be more suitable for hex-core wire?
4) Bill Bremmer wrote in another thread that he normally uses the old coil, but reversing it, i.e. nipping the becket off and using that end for the knot, while using the broken point for a new becket. Would you do the same, or use a new leader wire?
5) If I use a new leader, can one combine round and hex wire in one knot?
6) How is hex-core wire measured and numbered? This string measures about 0.037" from face to face and about 0.064 from corner to corner. I need this information in order to source wire of the correct gauge.
7) Jeff, in the square knot, should the long ends of the wires come out of the knot on the same side, or diagonally opposite each other? E.g. in the diagram you've shown, should both long ends exit the knot at the top, or one at the top and one at the bottom? The diagram seems to indicate that both exit the knot on the same side (in this case, the bottom).
_________________________
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LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1618764 - 02/13/11 07:18 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
8. Replace the string and issues 1-7 disappear. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1618794 - 02/13/11 08:08 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Somehow I knew that would be coming... wink

Still, the challenge then becomes how to find a hex-core replacement string, here in South Africa, to match the original hex-core bichord.

And if I can only get round-core replacement, issue no. 6 doesn't really disappear, unless I replace both strings of the bichord. Is this what you're suggesting, Loren?
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1618824 - 02/13/11 09:09 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Actually, I was being facetious; and I apologize for interjecting that into your thread! You're asking good questions.

But since you asked, yes, I would replace both strings if necessary. I hate splicing. I can't stand finding a piano that's full of knots.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1618932 - 02/13/11 11:15 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
If you have doubts about measuring the string properly, send the old string to the string maker. If you want to replace both strings, which is a good idea, measure the distance from the loop to the winding of the other string, which is the only measurement that differs.
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Semipro Tech

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#1619553 - 02/14/11 06:48 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: BDB]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: BDB
If you have doubts about measuring the string properly


Measuring is no problem - it's just that I'm not sure whether the gauge of hex cores is specified face-to-face or corner-to-corner, and how this relates to round-core gauge numbers, i.e. which corresponding gauge of round wire to get for a new leader (should I decide to splice).
_________________________
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LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1619639 - 02/14/11 09:58 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
The difference between flat-to-flat and face-to-face is 15%. I'd measure flat-to-flat (because it is easier to do) multiply by 1.1 (to get the an approximate average) and go up to the next size of round wire.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1619744 - 02/14/11 12:09 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
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Loc: Oakland
First of all, the gauge does not matter that much if you splice. If I do not have the right size at hand, I use something close. But I would not splice in this case. The hex wire will dent the leader, so it will be weaker than a splice of round wire.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1619891 - 02/14/11 04:02 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Thanks to you both.

Yes, Jeff, 15% is about right. I realized my error in my previous numbers. I only measured flat-to-flat, and did a (faulty) calculation of corner-to-corner. I tried to re-measure both tonight, and came to about 0.035 flat-to-flat, and about 0.040 corner-to-corner, although the latter measurement is difficult.

BDB: point taken, and duly noted. I'll try nevertheless, because it's my personal instrument, with little to lose.
_________________________
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LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1620066 - 02/14/11 07:38 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Here are two shots taken with my cellphone camera of a string splice I made in an Estonia grand today. The repair was made as I have previously described: I removed the remnant, broke of the beckett, straightened the remnant, backed out the pin 1 1/2 turns, made a tiny hook to hold the beckett and left 1/2 coils on the pin. The knot is nearly as small as it could be. The pitch is perfectly stable.

[img:left]http://www.box.net/shared/ymgmjuadmp[/img]

[img:left]http://www.box.net/shared/obucnqja3u[/img]
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1620067 - 02/14/11 07:44 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I guess I still haven't figured out how to post a picture on here, lol but you can all click on the links and see it. The knot is very small and would not attract your attention. The main thing about it is that it took about 5 minutes and will not require any return service call and can be considered a permanent repair.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1620107 - 02/14/11 08:44 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Bill,

The only way I know how to upload a file by first, saving the picture to say, your desk top.

2nd, go here http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/fileuploader2.html Enter your name and email address. Then, open up the browse menu and locate your picture. Double click on the picture which will automatically place it into where it says "Your file." Next, simply click submit form. ONLY CLICK ONCE on submit or you will submit it several times.

Wait until the file is sent to your email address. Open it up, click on the link, copy the link paste it here like this... And, this is exactly what it will look like until you change it....
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/marrypic.gif

Next, I "Switch to Full Reply Screen."

I highlight the text above http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/marrypic.gif and then click on the '' quotations mark above.

Then, I go into where it says [quote] on both the front and back side of the highlighted text and change the words quote to [img] on both the front and back of it.

Once the img is placed in there it now looks like a picture. Make sure you stay within the [ ] fields when doing this. Now, there is probably a much easier way to do it but, that is how I've been posting my pictures for a long time now and it works for me.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1620113 - 02/14/11 08:52 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Lordy, uploading images must have been explained more times than "How often should I get my piano tuned???".

Archives anyone?????
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1620146 - 02/14/11 09:31 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Awwww, and here I am being a nice guy... frown grin
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1620161 - 02/14/11 09:48 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Yeah, the archives-point well taken. And, I still haven't taken the time to upload anything. Its just wayyyyy too involved. I can send pics all day to Facebook (I don't, but I can!) very easily. I shoot the pic, and it gives me an option to "send to Facebook". That's it!

Maybe the admin. doesn't want us filling this thing up with photos, ad nauseum.

Still, I'd really like to see pics and vids...it would be worth an upgrade to SIMPLE here!

RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1620171 - 02/14/11 09:55 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
I guess I still haven't figured out how to post a picture on here, lol but you can all click on the links and see it. The knot is very small and would not attract your attention. The main thing about it is that it took about 5 minutes and will not require any return service call and can be considered a permanent repair.


So, quicker and less hassle for the tech. Is it best for the customer, though? I guess I look at it from the point of view of my being the customer. Would I want my string spliced or replaced? I'll never know the answer to that, since I can't look at it from a non-tech point of view. I do know though, that when I bring my car in for repair, I want it done right and in a way that's best for me and the car, not what's convenient or expedient for the mechanic. If a part is broken, I want it replaced, not taped back together.

My gripe is when I have a new customer and they have no idea they have spliced strings because the tech before me didn't bother to tell them a string broke, but just tied it and left. I know that would sure bother me. I suppose if you feel splicing is a good thing to do, and your customer AGREED, then that's an entirely different matter. Personally, I don't offer the option. A string broke, it needs to be replaced, it costs x amount. Ack, a nice piano with knotted strings.... and permanent? Sorry, no. Not unless you really don't care how things look! If a string breaks in the factory during stringing, would it be acceptable to splice it and deliver it to the dealer? No? Why?
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1620261 - 02/14/11 10:54 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1766
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Loren D
when I bring my car in for repair, I want it done right and in a way that's best for me and the car, not what's convenient or expedient for the mechanic. If a part is broken, I want it replaced, not taped back together.

Some years ago the remote of my car stopped working. The dealer quoted something like $250 for a replacement. I found a guy with a soldering iron that fixed it for me for a cup of coffee. It's still working.

Analogies are double edged.

Kees

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#1620277 - 02/14/11 11:09 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Awwww, and here I am being a nice guy... frown grin

sorry Jer, I just have to play the bad cop to your good cop once in a while....
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1620282 - 02/14/11 11:16 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Nice splice Mr. Bremmer! A+ thumb

Loren: Why do you care so much how a string splice looks? It is not visible with the music desk on.

I agree with you that the customer should be informed of the situation and allowed to make a choice. I can tell you from experience that after doing dozens of splices in the field over the years, I've never had someone wish that I had charged them more to replace the string with a new one. They just want to enjoy playing their piano.

Bill's 5 minute repair could probably be included in the service at no extra charge. A new string can easily cost $100 by the time you include the call backs to retune.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1620377 - 02/15/11 03:59 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Bill:
Just to check my understanding: the little hook that you make to hold the becket, is on the far side of the tuning pin hole, i.e. where the cut end of the becket would normally sit? I presume you thread the wire through the pin before making this little hook?

Loren:
The bass strings on my Ibach are by no means new anymore - one can hear this. But even after 40 years, they still sound quite pleasant to me - they have some life left in them yet. I would hate to have a replacement string (two strings, actually) that sounds different, creating possible voicing issues, etc. This is why I'd like to try the splice. I don't intend to sell the piano anytime soon, not that it's worth much more than $1500 anyway, but I love it for its sound - especially now that it's finally up to pitch. If a tech offered me the option of splice vs. replacement, I would probably still choose splice in this case.

This type of repair, and whether or not to do it, puts me in mind of the German word, "zeitwertgerecht" (appropriate to age and value).
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1620442 - 02/15/11 08:06 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
We'll just have to agree to disagree, which is fine. smile

I don't charge for the return trips to yank the string up to pitch; I schedule them when I'm in a given area (which is often!). I just always felt that a good repair is, when possible, at least as good as the original in terms of functionality and appearance. Sort of like looking at a piece of fine furniture and being able to tell it was refinished vs. one that was refinished but the job was so well done that you'd never know.

To each his own! I've never had anyone complain that I installed a new string; I've heard many complaints about splices and have had customers request that I replace the knotted string with new ones. Everyone's different, I guess.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1620460 - 02/15/11 08:29 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
sorry Jer, I just have to play the bad cop to your good cop once in a while....


I know Jurgen, we're having fun with each other now! smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1620501 - 02/15/11 09:38 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Loren,

We've all heard the pros & cons before and your points are well taken. This job was for the dealer I work for and if I had replaced the string and had to make callbacks, first of all, I would have had the customer calling the dealer. Whether or not the customer sounded upset, the dealer gets upset if there is any such call. If the customer is upset, then it is far worse. If I had replaced the string, I would have received a reprimand from the dealer about it.

So, even though I well understand your point of view, there were far more reasons to splice the string in 5 minutes and be done with it then and there, have the job done as the family was getting home and sitting down to dinner. Breaking a string can make me look incompetent. I can only imagine the incident spoiling their dinner and having them call the dealer at 5 PM and complain about an extra charge and having the dealer call me the next day and rag me about it.

So, in this case, what they didn't know, didn't hurt them. If, at some time in the future, either I or another technician pointed out that there was a spliced string and asked if they wanted it replaced and informed them of what that would involve, that could surely be done. It is not likely that this family would want to sell that piano but if they did and had it appraised, that could be the time for that.

Some technicians will raise Cain at an appraisal. "There's a KNOT in your piano!" Some of them have been trained that way. Others, like me have been trained as explained above that it is actually the best solution under many circumstances. I have known of a technician going to a piano with perfectly stable and functioning string splices and insisting upon replacing them, causing undue expense and tuning instability on a Kohler & Campbell console, for Pete's sake!

There is a reason why the PTG Technical exam requires a string splice and any technician wishing to take that exam should know how to do it well and efficiently, just as I did.

Jer, it being first thing in the morning, those instructions look as complicated to me as trying to explain how to tune ET! I'll never learn that!

Jurgen, the number of times I have seen you post to someone nothing more than "Look it up in the archives" could fill pages!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1620509 - 02/15/11 09:43 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Bill:
Just to check my understanding: the little hook that you make to hold the becket, is on the far side of the tuning pin hole, i.e. where the cut end of the becket would normally sit? I presume you thread the wire through the pin before making this little hook?

This type of repair, and whether or not to do it, puts me in mind of the German word, "zeitwertgerecht" (appropriate to age and value).


Mark,

Yes to both.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1620580 - 02/15/11 11:39 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Bill, I have the highest respect for you and your skills, to the point that I now tune grands the way you do (hammer technique). smile I know I disagree with you on this and am pretty adamant about it, but don't think for a minute that it diminishes my admiration of your skills and contributions to the trade!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1620605 - 02/15/11 12:03 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Loren,

Thanks, I know you meant no disrespect and I do respect the way we can have different points of view on a subject and not resort to mockery and ridicule to "win" the argument.

As Ryan said on the subject of pitch, it would be nice if...
If I had my druthers and I could make everything perfect, every time, I would.

Jer,

I will copy and paste your instructions and put them in a file so I can refer to them if I have a notion to post a pic again. I see you guys do it all the time on the Northland thread, so it must not be that difficult once you get the hang of it.

I tuned one already today, voted in the primary election and had an early lunch. I have two more in town, then 3 at a church 40 miles away if I have the energy to do all of them, otherwise, I'll have to go back and finish the two verticals some other time but my schedule is so full and I have trips planned, so, I guess I gotta do what I gotta do when I gotta do it and that includes splicing a string when that is necessary.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1620826 - 02/15/11 04:03 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Bill,

Now you know how I feel about figuring out EBVT III!!! grin crazy
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1620872 - 02/15/11 05:16 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
I replaced two bass strings on a U1 today. Splicing was not an option, one string of a bichord was missing. There was not a big difference in the sound of the new strings compared to the adjacent strings.
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#1621325 - 02/16/11 12:07 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Dale Fox Offline
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How old can a U1 be? Probably not old enough to have really dead or bad sounding wound strings yet. If it was an old (50 or older) piano the difference in tone might be quite pronounced.

I hate it when the customer or the previous "Tooner" throws out or misplaces the original string.
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#1621358 - 02/16/11 12:49 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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Well, I have tuned a U3 from the early 1950s, but this one was from about 1980.

What you say would seem to indicate that replacement is better than splicing for pianos less than about 50 years old. After that, the piano likely needs restringing anyway, so splicing is a temporary expedient.
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#1621428 - 02/16/11 02:14 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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I tune many, many, MANY hundred-year-old uprights with original strings all intact, at pitch, sound fine. a 50 year old piano today was built in 1961.
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#1621544 - 02/16/11 04:51 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Loren D
a 50 year old piano today was built in 1961.


1961? Gee, I remember that like it was yesterday. I still think 1999 was last year, lol.
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#1621549 - 02/16/11 04:56 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
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Originally Posted By: Loren D
I tune many, many, MANY hundred-year-old uprights with original strings all intact, at pitch, sound fine. a 50 year old piano today was built in 1961.

It was new the year I started working on pianos. Was it really necessary to remind me...

ddf
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#1621584 - 02/16/11 05:49 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Del]
Loren D Offline
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Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I tune many, many, MANY hundred-year-old uprights with original strings all intact, at pitch, sound fine. a 50 year old piano today was built in 1961.

It was new the year I started working on pianos. Was it really necessary to remind me...

ddf


HA! Sorry about that, Del! :p
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#1621804 - 02/17/11 12:37 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: BDB]
Dale Fox Offline
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Originally Posted By: BDB
Well, I have tuned a U3 from the early 1950s, but this one was from about 1980.

What you say would seem to indicate that replacement is better than splicing for pianos less than about 50 years old. After that, the piano likely needs restringing anyway, so splicing is a temporary expedient.


Oh, I don't really know that age would be as big a deciding factor to me as would condition. And of course, what is in the best interest of the customer.

Now today I had an interesting repair on a teflon vintage S&S "B". The piano started off life in a very humid climate (Somewhere in NY) and the whole piano was lightly corroded, though the bass strings sounded pretty good for a stock set from the 70's.

This piano had a broken agraffe at note 19.

The customer was concerned about the appearance of new strings and asked if the old strings could be re-used. I agreed to try but the beckets did not survive the procedure (Not a procedure I recommend for hemophiliacs) so I gave her the option of splicing both wires and she was happy with that. She just didn't want two shiny new strings upsetting her sensibilities.

So, being the customer oriented guy that I am, I proceeded with a double splice with a new agraffe.

Very successful repair. Nice tight knots right next to the tuning pins. Good coils, very stable, clean repair. Took a total of 15 minutes.

Anyone want to guess what her complaint was when the repair was finished?
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#1621807 - 02/17/11 12:40 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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That the new agraffe did not match the old ones.
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#1621816 - 02/17/11 01:02 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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The blood on her white carpet?
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#1621818 - 02/17/11 01:05 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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I had to replace the oven in my kitchen once, which was built in to an ash cabinet. A friend made a new frame face for the cabinet out of new ash, which is quite white. A friend of my wife's, a carpenter, saw it and said most of his customers would not stand for that. Today, the frame matches the rest of the cabinets pretty well. Had it been stained, it probably would no longer match.
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#1621829 - 02/17/11 01:34 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: BDB]
Dale Fox Offline
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Originally Posted By: BDB
That the new agraffe did not match the old ones.


Yep!
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#1621836 - 02/17/11 02:04 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Dale Fox]
Del Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
Originally Posted By: BDB
That the new agraffe did not match the old ones.


Yep!

You might point out that there is a solution: restring the whole piano. That way she gets all shiny new strings, all shiny new agraffes and shiny new tuning pins (which, unlike the originals, will all be at the same height).

ddf
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#1622019 - 02/17/11 10:22 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Del]
Dale Fox Offline
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Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
Originally Posted By: BDB
That the new agraffe did not match the old ones.


Yep!

You might point out that there is a solution: restring the whole piano. That way she gets all shiny new strings, all shiny new agraffes and shiny new tuning pins (which, unlike the originals, will all be at the same height).

ddf


But Del, then her piano wouldn't be original. BTW, I swear it's the truth, she laid out towels over the tuning pins for me to put my tools on, and when I finished she got out a magnifying lens to make sure I hadn't damaged anything during the repair. I was almost shocked that she hadn't put down a sheet for my tool cases.

By an eerie piece of luck, the new shiny agraffe string height matched the height in the field pretty well. Not sure how that happened. Klinke made a mistake, maybe?
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#1622051 - 02/17/11 11:36 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Sounds like a stressful client! Maybe its one of those times you leave your competitors business card!
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#1622062 - 02/17/11 12:02 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Dale Fox]
Del Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
Originally Posted By: Del
You might point out that there is a solution: restring the whole piano. That way she gets all shiny new strings, all shiny new agraffes and shiny new tuning pins (which, unlike the originals, will all be at the same height).
ddf


But Del, then her piano wouldn't be original. BTW, I swear it's the truth, she laid out towels over the tuning pins for me to put my tools on, and when I finished she got out a magnifying lens to make sure I hadn't damaged anything during the repair. I was almost shocked that she hadn't put down a sheet for my tool cases.

By an eerie piece of luck, the new shiny agraffe string height matched the height in the field pretty well. Not sure how that happened. Klinke made a mistake, maybe?

So, where is that Mezzo-Thermal Stabilizer (i.e., pre-ager) when you need it?

ddf
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#1622131 - 02/17/11 01:36 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Dale Fox]
Supply Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
Originally Posted By: BDB
That the new agraffe did not match the old ones.

Yep!

Have her cat pee on it? That seems to make new brass parts look old in a hurry!
whome ha
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#1622141 - 02/17/11 01:59 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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I have an "older client, in her 80's" that had a fit the last time I touched her piano prior to taking it apart. A nice high gloss shiny Yamaha Disklavier grand. I walked up to it, put my hand on it, leaned on my hand, starting talking to her and she about had a cow. NOW I HAVE TO WIPE OFF YOUR D*** FINGER PRINTS! So, I went to remove the music rack and she had a cow about that too. So, I shoved it back in, smiled and said, would you like for me to tune the piano? HELL YES! WHAT THE F*** DO YOU THINK I CALLED YOU FOR? I almost lost it, busting out laughing but,I contained myself... Instead I said, well, if I can't touch your piano, how am I supposed to take it apart and tune it then? WELL, JUST BE CAREFUL OR I'LL MAKE YOU CLEAN THE F****** THING OFF BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!! I did laugh after that, I just could not contain myself any longer. WHAT' SO F******* FUNNY??? It was one of those times then where I just couldn't stop laughing after that... The more she said it, the harder I laughed! I did finally get to tune the piano though.
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#1622142 - 02/17/11 02:00 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
BDB Offline
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Well, that is like my ash cabinets. Initially they will look pretty close, but in the long run it is not such a good match.
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#1622232 - 02/17/11 03:30 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
wayne walker Offline
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Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
I have an "older client, in her 80's" that had a fit the last time I touched her piano prior to taking it apart. A nice high gloss shiny Yamaha Disklavier grand. I walked up to it, put my hand on it, leaned on my hand, starting talking to her and she about had a cow. NOW I HAVE TO WIPE OFF YOUR D*** FINGER PRINTS! So, I went to remove the music rack and she had a cow about that too. So, I shoved it back in, smiled and said, would you like for me to tune the piano? HELL YES! WHAT THE F*** DO YOU THINK I CALLED YOU FOR? I almost lost it, busting out laughing but,I contained myself... Instead I said, well, if I can't touch your piano, how am I supposed to take it apart and tune it then? WELL, JUST BE CAREFUL OR I'LL MAKE YOU CLEAN THE F****** THING OFF BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!! I did laugh after that, I just could not contain myself any longer. WHAT' SO F******* FUNNY??? It was one of those times then where I just couldn't stop laughing after that... The more she said it, the harder I laughed! I did finally get to tune the piano though.



Gerry, there seems to be something wrong with your post, some of the words I can't make out, can you fill in the blanks?
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#1622439 - 02/17/11 08:40 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Hahahaha Wayne!!! You looking to get me a time out in a naughty chair in the corner with a dunce cap ehhh??? LOL!!! I don't think soooo!
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#1622441 - 02/17/11 08:42 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Jerry, I don't know how you even tuned for that one! I'm pretty easy going, but I think I probably would have politely declined at some point!
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#1622530 - 02/17/11 10:59 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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I've tuned for that lady lots of times before. I have to admit, it was pure entertainment at that point. I don't know, for some reason, it just struck my funny bone.
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#1622619 - 02/18/11 02:13 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Dale Fox Offline
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Originally Posted By: rysowers
Sounds like a stressful client! Maybe its one of those times you leave your competitors business card!


The worst part of it was that it wasn't my client. I was there helping a local guy that couldn't fix it himself and as soon as I was done with the repair I was trying to get out of Dodge while her regular "Tuner" was setting up to do the tuning he originally had been scheduled to do.

While I'm trying to gracefully escape before she can find anything else to question, she comes to the door with a pad and insists that I write down my contact info so she can call me the next time. Then she asks for the name of my favorite touch up guy. I need to call him and warn him, as well as apologizing in advance for referring her to him.
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#1622714 - 02/18/11 07:41 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Jerry:

By any chance was she the opera singer from the Victor Borges routine? You know the one where every time she puts her hand on the piano he stops playing and says "Don't touch the piano." Maybe she just needs to get even with anyone she can.

I find foul talk pretty humorous. Sometimes I will pretend they are talking literally and say something like, "My word! I suppose someone could do that, but it wouldn't be very comfortable."
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#1622809 - 02/18/11 10:12 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Funny Jeff. Nope, not the same lady although, she's loaded.... Possibly in more sense than one!
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#1626196 - 02/22/11 07:06 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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This is a 5-6 year old Baldwin grand I tuned in a church today. Now see, this infuriates me. For one thing, the piano is a reasonably new grand. Secondly, look at how the tech gouged the plate area around the tuning pin. Nothing about this said "professional." The coil was sitting on the plate, the plate was scraped/gouged; the knot wasn't even nice looking. If I were the owner of this piano, I'd have been pretty upset.


IMG_0581 by pianotech1, on Flickr
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#1626362 - 02/23/11 12:26 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Loren,

This says more about the technician than the splice itself. The same kind of damage routinely happens when technicians try to replace strings as well.

Personally, for me, this falls into the "don't sweat the small stuff" category.
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#1626363 - 02/23/11 12:26 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Despite the other complaints, the splice looks pretty cool! smile
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#1626446 - 02/23/11 04:49 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
David Jenson Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Loren D
This is a 5-6 year old Baldwin grand I tuned in a church today. Now see, this infuriates me. For one thing, the piano is a reasonably new grand. Secondly, look at how the tech gouged the plate area around the tuning pin. Nothing about this said "professional." The coil was sitting on the plate, the plate was scraped/gouged; the knot wasn't even nice looking. If I were the owner of this piano, I'd have been pretty upset.


IMG_0581 by pianotech1, on Flickr
I've noticed that most owners don't care much about what splices look like as long as they work. I leave the pins at their original height, and neat knots that have no ugly long tails sticking out, but the "professional" look is mostly unnoticed by clients.

What I always hope for is that some other technician will notice it and be overwhelmed with admiration.

(BTW, it was a little hard to see clearly, but that knot looked a bit odd, although, it might have been the shadows produced by the camera angle.)
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#1626476 - 02/23/11 07:05 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Originally Posted By: rysowers
Loren,

This says more about the technician than the splice itself. The same kind of damage routinely happens when technicians try to replace strings as well.

Personally, for me, this falls into the "don't sweat the small stuff" category.


Scratching/gouging the plate finish on a 5 year old high end grand piano is small stuff? Wow. Ok.

*edit* I'm still....wow. If someone scratched up a new and expensive item of yours like that, would it still be small stuff?


Edited by Loren D (02/23/11 07:15 AM)
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#1626514 - 02/23/11 08:39 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Loren:

How did it sound?

Oh, and did you do the "professional" thing and get permission to take and post pictures of the piano from the owner without being "unprofessional" and disparaging someone else's work? Whoops, too late on that last one!
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#1626537 - 02/23/11 09:36 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: David Jenson]
Mark R. Offline
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Originally Posted By: David Jenson
(BTW, it was a little hard to see clearly, but that knot looked a bit odd, although, it might have been the shadows produced by the camera angle.)


Indeed, David, I also thought the knot looked a bit odd. At first, it appeared that one of the loops had turned, relative to the other. Normally, the tails should be parallel, lying flush against each other, but pointing to opposite sides. In this example, they're crossing each other at almost 90°. So I thought the tail on the original wire may have turned up, towards the camera, because it may be touching the neighbouring tuning pin.

But then, I remembered that a piano tuner's knot, if correctly made, will always pull itself into the correct shape. So, on even closer inspection, it appears to me as though both loops are clockwise loops, i.e. made in the same direction. They should be made in opposite directions, i.e. mirror images of one another. In this case, the new leader wire should loop under the original wire, and the tail of the leader should be tucked in under the long end of the leader. One can also see that something's amiss because both loops have been bent towards the camera. The loop on the leader should be bent towards the plate.

But kudos to that tuner, for making the knot hold anyway.

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#1626541 - 02/23/11 09:46 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Good observation, Mark! I wonder if there is an advantage.
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#1626567 - 02/23/11 10:21 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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I doubt it, Jeff. To the contrary. If, for whatever reason, the loop on the leader should turn slightly, so that its tail faces the top of the picture, the loop would no longer pinch the tail, i.e. it would pull loose. And if it should turn so that the tail faces the bottom of the picture, then the tails would not be friction-locked against each other anymore, because they'd be pulled in the same direction instead of opposite directions.

As it is, the tails are only friction-locked on the one small spot where they cross each other. In a proper piano tuner's knot, they touch each other along their entire lengths.

Here's a blown-up crop from Loren's picture.
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#1626581 - 02/23/11 10:37 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Mark:

I am going to have to just think on this a while. The Tuner’s Knot only works because of the stiffness of the wire. It would not work with fishing line, for example. This Tooner’s Knot (Hey, why not? Everything has to have a name.) is not as interlocking, and might come apart while tightening if care is not taken. But that does not mean it would slip once formed and under tension. I will have to try it to see what it is really all about.

I am glad Loren posted this!
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#1626593 - 02/23/11 10:51 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Mark R. Offline
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Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
The Tuner’s Knot only works because of the stiffness of the wire. It would not work with fishing line, for example.


Are you sure? Now this is something I'll try tonight. smile
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#1626612 - 02/23/11 11:17 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Yeah, good eye, Mark! Here's what it's supposed to look like:


Odd knots, for whatever reason, seem to work sometimes. I've even seen some old splices that had the tails on the same side.

Loren, life is to short to get worked up about every little scratch or chip in the tuning field area of every newish grand piano we service. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be careful when we are servicing pianos! 99.9% of piano owners aren't going to notice or care. I hope you wouldn't bring this type of thing to an owner's attention just to share your outrage.

A Baldwin in a modern church situation has a lot more pressing issues to worry about!


Edited by rysowers (02/23/11 11:18 AM)
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#1626621 - 02/23/11 11:29 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: rysowers

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be careful when we are servicing pianos! 99.9% of piano owners aren't going to notice or care.
A Baldwin in a modern church situation has a lot more pressing issues to worry about!


This is not a good reason to scratch up someone else’ property nor is this a decision made by anyone other than the owners of such property.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1626634 - 02/23/11 11:45 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
All:

I feel like that commercial where you get knocked on the head and say “I could have had a V-8!”

The Tuner’s Knot is just a variant of the Square or Reef Knot Thief Knot. Imagine moving the bitter ends so that they do not interlock. It becomes a Square Knot Thief Knot.



And this Tooner’s Knot is just a variant of the Granny Knot Grief Knot. Again, imagine moving the bitter ends so that they do not interlock. It becomes a Granny Knot Grief Knot.




Edited by UnrightTooner (02/23/11 01:53 PM)
Edit Reason: Errors
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1626683 - 02/23/11 12:43 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Supply Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner

The Tuner’s Knot is just a variant of the Square or Reef Knot.
Absolutely not. At least not any more than it is "just a variant" of a whole bunch of other knots.

Quote:
Imagine moving the bitter ends so that they do not interlock. It becomes a Square Knot.

As soon as you change a knot, it becomes a different knot. By moving the ends, a square knot can be changed to become a sheet bend or a number of other knots, including a granny knot. But then it is no longer a square knot.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

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#1626690 - 02/23/11 12:51 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Jurgen:

Fair enough. It would be better to say that they are in the same family.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1626875 - 02/23/11 05:19 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
How do we know the scratch wasn't done by a pianist, or the owner, or even another tech? The person that attempted this splice may have had nothing to do with the scratch.

But I must agree with Loren. If anyone scratched my plate like that I'd be pretty bummed out about it. And, as a tech, I would point out pre-existing damage such as this to the owner before I began any work on the piano, especially if it was a client who didn't know me well. Not to rat out a previous tech, but simply to protect myself. (Remember what Dale Fox just mentioned about the owner checking the tuning pins for damage after he replaced an agraffe?)

I've mentioned this before, but check out Bill Spurlock's method of string splicing using Vise-Grips. His technique is so much easier, and really superior than the older traditional methods many techs still use. I learned the method that Art Reblitz details in his book, and all I can say is Spurlock's method is way easier and faster. The loops are so small at the beginning of the process that it forms a much tighter knot, and splicing even thick bass string core wires becomes a breeze. It's also a method that is easy to remember out in the field - once you've done it a few times you won't make the mistake that this tech did, and the tuning stability will be better too.
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#1626877 - 02/23/11 05:24 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
Originally Posted By: rysowers

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be careful when we are servicing pianos! 99.9% of piano owners aren't going to notice or care.
A Baldwin in a modern church situation has a lot more pressing issues to worry about!


This is not a good reason to scratch up someone else’ property nor is this a decision made by anyone other than the owners of such property.


Thank you! I have to admit, I'm amused at watching so many techs totally overlook the damage to the customer's piano in order to analyze the knot.

To each his own. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1626880 - 02/23/11 05:26 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: James Carney]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: James Carney
How do we know the scratch wasn't done by a pianist, or the owner, or even another tech? The person that attempted this splice may have had nothing to do with the scratch.

But I must agree with Loren. If anyone scratched my plate like that I'd be pretty bummed out about it. And, as a tech, I would point out pre-existing damage such as this to the owner before I began any work on the piano, especially if it was a client who didn't know me well. Not to rat out a previous tech, but simply to protect myself. (Remember what Dale Fox just mentioned about the owner checking the tuning pins for damage after he replaced an agraffe?)


Any time I'm servicing for a new customer, I look over the piano first for any noticeable things that might be an issue.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1627160 - 02/24/11 02:49 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jeff:

You were right, of course, but I had to see it for myself (should have been named Thomas, not Mark wink ). The piano tuner's knot, and also the reef knot, for that matter, don't hold on a fish line. The tail just slips through when even moderate tension is applied.

James:

I've been to Bill Spurlock's website (spurlocktools.com), but can't find anything on splicing there. (Lots of information on re-bushing, though.) Is his splicing method publically available? If so, I'd much appreciate your pointing me in the right direction, please.

Loren:

How can you say that someone is overlooking damage in order to analyze knots? Why should the one exclude the other? For my part, I'm very sensitive about damage, and am actually looking to touch up my upright's plate where previous tuners marred it. Actually, the "knot analyzers" were only sticking to the thread topic. wink
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#1627205 - 02/24/11 07:24 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
.....

Thank you! I have to admit, I'm amused at watching so many techs totally overlook the damage to the customer's piano in order to analyze the knot.

To each his own. smile


I see this as the ongoing difference between serving the customer and serving the piano. To make it short, if the customer is satisfied with previous service, I will not insult them by saying their judgment was poor.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1627206 - 02/24/11 07:25 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
All:

I tried the knot that was posted by Loren. I could not see any advantages. It does not pull up tight evenly as the standard Tuner’s Knot does.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1627228 - 02/24/11 08:17 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
I service the piano and educate the customer. And I don't leave scratches, gouges, and dings
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1627238 - 02/24/11 08:37 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Mark R,

You can find the instructions for Bill Spurlock's string splicing methods in the PACE repair book, which is available from PTG. Highly recommended and covers most common field repairs in detail.
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www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1627251 - 02/24/11 08:56 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I service the piano and educate the customer. And I don't leave scratches, gouges, and dings


It seems more like you are serving yourself by putting down the work and interests of others. Thanks for the education.

_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1627288 - 02/24/11 10:07 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jeff:
Thanks for your field test on that "Tooner's Grief Knot".

James:
Ah, thanks. The PACE materials, at least some chapters, are on my medium-term shopping list anyway. (If I can get them here without spending an arm and a leg on postage...)

Peace to all!
Mark
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1627329 - 02/24/11 11:05 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Jeff, between turning front rail pins, marshmallow zones, pitch doesn't matter, etc, I had a really great reply, but ive decided it's much easier to just ignore you. Happy tooning. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1627346 - 02/24/11 11:33 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Supply Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Let's keep the knots out of the knickers, shall we?

We're all part of this knotty family....
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1627352 - 02/24/11 11:39 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Jeff, between turning front rail pins, marshmallow zones, pitch doesn't matter, etc, I had a really great reply, but ive decided it's much easier to just ignore you. Happy tooning. smile


Yes, but I hope you realise something about yourself. You still had to mention that you had a reply and what it would have been about. The reply itself doesn't matter now. smile
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1627357 - 02/24/11 11:44 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Jeff:
Thanks for your field test on that "Tooner's Grief Knot".

James:
Ah, thanks. The PACE materials, at least some chapters, are on my medium-term shopping list anyway. (If I can get them here without spending an arm and a leg on postage...)

Peace to all!
Mark


You are welcome, Mark...

Yeah, international shipping is crazy expensive...But maybe PTG can send via U.S.P.S. Might be via slow boat, but should be reliable...

If it makes sense to get a bunch of books at once from PTG (to save on shipping) you might consider the PACE grand and vertical regulation books along with the repair book. I have also found "The Piano Technician's Guide to Field Repairs" by Steve Brady to be very worthwhile. And the material covered in that book is quite different from the PACE repair book, so it can't hurt to have both...
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1627361 - 02/24/11 11:51 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I service the piano and educate the customer. And I don't leave scratches, gouges, and dings

Loren,

It's very easy to brag on an online forum about how fastidious and ethical we are. It's not the best way to earn respect here. In this venue, being respectful and open to others' ways of thinking is the best way to make friends.

Some of the worst schlock artists I have known in this business have had a great song and dance that fools a surprising amount of clients. Some of the best technicians I have known have been genuinely humble and frequently self-deprecating.

In other words, "talk is cheap". On the other hand, anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1628116 - 02/25/11 06:12 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I service the piano and educate the customer. And I don't leave scratches, gouges, and dings

Loren,

It's very easy to brag on an online forum about how fastidious and ethical we are. It's not the best way to earn respect here. In this venue, being respectful and open to others' ways of thinking is the best way to make friends.

Some of the worst schlock artists I have known in this business have had a great song and dance that fools a surprising amount of clients. Some of the best technicians I have known have been genuinely humble and frequently self-deprecating.

In other words, "talk is cheap". On the other hand, anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice.



Ryan, that would be good advice if I was bragging. smile

Striving to leave a piano at least in as good a shape as you found it is just common sense and good business practice; something every professional should strive for. I believe leaving a gouge in a customer's instrument, visible or not, is not good. I stand by that. If someone left a pretty deep scratch on something of yours while they were repairing it (your car, for example), who gets to make the decision as to whether it's an issue or not, you or the person who did it? That's all I'm saying. If I do it to a customer's piano, what I think doesn't matter. If it's an issue for the customer, then it's an issue. I've had things happen that cost me, believe me.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1628577 - 02/26/11 02:27 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Loren,

I really do agree with everything your saying. I think we all do our best to "do no harm" when working on pianos. I'm sure your clients appreciate how careful you are with their instruments.

I guess I just see this kind of stuff all the time and I don't think it is worth it to point out previous damage like this to a client as it seems that it would just create bad feelings.

Also I think when you posted the picture I misinterpreted your comments as a condemnation of those of us who splice strings, when you were really just sharing your feelings about poor repairs.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1628580 - 02/26/11 02:29 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
Loren,

I really do agree with everything your saying. I think we all do our best to "do no harm" when working on pianos. I'm sure your clients appreciate how careful you are with their instruments.

I guess I just see this kind of stuff all the time and I don't think it is worth it to point out previous damage like this to a client as it seems that it would just create bad feelings.

Also I think when you posted the picture I misinterpreted your comments as a condemnation of those of us who splice strings, when you were really just sharing your feelings about poor repairs.


Ah, I see Ryan. No, that was not my intention at all; my apologies if it came out that way.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1628915 - 02/27/11 12:30 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: James Carney]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
Originally Posted By: James Carney
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Jeff:
Thanks for your field test on that "Tooner's Grief Knot".

James:
Ah, thanks. The PACE materials, at least some chapters, are on my medium-term shopping list anyway. (If I can get them here without spending an arm and a leg on postage...)

Peace to all!
Mark


You are welcome, Mark...

Yeah, international shipping is crazy expensive...But maybe PTG can send via U.S.P.S. Might be via slow boat, but should be reliable...

If it makes sense to get a bunch of books at once from PTG (to save on shipping) you might consider the PACE grand and vertical regulation books along with the repair book. I have also found "The Piano Technician's Guide to Field Repairs" by Steve Brady to be very worthwhile. And the material covered in that book is quite different from the PACE repair book, so it can't hurt to have both...


Mark, Jeff,

I didn't have any problem getting the PTG source books shipped to Finland, and at very moderate shipping costs.

By the way, I learned to tie the tuner's knot at a hands-on class given by Ed sutton during the 2010 PTG convention. Attending that class was one of the best investments I've ever made, given that I've used the knot three times already - twice times in an old piano/old strings situation, once on a brand new Yamaha P-116 as an emergency repair. (Can't remeber who commented on the upper wounded strings on the new Yamahas (Bill perhaps?), but boy do they break easily!)

This said... in my tuner's culture, If I propose a splice they think I'm nuts. Same with using CA for tuning pins. Guess it's different methods for different areas. Well, I once more fall back on Jerry G's wise words inherited from his father: "Whatever blows your hair back"... smile
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

Senior Lecturer (jazz piano, composition, music theory, conducting) @ Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland
- - - -
Dedicated to learning the craft of tuning. Getting better.

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#1629109 - 02/27/11 10:03 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
grin That's right Patrick!
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Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1630215 - 02/28/11 07:59 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: pppat]
Wayne Gregory Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/03
Posts: 33
Loc: Angier,NC
"Never splice in the speaking length", I've always been told, so I had to test this 'truth' on my old piano in the shop.
After attending a splicing class in Fort Smith, AK., I was really happy with the small, neat coils I was getting after 30 minutes or so of practice with my new round nose pliers!
Contradictory results. It sounded great. I could not tell it was in the speaking length.
Conclusion: Would not generally recommend it--the following tech would certainly dis-own knowing me; but he may wonder, like me, why did it work?

Wayne Gregory
Angier, NC

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#1630258 - 02/28/11 09:20 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: pppat]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: pppat

This said... in my tuner's culture, If I propose a splice they think I'm nuts. Same with using CA for tuning pins. Guess it's different methods for different areas. Well, I once more fall back on Jerry G's wise words inherited from his father: "Whatever blows your hair back"... smile


Every piano I've seen (all two of them!) that was doped with CA glue was a disaster. Whoever did it didn't lay the piano back, first off...and used accelerator after treating. The pins are still too loose to hold and there is white, hardened ca glue all over the plate and pin area. Just a mess.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1630271 - 02/28/11 09:41 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
You guys have actually caused me to reconsider my anti-splicing stance. I guess I can see the merit of splicing an old bass string where a new string is going to sound noticeably different. On treble wire though, I'd still replace, since there usually is no noticeable difference between old treble strings and new ones.

Who says people are stubborn as they age? :p
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1630332 - 02/28/11 11:46 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
That's what's so great about our business! There is always new ways to grow and things to try. Some techniques we use for the rest of our careers, others are discarded. There is such a technical smorgasbord out there to feast on!

One of the things I enjoy about attending the conferences is rubbing shoulders with some of the older guys - many who are now in their 80's or even 90's! Some of the claim they are still learning new things! I find that inspiring.

You certainly can't learn it all in one lifetime! thumb
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1630358 - 03/01/11 12:23 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: pppat

This said... in my tuner's culture, If I propose a splice they think I'm nuts. Same with using CA for tuning pins. Guess it's different methods for different areas. Well, I once more fall back on Jerry G's wise words inherited from his father: "Whatever blows your hair back"... smile


Every piano I've seen (all two of them!) that was doped with CA glue was a disaster. Whoever did it didn't lay the piano back, first off...and used accelerator after treating. The pins are still too loose to hold and there is white, hardened ca glue all over the plate and pin area. Just a mess.


Loren,

There is a right and wrong way to do everything. CA glue treatment is off topic for this discussion but since you brought it up, I have encountered many such jobs that were very well done. You could not see a trace of the glue. I could only tell be the feel. That initial "sticky" feel often breaks in well and the tuning pins have a completely normal feel after a few tunings.

Patrick,

Yes it was me that mentioned a certain vintage of Yamaha where the highest two single strings inevitably break. I won't try to tie those any more. It is possible, yes, and I have done it but there is so little room and the core wire is such a large size that I would rather get a new string.

On the subject of a splice in the speaking length, on plain wire, it would make for an untunable unison. The knot adds mass and thus lowers the inharmonicity so it won't match the other string. On a wound string, however, it is necessary to peel off about 1/4" of winding to have enough room for the knot. The shorter winding raises the inharmonicity. The two often counteract each other perfectly, leaving the spliced string with a perfect match for its neighbor.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1630462 - 03/01/11 06:48 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
That's what's so great about our business! There is always new ways to grow and things to try. Some techniques we use for the rest of our careers, others are discarded. There is such a technical smorgasbord out there to feast on!

One of the things I enjoy about attending the conferences is rubbing shoulders with some of the older guys - many who are now in their 80's or even 90's! Some of the claim they are still learning new things! I find that inspiring.

You certainly can't learn it all in one lifetime! thumb


I hear ya, Ryan! smile I learned to do it well enough to pass the technical exam years ago, but swore I'd never do it in the field. And didn't. It's still not my preferred repair, but as I said, I do think it makes sense to splice an aged sounding bass string rather than have one note that sounds totally out of character with the rest of the section.

Guess I better start practicing! I'll pretend I'm taking the test again. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1630464 - 03/01/11 06:52 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Point well taken, Bill. Using accelerator didn't help either, I'm sure. The glue cured before it could seep into the block.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1631555 - 03/02/11 03:48 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Today I tuned a restored Steinway O where I had spliced a string five years ago. It is still holding just fine and is completely stable. It is barely visible to the eye. There are no scratches on the plate and the coil is lifted properly. Anyone can replace the string in the future is that is the desire but until someone requires that, the repair is permanent and will stay just as it is.



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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1631585 - 03/02/11 04:13 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 760
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Bill

Nice to see the photos in the post! But the postage stamp size rather disguises the appearance of the knot. It could be a little fly on the string!
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Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1631737 - 03/02/11 07:38 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Chris Leslie]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie
Bill

Nice to see the photos in the post! But the postage stamp size rather disguises the appearance of the knot. It could be a little fly on the string!


That's the best a cellphone camera would do.
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Bill Bremmer RPT
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#1632217 - 03/03/11 07:19 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Tuned a M&H grand the other day. The lowest wound string in the tenor had been replaced, but not the other string in the bichord. I could not tune a clean unison. But I noticed a splice on an unwound string in the middle of the piano. I just happened to see it, I didn't hear any difference.
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#1634138 - 03/05/11 01:00 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
I did the splice on my Ibach's bichord D3 today.

Success!

Unfortunately I can't upload the pictures from my home PC, but I'll do so on Monday.

Many thanks to all the techs who helped me with their good advice.

[EDIT: removed faulty links; new pictures posted below.]

I hope you can see them - if you can't, I'll post them on my Picasa web-album on Monday.


Edited by Mark R. (03/06/11 06:21 AM)
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#1634183 - 03/05/11 02:07 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
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What that forum is, it's in German or something... I can't figure it out...
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#1634201 - 03/05/11 02:23 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Jer, it says:

You are not logged in or you have permission to access this page. This could be one of the reasons:

1. You are not logged. Please fill in the fields below on the page and try again.
2. You do not have sufficient privileges to access this page. This may be the case if you trying to edit someone else's post, access administrative features or some other privileged system call.
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LOL
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#1634217 - 03/05/11 02:37 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
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Du bist nicht angemeldet oder du hast keine Rechte diese Seite zu betreten. Dies könnte einer der Gründe sein:

1. Du bist nicht angemeldet. Bitte fülle die Felder unten auf der Seite aus und versuche es erneut.
2. Du hast keine ausreichenden Rechte, um auf diese Seite zuzugreifen. Dies kann der Fall sein, wenn du Beiträge eines anderen Benutzers ändern möchtest oder administrative bzw. andere nicht erlaubte Funktionen aufrufst.
3. Du versuchst einen Beitrag zu verfassen und hast keine Schreibrechte oder wartest noch auf die Aktivierung deiner Registrierung.

Thanks what I read Bill! Ha ha ha....
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www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1634308 - 03/05/11 04:49 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Sorry, guys, I was hoping you'd see the pics here!

This is SO frustrating! I'll try to figure out how to upload pictures as attachments into PianoWorld. Failing that, I'll post the pictures here on Monday, via my Picasa Web-album.
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#1634682 - 03/06/11 06:29 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Here they are:






This is one of the strings that touches the coils of a neighboring string. I deliberately turned the pin slightly deeper into the pinblock, to gain some new grip. This gave me some space to feed the wire behind the coils of the neighboring string, rather than over them (see first picture). There is now less of a kink in the wire than before, and the rendering friction, although still high, is much less than before.

Again: thanks to all who helped.
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#1634711 - 03/06/11 07:31 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Nice, neat knot! smile
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#1634762 - 03/06/11 10:24 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
Dale Fox Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1081
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Inquiring minds want to know. What happened to the pin bushing in the neighboring pin? Looks like it was never installed.

Nice neat knot.
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#1634876 - 03/06/11 01:30 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Nice neat knot Mark! thumb

The only thing I would comment negatively on is the kink in the becket where it enters into the tuning pin. It shows that you turned and tightened the tuning pin prior to continued "nudging" and pushing of the becket into the tuning pin before you tightening up the wire around the tuning pin completely. Make sense? I will usually give many pushes on the becket sliding the pliers in a circular motion, around the tuning pin with whatever I am using. Generally, a flat nosed curved voicing pliers. Yep, this has more than one use! smile This helps to nudge it into the hole further and to make it stay tighter. It will look neater in that area too. I do this as often as necessary to keep the becket tightened up watching it and then repeating it whenever I have too, to keep it good and tight in that area. It'll make for a more stable tuning too.

Other than that, it looks great! thumb

Nice eye Dale.
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#1634994 - 03/06/11 04:02 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jerry,

Critique noted. This becket was in action on my test-jig (a 4x4 log), to pull the knot tight at -100 cents, then I transferred it into the piano for a preliminary tensioning, and once the pitch was at perhaps -500 cents, I loosened (un-hitched) it one more time to give the tuning pin an extra half-a-turn and re-tighten the coil. So the becket has been through some mileage... On the other hand, I compared it to the neighboring beckets and coils and tuning pins, and they actually look pretty similar (see last picture).

And yes, tuning stability leaves something to be desired: the note dropped about 1 Hz (2 cents) in 24 hours. I've corrected that.

Dale: the bushing that seems missing in the second picture is actually visible in the third picture. Many of the bushings in this piano are somewhat recessed. I have no idea why this is the case. On the other hand, some bushings protrude on the string side, and actually look as though they are "oozing" from the plate.

I can only conjecture that this has to do with the humidity fluctuations that we see here.


Edited by Mark R. (03/06/11 04:09 PM)
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
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#1635163 - 03/06/11 07:49 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Olympia, WA
Nice!Thanks for posting such great pictures!
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#1635188 - 03/06/11 08:33 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Mark,

Your knot is a true work of art! Only a very minor scratch on the plate which can be avoided using a good coil lifter. Such marks can be touched up if you have the right touch up paint. All considered, I have never seen a finer knot tied by anyone!

As Jer mentioned about the beckett, either when installing a new string or in the case of a spliced string, the beckett has to be closed before too much tension is placed on the string. If the beckett starts to bend, it is too late. If the coil ends up spread, you can loosen the tension to lift it but again, watch that beckett so that it doesn't slide out and if it does, close it back before you can't anymore. I use a medium size pair of vice grips for that.

When I use the remnant of the broken string, I already know there won't be three full coils. That is why I place the tiny hook on the opposite side of the tuning pin from where the string enters. I do that with single string replacement too for two reasons: I don't have to close the beckett and I know that the string cannot slip within the tuning pin hole, so it eliminates that part of potential instability. The hook can be so small as to barely be visible. If you are using the "dummy pin" method which is really the best, all you have to do is make the beckett protrude on the dummy pin about 1/16-1/8" (but no more than that). Grab that protruding end with needle nose vice grips and make a quick 90º bend in it. If the bent end sticks out after pulling up the tension, you can lay it back down with the same vice grip pliers that you would use to close the beckett. It will look neat and professional and will, as I said, eliminate any instability from the beckett itself.

If you were taking the PTG Technical exam, you would get full points for the knot and coil but on the exam, the coil should not be any lower than normal; just so you know. Normal is defined as the wire being perfectly perpendicular to the tuning pin an parallel to the plate. I understand why you had to do that in this case and that's fine. Also, the hook that I suggest is a "no-no" for the exam. The wire should not protrude on the other side at all. If you keep those two things in mind should you ever want to take that exam, you will get a perfect score.

Congratulations on a great job and great photography!
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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1635197 - 03/06/11 08:37 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Loren D]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3322
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Nice, neat knot! smile
I'm glad you could see your way clear to compliment it, Loren, even though I know you disagree with ever using it.
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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1635209 - 03/06/11 08:55 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
RonTuner Online   content
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1677
Loc: Chicagoland
EXXXXXcellent! (Wish I could say my first knot in a piano looked like yours!)

Ron Koval
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#1635221 - 03/06/11 09:03 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Nice, neat knot! smile
I'm glad you could see your way clear to compliment it, Loren, even though I know you disagree with ever using it.


Thanks, Bill! Actually though, I've softened my stance on it after carefully considering the respected opinions of the many fine fellow technicians who post here. I can see the reason and usefulness of splicing bass strings when a new one would sound out of place (the goal being to keep the bass section uniform in sound without notes standing out). On treble strings, I would still advocate replacement since there really is no noticeable difference in sound between old and new plain wire, but on bass strings, I've seen the logic (and the light!). smile

And that knot is a work of art, especially considering that was a first-timer!
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#1635399 - 03/07/11 03:28 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Wow, I am honored by such heaped compliments from professionals. blush Thank you!

I did a lot of practise knots before attempting this one. Specifically, I experimented with the correct length of the tails, so that they don't need to be trimmed afterwards, because my piano wire cutter is quite bulky (scissor type, not side-cutting type) and would never fit in that area between the tuning pins.

Bill:

I don't think that small scratch happened during fitment of the spliced string. I was extremely careful when lifting the coils, and covered the plate with a business card before taking any tools to the coils. The scratch mark sits exactly where the old string broke, and the twist on the string was such that when it broke, it would have whipped against the plate. Anyway, I'll look for some touch-up paint, because the hitch-pin has almost completely lost its paint, and the tail of the loop has also scratched the plate next to the hitch-pin. I had to do a lot of wiggling to get the loop off and back on. [EDIT: German loops that circle the hitch-pin twice.] This paint is very soft, and hardly adheres to the hitch-pins! Even a fingernail will remove it. And while I'm at it, I'll touch up some deep gouges and chips that previous tuners have left in the pin-fields of the plate.

Regarding that becket, you hit the nail on the head:

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
the beckett has to be closed before too much tension is placed on the string. If the beckett starts to bend, it is too late. If the coil ends up spread, you can loosen the tension to lift it but again, watch that beckett so that it doesn't slide out and if it does, close it back before you can't anymore.


This is exactly what happened! The coil had indeed spread, so I backed off some tension, and while I was fussing to lift the coil without scratching the plate paint, the becket must have slipped out of the pin ever so slightly. Not having a decent coil lifter (mental note: reminder to self!), and not having three hands, I decided to put some tension on the lifted coil, to keep it more stable, and then push the becket back in. That was my mistake, I now realize!

Like my one uncle, a maths professor, used to say:
"Hindsight is the only exact science."

Well, some of the other beckets in the piano look no better, so being my own technician and client, I can live with it. It's a learning curve.

Bill, is there any time limit on this part (or other parts) of the PTG exam? I ask this because I am a very conservative, meticulous worker, so it took me about an hour, including the pre-tensioning on that 4x4 log. (Not that I would take a 4x4 log to the exam or to clients -haha- ; I just used that to spare my pinblock any unnecessary turning, by stabilizing the knot before it goes into the piano.)

The note does sound slightly softer (less metallic and slightly lower volume) than its neighbors. The spliced string is properly seated, I definitely saw to that. The termination bend in the string pointed exactly the other way after it broke, so the factory must have put half or one-and-a-half twists on the string. Being hex-core, I decided to give it only half a twist, not one-and-a-half. Could this be the reason for the softer tone?

I do admit, I did put a couple of hours of (careful) playing time on the piano while only one of the two strings was installed. I hope I haven't hurt the hammer or damper...


Edited by Mark R. (03/07/11 03:48 AM)
Edit Reason: given in post
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LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1635831 - 03/07/11 04:20 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
Bojan Babic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Vojvodina, Serbia
That is a wonderful job, Mark.
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Sid, Vojvodina, Serbia
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#1636167 - 03/07/11 11:45 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Mark R.]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1081
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
[quote=Mark R.
Bill, is there any time limit on this part (or other parts) of the PTG exam? I ask this because I am a very conservative, meticulous worker, so it took me about an hour, including the pre-tensioning on that 4x4 log. (Not that I would take a 4x4 log to the exam or to clients -haha- ; I just used that to spare my pinblock any unnecessary turning, by stabilizing the knot before it goes into the piano.)

The note does sound slightly softer (less metallic and slightly lower volume) than its neighbors. The spliced string is properly seated, I definitely saw to that. The termination bend in the string pointed exactly the other way after it broke, so the factory must have put half or one-and-a-half twists on the string. Being hex-core, I decided to give it only half a twist, not one-and-a-half. Could this be the reason for the softer tone?

I do admit, I did put a couple of hours of (careful) playing time on the piano while only one of the two strings was installed. I hope I haven't hurt the hammer or damper... [/quote]

Mark,

there are time limits on the test. I think, (not looking at my exam book) it is either 8 or 10 minutes for the splice. The parameters are a knot that will hold under tension with legs 1/4 inch or less and no discernible kinks that might lead to breakage. Also, the tuning pins need to end up in close tolerance to the same height as their neighbors.

You may want to check hammer to string mating, AKA string leveling for the tone/volume issue. If the strings are not both being struck at the same instant this can cause both voicing issues and phase issues. IOWs the strings won't sound quite in tune though they are.
_________________________
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Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1636253 - 03/08/11 01:47 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: Dale Fox]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
You may want to check hammer to string mating, AKA string leveling for the tone/volume issue.


Dale,
Good point, thanks, I'll do so.
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#1788058 - 11/13/11 10:29 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Yesterday I did this splice on a Hofmann Console from the 60s; definitely the most difficult one I've done yet in the field.

I did two pitch raises and a fine tuning on it 5 weeks ago - it was down 175 cents in some places. E5 broke at that time, but it broke right at the V-bar, so I had to replace the complete wire.

Yesterday it was down about 6-12 cents overall, and during the tuning C5 broke, but it broke behind the pressure bar, so I was able (and quite lucky!) to make a splice.



When I formed the loops (ala the Bill Spurlock method using Vise-Grips) the whole thing was actually under the V-bar, but I was hoping that the tension would bring it up and over. So the biggest challenge was estimating the best place to cut the old wire before forming the loop. I was indeed somewhat lucky...

I'm not sure if this repair would have been possible using traditional splicing techniques. Spurlock's method is awesome because you form extremely tight knots that allow lots of flexibility with approaches, and big loops might not have made it over the bar. (For those wanting details, the new leader wire which eventually goes to the tuning pin gets a tight loop, and is slid over the old wire, loop end first. Then a loop gets formed on the old wire as a mirror image, and the unlooped end of the new leader is then threaded through the loop of the old. Then a new coil is formed on a dummy pin and transferred to the pin in the piano.)

I've done this repair several times in the field but in those cases the splice was always in the tuning pin area, and much easier. So this was satisfying - and I'm glad I practiced this 100 times on the bench; makes it less stressful when the client is watching!

It looks like the splice is interfering with a neighboring string but it's just barely touching it, so it doesn't affect the tuning of that string.

This piano has a string breakage problem (and the heavy tarnish/light rust doesn't help) and the client has been made aware that every time I tune this thing a string may pop. So I feel this is the best repair because it saves return visits to retune as it is 90% stable already. Although the one thing I don't like is that there is a greater deflection of the wire at the V-bar now, due to the loops, so only time will tell if it holds up. I also wish the ends of the wire were just a hair shorter, so I may put a mark on my Vise-Grips as a gauge for future splices. (My blue xenon wire cutters can't get close enough for trimming work.)

I also found yet another use for my Hart spring tool yesterday: repositioning the plain wire on the bridge pins through the bass strings. I have "the stringer" which comes with a bridge wire positioner but you need adequate room between bass strings to use it, which I didn't have. The Hart tool is amazing!
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#1788352 - 11/13/11 07:22 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: James Carney]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2199
Loc: Maine
'Good job! Every time I see a repair like this I know that the tuner was probably sweating bullets, and he's darned good.
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Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
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#1788410 - 11/13/11 08:49 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: David Jenson]
Dan Casdorph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 369
Loc: Morgantown, West Virginia
Pretty.
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#1788421 - 11/13/11 09:09 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Wow. That looks meticulous and obviously a result of some practice.
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#1788453 - 11/13/11 09:59 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Very nice work James!
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Piano Technicians Guild
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#1788480 - 11/13/11 11:20 PM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Very impressive James.

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#1788549 - 11/14/11 02:37 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: James Carney]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
James,

I agree with the others. This is impressive work.

Originally Posted By: James Carney
Although the one thing I don't like is that there is a greater deflection of the wire at the V-bar now, due to the loops, so only time will tell if it holds up.


Making the knot the other way round could have helped. One can see in your knot that the top wire (the new leader) runs over / in front of the loop of the lower wire, but the lower wire runs under / behind the loop of the top wire. If you had changed this around, the lower wire would possibly have had less of a kink at the v-bar. I thought I'd mention it, but I realize that talk is cheap in such a confined space!
_________________________
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LinkedIn profile
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1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1788608 - 11/14/11 07:32 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Very good, nice to look at!

Since this is a non-wound string, I would have taken the easier way out. I would have replaced the string, left it appropriately high (depending on what I could mute), and schedule a drop by touch up in a month.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1788626 - 11/14/11 08:03 AM Re: To Splice or Not to Splice? [Re: rysowers]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

David, mercifully I wasn't sweating bullets because the temp at the piano location was a very nice 64 degrees - just the way I like it...

Mark R, that's a very interesting point you bring up. I'm wondering if it's possible to have that kind of control with the direction of the knot, and if that control can be maintained even after forming the new coil and transferring. It's certainly worth a try...

Jeff, I hear you! If this were a new or valuable piano I would likely have replaced with new wire. Definitely easier. (Although splice repairs mean dealing with just one coil on loop strung pianos, which kind of splits the difference.) However, in this case, the piano is in a commercial recording studio and I was tuning on Saturday for a Sunday session. So it had to be as stable as possible. The "funkiness" and lo-fi character of this particular piano - which they got for free - was to be exploited by the band coming in.
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