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#1946841 - 08/21/12 07:16 PM Why not using cheap tuning hammers?
Rieman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 15
I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad.

The tip dont fit realy good on the tuning pins, the hammer is wobling a lot. But when I aplay pressure on it the friction makes the hammer stick to the tuning pins.

When I want to make fine adjustments, I put a little tension on the hammer and nothing happens I put a litle more tension and sudenly the pin moves 5 degreas and the unison sounds realy bad.

Will a have simular problems if I go for a more expensive hammer?
If you think I shuld upgrade my hammer, are there anything I shult pay atension to? And how can I know I dont get cheated?

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#1946849 - 08/21/12 07:20 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
With tools, you get what you pay for....
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1946920 - 08/21/12 09:25 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: beethoven986]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2068
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
With tools, you get what you pay for....
'Exactly! A really good hammer will cost you about the same as the price of two tunings.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1946922 - 08/21/12 09:32 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Your cheap hammer probably has low grade steel on the tip and it is deforming as you try and tune with it. Eventually it will be completely useless for tuning; it will still work well for hitting yourself in the head for buying it in the first place.

Pay attention to the tip, it should have threads attaching it to the head. This will allow you to change it out if it wears. A good tip like a Watanabe for example will cost you as much as the $20 you paid for the whole thing. I think you need to spend at least $80-100 for even an entry level hammer that will last you a long time. Someone doing this for a living would want to get one that is at least in the $120-150 range. The uber hammers can cost 3 times this much.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1946974 - 08/21/12 11:29 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1131
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Reiman,
Something doesn't sound right with your post. I'm going to out on a limb and call your bluff. Are you really a newbie DIY or a piano tuner trying to have a little fun in the forum?
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#1946994 - 08/22/12 12:17 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1186
Loc: Québec, Canada
A good quality tip, and a good lever is an advantage to someone starting out.

You can own the best tool, but if you can't use it, it is useless.

I guess these 20$ levers serve their purpose, to make honestly committed DIY'ers, realise and rethink the amount of experience needed in order to set a pin.

Experienced tuners can tune a piano with a student hammer. It's no fun and annoying. But they can. Amateurs are in for a ride.

I use a Fujan, and on some grands, with my long tip, I can't tune A0 because it is beneath the music desk rail.

I keep an old pitching hammer, must be 80 years old now, short tip and a bent shaft and a wooden handle.

Best tip ever, as good as the day it was machined. But the flex in the shaft is evident, you can see it bend before the pin.

So....

All the best.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1947049 - 08/22/12 03:27 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Rieman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Reiman,
Something doesn't sound right with your post. I'm going to out on a limb and call your bluff. Are you really a newbie DIY or a piano tuner trying to have a little fun in the forum?

Its no bluff. I have never tuned a piano before.
Another question, do I need #2 tip if my tuning pins are 5mm (3/16 in) closest top the pianist and 6mm (1/4 in) closest to the strings?

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#1947240 - 08/22/12 01:38 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
pianohead30 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 99
Loc: Texas
I have 2 tuning hammers, one was my grandfathers from the 1930's which still works fine, sometimes on older pianos, it doesnt grip as well, and the other is the same hammer I got when I took the courses from The American Piano Tuning School at home. It might be cheap? But it still works for me. Perhaps I should look into a better quality of hammers. Still new to all this so....learning.
_________________________
PSO Piano Shaped Object!

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#1947465 - 08/22/12 08:17 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Rieman
I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad...
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter to fit onto my $300 + tuning lever. I am very happy with it - it works quite well. This is probably because I have learned to tune pianos efffectively and I invest in good quality tools.

For someone who wants to tune their own piano such as yourself, you may help among your peers at this Yahoo group:
DIY pianotunings
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1947469 - 08/22/12 08:28 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Supply]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1947474 - 08/22/12 08:33 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 440
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
If you have never tuned before and are using a $20 tool, then the reasonS you aren't finding success are because you are bad tuner (no offense intended) AND the hammer is bad.

Solutions: Become a better tuner and get a better tool. Easy!
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#1947511 - 08/22/12 09:49 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1947516 - 08/22/12 09:55 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Supply]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2068
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Supply
For someone who wants to tune their own piano such as yourself, you may get help among your peers at this Yahoo group:
DIY pianotunings


WOW! THAT was an entertaining site. Sites like that may explain a couple of very odd tunings I've encountered lately.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1947590 - 08/22/12 11:53 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Supply]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: Supply
Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf


Sounds good! thumb
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1947655 - 08/23/12 06:00 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1959
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Rieman,

I would like to add my perspective, having started to tune about 3 years ago, and having done only tens (not hundreds or thousands) of tunings. As others have written, a cheap lever, and especially a cheap, poorly-made tip will be counterproductive to your learning - and they may well damage your piano's tuning pins. OK, that's the one extreme.

The other extreme is spending many hundreds of dollars. While professionals such as Jurgen may be happy to do this, I don't regard those amounts as even remotely necessary for a beginner. Especially a tip for $130!

Emmery has already indicated that there is a suitable middle ground between these extremes. Quite a decent lever can be bought for $100 ($150 at most), and good tips, e.g. Watanabe, for about $20. In my case, I don't think that my Schaff extension lever and Watanabe tip are limiting me (yet). To the contrary, they inspire me to make more of each tuning I do.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1947764 - 08/23/12 10:39 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: Michigan
Hi,
We help piano do-it-yourself people. Send a PM and I can give you more information.
_________________________
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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#1947770 - 08/23/12 10:52 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Supply]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 769
Loc: Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: Supply
Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf

Supply, waiting your supply.
_________________________
Fake Book player
Ragtime beginner
http://weiyanwo.wordpress.com

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#1947777 - 08/23/12 11:06 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 769
Loc: Hong Kong
If you are a professional pianist or playing piano as your life long bobby, its worth to invest a set of quality tool. A high quality hammer cost far lesser than an ipad.
_________________________
Fake Book player
Ragtime beginner
http://weiyanwo.wordpress.com

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#1947889 - 08/23/12 02:07 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: beethoven986]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!


He might have meant "$13" for the tip I think...probably a typo.

Beware of tips sold with lifetime guarantees...they simply tag a $10 handling fee (+shipping) to the shipped replacement and still make their money on the ~$3 pacific rim import.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1947925 - 08/23/12 03:03 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Emmery]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!


He might have meant "$13" for the tip I think...probably a typo.



I'm not so sure. Jurgen is not really known for selling inexpensive items, and $13 is like half of what the Watanabes cost.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1947939 - 08/23/12 03:28 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
dancarney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 144
Loc: UK
He might be referring to the BKB tips from Germany. Very expensive, but considering the tip is the only point of contact with the wrest pin, there is much sense in investing in quality.
_________________________
BMus(Hons) DipABRSM
Piano Technician

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#1948032 - 08/23/12 06:27 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: dancarney]
Don B. Cilly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/04/12
Posts: 9
Loc: Ibiza, Spain
Oh in Germany they are now selling carbon tuning hammers with rosewood tips.

Since this looks like the sort of thread, though, may I ask a newbie question?

Just why do they call it a hammer, it's not a hammer, it's a wrench?

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#1948044 - 08/23/12 06:58 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Don B. Cilly]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: Don B. Cilly
Oh in Germany they are now selling carbon tuning hammers with rosewood tips.


Carbon fiber hammers are nothing new. The handle is rosewood, not the tip. The tip is what goes on the pin, and it's made of steel.


Originally Posted By: Don B. Cilly
Just why do they call it a hammer, it's not a hammer, it's a wrench?


Don't know. It bugs me, too. I usually just call it a "piano tuning thingy".
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1948062 - 08/23/12 07:38 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Philadelphia area
A 'ball peen' hammer with a socket tip on the other end was used back in the day. Turn the pin and tap it down with the peen hammer side. Here in modern times, most suppliers list them as 'Tuning Levers'.

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#1948266 - 08/24/12 05:01 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Dave B]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5224
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Dave B
A 'ball peen' hammer with a socket tip on the other end was used back in the day. Turn the pin and tap it down with the peen hammer side. Here in modern times, most suppliers list them as 'Tuning Levers'.

But why did they turn the the hammer around and "tap it down?"

Early tuning pins were tapered and tapping them down was a way to seat the pin firmly in the hole and get it to stay where it was put.

Hence the tool was both a tuning lever and a hammer. Modern tuners refer to them by both names.

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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#1948313 - 08/24/12 07:48 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7419
Loc: France
never seen a tapered early tuning pin, not on European pianos, in my limited experience.

but tapping a few mm allow to gain a little grip in new wood, while providing a few years of tuning, it also may lower the quality of the pin setting because the angle of the wire with the coil may be compromized (or the coils may finish touching the pinblock)

so this is a so so solution, while convenient, may be used with finesse and sometime the gain is minimal.

called "tamponnage des chevilles", or "tubage" in French
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1948770 - 08/24/12 11:10 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Rieman
I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad

While this statement is somewhat laughable to professionals (someone called it a bluff), perhaps laypeople cannot entirely comprehend why. I submit this comparison:
"I bought a set of golf clubs online for $49.-. But I still can't shoot a hole in one. Is it me or the clubs?"

Further comments of mine would be: Congratulations on hearing that your tuning is not good (I am serious). This means your hearing ability is better than your tuning ability. This is the way it should be. Even good tuners walk away from their tunings with a sense that they have not quite achieved perfection. That is what allows us to incrementally improve our skills and abilities and our work in pursuit of excellence over a number of years, if not decades.

Most DIYers actually think their tunings are good because their hearing discernability is so limited that they simply cannot hear the out-of-tuneness. We have seen numerous video postings of such "tunings". For the most part, these pianos are about as out of tune (after "tuning") as the ones professional tuners sit down to tune.

One more thing: You ask if you are a bad tuner. No. You are not a tuner. Just as buying a stethoscope would not make you a health practitioner.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1948772 - 08/24/12 11:21 PM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Supply]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Supply
Even good tuners walk away from their tunings with a sense that they have not quite achieved perfection. That is what allows us to incrementally improve our skills and abilities and our work in pursuit of excellence over a number of years, if not decades.


This is the single thing that I love the most about this job. The sense that, even after a succesful tuning, I know I could have done better. A wonderful insentive to continually improve!
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#1948826 - 08/25/12 05:17 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Rieman]
Rieman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 15
My piano i 8 cent flat and my mobile tunelab software wants me to do a overpull of 2 cents, is that something i shuld trust on?

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#1948827 - 08/25/12 05:18 AM Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? [Re: Phil D]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7419
Loc: France
one may be a little masochist to be a tuner then.

or the "good enough" thinking begin to be prevalent.

Generally speaking one can know he have done the best he can under particular circumstances, but indeed no real standard exists in regard of tuning result.

because of ear fatigue it is difficult to correct a tuning while doing it, so often you hear in the end of the job that you could have do a part differently, sometime it is only the piano which settle in the new tuning.

taking a rest during tuning is the most useful thing. Concert tuning should be done in 2 parts the last (before concert) being better than the first. but this is highly theoretical..
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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