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#2129446 - 08/07/13 02:08 PM Pen in Action
Piano RX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 129
I managed to drop a pen I was using to mark some sheet music and, of course, it immediately fell behind the fallboard of my Hailun grand. I can see it but cannot get it. Will this hurt the piano? It seems to play okay. Will it wait for my next scheduled tuning? Is there a way to retrieve it myself?


Thanks

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#2129457 - 08/07/13 02:54 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1062
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Try lifting the lid. Some come out easily.
Try a long tweezer or magnetic rod if the pen has some steel.
Some lids are attached to the cheek blocks. Remove the cheek blocks (blocks beside keys in bass and treble) and lid will come with them. Screws under piano.

The pen should not be a problem, other than creating some rattling. Move it along so it is on rarely played keys.


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (08/07/13 02:55 PM)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2129474 - 08/07/13 03:39 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Most pens don't have anything a magnet will grab so try some juicy fruit type gum on the end of a wire or some of that tacky stuff for putting up posters,
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2129514 - 08/07/13 05:57 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
The easiest way to retrieve it is by removing the fallboard. If you don;t feel confident enough to do that, just wait until next time you have it tuned, and have your tech perform a "pencillectomy." In the meantime, the worst the pen will probably do it rattle a little.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2129929 - 08/08/13 01:40 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: OperaTenor]
Piano RX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 129
Thanks to everyone for their replies.

The dealer came over and got it out in two minutes... literally. Seems its just a couple of screws and the fallboard comes right off the hinges.

No more pens or pencils on the music rack!

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#2129946 - 08/08/13 02:15 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: OperaTenor]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
<snip> and have your tech perform a "pencillectomy." In the meantime, the worst the pen will probably do it rattle a little.


Generally true except when it gives you a whole octave of notes when you play one.
_________________________
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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#2130325 - 08/09/13 11:06 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: kpembrook]
Piano RX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 129
kpembrook,

I didn't notice that but I did feel a slight sense of a key binding a bit if the pen rolled into just the right position. A lesson well learned. The dealer says he will now warn first time grand buyers about this when they purchase.

Perhaps it would help if the manufacturer applied an easily removable decal to the music rack that says:

"WARNING! Placing a pen or pencil on your music rack will automatically activate Murphy's Law and the object will almost certainly end up located in the action of your piano" eek

I guess composers have to become adept at removing pencils from their actions unless they are using laptops or I-Pads.

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#2130344 - 08/09/13 11:42 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: PianoismyScrip
kpembrook,

I didn't notice that but I did feel a slight sense of a key binding a bit if the pen rolled into just the right position. A lesson well learned. The dealer says he will now warn first time grand buyers about this when they purchase.

Perhaps it would help if the manufacturer applied an easily removable decal to the music rack that says:

"WARNING! Placing a pen or pencil on your music rack will automatically activate Murphy's Law and the object will almost certainly end up located in the action of your piano" eek


I guess composers have to become adept at removing pencils from their actions unless they are using laptops or I-Pads.



I like the way you state the warning. Actually, that should be part of the standard "taking care of your piano" spiel from both sales people and piano technicians. I do it on an apparent "as needed" basis when I see a particular customer is stocking pens on their music desk.
_________________________
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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#2130351 - 08/09/13 11:52 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
A pencil on the music desk is required equipment for all pianists learning new literature.
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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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#2130402 - 08/09/13 01:28 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1619
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Pencil removal from the action has to be the number one most often service call from piano teachers.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2130408 - 08/09/13 01:33 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3498
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Surely you'd only ever need help for this once. Once you see how the tech gets it out - you know what to do!

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#2130448 - 08/09/13 02:46 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: ando]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1619
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: ando
Surely you'd only ever need help for this once. Once you see how the tech gets it out - you know what to do!


One would think so, but removing the fallboard and dislodging a pencil invariably gives rise to another problem: The pianist either cannot figure out how to properly reinstall the fallboard or it manages to get stuck. And those are the easy ones. There's the Steinway fallboard/cheek block apparatus that seems to stump 'em every time.


Edited by bkw58 (08/09/13 02:48 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2130451 - 08/09/13 02:54 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: bkw58]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3498
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: ando
Surely you'd only ever need help for this once. Once you see how the tech gets it out - you know what to do!


One would think so, but removing the fallboard and dislodging a pencil invariably gives rise to another problem: The pianist either cannot figure out how to properly reinstall the fallboard or it manages to get stuck. And those are the easy ones. There's the Steinway fallboard/cheek block apparatus that seems to stump 'em every time.


Maybe for people with no mechanical aptitude, that may be true. I'd bet my life I could get it back together - especially if a tech showed me. People are scared of their own shadows these days. Gotta have specialist help for everything.

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#2130459 - 08/09/13 03:08 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1619
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Fear is certainly part of it. Especially when fallboard removal requires cheek blocks in tandem, some are afraid of scratching the finish. Even the best technicians will occasionally mar the finish doing this.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2130472 - 08/09/13 03:52 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21250
Loc: Oakland
A simple way to avoid it is to fasten something onto the end of the pencil that you use at the piano. One of those ribbons used to tie up shirts when you buy them would work. I use them on the ends of my mutes, so I do not have to disassemble the piano if one of them falls.
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Semipro Tech

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#2130741 - 08/10/13 11:25 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: ando]
Piano RX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 129
Originally Posted By: ando
Surely you'd only ever need help for this once. Once you see how the tech gets it out - you know what to do!


I agree, at least for my piano. Two set screws to remove then simply lift off. Install is just as easy if you are careful to make sure you lower the fallboard evenly so it does not bind and make sure it lowers onto the two hinge pins evenly. I understand the Yamahas don't use set screws so you just simply lift. As with any project, think about what you are going to do and then do it slowly.

As some of the experiended techs have noted, however, not all pianos are so easy. In addition, people ruin Phillips head screws all the time because they use an improperly sized screwdriver with a cheap tip. Strip out a set screw head and now you have an additional problem... not the end of the world, but definitely some extra work that demands some addtional skills and tools.

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#2130743 - 08/10/13 11:29 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: bkw58]
Piano RX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 129
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Pencil removal from the action has to be the number one most often service call from piano teachers.


Whew... that is good to know. I thought I was the only jughead on the planet that managed to make this blunder. Perhaps that is why there are no prior warnings given... a bit of creative marketing and revenue enhancement... wink


Edited by PianoismyScrip (08/10/13 11:30 AM)

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#2130769 - 08/10/13 12:19 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: BDB]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1619
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: BDB
A simple way to avoid it is to fasten something onto the end of the pencil that you use at the piano. One of those ribbons used to tie up shirts when you buy them would work. I use them on the ends of my mutes, so I do not have to disassemble the piano if one of them falls.


Great idea!
More than once during a tuning I'd be down to my last two mutes and one would fall into the piano. Sometimes, never to be found! Where it would go...and the time it would take searching in vain...
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2130793 - 08/10/13 01:01 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21250
Loc: Oakland
If you get a lanyard with a bulldog clip at a convention, you can clip it onto the back of plain mutes, for use on grands. The problem is that most of them come with swivels these days, and they rattle, so I have to remove the swivel and sew the neck strap back on the plain clip.

I suppose I could put a screw eye and ribbon in the back of the mute, but too much weight causes them to flop over and come out when I am tuning.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2130905 - 08/10/13 04:55 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7211
Loc: Rochester MN
How about a rubber door stop? That would be hard to find its way into the deep, dark caverns inhabited by pencils and paperclips.
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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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#2131042 - 08/10/13 11:47 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: BDB]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1491
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: BDB
One of those ribbons used to tie up shirts when you buy them would work. I use them on the ends of my mutes, so I do not have to disassemble the piano if one of them falls.


When Max used the plectrum for a tuning, he had it's on a cord around the neck
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...20mediator.html
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A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2131046 - 08/10/13 11:53 PM Re: Pen in Action [Re: bkw58]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1491
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: BDB
A simple way to avoid it is to fasten something onto the end of the pencil that you use at the piano. One of those ribbons used to tie up shirts when you buy them would work. I use them on the ends of my mutes, so I do not have to disassemble the piano if one of them falls.

Sometimes, never to be found!

I often lose the screws and washers when working with hammers. I advise all technicians to keep alert small flashlight and a magnetic screwdriver with a long stinger
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A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2131122 - 08/11/13 08:02 AM Re: Pen in Action [Re: Piano RX]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1617
Loc: Chicagoland
I've come across "sluggish dampers" on two grands that turned out to be pencils... horizontal behind the damper wires! Obvious when you see them, but it took a while...

Ron Koval
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Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

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