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#2020721 - 01/24/13 08:47 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Here's one just for you David.

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

We love to play BF2.

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#2020736 - 01/24/13 09:03 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
I'm still waiting for pianoloverus's inevitable post about the ethics of concert tunings. We're definitely swindling people somewhere.

Well I'm not, I don't do 'em.
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2020900 - 01/25/13 04:31 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2039
Loc: Maine
Speaking of ethics, I'm a little worried about "Scotty" Groot there. Is it ethical to carry that many trebles when the "Keptain" only has a few? If it is, I'm gonna' have to ... (I can't believe I'm doing this) ... I'm gonna' have to take ... note. blush
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David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2020911 - 01/25/13 04:57 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7223
Loc: France
You recognize the bionic tuner, using only ETD, with the ear's deformation that occur with time.

the disease is then eventually passed to the pianist , while I did not see yet pianist having those shrarp edged ears (some where wearing a cap, so I dont know for those)


Edited by Olek (01/25/13 04:57 AM)
_________________________
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#2021078 - 01/25/13 11:42 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
With ears like Spock's, It is easier for us to get the "point." It may get me into a lot of "treble" but heck, I'm used to that.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2021092 - 01/25/13 12:06 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
I remeber that episode! it was called the trouble with trebbles... smile

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#2021154 - 01/25/13 02:25 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
So it seems that one of the main differences between a concert tuning and a more normal tuning is a big emphasis on tuning stability at least for a few hours. In simple terms can someone explain what kinds of things a tech does(different from a normal tuning) to achieve the kind of stability needed for a concert?

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#2021188 - 01/25/13 03:43 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21287
Loc: Oakland
I just tuned two concert grands for concerts Sunday and Tuesday. They were not badly out of tune beforehand. Ideally, concert pianos should be tuned often enough that big shifts do not occur. One piano had been tuned for the previous concert, November 13. The other was sort of tuned sometime in the summer, but I forget exactly when, and it was a bit further out than the other.
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#2021190 - 01/25/13 03:46 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Wow, I really had thought that this thread had gotten irretrievably hijacked.

I think that two different points got reduced to one here. A concert tuning definitely emphasizes tuning stability, AND it is very important that a concert tuning last for a few hours, until the end of the concert. (After the concert is over, nobody cares anymore how in tune the piano is. And if the tuning was a stable one, then it is likely that the tuning would last a great deal longer than a few hours.) However, you can't program your tuning to be very stable AND to last only a few hours - it's not a trade-off.

It's important the the tuning be very very in tune for the duration of the concert - every unison should be good. After a few hours, especially with the stage lights going on and off, and the loading dock door being left open for a while, the tuning will start to fall apart. That's not to say, however, that the tuning wouldn't be ok for someone's living room for a few more months. It's just a matter of different expectations. The same way that if you were going to record a piano, it would make sense to have the piano tuned just before the recording, even though the tuning might be relatively ok.

As for how to achieve tuning stability, that's a matter of technique, practice, and the quality of the piano - you wouldn't expect to see a 45 year old Betsy Ross spinet on a concert stage.

Hope this helps somewhat. However, I can't help but have a hunch that there's a practical aspect to your question that is going unsaid, and you are fishing for a general answer to a more specific question that hasn't been asked, and that the general answers you're getting here will be applied to a specific situation that we don't know anything about. So, of course, the usual disclaimers apply.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2021195 - 01/25/13 03:50 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: Zeno Wood]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
Hope this helps somewhat. However, I can't help but have a hunch that there's a practical aspect to your question that is going unsaid, and you are fishing for a general answer to a more specific question that hasn't been asked, and that the general answers you're getting here will be applied to a specific situation that we don't know anything about. So, of course, the usual disclaimers apply.
Thanks for your reply. Actually for this question and most of my questions here and on the Pianist Corner, the questions usually just pop into my head in some random way often by some association to something else I read.

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#2021216 - 01/25/13 04:17 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7223
Loc: France
That said "concert tuning" is not only tuning, but many "details as well"

COnditions are not always optimum, but for instance the pianos rented for concerts or the ones in the concert halls exceptionally need a lot of work, tuning wise.

I mean all notes are checked and many are "tuned" but it is most often a job with tiny chnages in the spectra, a few tenths of cts of justnes, reinstalling the tension in the front segment of wire, warming or straightening the tone;

Checking the action regulation
Checking the pedals
checing for noises
checing the eveness of tone
Using a few tricks and tips to help the instrument in regard of the acoustics, to make the touch more nice,
In best cases, listening a little the rehearsal and noticing how the piano sound, if the pianist is at ease ,
Exchanging with the pianist about the piano

Looking for parasitic noises

cleaning the case
cleaning the keyboard

Usual concert prep is what is called "concert tuning"
And in best conditions, you make a tuning and be familiar with the piano and space, then the pianist/musician have to work, you have to come back later, , and then you do even a better job than the first of the day.

In some rare case you are there during the concert, if you notice something you can correct it at the intermede.

But most (real) concert pianos , if played by even an evolved amateur pianist, will give the impression to be perfectly in tune and perfectly regulated.
SOmetime the tuner is asking himself what have to be done on the piano , because it sound so perfect at first.

Then after testing it more closely you always find some points to correct


What oblige to do some real work is when the ^pianos are moved during winter, despite a little heater in the trucks, they are cold in the morning.

WHen a pool of tuners tune regularely the same instruments they are all attentive to leave an "easy piano" for the next colleague, so it is exceptional to find an instrument with a stability problem.
When a pitch change is asked, we ask for 4 tunings beginning 2 days before the concert and one after. In real this is not so hard, but the piano is unstable for a week or so.



Edited by Olek (01/25/13 04:25 PM)
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#2021369 - 01/25/13 08:47 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: Zeno Wood]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2039
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
Wow, I really had thought that this thread had gotten irretrievably hijacked.

Nothing is irretrievable. It was that Groot fella anyway. smile I'm innocent. whistle

There's nothing profound or magical about a concert tuning. It's a tuning done in a concert venue on a concert piano for a concert artist.
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David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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#2021371 - 01/25/13 08:53 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21287
Loc: Oakland
One should always do one's best. I learned that many years ago, when I was asked by the wife of my first math professor to tune her piano. After I finished, she told me that she was glad I could come, because her cousin and his wife were coming to be the first soloists for the opening of Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2021378 - 01/25/13 09:24 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1168
Loc: Qubec, Canada
It's really a question of time, and what your time is worth.

It helps if you know what the condition of the piano is, if you last tuned it etc..

I will be tuning an old M&H that I tune regularly in feb. It is used in a church and for concerts often.

It was rebuilt at some time, maybe 30 years ago. Not in the greatest shape.

Now they will move it to another church for a concert, about 50 kms away, in winter.

So this will be a "concert tuning".

Obviously I will charge more, and worry that it will hold for the duration. Probably go over my tuning three times, even try myself to get unisons to move.

That is just one type of "concert tuning".

A"concert tuning" can mean many things.

A piano just delivered, off the truck, for a concert.
An old piano on the stage about to be played for a concert.
A renowned artist, just got the piano, who has high expectations.
A picky customer, who listens to defects instead of the music.

It goes on and on.

Then there is regulation, voicing, cleaning etc....

At that point I charge by the hour.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2021397 - 01/25/13 10:37 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
man, you mean there really is such a thing as a concert tuning??? 😷😆

I get blamed for everything. That's okay. I've had that problems since I was 3 years old. Jerry did it!! smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2021400 - 01/25/13 10:47 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2315
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Ah yes, Trouble with Tribbles...great episode.

I used to have a lot of trebbles in my piano, but when I started to tune with an etd, they all disappeared....strange.

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#2021404 - 01/25/13 11:04 PM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: Grandpianoman]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1653
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
A concert tuning is more expensive as the tuner has to tune at a specific time (no rescheduling allowed) and is often required to stay during the performance to retune during intermission.

I think that is the reason for the difference in price.

Kees

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#2021467 - 01/26/13 02:14 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
First of all, I have never done a concert tuning ( singular).

What I have done is a series of tunings and adjustments on the day( s) prior to the concert.

Most of my work is in busy halls and the piano is in almost constant use and serviced every few days so that it is always concert ready. All that is required is a check over the tuning. In a large city, there is a team that looks after the tunings, each tuner somewhat dependent on the last. the hall is responsible for the cost of the upkeep. Halls fall into financial difficulties from time to time and scrimp a little on the servicing. We tuners know this within a few days. Our work is much harder. If a tuner develops some quirky habits, the job for the rest of us gets harder and the tuner is quietly dropped from the roster.

Halls with multiple pianos will sometimes switch pianos for a piano that might not have been used for a while. To forestall this, all the pianos get a tuning and servicing every 10 days or so and checked over before every use. This may be 3-4 times a day or the pianos may not be used for a few days.

The specific needs of a specific pianist can always be met by one or other of the concert pianos owned or leased by the hall. In large concert hall complexes, there may be 4-5 to choose from that can be ferried between halls. There is always the concert hire bank of pianos for important artists. Again, stability. No call to make major changes for one specific occasion.

For orchestras playing at a different pitch, pianos already kept at that pitch are brought in. No jacking around with the pitch.

Many of the explanations in this thread make it sound as though a lot of of work is done on the piano just prior to a concert. this is the opposite of stability. A responsible tuner, or tuning department will, in the 2-3 tunings, a few hours apart prior to the final tuning just before the concert, aim to get the piano in such a condition that. very little needs to be done just before the occasion.

This is how it is done in the busiest halls with some of what may arguably the best pianos in the world.

A small venue cannot afford this kind of service and so the same team does the same thing but less frequently. With, of course, a lower standard.

At a festival, with 2-3 concerts a day, with 2-3 rehearsals, the piano will get some attention while the hall is being set for the next occasion so the piano gets checked over every 2-3 hours. SometImes I can go for weeks doing very little but keeping a careful eye on changes in the weather. Sometimes the piano starts to change and requires more constant work to keep it concert ready.

A piano that requires a lot of work prior to a concert can hardly be described as a concert piano nor the last minute work done on it a concert tuning.

I don't think I'm betraying trade secrets or some kind of liaises- faire attitude, but with rehearsals running over, odd happenstances, the final tuning might not take place but the concert, which might be broadcast, must go ahead.

In my own personal contracts, I keep to these standards as much as poss and I am sent a schedule for the halls so that I can check over the pianos at my convenience. I keep a personal relationship with the managers and technical staff, many of whom I know from their previous jobs.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2021475 - 01/26/13 02:56 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21287
Loc: Oakland
When all is said and done, concert tuning is tuning for a concert. How and whether that differs from other tunings depends on the circumstances of the concert.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2021482 - 01/26/13 03:53 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: rxd]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7223
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rxd
First of all, I have never done a concert tuning ( singular).

What I have done is a series of tunings and adjustments on the day( s) prior to the concert.

Most of my work is in busy halls and the piano is in almost constant use and serviced every few days so that it is always concert ready. All that is required is a check over the tuning. In a large city, there is a team that looks after the tunings, each tuner somewhat dependent on the last. the hall is respOnsible for the cost of the upkeep. Halls fall into financial difficulties from time to time and scrimp a little on the servicing. We tuners know this within a few days. Our work is much harder.

Halls with multiple pianos will sometimes switch pianos for a piano that might not have been used for a while. To forestall this, all the pianos get a tuning and servicing every 10 days or so and checked over before every use. This may be 3-4 times a day or the pianos may not be used for a few days.

Many of these explanations make it sound as though a lot of of work is done on the piano just prior to a concert. this is the opposite of stability. A responsible tuner, or tuning department will, in the 2-3 tunings, a few hours apart prior to the final tuning just before the concert, aim to get the piano in such a condition that. very little needs to be done just before the occasion.

This is how it is done in the busiest halls with some of what may arguably the best pianos in the world.

A small venue cannot afford this kind of service and so the same team does the same thing but less frequently. With, of course, a lower standard.

At a festival, with 2-3 a day, with 2-3 rehearsals, the piano will get some attention while the hall is being set for the next occasion so the piano gets checked over every 2-3 hours. SometImes I can go for weeks doing very little but keeping a careful eye on changes in the weather. Sometimes the piano starts to change and requires more constant work to keep it concert ready.

A piano that requires a lot of work prior to a concert can hardly be described as a concert piano nor the last minute work done on it a concert tuning.

I don't think I'm betraying trade secrets or betraying some kind of liaises- faire attitude, but with rehearsals running over, odd happenstances, the final tuning might not take place but the concert, which might be broadcast, must go ahead.




Hello thank you for that detailed description. The first line resumes what was ringing strange in the OP question. You described what is real concert tuning in the musical trade . And yes that may be just that way . Then many pianos, rent for concerts by subcontractors, are technically followed by the owner of the renting company plus a few technicians and tuners.
I forget to mention that often the technical staff is not the same or do not make as mucb tunings than the tuners. Simply because they are needed for other jobs, in the workshop, more longer to realize, so they cannot be so much used to keep in shape the tunings in concert halls or on the rented grands. They may need a little more time to verify or tweak a tuning, also. So in the end the tuner pool is living a different day, always in touch with the musicians or broadcast people.

A very agreable life as long as you are not easely stressed ! But special hours and week ends ...

Many grands rented or kept in the halls are not enough worked by the responsibles and then indeed the occasional tuner can have some trouble.

Working for concerts and brosadcast oblige the tuner to be imaginative because of that, when the piano does not respect the standards of a "concert piano"

So this could have be a more appropriate way to ask , : what is a concert piano ? As concert pianos, concert tuners and concert tunings are intricately related, as a slightly different world among the pianos from dealers, families, internet, etc. Iis sort of trade in itself.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2021491 - 01/26/13 05:02 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Yes, it does take a certain sort but all tuners involved in the concert department full time are given a certain amount of in home tunings to fill out the scheduling and to stop us from getting too weird.

We don't do anything non standard to any piano. There was one instance where the studio 2 piano as not getting all it's maintenance for economic reasons. The recording tech was setting up an ancient ribbon mike. I asked him if it was as old as it looked (1950's) he replied; "we have to take evasive action with this one, these days".

As for the hours, I get to go to art galleries and exhibitions when they are nearly empty. I just had breakfast with a friend at Smithfield market. There is a whole alternate society out there that work different hours. Far more fascinating people. Because we have hi level security clearance, I also find myself in places that few people get to go. They have pianos too. Some of us deliberately choose weekends and holidays so that our colleagues with families get to spend time with them.

I get to hear concert rehearsals. A lot less trouble than dressing up to go to the concert. I often hear musicians in comfort at their best. I'm home at a reasonable time. We don't do much intermission tuning here. There are parts of the world that musicians habitually ask for intermission tunings because of bad experiences elsewhere.


Edited by rxd (01/26/13 06:06 AM)

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#2021510 - 01/26/13 05:57 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7223
Loc: France
Yes I agree nothing "non standard" but details are making a difference, on a concert piano.

For instance we had to change a grand refused by the pianist because the first basses where noisy .

When the second piano came I come to tune it and discovered that the left caster , pointing out, generated enough flex on the keybed to make those first notes woody. Straightening the caster would have avoid the trouble.

Nothing fancy, but some techniques look like that before being categorized as "normal " !
I have a friend who brush once and a little hard the letoff buttons side with the side of a capstan tool (on Yamahas) makes a smoother letoff for a few hours !

Some pianists may ask for a lightening of touch, if not the opposite, but rarely, only if you ask about, you need time to do this and time is what misses the most, often.
I recall some days with 8 pianos to check, in different places, no way to listen to music before the last tuning of the day. But some days are total pleasure from morning to
Evening !




Edited by Olek (01/26/13 06:10 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2021515 - 01/26/13 06:12 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: Olek]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Olek
Yes I agree nothing "non standard" but details are makingva difference, on a concert piano.

For instance we had to change a grand refused by the pianist because the first basses where noisy .

When the second piano came I come yo tune it and discovered that the left caster , pointing out, generated enough flex on the keybed to make those first notes woody. Straightening the caster would have avoid the trouble.

Nothing fancy, but some techniques look like that before being categorized as "normal " !
I have a friend who brush once and a luttle hard the letoff buttons side with the side of a capstan tool (on Yamahas) makes a smoother letoff for a few hours !



Sounds pretty standard to me !!

Anything more than small things, we text each other and head office.

While the angle of castors can enhance a piano, if the basic functioning of the instrument is dependent on castor angle, this is certainly a topic to be communicated to the head of concert dept for future servicing.

I recently texted a photo of the microphone setup for a certain piano in a recording studio because the tech department requested it. Team work is essential. Each doing what they specialise in.


Edited by rxd (01/26/13 06:59 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2021524 - 01/26/13 07:12 AM Re: What is a "concert tuning"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7223
Loc: France
Yes casters change the tone, but with those large unceterend wheels, there is some flex that reflect on the keybed (more strain > light shape change than a noticeable flex, we only hear the result, but the glide bolt pressure is changed)
With a good S&S bedding the casters can be any orienetation without real trouble indeed, pressure under l left glide bolt was probably not enough.

As during dry season the keyframe have yet a large tendency to raise (not so much Steinways I admit) it only can create the drop that make the glass overflow.

But basically it was mostly the left block that had some wear and had to be reset for more pressure.

However, I noticed that many technicians are not telling the team on site, to straighten the casters, or left them in the position we install. The head tech was not much interested, at those times, but the information was provided.

Did you notice how key dip can change just with the casters orientation ?




Edited by Olek (01/26/13 07:18 AM)
_________________________
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Will a Damp-Chaser fill in the cracks in a sound-board?
by Paul678
07/29/14 12:36 AM
The Mason & Hamlin Tension Resonator: Help or Hype???
by Paul678
07/29/14 12:06 AM
What piano do i have?
by allana
07/28/14 11:43 PM
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