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#2303921 - 07/19/14 02:31 AM Photos of Bridge - Added:Pitch Raise 1900 Ivers Pond Upright
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
I am not a Piano Technician, but I have read many of the topics on this forum regarding broken strings and pitch raising. Here is my situation followed by a question.

I own a 1907 Ivers Pond upright which I'm quite happy with. About a week ago I bought a 1900 Ivers Pond upright for parts. Once I got it home, I realized it is in rather nice condition. According to the owner, it has not been tuned in 30 years. It is in tune with itself, more or less, but a half step low.

Out of curiosity, I raised middle C to 261.6 Hz. Then I tried to raise the C below. Before I could raise it very far, a string broke. Bam. The seller was not happy, but I still brought her home. The middle C is holding nicely.

What I've gleamed from readings on this forum:

Put a bit of Protex on the tuning pins. Lower each string to knock off any rust, and then raise it up. Admittedly, I'm wary; I've very gingerly started to raise middle D and middle E, mostly there.

Here's the question. If I follow the procedure above, should I raise all the way or go in two or three steps over a few days? Or maybe go more aggressively and see if any more strings break?

The photo below shows where the string broke at the pin;I saved the broken string and suspect it can be spliced back on...

Thanks - Rick






Edited by musicNow (07/19/14 08:28 PM)
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Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2303964 - 07/19/14 09:03 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Ed A. Hall Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/01
Posts: 259
As far as string breakage is concerned, it won't make any difference whether you bring it up all the way or bring it up slowly in however many steps you like. Since one string already broke before reaching its intended pitch, it's highly likely many more will break. The strings are way past due for replacement.

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#2304020 - 07/19/14 01:29 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Thanks
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Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2304030 - 07/19/14 01:57 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 612
Loc: Seattle
If a string is fatigued to the breaking point it will do so. Attempting to raise the pitch slowly only delays the inevitable. Provided all else is in reasonable condition, a restoration (restringing, hammer, action) can turn these in to decent instruments.
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#2304073 - 07/19/14 03:35 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7537
Loc: France
Yes Protek on the tuning pins !

I would use oil it is more efficient wink

I suppose you mean something else (on bearing point , for instance)

The string that broke is one of the most solicited (stressed) string, no surprise.

DO it progressively but all along, not all 3 strings of each note

So the tension is put on progressively and spread, not localized.

or complete notes but tune all octaves all c, all G,,all F , etc


Edited by Olek (07/19/14 05:06 PM)
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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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#2304084 - 07/19/14 03:59 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 197
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
Turn the pin slightly counter clockwise before attempting to raise the pitch. If the piano has had full tension on it all these years, then the strings are definitely fatigued, but if the pitch has been 1/2 step low or more, the strings may have enough life left in them to hit A-440. Don't try to overpull higher than that though. I would pull all strings of each note to standard pitch, but spread out in octaves over the whole piano. Do the same note by note. The pitch will end up low, so do it all again. I use a different technique for second and third pass (or more.) Been doing it this way for 28 years.
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#2304135 - 07/19/14 05:55 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: musicNow
I am not a Piano Technician, but I have read many of the topics on this forum regarding broken strings and pitch raising. Here is my situation followed by a question.

I own a 1907 Ivers Pond upright which I'm quite happy with. About a week ago I bought a 1900 Ivers Pond upright for parts. Once I got it home, I realized it is in rather nice condition. According to the owner, it has not been tuned in 30 years. It is in tune with itself, more or less, but a half step low.

Out of curiosity, I raised middle C to 261.6 Hz. Then I tried to raise the C below. Before I could raise it very far, a string broke. Bam. The seller was not happy, but I still brought her home. The middle C is holding nicely.

What I've gleamed from readings on this forum:

Put a bit of Protex on the tuning pins. Lower each string to knock off any rust, and then raise it up. Admittedly, I'm wary; I've very gingerly started to raise middle D and middle E, mostly there.

Here's the question. If I follow the procedure above, should I raise all the way or go in two or three steps over a few days? Or maybe go more aggressively and see if any more strings break?

The photo below shows where the string broke at the pin;I saved the broken string and suspect it can be spliced back on...

Thanks - Rick


Hi Rick,

Before doing any pitch raises, always check the condition of the bridges first. If the wood in the caps is split or the bridge pins are loose and you see cracks you will only make matters worse, and you might be ruining the chance for a successful future epoxy repair with the strings temporarily removed. (Hint: I almost always decline the tuning on a piano with serious bridge problems.) How about posting some pics of the bridges?

Never apply Protek to the tuning pins! Did you mean the pins that are the upper termination points for the bass strings? If you did, it is true that many techs will apply Protek here, and on the V-bar of the plain wire strings, but I don't think it really helps. (I do think Protek applied to understring felt is an excellent idea, as there is a tremendous amount of friction here. Vacuum first, then brush on carefully.)

Always lower the pitch on rusty or tarnished wire to break any rust bonds - you don't need to go very far - usually just a few cents lower.

Through experience and experimentation I do believe that an impact method is better than a slow pull in terms of less wire breakage.

I perform 100-cent pitch raises all the time, and sometimes 200-300 cent corrections as well. If it's 100 cents or less, you can usually start at A0 and work chromatically up to C88. I never overpull old rusty strings - if it takes 3 passes so be it. Even a +4 cent overpull makes questionable strings more likely to pop. If it's 300 cents flat I would likely just raise the whole piano no more than 100 cents at a time, and do 4 passes or so.

I've done this hundreds of times and would say that the chance of string breakage is 20-30%. It's rare for me to break more than 1 or 2 wires on any piano that's even 200 cents flat.

You probably realized this already, but it's not a good idea to break strings on a piano you don't own, which means you probably shouldn't turn tuning pins unless you know how to replace wire expertly, and have discussed the risk of breakage with the client beforehand. And if you do want to turn some pins on a prospective piano, do so on high treble strings which are much easier to splice or replace than low tenor wires or bass strings. Lucky for you, that bass string does look like an easy splice for an experienced pro...

Have fun!
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www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2304185 - 07/19/14 07:59 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Yes James, there is one crack on the bridges, centered around middle C. Here are two photos, one shows the extent of the crack and the other shows one side of the crack where it meets the sound board.

It appears to me that the six pins that hold the three middle C strings just miss the crack. Perhaps not such a good thing in the long term?

The crack is also very "clean" and even, as if it were along a glue joint.



Where the crack meets the sound board:

_________________________
Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2304246 - 07/20/14 12:35 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21509
Loc: Oakland
That is a very bad crack. The pins will come loose, and the piano will not be tunable.
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Semipro Tech

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#2304284 - 07/20/14 05:50 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7537
Loc: France
Loose joint, do not tune.


How do you call that orange brass quality? It does not corrode much...

Put back that middle C to where it was or give slack the pins have yet cracked the wood.


Edited by Olek (07/20/14 06:00 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2304300 - 07/20/14 08:02 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2097
Loc: Maine
You've got a nice "parts" piano after all.
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#2304328 - 07/20/14 09:13 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
That's a complicated and involved repair to pull off successfully, and the wire is in really rough shape too. All the rust and the way that glue joint has come apart indicate that the piano has been exposed to severe extremes of humidity. So it's likely the soundboard, pinblock, and other parts have suffered too.

If you are incredibly ambitious, you have a huge project you can dive into, but even with careful work the piano might not sound that great when you're done. Then again, if that's the only bridge crack (or the worst one) who knows? We haven't seen the bass bridge, or pictures of the soundboard with the action removed. (Better to have a pro remove and replace the action, especially with broken bridle tapes.) Bring in an experienced tech who does at least minor rebuilding work to evaluate.
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http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2304342 - 07/20/14 10:50 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
I appreciate the many comments and collective wisdom. It is ultimately intended to be a parts piano. My own knowledge is limited to the few dozen old pianos I've looked at, my reading in the last year, my work on my other Ivers Pond and the two local piano techs/re-builders I have worked with. I will have one of them look at it soon.

I didn't include photos of the other parts of the bridge because there were no visible signs of cracking on them or the sound board (bridle straps are in good shape and not original). Based on information from the seller, the piano has been in one family since it was new and resided in two different homes, both in the town of Santa Cruz. I suspect the humidity was relatively constant over the piano's life. Perhaps the rust on the strings might be partially due to proximity to the Pacific ocean (2.2 miles) in addition to the piano's age. The pin block appears to be tight. The seller claimed the piano had been in the same spot for 30 years; luckily for the piano, a place where direct sunlight did not reach it, thus no discoloration or fading on the case.

Interesting to me is the fact that my other Ivers Pond upright which was manufactured about six years later has bridges made of 12-part lamination.

The width of the crack is a little less than 1/32" in the macro photo. Not sure if that changes anything. And while there are tiny cracks around the middle C pins, to the naked eye, the pins have not shifted their position.

Again all advice and observations greatly appreciated.

- Rick
_________________________
Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2304376 - 07/20/14 11:52 AM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7537
Loc: France
This is not a Crack, the 2 pieces did get unglued, the glue joint failed under stress.
_________________________
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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#2304810 - 07/21/14 12:00 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Olek has observed that the "2 pieces did get unglued, the glue joint failed under stress."

There is general consensus that the pins are going to move and the middle C will not be tunable.

I will remove the action and look even more closely at the rest of the bridge(s) to confirm my original observation that they are fully intact.

Given these six pins have not moved yet, even after I brought middle C up (not checking first to see that the broken glue joint runs right through the middle of those six pins), perhaps the right epoxy will stabilize the situation?



Thanks - Rick
_________________________
Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2304839 - 07/21/14 01:21 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7537
Loc: France
A piece ( added cap portion with "keys" ) to reinforce would be better, but you need in any case to have the basses off, the key bed also probably, and due to the aspect of the wire you can forget using them.

The hammers are also so much out of their original location I doubt you can make something with them.

So may be an opportunity to restoring the piano if he sound better than the other (no cracks, may be the soundboard is yet crowned and alive) .

bridge tops can be secured with Impregnation epoxy then closed with a thicker one. (new pins used) It is not ideal for tone but way less bad I thought.


May be some dowel should be added, laterally. But if a piece of bridge cap is added it may be enough.

Have a look, the strings may have a 0,5- to 1 degree angle from the bridge to the bearing point.
If that portion is opened it may have tilted, and your 1 degree lost (front down bearing)
When the pressure of the strings is applied at the back, the tone is never elegant.

All depend if your tooling, ability to work with wood, but you can replace a part of the bridge top. If the soundboard is good that can be quite a project.
Good to read you are in touch with piano technicians for those. That is really the best way to go with that sort of project.

Good luck.


Edited by Olek (07/21/14 01:23 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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#2304858 - 07/21/14 02:02 PM Re: Pitch Raise - 1900 Ivers Pond Upright [Re: musicNow]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Thanks Olek.


- Rick
_________________________
Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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