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#649799 - 03/10/02 02:00 PM tuning hammer head sizes.
firbdas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 3
Loc: Portugal
Hello, I'm trying to tune a piano, dow I'm just a beginner, and I recently bought a tuning hammer star headed, but the screws are square shaped. I thought that the screws heads were standard. Can any one tell me if the size of the square screw heads are standard and then I would jus have to buy a square headed hammer or if not how do I now, witch hammer to order. One last question: Can any one direct me to find were to order a bass string?
hoping for a reply.
Thank you.

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#649800 - 03/11/02 06:53 AM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
Hello Firbdas: Your new wrench even though it is (what we refer to as) an eight point socket, should fit the square pins. It is made this way to allow eight possible angles for you to easily adjust the pin. It looks different, but it should fit. Everything made in the last 100 years or so is a standard size. If not, you may have to talk to a local technician to see what you need to tune. For piano strings here in the states, I use Mapes Piano String Co. #1 Wire Mill Road P.O. Box 700 Elizabethton, Tennessee 37644. Telephone 423-543-3195 Fax 423-543-7738. You may have better and closer sources in Europe, again a technician can be of help. If you are near Lisbon, we visited your city a few years back..... Beautiful!! PNO2NER

#649801 - 03/13/02 10:41 AM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
firbdas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 3
Loc: Portugal
Thank you for your reply PNO2NER. My problem, is that my wrench does fit in the pin, but with some slack and when I turn it, the pin slips trough inside the socket, and already damaged a little bit the socket teeth. It seems to me that either, my wrench is of low quality or the pins, as they are old, lost a slight bit of size or surface and became a little bit smaller? So is there a solution in the form of a better or more convenient hammer?
About the bass string, to order, I heard that I would have to send the broken string so that they reproduce it. But I lost it. Is this true? Or I just have to specify the tone?

P.S.- I live in Lisbon, right in down town, thanks for the complement. I would be happy to send you some pictures if you would like.

Hoping for a reply.

#649802 - 03/13/02 01:10 PM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
HI, perhaps you could give the make of your piano. Maybe, if it is something like an old Collard & Collard they had oblong pins, which a modern day tuning hammer/lever/wrench/crank will not fit.

I would assume there is a bass string maker in your country, phone a local tuner and ask where they are made!
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa


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#649803 - 03/13/02 07:34 PM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
Are the tuning pins square? If so, there are several different sizes of sockets for tuning wrenches depending on the size of the pin. Possibly your socket on the end of the wrench is too big for the pins. #1 is the smallest, I think they go up to #4. If the pins are oval or oblong shaped as Brian suggests, sockets are available to fit those also. If you don't have an old string to match, you can use a universal type string and hope the tone is correct, measure the strings on either side of the missing one and send those measurements to a string company, or possibly they will have the scale design on file and can make a string just from the make of the piano and location of the string. Brian is also correct, there must be a European string maker nearby. Check around. PNO2NER

#649804 - 03/15/02 07:51 AM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
firbdas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 3
Loc: Portugal
Hi and thanks again for the replies.
My piano is a GAVEAU, a vertical piano and French made. I donít know his age but it must have more than 20 years at least.
The tuning pins are square shaped cross section, I believe they look pretty much like the modern pins employed in brand new pianos.
I spoke with a toner who gave me a other hammer witch curiously, having a socket mouth a little bit wider than the previous one, did actually work, dow with a bit of slack but Iíve been told that it is normal. I think now that the previous hammer was of low quality type since its teeth run out inside, and the inner inside of the socket became round.
Iím a little bit worried because one of the tuning pins got a bit worn-out, and I canīt tune it even with this last wrench. Is this comum to happen? And does it get solved with a smaller socket maybe #1? In case the pin becames totally inoperative can I change it with another one? By the way can anyone explain me how exactly is the pin shaped, is it like a screw? One other thing, there is a fault in the wood, linking 2 or 3 pinís that hold bass strings, is this a reason to worry?
I still have no contact of a piano wire company in Europe. Iím sure that there is no one in Portugal. But I will check that later, anyway can I use the twin bass string of the one that was broken and lost, and take it out of the piano and send it to the wire company?

P.S.- I started to tune, and with some success although Iím just a beginner and with no school in tuning. At least I can now play a little more comfortable with the sound. Iíve been told that a piano witch isnít toned for a long time, shouldnít be toned to right pitch, but gradually in time. Is this very important?

#649805 - 03/15/02 07:25 PM Re: tuning hammer head sizes.
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
Hi Firbdas: Lots of questions to answer. I'm not familiar with the Gaveau piano, and I don't have a good answer to your tuning pin and wrench problem. There must be other pianos like yours, and they are getting tuned somehow. The end of the pin that goes into the piano has very fine shallow threads which grip the wood of the pin block or wrest plank as the British call it. You may have to replace pins that are rounded and not able to be adjusted. I'm not clear on your problem with the wood involving 2-3 pins, can you explain further? You are embarking on a difficult type of work without someone to help alongside. Piano tuning and repair is much easier and faster (not to mention correct technique) by having a mentor or teacher who can guide your progress. Think about working with an experienced person, or in a shop doing entry level work just to gain basic knowledge. In answer to your last question about raising the pitch of an out-of-tune piano, there are two methods used. The first, as you indicated is to raise the pitch in gradual steps over time. The thinking here is that there will be less string breakage and its easier on the piano. The second is to tighten the strings up to the proper pitch in one operation, thereby speeding up the process of bringing the piano in tune. Personally, I have found no difference in either, except the time involved in the first method may take months or years. Hope this helps, PNO2NER.


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