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#2040814 - 02/28/13 02:27 PM Gooseneck tuning hammers
greatlifestyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Mexico
What do you think about gooseneck tuning hammers?
Are they good or bad?
And why?
If they are bad, please don't just answer "something that is going to destroy the tuning pins in your piano".
I have heard that, but I want to know why.

Thanks,
Samuel

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#2040817 - 02/28/13 02:41 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 705
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Samuel - I would compare a gooseneck tuning hammer to a bicycle with training wheels, which is not a bad thing to have if you're learning to ride a bike, but certainly not something you would want to do any serious biking on.

A gooseneck hammer will be limiting - as far as I know they don't make one that would clear the right hand rim on a grand (correct me if I'm wrong), plus with the bend in the end of the hammer it seems that control would be compromised, compared to a tuning hammer that has a head and tip that's at a right angle to the shaft. Also, if you get into a situation where the pins are tight, and you need a thin-walled head, I don't think they make that option for a gooseneck.

A lot of people posting here will be able to tell you about state-of-the-art type hammers that they used, but you really don't have to go off the deep end to get a good solid hammer. I've been using the Hale extension tuning levers (I have 3 of them for shop and field work) for 40 years, and feel no inclination to purchase anything more expensive. The levers themselves are pretty well indestructible, although the threads on the extension rod tend to become stripped after enough switching around of heads takes place.

If you purchase a gooseneck hammer on the cheap, you'll redoubtably want to upgrade at a later date if you start doing serious work. If all you want to do is touch up the unisons on your own piano in between tunings, however, you're probably okay.

A gooseneck hammer, again as far as I know, should have absolutely no ill effect on the pins of a piano. Best wishes, Chuck Behm



Edited by Chuck Behm (02/28/13 02:43 PM)
_________________________
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"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2040818 - 02/28/13 02:43 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1403
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Simple. You can't change the tip or the head.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2040822 - 02/28/13 02:47 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3351
Originally Posted By: greatlifestyle
What do you think about gooseneck tuning hammers?
Are they good or bad?
And why?
If they are bad, please don't just answer "something that is going to destroy the tuning pins in your piano".
I have heard that, but I want to know why.

Thanks,
Samuel


If I tried to tune my piano with a goose neck, I'd have a dead goose.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2040827 - 02/28/13 02:51 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: beethoven986]
greatlifestyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Mexico
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
If I tried to tune my piano with a goose neck, I'd have a dead goose.


Ha. But why?

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#2040829 - 02/28/13 02:55 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: Chuck Behm]
greatlifestyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Mexico
Thanks Chuck Behm! I think I'll buy one. I'm beginning to love this piano technician thing as a hobby, but I'm still a guy in his mid teens, so I don't think it would be wise spending a lot of money on something I might stop liking. I guess you understand wink

and

Mark Cerisano, RPT - I don't think that will be a problem, as I am just doing this for my own piano to tune a unison with a new string.

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#2040852 - 02/28/13 03:24 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
miscrms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 187
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
It might be ok, but if it doesn't happen to fit your pins well it will be useless since you can't change the tip/head. Then again, at $20 it hardly costs more than a replacement tip/head on a better hammer, so I guess the risk isn't that big. On more "modern" pianos I believe the pins are pretty standard (except a few manufacturers that use something different) but on older pianos there can be more variation. For whatever reason the standard #2 tip was very loose on our 1874 Steinway Upright, and the #1 fits perfectly. On an old piano you can also run into more than one pin size on the same piano if someone at some point in the past replaced a lose or damaged pin with an oversized one.

As I recall you have a Weser Bros. upright from ~1927 which is relatively "modern", so its probably ok. Anybody know about original pin size on those?

If you get a chance you should share some pics of your project on the piano forum. Personally I think its awesome that a teenager from Mexico is all fired up about working on an old piano smile

Rob
_________________________
1874 Steinway Upright "Franken" Stein

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#2040884 - 02/28/13 04:12 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: miscrms]
greatlifestyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Mexico
Thanks! I guess it is kind of odd. I am definitely uploading some pics one of these days!

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#2040996 - 02/28/13 07:28 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
rodrocket Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania
Originally Posted By: greatlifestyle
What do you think about gooseneck tuning hammers?
Are they good or bad?
And why?
If they are bad, please don't just answer "something that is going to destroy the tuning pins in your piano".
I have heard that, but I want to know why.

Thanks,
Samuel

I have a gooseneck hammer made especially for Steinway grands circa 1930 (as I understand it). It has a long and fixed tip about #2 size, it's about 10" long overall with 15deg angle.
It is absolutely my favourite lever for grands as it clears front rail (left handed tuner), it's light and fits perfectly most wrest pins on Steinways, Yamahas and Kawais.
Also love the narrow neck when moving from pin to pin. I would almost call it an "elegant" hammer to use.
No damage ever done to pins.
I dread the day when I lose it or wear tip out.
Just for the record, I have specialised in concert tuning/prep for 30+ years and my ratio is 70% grand work and own Hale, Yamaha and a few other hammers as well for purpose of this comparison. i.e. I'm not a "learner"
Problem would be finding a good one I think ?


Edited by rodrocket (02/28/13 07:56 PM)

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#2041632 - 03/01/13 11:05 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
I carry an inexpensive gooseneck at all times. It's slow and doesn't offer as much leverage, but for some reason I can very accurately feel the tuning pin and sense the movement of the string.

I don't remember ever having clearance problems and the tip has a low profile and a thin wall so the gooseneck is the tool I use to get into tight spots.

Samuel, I hope your tuning a grand. My shoulder and neck are beginning to hurt just thinking about tuning an upright with a gooseneck.

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#2041637 - 03/01/13 11:17 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: Dave B]
greatlifestyle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Mexico
Pfffffff!! A grand?!?!?! Sorry, but no. It is an old upright.
Why would it hurt? Just because it's a gooseneck? Why? What's the difference?


Sam

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#2041647 - 03/01/13 11:49 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
rodrocket Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania
Intersestingly, lots of gooseneck hammers were made in late 1800's for instruments with "cut away" ends.
Piano makers like "Rich. Lipp and Sohn" actually supplied hammers due to fact you needed a short, thin head to get at the last octave (approx) of the piano ends.
The tip size was not interchangable and was usually about #1.
I have one of these and it's a thing of beauty, though I only ever use it if necessary.
If I had a pair I could almost use them as "chopsticks", they are so slender in the handle ha
The shaft itself is just a bit too soft for my liking.
I have used a cheap g'neck which belonged to a client who insisted I try it and have to say it was a piece of crap smirk
Worth every cent of $2 wink
Still would suggest keeping eyes open for a "good" older one as they have their uses.
BTW. It's also very easy to bend the tip to your ideal angle in a descent vice blush


Edited by rodrocket (03/01/13 11:51 PM)

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#2041672 - 03/02/13 01:23 AM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3351
Originally Posted By: greatlifestyle
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
If I tried to tune my piano with a goose neck, I'd have a dead goose.


Ha. But why?


The pins on my piano are extremely tight, even after 10ish years. It is actually impossible to rotate the pins in the top section without changing the pitch substantially. So, yeah, goose neck hammer would be way too flimsy for my piano.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2042326 - 03/03/13 12:44 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
You can comb through ebay and look in the " old tools" category. A lot of people have relatives that pass away and they have no clue as to what that stuff is. If you can find a nice tuning wrench made in the 1920s that thing will last forever. I've got machines in my shop still working since my great grandfather bought them no doubtedly used in 1917 at surplus auctions.

Today it's possible to un-twist a drill by hitting reverse on a drill press. 80% of the stuff we started with is still working and not broken. I think they use silly putty to make tools today. People always ask me why I keep the old piano plates and not turn them into a salvage yard. Reason is we do our own iron casting so that has a super high nitrate content. High nickel content unmatched today.
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Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
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Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
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#2042381 - 03/03/13 02:48 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 482
Loc: Oregon Coast
Jim Coleman, Jr. has a nice set of 15 and 20-degree heads at his website. I've found that the 20-degree (ultra-short) tuning head gives excellent clearance on struts, and puts the handle at a comfortable position in uprights, too. Have not needed to change the head or put on a longer tip for anything since I put it on the Faulk hammer...might just threadlock that puppy into place.

I do change between various #2 and #3 tips, as I am a fanatic about having maximum contact and control on the tuning pins.

I'd only use the gooseneck 'til I found a used 'pro' hammer on Craig's list somewhere...and got a couple more tips!

www.colemantools.com
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2042388 - 03/03/13 03:08 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1770
Loc: London, England
There's many a good tuning done with an old gooseneck. Just make sure it's a known maker. That will reduce the chance of damaging pins, although the cheap levers I've seen are impossible to tune with and will break before damaging any pin.
If you're not certain, show it to an experienced tuner who will tell at once if it is useable or not. Some cheap unuseable levers have screw on heads too. I have never seen a makers name on any cheap lever.

40 years ago it was fashionable to have heavy tuning tools, now it's fashionable to have lightweight ones. Before that, there were lots of goosenecks being used and still are.

It is just as easy, in the hands of an expert to produce a solid tuning with a quality gooseneck as it is with anything else. The ability to produce a solid tuning on any piano put in front of us is a daunting prospect to many tuners. Some pianos can seem impossible. That makes us easy pickings for anybody with the promise of what a new tool will deliver particularly when struggling with a real !?&£/-. I will swap tools myself, even on a piano I know well if it feels awkward. I only carry two levers out of the many I own or have owned and one of them is a gooseneck.

I posit that it makes no difference to the end result what type of high quality tool is used by someone who has the necessary skills.



Edited by rxd (03/03/13 03:23 PM)
_________________________
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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#2042854 - 03/04/13 01:32 PM Re: Gooseneck tuning hammers [Re: greatlifestyle]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
Maybe contact Dan Levitan and find out the cost of his Utility tuning lever.

I think that it would be a better buy all things considering.

http://www.levitantuninglevers.com/utility.html
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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