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#2063888 - 04/13/13 07:35 AM Things to check before tuning
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
Tuning pins knocked in to deep in the bass.

The piano was situated in fairly a dark spot in the room, I checked the pitch, +- 1 semitone below pitch. Client accepted for me to pitch adjust and tune. I pitch adjust the middle and treble, move into the bass, and short way into it, a string snaped.

I had a closer inspection at the pins and coils, and that is when I noticed that the pins, throughout the piano had been knocked in, to the point that the coils in the middle and treble were almost touching the plate (many actually were touching), and in the bass a lot of the pins/coils were in way to deep, in so much that the rake of the wire, when leaving the pin, running to the V bar was far to steep/great, rubbing against the coil.

So, I repaired the bass string, and undid my pitch raise of the middle and treble and tuned the piano at the original pitch that I found it at. This whole procedure took me about 3 times longer than if the whole pitch adjusting and tuning went all smoothly, without any hitches. I was exhausted.

Frame/pinblock pulling away from back structure

I also came across an upright piano, about two months ago that I was asked to tune. +- 1/2 semitone below pitch. Then I noticed the frame subtily protruding a bit further out from the lid of the piano than usual, +- 1cm, not much, as compared to the treble (almost in line with the lid, a bit deeper in). I wondered if this was a different design or actually an issue? I have literally seen thousands of pianos and when the frame and pinblock are pulling away it has usually been very noticeable.

Another, way of finding/checking if a frame/pinblock is pulling away is if you cannot remove the action from the piano. This is due to the pressure being exerted from the pulling frame/pinblock and action posts forward onto the action brackets (in an upright).

Anyway, I quoted the client for the piano to be uplifted and checked in a friend of mines piano restoration workshop. With this kind of scenario, one needs to remove the lid to check if the frame and pinblock are pulling away or not,and this is best done in a workshop.

The pinblock was pulling away. So it was a glue and bolt up job for my friend. He delivered the piano a few days ago to the the client.

I pitch adjusted and tuned the piano yesterday and will return in a month's time to re-tune.




_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2063902 - 04/13/13 08:30 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Yes, Mark nothing better than experience, but one must remind about it later, sometime I admit I have not ..;)
Tapped tuning pins can create trouble, and even worse than trouble, as you witness there.

I always ask about the piano history and current need before coming, if a price is asked I give it by the hour and explain a little what is the expected job.

It can avoid some surprises from both the customer and the tuner.


Edited by Olek (04/13/13 09:09 AM)
_________________________
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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#2064263 - 04/13/13 11:21 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Olek]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 459
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear Mark and Olek,

I go a little further on pianos I am seeing for the first time. I prefer to do a fairly thorough evaluation before beginning the tuning. I like taking a good look at what I'm getting into, before playing with 30,000 or 50,000 lbs. of string tension.

Uprights;
Open the top, open the bottom; check the soundboard, the bridges and pins, check the frame and trapwork. Look at the back when possible, too (...not often!).

Grands;
I always slide under the piano and check the soundboard, the legs and lyre for tightness, and pull on the ribs...just a wiggle, but checking that all is tight and good. Just takes a moment, but sometimes...sometimes it is well-worth the effort.

I've had several customers tell me that they were very impressed by the approach, and were much more comfortable with me as the 'new' tuner, as I clearly took my time to verify the overall condition of the piano before turning a single tuning pin. Certainly; I have never regretted taking the two or three minutes that this kind of simple survey takes. From loose lyres to crumbling frames...it is well worth a moment to see what's 'under the hood', so to speak.

AND; I will always check the bench, too! The customer may not know beans about your tuning, but they WILL remember that you were the chap that tightened the loose legs on the bench!

Sipping,
ah!...Bushmill's this evening,
I remain,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2064308 - 04/14/13 01:29 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
And about those benches - Once you have one collapse under you, you find yourself more consistent about checking them!

Good post Jeff!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2064335 - 04/14/13 03:34 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Yep Jeff !

The truth is that when you begin to look at those things, you finish with a repair, be it some years later.

Very rarely a piano can be "tuned and thats all", so I sort of understand the ones that prefer not to look too closely at the instrument.

I simply do not find it very fair to the customer.

And it add no much reflexes and knowledge to the tuner, so in the end he loose something too.

Generally just you look at the action screws and hammer mating and you can add 30 minutes to your tuning, every 2 years , plus the bench, pedals cleaning at last the tuning pins (tapping on them with a piecebof cloth is enough , it make your tips wear less) . ..

Those instruments with aluminum stacks hold a little better the seasons, but still they need those checks...
_________________________
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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#2064788 - 04/15/13 04:23 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
Thanks Jeff

Agreed
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2064804 - 04/15/13 06:19 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Olek]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1936
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Olek
Generally just you look at the action screws and hammer mating and you can add 30 minutes to your tuning, every 2 years...

What might be the effect on tuning and tunability of a piano if, for example, no one had noticed the action rail was not tightly screwed to its brackets?


Edited by Withindale (04/15/13 07:06 AM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2064832 - 04/15/13 07:38 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Not so much but loss of power.

On a grand, the screws that hold the letoff rails if any, must be checked.

I once lost hours looking for regulation problem due to that part not tight. wink

Firmness of tone goes along with tightening of all screws, but not overstressing flanges , it may be done with moderation.
_________________________
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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#2065978 - 04/17/13 11:31 AM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1960
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
On grands, always check to see if the hinge pins are installed before opening the lid.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2066139 - 04/17/13 05:39 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2074
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
On grands, always check to see if the hinge pins are installed before opening the lid.
Yes! (Don't ask!)
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2066198 - 04/17/13 07:27 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff

Grands;
I always slide under the piano and check the soundboard, the legs and lyre for tightness, and pull on the ribs...just a wiggle, but checking that all is tight and good. Just takes a moment, but sometimes...sometimes it is well-worth the effort.


Make sure the legs are checked previous to that slide underneath. Old grand’s can be unstable and there is enough weight to end your career earlier than expected. I always slide the bench underneath the side I am going under.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2066239 - 04/17/13 10:05 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
On grands, always check to see if the hinge pins are installed before opening the lid.


And certain Wurlitzer spinets. The ones with the huge stupid lids that curve down to form the front part of the piano. The first time I ever encountered one of these, I almost took out a chunk of my client's wall because some jerk removed the hinge pins.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2066262 - 04/17/13 10:53 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: Mark Davis]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
I had a bench collapse under me once and the owner saw/heard it and laughed her head off. Luckily, no one was injured. It was pretty hilarious - once the pain faded away. She said she forgot to mention the loose leg in need of repair and apologized profusely.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2066274 - 04/17/13 11:19 PM Re: Things to check before tuning [Re: beethoven986]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 459
Loc: Oregon Coast
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
And certain Wurlitzer spinets. The ones with the huge stupid lids that curve down to form the front part of the piano.


Dear B,

Oh yes...let's not forget the Wurlitzer Studio (school model) with the foot-long bolts running from the bottom of the keybed to that big floppy curved down lid, too!

First time I saw one of those, I could NOT get into the piano! After pulling the hinge-pins (...I did put them back, honest) and rattling the thing a little, I finally figured it out and found the bolts. But....wasted a good 20 minutes scratching my head before finding 'em. Bleagh.

Otherwise? Those Wurlie studios worked pretty darn well.

Just sayin',
Jeffffff
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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