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#2083419 - 05/16/13 12:10 AM New Betsy Ross tuning questions.
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
We were given a lester spinet in great condition tune aside. I am cleaning it up now from the years of low use and exterior child abuse.

serial number is 261518. No plastic elbows. One broken string. Comes from the left pin bank, top row, third from the rt. what string will that be or where to get it?

reviews of this model seem to range from a fine starting piano from a maker with a good reputation and this model was particularly popular. I find the history very interesting. some techs say it is a fine easily serviced unit.

Others say it int worth it's weight in fire wood. The local guy for tuning has the later attitude.

My hope is to get it tuned, then maintain it myself with the tuning software. Currently I am evicting the dust bunnies and doing minor wood repair for cosmetics. I'm struck at how new the inside looks. Hard to believe it is at least 50years old.

The plan/hope is to get playing music again fir me and mainly my 5year old to use. It is a positive move up from her Cairo keyboard with a collapsed key. Then in year or two move up to more significant piano.

I am confidant I can do most of the clean up on this. I may try to replace that string on my own. I m removing keys now and cleaning each one of them and removing 60+ years of dust and sweaty kid finger juice from them.

Is it worth refinishing the outside? I have the skill. I'm going to replace the small felts myself and do some minor regulating.

Thoughts? But spare the spinet hate please.


Edited by DashanDad (05/16/13 12:14 AM)
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#2083447 - 05/16/13 01:12 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 481
Loc: Oregon Coast
I believe that most of the tech-types that grouse about the Betsy are really annoyed about the plastic-bits that were used. My personal take is that they were a decent little spinet, and worth a little investment in time to keep 'em flying.

Your broken string should be replaced by a tech. Properly, it should be checked with a micrometer or string guage and replaced with the same. In fact; if that string broke by the tuning pin, I would be trying to install a splice and save the wire. A new string will be more ..ah... lively than the old strings. But....I suspect that you have already pulled that from the piano. Yes/No?

A basic understanding of how it works will help you in your quest to maintain it yourself. I would suggest the 'Reblitz' book as a good starter. Perhaps when your tech tunes, simply make sure he/she knows that you have a wire to replace up in the treble strings. Not an issue for a decent tech, and most of us carry the plain-wire strings in the 'to-go' kit in the vehicle. No worries.

Refinishing? Just be cautious about your stripping/sanding. The piano is built like most furniture items and only has a thin-veneer of the pretty wood. Don't be too aggressive! The hardest part about piano refinishishing (..not a spelling error. Say it 3x really fast!) is color matching all those different pieces and parts. Do be sure that you fully take the instrument apart before beginning. The keyslip (in front of the keys), the bottom board just above the pedals, the keycover, the lid, all are SUPPOSED to come apart so a technician can make repairs and adjustments. One of our pet-peeves is discovering that a DYI has forever sealed parts together with stain and finish (or paint)...which we have to seperate with a razor and a prayer.

Remove the felts around the pedals or be ready to replace them with new. Ditto for the thin felt on the strip of wood above the back of the keys. Yank the rubber buttons and plan on replacing them, too. There are a host of things to be cautious of in refinishing an item as complex as a piano....but I have seen some quite fine results from DYI who were careful in their work.

Avoid using a high-gloss finish; they show every teensy flaw in the wood and your work. A satin or semi-gloss really does a better job of blending an older finish and dealing with all the myriad dings and gouges that they accumulate. If really dinged; satin hides better...uh..pleases more? Your call, sir.

A good tech can offer you the supplies, in felt and rubber buttons, to make your work look better and more complete.

Strong suggestion; take many pictures of the parts and pieces as they now look, before taking things apart, so you can get 'er back together again with the right pieces, felts, and replacement buttons and hardware. Use a piece of cardboard to keep the screws and hardware straight; label everything! And....take your time, sir.
;>)

Hope this helps,
I do,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2083450 - 05/16/13 01:17 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
You might want to contact a fellow PW member, Cinnamonbear. He has done a full reconditioning on his and knows the Betsy's inside and out. He is always happy to help.
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2083454 - 05/16/13 01:23 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
The thread title refers to tuning questions, but the only questions in your post are about where to get a string and whether or not to refinish.

The cheapest way to get a few feet of string wire is to contact a piano technician and ask to buy some for a few bucks.
Refinishing: piano refinishing is a job that is about 17 times bigger and involved than a layperson might think, previous experience refinishing furniture notwithstanding. I have come across many more abandoned refinishing jobs on pianos than I have seen completed ones, and those were generally not pretty to behold. Just be cognizant of the fact that it is a really major undertaking to do it properly. And if it isn't done properly, it is a waste of time and effort altogether. I suggest touching up the marks and damage rather than full scale stripping and refinishing.

Is it worth it? It may or may not be for you, which is what counts. Monetarily speaking, no.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2083471 - 05/16/13 02:18 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
I have an action from a family heirloom Betsy Ross spinet here now, ready to go back in the piano after replacing plastic elbows and damper flanges. It is very difficult to get the action out of the piano to give access to replace a broken string.
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Semipro Tech

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#2083528 - 05/16/13 06:25 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9291
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Great posts so far!

Your piano was built between 1954 and 1956.

When I first started here at Cunningham Piano Company, two of our people had gotten their start at Lester Piano Co.

The Betsy Ross was designed before there was such a thing as a Casio, or any decent electronic piano of any kind. It was designed to be an entry level instrument, but frankly, none of the designers thought they would still be in service 60 years later.

I have great admiration for the thought that went into this model. They made a little workhorse of a piano and were able to sell it cheaply. I often wonder how many young pianists would never have gotten a chance to start playing without having this type of instrument available.

Good luck and keep us posted,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2083671 - 05/16/13 12:47 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
I did get a little open ended thought drift there on the post and away from the topic.
I’ve refinished a few items and done considerable touch up. Not worried about the refinish but don’t think I’ll do a full strip job for time and because I’d need to either work around or replace the logos and stickers. I’m thinking I’ll spot touchup then does a light blend of the finish with find sanding then reshoot lacquer OR go with a wax finish.
I have a pile of piano right now. Turns out the “felt strip” under the keys was 60 years of dust. Only felt buttons are under there and they look fairly good. Had to have been serviced between factory floor and now. Interestingly keys are “linden” wood. Light weight and string.. and smell lovely when fresh cut. Made it through 1/3 of the keys in vacuuming and cleaning the “ivory and ebony”. Makers put registration marks on them so numbering is not necessary. Screws are all going into a bowl together BUT I’m working section and replacing 2-3 units at a time. If it get into fiddling with whippens and such I’ll probably work 1 at a time. Only thing I see there is the grooved felt and the missing little red squares. My plan is use wires, picks and bbq sticks to replace them without action taking things out. (taps head) because the hammers all line up nicely now. Keys all are aligned. DO NO DAMAGE. That is the goal.

Fell asleep looking for a pdf of the manual and diagram last night so I didn’t get the key cover separated joint reglued.
ONE of the elbows is replaced with a modern snap on plastic elbow. I have the original wood elbow (Looks like sycamore, another light and strong wood and plentiful) but the felted hole is filled with super glue and a tiny little 2nd ary hole is drilled above. Looks like someone tried to fix it or gave up. I’m heavily considering retrofitting it to be a snap on like the plastic with a saw kerf and relining the inside felt. -----Neurotic I know.

So far no local tuners are getting back to me. This may be seriously disappointing if I can’t get it serviced because they all have their noses in the air. I’ve read that they are more easily serviced than the Acrosonic.
I did find a place that will make a custom string if I mail that one in. They have $45 min order but I’d need the tuning hammer and tool to wrap it around the pin so I think I’m ok.
Why would I need to remove the action to get the new string in ? I’ll try to gently feed the new in similar to how an electrician feeds wires in difficult situations. Firls I’ll try to drop a string and then connect to that. Or use a some small tubing and feed it next to the adjoining string. Or make a wooden saddle that fits over the adjoining string and attach to that….. there are non action removing solutions.
Unless removing the action isn’t a big deal- haven’t gotten that far yet.. Then I could clean around in there even better.
I’ve started looking around at “real pianos” already. It seems like piano buying is MUCH harder than car buying and given that we don’t know how far the little one will take this a lot is up in the air. What I don’t want is to be rushed into buying any piano right now with no knowledge. I need to educate myself here. I would have thought that a new piano would be fine but apparently not.
Honestly I think we’ll be keeping our eye out for a baby grand (smaller house) or similar sized reconditioned American made. I saw videos of an old 1922’ Lester that sounded great. Price will be a big factor however. So we’ll work with this till we figure out what our best option is.
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Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2083676 - 05/16/13 12:54 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
Whether you need to remove the action to replace a string depends on what string it is. Bass strings are not a problem. It is difficult to thread high treble strings through the bridge pins and around the hitch pins with the action in place, though.
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Semipro Tech

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#2083688 - 05/16/13 01:44 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Before you spend any more time or money, have a tech measure the torque on the pins. If they are below about 40 the piano will not be tunable.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2083718 - 05/16/13 03:21 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Steve Peterson Offline

Bronze Level Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 03/15/13
Posts: 154
Loc: Texas
Couple thoughts here:

- I grew up playing a Betsy Ross spinet. It was horrible, but I didn't know better at the time. My mom bought it right out of college in 1962 or 1963. A few years ago she tried to gift it to me. I kindly declined. smile You're correct that it was a popular piano, but its popularity was mostly due to it's very low price rather than quality.

- Personally, I wouldn't consider refinishing the cabinet. You will put way more into it than it is worth. Unless the piano had significant emotional value to you, it's just not worth it.

- Regarding to self-tuning. If you are a casual musician, you might be OK, but if you have a good ear, getting a good tune yourself will take a lot of time and experience to learn. Getting it to *stay* in tune is an entirely different thing. There's a tremendous amount of skill involved in tuning a piano, and I'm too picky about tuning to let myself loose with it.

- Overall, unless you simply can't afford something better, I wouldn't put any time or effort into the piano. In new condition, it's marginal at best. In this condition, it will be a huge time and money suck. Best to spend a few hundred dollars on a new digital piano with a weighted keyboard until you are ready to upgrade to something better.

Good luck!

Steve
_________________________
Cello, Piano, Electic Bass

1967 Baldwin SD-10 - My Baby!

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#2083721 - 05/16/13 03:43 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8567
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Before you spend any more time or money, have a tech measure the torque on the pins. If they are below about 40 the piano will not be tunable.


There is a lady at work who's house burned and she lost her piano. Her church gave her on old Betsy Ross Spinet. She was telling me about the piano and how badly out of tune it was... I don't tune for money (yet) but I agreed to try to tune the pinao for her. It was a nice enough looking piano, but was wayyyy out of tune.

As I started tuning it, some of pins would slip back as I pulled them up to pitch. I drove them a little deeper into the pin block to get some more friction and that helped. I did manage to tune it to some level of being in tune. The lady was thrilled with the free tuning. smile

Now, she says one of the notes has stopped working... I figure it is the plastic sticker elbow. I offered to take a look at for her, but haven't had time yet.

The piano sounded okay, for free. smile

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2083898 - 05/17/13 12:06 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
So I looked at splicing strings today. I may try that. I never heard of splicing piano strings.

Some of you guys are making me nervous. I have spoken to some service guys that say they are fine.

I would think that there are ways to increase the friction.

So far nobody will get back to me on the initial tuning.

I know here is more to buying piano than just go buy one. I have been that route with other tuff and paid for it. Piano is big investment. I think we'll keep our eyes out for what we want with an educated opinion verses buy something. Then replace it for what we later decide we want.
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Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2083939 - 05/17/13 01:41 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 928
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Piano supply houses sell stuff that swells the wood in the pin block. I think it's called Pin-Tite. I've also heard of people re-building the pin holes with Cyanoacrylate (super glue). I'm sure you can find more about both of these by scouring the tuner-technicians forum. Google brings up some results as well.

Kurt
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I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#2084098 - 05/17/13 09:59 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8567
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: KurtZ
Piano supply houses sell stuff that swells the wood in the pin block. I think it's called Pin-Tite. I've also heard of people re-building the pin holes with Cyanoacrylate (super glue). I'm sure you can find more about both of these by scouring the tuner-technicians forum. Google brings up some results as well.

Kurt

I've got an old Conover upright from the early 1900's that I did the Cyanoacrylate (super glue) treatment on... it worked great! I leaned the piano on its back and treated all the pins. Not sure how long it will last, but that baby is holding a tuning for the moment! Of course, that is all we have at any given point in time... the moment. smile

See picture

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2084173 - 05/17/13 01:25 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
I just don’t get all this spinet hate I see flying around.

All my pins seem pretty tight. Regardless this is a question of friction and physics. Worst case upgrade to new pins as needed. However there are many possible solutions to tightening up pin. Not that I even know that I need to yet. But there is a Russian tech working on a loose pin video in You Tube and he simply wraps the pin in corrugated cardboard and then works it back in. Sounds **** engineered but Russians are danged cleaver people unless they are billionaires. Basically you are looking for a shimming material that will grip the pin and wood.

I like the idea of swelling the wood.
My string break is up near the pin. Anyone know where I can get just a few inches of string to make the knot with?

I also went through the sound board with a thin piece of metal and there is no separation from the ribs. All looks like new. The Damp chaser install did drill a small cord hole in it. Will that be a problem? If so I think I could make a plug and glue it in.
Now that I have a 1954 Betsy Ross spinet in great condition I’ve got an opportunity for another free Gulbranson 1920 spinet that is maintained and tuned by one of the local guys.

Got all the dust and muck out of the strings and keys. There was a toy under some of the keys the size of my thumb!!! Oh and $.75 in 1970’s coins.

the small far rt end hammers seem to strike just barely under the bridge thing right before the pins. I think that is making the sound kinda plunky and lack luster. Is it advisable to adjust that downward?
What is the best least destructive method of freshening up the hammer surfaces? If I sand them do I need to adjust them foreword to compensate?


Edited by Rickster (05/17/13 02:22 PM)
Edit Reason: Possibly offensive term
_________________________
Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2084325 - 05/17/13 05:22 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9291
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: DashanDad
I just don’t get all this spinet hate I see flying around.


This forum is filled with "antispinetism".
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2084365 - 05/17/13 06:35 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Call me an antispinetic but I have good reason, particularly with the one in this thread.

These piano were built with an ~50 year life-expectancy. Most at that age don't hold tune well, sound tinny due to hard hammers, and are of very little if any value. I get 2-3 phone calls a week offering them free if I will pick them up.

AT BEST, spinets are limited in utility by their age and declining service, limited in tone quality by their string length, and limited in control by their indirect-blow action.

For the money it will take to bring this piano into stable tune (if at all possible) and decent touch, one could by an 80's console or studio that would be dramatically better.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2084952 - 05/18/13 09:32 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
But Steve, it's a -"Betsy Ross"- Lester spinet.

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#2085008 - 05/19/13 12:57 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: Steve Cohen]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
For the money it will take to bring this piano into stable tune (if at all possible) and decent touch, one could by an 80's console or studio that would be dramatically better.
...But the piano was free!! thumb
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2085029 - 05/19/13 02:49 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: Rickster]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3703
Loc: Northern England.
"I've got an old Conover upright from the early 1900's that I did the Cyanoacrylate (super glue) treatment on... it worked great!"

Was just going to submit a posting on this . . .and wait for the sh** to come flying my way . . . Dontcha just love simple solutions? "Bosendorfer holds it`s tune for 20 years thanks to SUPERGLUE!"
BTW the cheapo stuff is easier to break should the time come; where would we be without model railway engineering?
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2085035 - 05/19/13 03:25 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
The alternatives to old spinets and cheap fixes are digital pianos, which may not last as long as either an old spinet or a cheap fix.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2085150 - 05/19/13 10:52 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
I'm constantly amazed at cost effective problem solutions.

Much of this work I am able to do myself. Went through and removed the lost motion and wiggly bit from the keys then leveled the keys. So far nothing has been "difficult". Time consuming yes...but I have it.

Loose pins. I like the super glue idea. My only qualm is that it may be damaging wood in that future repair if needed may be more difficult. Found videos on tightening pins with "foot wrap technique". If I have an issue I'll try that first.

Can a string splice be down near the wrappings in the working part of the string? I just have enough space before I gt into the wrapping.
_________________________
Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2085447 - 05/19/13 10:39 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
Tom , Super glue or Pin-Tite are quick and easy solutions that can be applied to the entire pin block. The "foot wrap technique" is time consuming so it is normally used when only one or two tuning pins are loose. If your thinking of restring in the future, do that first with larger sized pins before applying any treatment or shimming tuning pin holes. Usually the larger sized pins will hold tune. If not, then I strongly suggest applying super glue.

I'll warn you that some pin blocks need to be replaced. You might find it interesting and useful to remove the strings and plate so you can take a closer look at the pin block, board, and bridges. After everything checks out, you can give the piano a good cleaning and repaint the plate. When you reinstall the plate you can check and adjust the down bearing as needed.

You'll have a clean piano with new good sounding strings.

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#2085529 - 05/20/13 02:02 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
My feeling is most technicians hate spinets because they have never taken the time to learn to work on them. Also, not all spinets are created equal! Sure, they don't sound like a big piano. But neither does a Ukulele sound like a big Martin Guitar. But a good Ukulele can make real music.

It is rare to find a spinet that is well tuned, voiced, and regulated. So most people's opinions are based on poor examples of instruments that are working far below their potential.

Here is a raw MP3 recording I made of a 70 year old spinet that came through our shop a couple of years ago.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2085736 - 05/20/13 12:22 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
rysowers- Thank you so much! I'm starting to like spinets honestly. But I'm strange like that. Prefer to stand outside the herd on most things. Lets hope I'm not spending this time and money on the Piano equilivant of the Ukulele!

Dave B- thanks for you input. Replacing a pin block on the Betsy Ross seems just over the threashhold of what I'm willing to get into. Though I dunno, Never say never I guess. The super glue seems like the last step before drilling the holes larger I'd think.

Perhaps this is a lazy solution but why couldn't a person bore out the holes then fill them with harder wood plug inserts then re-drill the inserts. I'd think that wold save pulling the plate out.

Think I figured out how the action is removed. But do I want to or need to?

I'm thinking of voicing the hammers which I can do from above with out removing them BUT the string damping thingies (real sophisticated I know) on some of the base string buzz as just slightly as the key is raised. I'm guessing it's just compacted felt. to get to that I'll NEED to remove the action.



Edited by DashanDad (06/02/13 11:08 PM)
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Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2086412 - 05/21/13 06:50 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: rysowers]
RickG1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 305
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: rysowers
My feeling is most technicians hate spinets because they have never taken the time to learn to work on them. Also, not all spinets are created equal! Sure, they don't sound like a big piano. But neither does a Ukulele sound like a big Martin Guitar. But a good Ukulele can make real music.

It is rare to find a spinet that is well tuned, voiced, and regulated. So most people's opinions are based on poor examples of instruments that are working far below their potential.

Here is a raw MP3 recording I made of a 70 year old spinet that came through our shop a couple of years ago.


I would rather play on that than a digital, JMHO.
_________________________
Mason-Hamlin "A"
Steinway "B"
Baldwin console

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#2086479 - 05/21/13 10:22 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: rysowers]
DashanDad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Iowa
That sounds great!

What is the music?
_________________________
Thomas Scott Haynie

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#2086506 - 05/21/13 11:19 PM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: Rich Galassini]
hotcat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 105
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
I often wonder how many young pianists would never have gotten a chance to start playing without having this type of instrument available.


So very true. My mother learned on a Betsy Ross spinet, and then my sister and I learned on the very same piano. I learned Bach inventions, some Beethoven Sonatas, Debussy's Arabesques, and much, much more on that piano. It was AWESOME. I love my Estonia, of course, but there is a special place in my heart for the Betsy Ross spinet. I could never bear to part with it, so a friend is keeping it in her house (and now she's learning to play!). My children played it for a few years until just recently. That little piano has brought years and years of joy to so many people, and it's still going strong.

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#2086701 - 05/22/13 10:18 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: hotcat]
Plowboy Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2336
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: hotcat

So very true. My mother learned on a Betsy Ross spinet, and then my sister and I learned on the very same piano. I learned Bach inventions, some Beethoven Sonatas, Debussy's Arabesques, and much, much more on that piano. It was AWESOME. I love my Estonia, of course, but there is a special place in my heart for the Betsy Ross spinet. I could never bear to part with it, so a friend is keeping it in her house (and now she's learning to play!). My children played it for a few years until just recently. That little piano has brought years and years of joy to so many people, and it's still going strong.


And THAT, is what it's all about!
_________________________
Gary

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#2086703 - 05/22/13 10:22 AM Re: New Betsy Ross tuning questions. [Re: DashanDad]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2407
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: DashanDad
That sounds great!

What is the music?



Thanks! It is Spanish Dance #2 by Granados on a 1941 Everett spinet.

One of the issues with spinets and consoles is that they often have very light and firm hammers. The lightness causes them to spring off the strings very quickly which can give them "tinney" or "Shallow" tone. A good round of deep shoulder needling can really improve them, along with solid hammer to string mating (which is much easier in an upright than a grand).

It is rare that technicians want to take this kind of time with such a "low class" instrument. I laugh all the way to the bank! smile
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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