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#2159115 - 09/28/13 02:55 PM The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city


This past February, I was experiencing debilitating pain in my right hand; namely, the thumb tendon. Not good for anything I do all week long: playing, composing, teaching, performing, and working as a professional piano technician, tuning 16-20 instruments every week.

My doctor and I attributed this pain to repetitive motion, likely from my frequent use of a shorter traditional tuning lever, especially on pianos with ultra-tight pinblocks. I began using my left hand more (I can tune a grand piano with either hand) but it wasn't really helping as much, or as quickly, as I needed it to.

I remembered trying Dan Levitan's unusual C-shaped lever - called the Levitan
"Professional" - at a PTG meeting a few years back, and wondered if that might be a solution. Dan and I are friends, and he was gracious to loan me his second prototype C-lever that Pianotek eventually produced and currently offers for sale. http://www.pianoteksupply.com/products-new.aspx

(See also http://levitantuninglevers.com/professional.html)

There have been several threads in which this lever is mentioned, and in seemingly all of them there have been comments that are doubtful, negative, or even dismissive of the lever, sometimes coming from technicians who have never even tried it for themselves. I too thought the C-lever was very strange the first time I turned a pin with it, but decided I would actually take the time to become accustomed to it before making any judgments.

For the last several years I had been using a Charles Faulk 12" carbon fiber lever with a 1/2" extension and a 5¬ļ angle. It's a fantastic tool and probably one of the best out there that money can buy. And due to the short extension and shallow angle of my setup it will flagpole less than many other levers.

So in late April of this year I began using the C-lever for 95% of the pianos I
tuned, both grands and verticals. I've now tuned more than 300 pianos with it.

The result? It's worked out so well that I am now essentially pain-free and more productive than ever.

The Levitan Professional has clearly made me a better tuner while helping my hand heal almost completely. It has made my tunings more stable, more accurate, faster, and less fatiguing.

Like most pros, when I finish a normal full tuning, I go back over every unison to ensure they are all dead on. What I noticed about the Levitan Professional is that I don't have nearly as many corrections to make on the "cleanup" pass. It's truly astonishing. I started taking count of how many strings needed correction on the cleanup, and it is almost always less than 20. In quite a few cases it has been less than 10, with the average between 12-15. With the traditional lever, that number was much higher. And I'm talking about DOA unisons - the kind that get you called back by the recording studio and the demanding player time and again.

I don't know why this lever gives these superior results, but I'm personally not concerned with having to understand the scientific reasons. I suppose it could simply be the fact that the C lever is a couple of inches longer than most traditional levers, with no flex. And I suspect that due to its incredible stiffness it immediately removes or greatly attenuates the twist that often remains in a pin, especially in a tight block. And, you do have to make a real effort to get the C-lever to flagpole, so I also suspect that it's simply doing an incredibly efficient job of moving the pin - and setting it with conviction - inside the block. Dan Levitan offers his point of view on this thread here, agreeing with the discussion of the physics involved as was stated by forum member Tunewerk: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1931973/2.html

That said, I probably do know tight pinblocks in new and late model pianos as well as anyone out there. Estonia, for example, makes wonderful pianos at an amazing pricepoint, and the new model 210 is especially impressive. But with the Delignit blocks they use, and the drill bit size they use, it is not exactly a walk in the park for the technician when these pianos are brand new. I've tuned hundreds of Estonia pianos, new and old, so I know what to expect and what needs to be done. It used to be difficult with my other levers, but now, with the Levitan C, it's a breeze, and not only do I get the job done quickly, but accurately. Same goes for those classic Baldwin pinblocks that creak, snap, and crackle when the pins finally turn - the Levitan makes quick work of blocks like that, which in the past had been so frustrating for me. (Even a '64 F that I frequently tune in a recording studio still snaps in humid weather!)

And since I have a number of venues and studios I tune for on a frequent basis, I was able to see a definite improvement with my stability. In some cases the pianos are being played more than 50 hours a week - sometimes brutally - and I was delighted to return and usually find only several questionable unisons, with many still dead on. Even when the overall pitch had changed due to humidity fluctuations.

On technique: The weirdest thing about using the Levitan Pro at first is the fact that - when tuning a grand - you are essentially reversing your movements to go flat and sharp. You push to sharpen and pull to flatten. (On verticals the push/pull to flatten/sharpen will be the same as a trad lever.) This could be a reason why some techs scoff at the tool, or give up too easily. In his demo video, watch how Dan holds the lever - it is important to grasp the lever at the bottom; right on the black plastic sleeve, basically using just the index and middle fingers. The great thing about this hand position is that it is easy to do with the other hand too, so you can easily switch and tune any section of a piano with either hand.

I am both a smooth-pull and impact-style tuner; I just use my instincts to choose the technique that is more appropriate for the piano at hand. (Or the individual pin at hand, really) And I've found that the C-lever can be used effectively in either case. I think it's actually a far better tool for both techniques than a traditional is.

With verticals, I have found that I cannot easily hold the lever the way Dan demonstrates in his video, by resting one's elbow on the top of the case, using the elbow as a pivot point. I've tried but ergonomically it's too uncomfortable for me. So I simply grasp the lever with all four fingers and tune away. The extra leverage makes it so much easier to tune verticals (even with my "unorthodox" technique) and I was also able to quickly learn how to tune verticals left-handed with this lever - something I couldn't seem to do with the traditional lever. For those that have wondered how the C-lever is for verticals; I never use a traditional on them anymore, and have no plans to ever revert back. With a grand I will occasionally switch to a traditional lever, but since the Levitan C lever is so much easier to hold and manipulate on a vertical, I see no reason to use anything else.

I was especially interested to see how the Levitan would perform on the Steingraeber 138, which has the highest tuning pins of any vertical piano I've tuned. I've now used it on 4 different 138 models, and the results were amazing! However, this is a case where one would not be able to hold the lever the way that Dan demonstrates in his video. With a piano like the Steingraeber, that position would be tough if not impossible to achieve. In fact, in the high treble section of the 138, with the Levitan Pro at 12 o'clock on the bottom row of pins, there is only about 4 inches of clearance between the top of the lever and the top of the case. But the way I am holding the lever on verticals (like a motorcycle throttle) there is no problem at all.

I've also used the Levitan Pro on several spinets and many consoles, and
occasionally the tool felt like it had more potential to fall off the pins. And in a few cases I was tuning 60s Acrosonics with that huge deep lid that couldn't provide enough clearance to even use the lever at all, even with my Spurlock lid prop.

There were also a few pianos with pins that seemed a little too loose for the torque potential of the Levitan. I felt like it was almost too much power being applied to a pin that needed very little torque; with some of these pianos I reverted to the Faulk (or the Levitan classic, which I find myself using more and more of late) and was more comfortable. But this is the extent of my criticism of the tool, and since a working tech will always have a backup lever on hand, it's nothing to worry about.

I would say that from the day I began using the Levitan Professional, it wasn't all that difficult to become comfortable. I tuned four grands the first day, and yes, it was definitely much slower going than normal. I think the next 6 pianos each took an extra 20 minutes. Within a month I stopped thinking about it. Within six weeks my tuning time dropped significantly, becoming faster than ever before. Now, it almost feels strange to use my Faulk or the Classic, but I also enjoy switching up levers and think it's a good idea for ergonomic reasons to do so. Sometimes I will do the "cleanup" pass with a traditional lever, especially in the high treble, where I prefer to tune left-handed.

And although I did learn how to tune left-handed with the C lever, I haven't been doing that lately. I suppose I should, but since my pain is gone I don't feel compelled to.

It is imperative to remember that if you do tune with the Levitan Professional, you will need to also carry a traditional lever with you as well. There are many pianos where the Levitan Pro will not work on the lowest or highest pins. (There are also many where it will easily work on every pin.) Plus you will still need a traditional lever to turn glide bolts or for stringing work.

The Levitan "Classic" will work elegantly for these purposes, and his newest
"Utility" model is really perfect for its ultra light weight, compact size, and
price. Plus it has a very thin shaft, which makes it an excellent tool for stringing work.

I hope that many of you will give this tool a serious try. For me, it has been
beneficial to both my health and my tuning speed, the quality of my pin setting, and, of course, stability. Dan Levitan has created a wonderfully unique tuning lever - one that I predict will become widely recognized in the future as a brilliant invention within the piano technology trade.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2159192 - 09/28/13 04:56 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Hi James,

Glad to hear you got your pain/repetitive stress issue under control and that you are able to work pain free! That's got to feel good.

For me, my issue didn't develop in the lever hand, but in the striking hand. The only thing that helps is resting it. I took two weeks off a few months back and the pain and numbness completely went away, but it returned once I started tuning again. So for me, it looks like I'll be leaving the trade early. I've thought of switching hands, but the thoughts of TWO injured hands don't appeal to me!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2159244 - 09/28/13 06:12 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19348
Loc: New York City
My tech also uses Levitan tuning lever which is not surprising considering his name is
Click to reveal..
Dan Levitan.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/28/13 06:14 PM)

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#2159365 - 09/28/13 09:14 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Thanks for the report, James. I may order one now...have been thinking about it. I bought one of the Reyburn impact levers for verticals this summer at the PTG convention. I wish I had done so earlier. It's been helpful. It was expensive, but worth the money.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2159543 - 09/29/13 08:51 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Loren D]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1162
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Hi James,

Glad to hear you got your pain/repetitive stress issue under control and that you are able to work pain free! That's got to feel good.

For me, my issue didn't develop in the lever hand, but in the striking hand. The only thing that helps is resting it. I took two weeks off a few months back and the pain and numbness completely went away, but it returned once I started tuning again. So for me, it looks like I'll be leaving the trade early.


Greetings,
I have had joint problems in my left hand, so for the last 20 years, I have been using a balsa wood striker. It has a rubber tip on it, and it is just basically a convex cylinder about 5 inches long, tapering down to about 3/8" at the bottom to hit one key at at time. It lets the impact go into the palm instead of the finger joints, so I can still play guitar and tune pianos. I used to have soreness in my hand every day, but no more.
REgards,

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#2159549 - 09/29/13 09:07 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Ed Foote]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Thanks, Ed. I've been using a striker for about a year myself now, but even though I'm no longer using the fingers to strike, the repetitive action of moving my arm up and down to strike the keys with the striker still is causing pain in my wrist, forearm, and sometimes upper arm. Enough of it in a day and the tip of the middle finger goes numb, so I've got some pretty good inflammation going.

If I had my career to do over again, I would 1) not work as hard and 2) alternate tuning hands frequently.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2159559 - 09/29/13 09:23 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 633
Loc: shirley, MA
Do you stand or sit Loren?

Standing, you don't have to lift your arms for every repetitive motion...gravity helps instead.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2159562 - 09/29/13 09:31 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 633
Loc: shirley, MA
Jim,

Thanks for this C lever report. I've been thinking about both the Faulk lever and Dan's lever for a while(I use the Goss lever).

Pat Draine brought a C lever to a PTG meeting recently, and I liked the ease as well as what I perceived as the reduced need to flex the pin to convince the wire to move over the bearing surfaces. This apparent reduced need to flex the pin and convince the string over the felt(S&S tenor ski slope) doesn't really make sense to me, but on a short test drive, it did seem like the simple non-flexed movement of the pin did more of the rendering work that I'm used to with the Goss lever.

Any comments on the relative need to purposely flex the pin to render and settle things?

As well, I very interest to read of the possibility of using the C lever on uprights, as it requires one to reach further over the keyboard to get position on the lever. (I stand for uprights) Do you have a pic of this upright position?

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2159577 - 09/29/13 10:32 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: jim ialeggio]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Jim,

Thanks for this C lever report. I've been thinking about both the Faulk lever and Dan's lever for a while(I use the Goss lever).

Pat Draine brought a C lever to a PTG meeting recently, and I liked the ease as well as what I perceived as the reduced need to flex the pin to convince the wire to move over the bearing surfaces. This apparent reduced need to flex the pin and convince the string over the felt(S&S tenor ski slope) doesn't really make sense to me, but on a short test drive, it did seem like the simple non-flexed movement of the pin did more of the rendering work that I'm used to with the Goss lever.

Any comments on the relative need to purposely flex the pin to render and settle things?

As well, I very interest to read of the possibility of using the C lever on uprights, as it requires one to reach further over the keyboard to get position on the lever. (I stand for uprights) Do you have a pic of this upright position?

Jim Ialeggio


Hey Jim,

That's the thing - I believe that the C-lever does somehow make rendering easier, even on acute angles of ski slope understring felt. It just feels like it does the work for you, whether you are dealing with a 250 inch lb. block or skislopes that feel like sandpaper, or a combination of both. And you can absolutely nudge and bend the pins a little bit, either while rotating the pin or not. See his website for some diagrams that show this clearly.

Whenever possible, unless the piano is new, I always vacuum understring felt and apply a little bit of Protek CLP prior to tuning which seems to help as well; I'm sure a lot of techs do this.

As far as positioning, check Dan's instructional video at http://vimeo.com/37869859. The first part is on use with grands, and the vertical section begins at the 18:18 mark. With verticals, you'll see that Dan recommends using the elbow as a pivot which didn't work for me. But everyone is different.

On verticals, I stand at an angle, almost facing the bass end of the piano (when I am holding the lever with my right hand), and I keep the lever near the 12 o'clock position as much as possible. So if anything, I feel like I'm closer to the pins with my tuning arm, and since I use a palm striker 100% of the time now, I never feel like I have to crouch down to hit the keys. (Nothing you can really do about short consoles, which are uncomfortable when the tuning pins are so low.) I've also experimented with sitting while tuning a few verticals as well, but there is way too much stress on my arm muscles to do that regularly.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2159587 - 09/29/13 10:59 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 401
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Quote:
If I had my career to do over again, I would 1) not work as hard and 2) alternate tuning hands frequently.


You know I've been doing this for 18 years now (started late, I'm now 54 years old) and sometimes when I read how many pianos people tune in a week I'm astounded. 20-25 pianos in a week. I've never done that and never will. About 15 a week is my limit by choice. For one thing I'm not that ambitious and I found out early on that I can only do so much in one day - my body will give out. Also, I must give credit where credit is due. I'm thankful to God that I live in a house that is paid for and have no other debt. That is one thing that has enabled me to not have to work so hard.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#2159636 - 09/29/13 12:42 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
that C lever seem a good thing for the ones who suffer from some injury, but just looking at it I cannot understand how I can use it as much in "stethoscope mode" as I do with a standard lever.

I also perceive the small springiness of my lever as an advantage for some springy motion I use. But certainly ultra rigid lever may be useful after some adaptation. The handle is visibly too thick on the ones I have seen.

I cannot see how one can be injuried by tuning. I had some trouble when using karate mode, but I do not do it anymore, only exceptionally.

As I play piano I know how to be in total release from the shoulders, back and arms.

The weigh of an arm allows to play at about mF without any effort, from +- half an inch height.

May be a warm up is better done before and some relax moves during the tuning (as done in Japan with reasons)

A key striker gives an excellent demonstration of the availeable power from the "free fall" of the shoulders and arm.

The same for the tuning arm, with unlocked anckle and shoulder, the posture is strange but the benefit of the arms weight useful.

Pushing on the right leg allow to have even more power, using the whole body.

Now I do not work in a shop on new pianos with extra tight tuning pins. Before fine tuning, I often noticed floor tuners flag-polling a max and warming the pin to ease a little the pinblock.
_________________________
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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#2159683 - 09/29/13 02:31 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
Where did you get the pic from? It's odd to see a piano with tuning pins and no strings.

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#2159686 - 09/29/13 02:35 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
New experimental model of "silent" piano (need to be tuned , hence the tuning pins)

only for deaf pianists (I promise there are some)
_________________________
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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#2159689 - 09/29/13 02:46 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Olek]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Olek
that C lever seem a good thing for the ones who suffer from some injury, but just looking at it I cannot understand how I can use it as much in "stethoscope mode" as I do with a standard lever.

I also perceive the small springiness of my lever as an advantage for some springy motion I use. But certainly ultra rigid lever may be useful after some adaptation. The handle is visibly too thick on the ones I have seen.

I cannot see how one can be injuried by tuning. I had some trouble when using karate mode, but I do not do it anymore, only exceptionally.

As I play piano I know how to be in total release from the shoulders, back and arms.

The weigh of an arm allows to play at about mF without any effort, from +- half an inch height.

May be a warm up is better done before and some relax moves during the tuning (as done in Japan with reasons)

A key striker gives an excellent demonstration of the availeable power from the "free fall" of the shoulders and arm.

The same for the tuning arm, with unlocked anckle and shoulder, the posture is strange but the benefit of the arms weight useful.

Pushing on the right leg allow to have even more power, using the whole body.

Now I do not work in a shop on new pianos with extra tight tuning pins. Before fine tuning, I often noticed floor tuners flag-polling a max and warming the pin to ease a little the pinblock.


You should try it! I also want to stress that it's not a tool for "injured" techs - it's a tool that can be of incredible benefit to anyone willing to learn a new technique. I believe it creates an even better interface between technician and pin, and probably functions as a better "stethoscope" than a traditional lever does.

And yes, I do tune a fair amount of brand new pianos with very tight pins, so it has been a major relief. But that's just one of its advantages.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2159693 - 09/29/13 02:54 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Dave B]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Where did you get the pic from? It's odd to see a piano with tuning pins and no strings.


I was wondering if anyone was paying attention; good to see that someone is!

That's a 30s Sohmer Cupid grand that I bought and am reconditioning - it's getting a new stringing scale, and a new WNG action. The block is perfect as-is, as are the tuning pins. So I'm reusing the existing pins.

The board and bridges on this piano are in remarkable condition - very rare to find a NYC piano like this, with light-colored wood. Even the case is in exceptional shape. Was -125 to -150 cents when I purchased, never really played much based on the condition of the parts. I'm also 99% sure I'm the first tech that ever pulled the action.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2159701 - 09/29/13 03:12 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
Thank you for the witnessing James.

I think of that, looked closely at the videos, and I think I use too much very precise flagpole motion in the vertical plane to be at ease with that tool. Yes initially I work in the rotating plane, of the pin, this is very important and the basis to have control on the pin "twist" I allow, but I work a lot the pin under tension and need the other planes as well.

I would like to test it for verticals, however.

I listened to your records and liked the well build music.

On the tuning side, my result is somewhat different, and I wonder if I need more finesse with the lever or if you envisage the sound differently than me. I am unsure.


Edited by Olek (09/29/13 03:17 PM)
_________________________
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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#2159732 - 09/29/13 04:32 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: That Guy]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: That Guy
Quote:
If I had my career to do over again, I would 1) not work as hard and 2) alternate tuning hands frequently.


You know I've been doing this for 18 years now (started late, I'm now 54 years old) and sometimes when I read how many pianos people tune in a week I'm astounded. 20-25 pianos in a week. I've never done that and never will. About 15 a week is my limit by choice. For one thing I'm not that ambitious and I found out early on that I can only do so much in one day - my body will give out. Also, I must give credit where credit is due. I'm thankful to God that I live in a house that is paid for and have no other debt. That is one thing that has enabled me to not have to work so hard.


I'll be 54 in November, so we're pretty close to the same age. I've done 30+ in a week pretty regularly, especially when I was tuning the colleges. For about the past six months I've been limiting to 3 tunings/day 3 days a week, for a total of 9 a week, but even that's been difficult.

It's good that you limited yourself early on! Keep up the good work. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2159952 - 09/30/13 07:02 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Loren D]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Thanks, Ed. I've been using a striker for about a year myself now, but even though I'm no longer using the fingers to strike, the repetitive action of moving my arm up and down to strike the keys with the striker still is causing pain in my wrist, forearm, and sometimes upper arm. Enough of it in a day and the tip of the middle finger goes numb, so I've got some pretty good inflammation going.

If I had my career to do over again, I would 1) not work as hard and 2) alternate tuning hands frequently.


I'm really sorry to hear this. Isn't there some kind of physical therapy that might help? Maybe a chiropractor or kinesiologist? Taping up your arm or hand before tuning? (Kind of like what boxers and football players do - I know a tech who tapes his arm and wrist before tuning.)
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2159953 - 09/30/13 07:06 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: Olek]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Olek
Thank you for the witnessing James.

I think of that, looked closely at the videos, and I think I use too much very precise flagpole motion in the vertical plane to be at ease with that tool. Yes initially I work in the rotating plane, of the pin, this is very important and the basis to have control on the pin "twist" I allow, but I work a lot the pin under tension and need the other planes as well.

I would like to test it for verticals, however.

I listened to your records and liked the well build music.

On the tuning side, my result is somewhat different, and I wonder if I need more finesse with the lever or if you envisage the sound differently than me. I am unsure.


Thanks for listening, Isaac.

Would be very interesting to hear your thoughts once you try the C-lever for yourself. (Minimum 25 pianos smile )
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2180978 - 11/12/13 10:08 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 633
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Roy123
Originally Posted By: Mark R.


On the C-lever, the hand exerts its force on the lever in the plane of the pinblock, resulting in purely rotational force (twist, torque) on the pin.


That's not entirely true. A sideways force is applied to the pin that is equal to the force applied to the handle of the lever. This statement assumes that the tuner is applying a unidirectional force to the lever, and not a twist. Given the lever's usage, that's pretty much a given. The longer the lever the less this force is, because for a given amount of torque, force is the reciprocal of the lever arm. The C lever is helpful in this regard because its lever arm is longer than most conventional levers.



I hear what you're saying. A very short lever would have to exert a very high sideways force to achieve the same torque.

But I think the point about the C-lever remains the same: it's not so much the size of this lateral force that matters, but the height (relative to the pinblock) at which it is applied.

Although the sideways force of which you speak, does exist, it is effective on the pin at the same height at which it is applied to the lever. Hence, with the C-lever, this sideways force is effectively applied to the pin within the pinblock, eliminating flagpoling. In fact, if the handle of the C-lever were even longer, so that the tuner could apply force at the level of the keys, the pin would flagpole in the opposite direction (because the sideways force is effectively applied below the pinblock). When pushing the lever left, to raise pitch, the pin would actually flagpole to the right. Conversely, if you operate the C-lever at the very top end of its handle, it would operate much like a conventional lever, and flagpole the pin left.

But by operating the C-lever in the middle of the handle, the force is applied at the height of the pinblock, without resulting in any flagpoling.

That's my best understanding of the vectors at play. (Open to correction, gladly.)


I took the liberty of moving this interesting discussion regarding the forces vectors involved in using the Levitan C Lever to this thread, where it can effectively be searched...

The discussion was taking place here: tuning stability

Jim Ialeggio


Edited by jim ialeggio (11/12/13 10:10 AM)
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2181021 - 11/12/13 11:52 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Tuneless Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 170
Loc: AZ, USA
May I suggest that the C lever seeming to allow the pin to move more easily in the pin block is, in fact, real. I would expect that flag poling would increase the friction of pin to wood, making the pin harder to turn, and increasing the twisting of the pin at the point where it actually starts to move in the wood. So, since the C lever does not induce flag poling, I would expect the pin would move more easily.
_________________________
Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano(yet) and couldn't tune a guitar, much less a piano.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.

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#2181035 - 11/12/13 12:13 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
TunerJeff Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 470
Loc: Oregon Coast
I think perhaps the length of the tool is a large factor in the control. The only reason our hammers are the length they are...is getting them into a toolkit! That's one of the reasons that I often reach for the extension hammer (the 'ol Rosewood Hale) on many pianos, and especially new ones with tight blocks. An extra inch of two of length seems to provide a comfy amount of extra leverage quite often.

So..I toggle between my Faulk and the 'ol Rosewood extension.

What is the length of that arm on the C-Levitan?

Inquiring,
I am,
Tuning left-handed for 30+ years,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2181055 - 11/12/13 12:36 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: TunerJeff]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 633
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
What is the length of that arm on the C-Levitan?


13-3/4" measure from the center of the tip, to the center of the part of the handle one grips. Not so much different from the Fujan I think.

The lever arm is measured from tip to point where the force is applied, not just perpendicular to the tip...but rather a hypotenuse. So on a standard lever, you would measure at the angle formed from center of tip along an angled line drawn to the point you actually grip the lever.

Another factor in ease of use, and this is a huge factor for me, is that the C Lever allows you to apply force from a position of mechanical advantage, rather than having to reach into the piano (grand)and turn the lever from a position of significant mechanical disadvantage.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2181070 - 11/12/13 12:59 PM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1650
Loc: Colorado
Greetings,
I agree wholeheartedly, Jim.

I purchased the C-lever about a year ago to see if would allow me to continue tuning and learning to tune during recovery. I had to stop tuning due to a couple of catastrophic injuries that took me out of circulation for far too long. I can definitely empathize with Loren and other that struggle with repetitive motion strains, associated consistent incorrect postural positioning, and the associated compensatory pains that go with them.

The C-lever has only been used to tune grands - no uprights for me yet. It does not seem like the right design for uprights anyway.

I started learning to tune and pin-setting using a compact Schaff lever with Rosewood handle, then, at Bill Bremmer's suggestion after my first injury , I tried Joe Goss' ball hammer with great success.

The C-lever's allowed me to tune with a minimum of pain to the AC joint. Most of the work is done by moving my torso side to side with fine further movements coming from my arm, which is to my side. I can use either hand for rendering the lever and key striking, (although pin-setting is still easier with my dominant arm).

From the moment I tried the C-lever, I noticed there was virtually no flag-poling and I felt as though I was turning the pin squarely around its center. In fact, it seems the lever when used as it sits on the pin and the handle is grabbed towards the bottom as recommended, flag-poling seems non-existent to me. The pin just seems to turn - it provides its own feel and feedback, which is different from the feel and feedback that comes from the Schaff lever. Flag-poling as a technique in itself anyway is something my mentor suggested I use very sparingly, if at all.

The longer length of the C-lever makes it easier to turn stubborn pins, but one has to be careful to not get over confident and enthusiastic. Fine adjustments are easier with continued use. Pin setting for me with the C-lever is a bit different, since feedback feel is dissimilar to the trusty Schaff lever. I find I use less corrections with the C-lever - the pin seems to settle more quickly (if that's the right term for it).

Just like all tuning and muting techniques for temperaments and octaves vary from person to person (each has their comfortable favorites) with great results, so it is with being comfortable with lever techniques. Each person finds their comfort zone and a lever that works for their particular situation and preference.

The C-lever is helping me get back into the game.
Glen

_________________________


A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#2211900 - 01/10/14 12:37 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Popping this thread back up because I just received my Levitan Pro (C-lever).

May be the best grand lever I have now. Time will tell, I've only done one piano (mine), but just this afternoon it gave me superior results quickly, and particularly on a few unisons that have always given me trouble. Didn't feel like I had to "practice" with it, just felt very natural.

My first impression is that it separates the acts of turning and flagpoling. I tune with my Fujan with the lever to the right, perpendicular to the strings, so I can feel how the bearing points respond to flagpoling. But it's a tricky balance because the turning and flagpoling are happening at the same time with a traditional lever. It seems these concerns are separated with the Levitan lever, and I can feel and think about them one at a time, but in rapid succession. I don't know if it's actually doing what it claims, and was skeptical enough to post about it some time ago, but however it's doing it, it seems very effective. I feel like I'm in more control. I don't think it's all just because of the longer lever length.

How big a difference is this? Possibly as big a set of advantages for me as when I switched (for uprights) from a traditional lever to my upright Cyberhammer. That was big for ergonomics, but it took a lot of practice (months) to get back to the level of tuning quality I was used to. (And with the grand Cyberhammer, I spent a year working at it but finally gave up, sold it to buy this new one.) But so far, for me, this is very promising. Fast adaptation, better tuning quality, better ergonomics. A smaller win is that I always disliked having break stride in the high treble on grands, swap to a tip extender, dance around the prop stick, etc., and the Levitan seems to avoid that for at least many pianos. We'll see after I get more experience with it, but after one tuning I have no qualms about breaking it out right away for my customers :-)

So now I'm smooth pull on grands, and Cyberhammer impacting on verticals. And I have the Fujan as a backup, so yes, I'm carrying three levers.

(I don't think I have any conflicts of interest in this, I don't know Dan Levitan other than from his writings. But I'm grateful he has invested the time and energy designing this.)
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

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#2211983 - 01/10/14 05:34 AM Re: The Levitan C-shaped "Professional" tuning lever [Re: James Carney]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Scotland
I had a very brief try of the C Lever when Dan Levitan gave an education day at Steinway in London in October 2012. I was intrigued by the feel of it and I think whenever I'm feeling rich, I may well buy one!

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