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#610622 - 01/16/09 03:17 PM Cold in the church!
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Chicagoland
Many churches reduce the temp. during the week to save on energy costs.... this one was the coldest yet!

54 degrees F. and 14% humidity in the back for the Steinway upright, 58 degrees and 15% humidity in the front for the Conover grand.

Good thing I had my long-johns on!

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

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#610623 - 01/16/09 04:55 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Jeff A. Smith, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Angola, Indiana USA
Once I became violently ill after tuning in a cold church. After that, I don't put up with it. Maybe now and then I'll tolerate 60 degrees, with warm clothing, but only if it's too much hassle to get the heat on. Usually I appeal to whoever's in charge, saying the piano should be tuned as close as possible to the temperature it'll be used at, explaining why.

Jeff
_________________________
Jeff A. Smith
Registered Piano Technician
Indiana, USA

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#610624 - 01/16/09 04:56 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Sometimes, sitting in the cold, I consider bringing along a little space heater to blow warm in my direction the next time...
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#610625 - 01/16/09 05:00 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Jeff A. Smith, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Angola, Indiana USA
I've done that, or had one provided for me, but if you do it wrong the space heater will knock the tuning right out as you're working. Frustrating.

Jeff
_________________________
Jeff A. Smith
Registered Piano Technician
Indiana, USA

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#610626 - 01/16/09 05:27 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I have churches as low as 50 degree's. One time it was 48. Today was 60. Yes, back to work again finally!

I've been telling them to make it at least 60 in there. Even that is cold!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#610627 - 01/16/09 05:52 PM Re: Cold in the church!
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
silk long underwear

try Sierra trading post
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#610628 - 01/16/09 05:53 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
Frozen my keester in many a church. Done tunings in hat, coat and gloves. All in a days work.

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#610629 - 01/16/09 06:03 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Wayne Gregory Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/03
Posts: 33
Loc: Angier,NC
Several years back, I went into a large church in Raleigh, NC to tune a sanctuary grand. After a few minutes in a very brisk environment, I noticed an extremely cold breeze blowing across the piano. I pulled my coat together and kept working. It got colder and colder.
Finally, I went to the secretary in another building and asked if she could turn on a little heat.
She replied, "The computer-controlled system is broken and stuck on A/C. I have no control over it!"
With my usual tuning fee + a nice shiver factor fee, they won't forget me---and I surely won't FORGET THEM.
Wayne Gregory, Angier,NC

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#610630 - 01/16/09 06:31 PM Re: Cold in the church!
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
One handy suggestion is to try to schedule a piano tuning immediately following the organ tuning (assuming it is a pipe organ \:\) ).

If the sanctuary is not within a few degrees of Sunday morning temperature when the organ tuners arrive, they will leave (and will likely bill for the trip). It doesn't take long for churches to learn that the heat MUST be on!

Since it takes organ chambers so long to come up to temperature, the heat needs to be on for about three hours prior to an organ tuning; by the time the organ tuners leave it should be at a very comfortable temperature throughout the sanctuary.

The only drawback is if the organ tuning takes all day, you'll be there rather late.
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#610631 - 01/16/09 07:32 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3876
The last time the NAMM show was in Chicago, it was 10 below zero. It was so cold in there we were tuning with coats gloves and hats on. They had the dock doors open to unload trucks and the wind blew right in. That show is probably why a winter Namm show has never been to Chicago since.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#610632 - 01/16/09 10:49 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
I have always thought you had to tune a piano at the temperature it is played at. Just like using your tuning fork.

So as the church warms up, how flat does it go on the longer strings as compared to the shorter ones? How flat does a piano go with a 15* temperature change?

I won't tune the piano unless they do the routine they use on Sunday morning and then I add 2 degrees to the thermostat for the body heat factor. That's the only way it can be played with the organ.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#610633 - 01/17/09 02:03 AM Re: Cold in the church!
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1065
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
The last time the NAMM show was in Chicago, it was 10 below zero. It was so cold in there we were tuning with coats gloves and hats on. They had the dock doors open to unload trucks and the wind blew right in. That show is probably why a winter Namm show has never been to Chicago since. [/b]
I believe it had more to do with complaints from the exhibitors about union strong-arm tactics than the weather. It got very expensive having to have a union member unplug the lights and move the furniture around. But it was cold. Brrrrr...
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#610634 - 01/17/09 06:34 AM Re: Cold in the church!
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2143
Loc: Maine
All in a day's work. Church music folks give a lot of references, so I try to "Git er Done".
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#610635 - 01/17/09 06:41 AM Re: Cold in the church!
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Amen to that, brother! \:\)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#610636 - 01/17/09 10:32 AM Re: Cold in the church!
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Chicagoland
I left a note with the music contact that it may be better to tune after chuch when the building is warm if they are going to let the temperature drop that much during the week. It had never been that cold before... He knows and understands, we just deal with it the best we can.

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

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#610637 - 01/17/09 11:05 AM Re: Cold in the church!
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3272
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Cold churches are the only place I am comfortable all year! I wear a short sleeve shirt with no undershirt all year long because most people have their homes heated too much for me while I work. I wear shorts and sandals in warm weather.

I have one of those coats that is actually one coat inside another. If it is cold in the church when I get there, I leave the inner coat on while I open up the piano, insert the mutes, etc. but after a few minutes tuning, I have to remove it. My tuning habits might be described as "high powered". I keep moving, full steam ahead and it generates a lot of body heat.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#610638 - 01/17/09 11:17 AM Re: Cold in the church!
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Most churches cannot afford to heat that large sanctuary 7 days a week. The extra cost would easily contribute thousands to their annual heating bill. It's cheaper to tune the piano an extra 3 times or so by a long shot and good for us too.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#610639 - 01/17/09 07:17 PM Re: Cold in the church!
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Boston, MA
This afternoon I tuned a new Chinese grand in a cold auditorium (54-58 F, yes, it rose slightly during the tuning) for a concert this evening. The impresario refused to turn on the heat on the grounds that it would be very expensive to do so. The concert is starting in 15 minutes -- I think the piano will be more in tune than it would have been if I hadn't been there, but I'm not sure. Uncomfortable situation in many ways.
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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#610640 - 01/17/09 07:42 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3876
I found that unheated churches had higher ambient humidity, so the piano didn't drop in pitch as much in the winter. I kept my workshop at about 55 degrees in winter unless I was working in it. That kept the ambient humidity at about 25%
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#610641 - 01/17/09 09:25 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Hey Dorrie. I think I would like to hear for myself what it sounds like. In your instance where you are tuning for a one time only thing, You give it your best shot to make an improvement. In a Church, you are tuning for the whole year. It is worth the extra expense and a little extra time.

If you have a chance to hear what it sounds like, the guesses you make would get better.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#610642 - 01/17/09 11:02 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
Bob that is THE secret why church pianos stay at all in the winter. Low temp, higher humidity. Tough working conditions sometimes but it work out.

Bill I too wear short sleeve year round. Can't work in long sleeves. Also as soon as the outside temps get anywhere near 60 it's shorts till the snow flies again.

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#610643 - 01/18/09 02:13 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3272
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I tune all of the pianos at the Frank Lloyd Wright estate near here. They all leave in October and go to Arizona. The buildings aren't heated during the winter, so the pianos go as cold as the buildings get which is below 0ºF. However, when I return in June to tune them, they are always right at A-440.

One grey market Yamaha they have in a chapel always gets all stuck with verdigris. I found that cutting the Protech 50-50 with pure acetone really cuts the muck and makes the piano play well all season.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#610644 - 01/18/09 04:07 PM Re: Cold in the church!
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Boston, MA
Hi, Keith --
Thanks for your comments. I hope to hear more from the pianist, who hired me herself (she's a longtime customer) after vainly trying to get the theater to tune the piano. During the tuning, I kept thinking, would the strings render better if the hall were twenty degrees warmer? It was one of those little Chinese grands with a sudden string rise to get from the agraffe to the pins, not to mention a tight block. Bringing strings up to pitch was hard, lowering pitch from above was hopeless. I can't imagine that string flexibility is that dependent on temperature, but I did wonder.
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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#610645 - 01/19/09 07:56 AM Re: Cold in the church!
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
When you think about it, if a building in not heated, the temperature changes more and the humidity less. I think the swings in humidity do more damage than the swings in temperature. As far as changing the tuning, I suppose that depends on how "hydroscopic" the sound board is.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#610646 - 01/19/09 09:18 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Mocheol Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 527
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
UnrightTooner.
I think you may mean hygroscopic.

Im not aware of any measuring device to assess how "hygroscopic" a soundboard is.

[moisture meters only measure moisture content they dont asess the hygroscopic nature of the material itself]

I think the only way that the hygroscopic nature of soundboard could be assessed would be in relation to notional external prevailing air conditions plus some idea of timber density and species.
Even then its accuracy would be questionable given the non-homogenic nature of timber.

If you know of some device or methods for assessing the hygroscopic qualities of timber I would be extremely interested to know.

Thank you
_________________________
vcz

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#610647 - 01/19/09 10:31 PM Re: Cold in the church!
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mocheol:
UnrightTooner.
If you know of some device or methods for assessing the hygroscopic qualities of timber I would be extremely interested to know.

Thank you [/b]
I don't even know the definition of hydroscopic.

But measuring the moisture content of wood is dead simple. You just touch it with a moisture meter, it measures the electrical conductivity and gives you a read out in percentage moisture. We used them all the time when I worked for the paper industry.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#610648 - 01/20/09 07:39 AM Re: Cold in the church!
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4949
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Yes, I meant hygroscopic. I have forgotten how many times I have corrected other Deck Officers on this. \:o

Just measuring the moisture content will not tell you how much moisture a material may absorb. Or how much a soundboard's crown, and therefore the piano’s pitch, will change.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#610649 - 01/20/09 03:24 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Mocheol Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 527
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
In the absence then of precision instrumentation to assess soundboard or other piano timbers does the whole thing then not boil down to a question of individual judgement based on experience and perhaps some moisture readings.?
_________________________
vcz

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#610650 - 01/20/09 05:39 PM Re: Cold in the church!
Josef Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 190
Every year the Sunday of or before Christmas I get up at three thirty in the morning and visit several churchs to do Harpsichords that are loaned or rented for cantatas or Handel's Massiah. The only way to survive is to demand the church turn on the heat over night and a fresh tuning in the wee hours of the morning. Never had a complaint about a harpsichord not staying in tune for the full show.

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#610651 - 01/21/09 06:42 PM Re: Cold in the church!
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Boston, MA
Good news to report -- the pianist for the concert on Jan. 17 that I wrote about above called to say that the piano was most satisfactory and the concert went very well. I am relieved. Thanks for the support I got here.

(I think that my phone messages to the pianist before and after the tuning, so that she would know I had arrived and then know that the piano had been tuned, didn't hurt. A less anxious customer is a happier customer.)
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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