The Shout!House

Posted by: OperaTenor

The Shout!House - 03/31/12 01:38 AM

I have one tuning gig that is on the unique side, I believe. In downtown San Diego, there is a dueling piano bar called the Shout!House. There are four of these clubs across the country, from what I understand, and they are committed to sticking with acoustic pianos.

The club here has two 9 year-old Kohler & Campbell 6 foot grands that get played an average of six hours a night, seven nights a week, from the time they were new. Almost all of the players are roadhouse players, and they have some novel ways of abusing the pianos: they slam the fallboards up(they removed the bumpers for this) as a means of getting the crowd clapping; three or four times a night, several of the wait staff climb up on the lids and dance; and, a couple of times a night, all four of the pianists on shift climb on the lids and beat on the edges with drumsticks and jump up and down on them in rhythm(imagine two 200lb guys jumping up and down on the lid of a grand). Between sheer metal fatigue and the players playing *hard* on these pianos, they break an average of four strings a week. Here's a photo of a typical night at the club:



And here's what I do *every* Thursday:



(That's my 36 year-old Hale extension hammer, BTW)

So yeah, I tune them and replace broken strings *weekly*, and they pay me well: I make $12K a year, just from that job.

I love it.

Does anyone else here have a gig like that? I'm curious.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 01:48 AM

The downstage edges of the lids look like someone went along them with a chainsaw and chewed them up, so now they're edged with black duct tape.

The bichord and trichord wedge dampers have deep grooves worn in the outer sides where they rest on the outer unison strings, and will need to be replaced very soon; they don't dampen very well anymore.

One of the owners took care of the pianos for the first seven years, until he got burned out on it, then they hired me. He routinely reshaped the hammers, but had no formal training in it. Needless to say, the hammers now have a somewhat triangular profile and an almost flat striking point. If they don;t decide to retire these pianos in the near future, I'll be hanging new hammers soon. Thinking of going with complete assemblies to lessen the down time for replacement.

One bit of accidental luck they had in buying these particular pianos is that all of the plain wire strings are single-strung. When they pop a string, they only lose one instead of two. It makes string replacement a relative pain - they're not only looped, but double-looped at the hitch pins.

I think I'm the only one involved who thinks about this, but I worry that one of these days the legs are going to blow out from under one of the pianos while they're dancing or jumping up and down on them.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 07:56 AM

Ok, that's abuse. Sorry, it's not a respectful way to treat an instrument!
Posted by: rbstewert

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 11:24 AM

Opera, wow, great pics! What a story.

Is there such a thing an "industrial" quality made piano, one made specifically for taking more abuse? If not, what brand(s) is particularly "tough?"
Posted by: Supply

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
...
One bit of accidental luck they had in buying these particular pianos is that all of the plain wire strings are single-strung. When they pop a string, they only lose one instead of two. It makes string replacement a relative pain - they're not only looped, but double-looped at the hitch pins..

I think this is perfect. As you are regularly replacing 4 strings every week, in your situation, I would come prepared. I would have a bundle of strings along, of all the gauges that break. They would be cut to approximate length in the shop, with pre-made double loops. Then, in the club, simply slap them on.


Interesting gig, to be sure.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Ok, that's abuse. Sorry, it's not a respectful way to treat an instrument!


I have to say, I was appalled when I first started doing this, but not so much anymore. Yes, it's rough on the pianos. OTOH, there are ~500 people, *every* night who pay a cover just because there are REAL pianos being played here, so I see it as a net positive for promoting pianos.

The owners paid $6K apiece for these pianos 9 years ago. I think they've held up really well in spite of the abuse.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:14 PM

Originally Posted By: rbstewert
Opera, wow, great pics! What a story.

Is there such a thing an "industrial" quality made piano, one made specifically for taking more abuse? If not, what brand(s) is particularly "tough?"


To my knowledge, nothing exists that was made for this kind of treatment.

But, we're trying to plan for the day these pianos are retired, and I've been talking to a respected dealer/manufacturer who is working on customizing a couple of their instruments for this application, the primary modification being making custom lids out of Corian or some other type of countertop material, with reinforcements built in from the factory.

Out of the four clubs, the pianos here in San Diego have lasted the longest, and, FWIW, the owners believe it's because of the care I give them.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
...
One bit of accidental luck they had in buying these particular pianos is that all of the plain wire strings are single-strung. When they pop a string, they only lose one instead of two. It makes string replacement a relative pain - they're not only looped, but double-looped at the hitch pins..

I think this is perfect. As you are regularly replacing 4 strings every week, in your situation, I would come prepared. I would have a bundle of strings along, of all the gauges that break. They would be cut to approximate length in the shop, with pre-made double loops. Then, in the club, simply slap them on.


Interesting gig, to be sure.


Thanks!

I mounted one of those bench-mount loop making machines from Schaff(haven't found anything better yet, and I'm certainly open to suggestions) on the lid of my repair box, so I can make them on the spot, but I just might try your suggestion. the strings most likely to break are in the 14-1/2 to 15-1/2 gauges, so it's not like I'd have to keep a huge selection pre-looped, and it is a real time-sucker to make them at the job.
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:29 PM

You can make loops in just a few seconds with easily carried tools. You need a piece of doweling with a hole through the middle and a screw near the hole. Here is a photo:

You run the wire through a hole in the dowel. You make a loop with the round-nosed pliers. Loop it as many times as you need. Tuck the tail under the screw head next to the hole, and twist the dowel to wrap the tail around the wire.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:37 PM

BDB, you're the second person to tell me about that one. I didn't think it would work with the double loop, but if you say it does, then I'll give it a try. Thanks!

I assume it takes a long tail to keep it from popping out from under the screw?
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:40 PM

There used to be a great night club in Kansas City I would go to late at night during PTG conferences that
was set up like this.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself as did the patrons.
I wish we had one in my neighborhood!!!!!
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:45 PM

It takes a tail long enough to wrap around as much as many turns as you need. An inch and a half is usually enough. You can always trim it afterwards. Practice will give you a feeling for it.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/31/12 03:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
There used to be a great night club in Kansas City I would go to late at night during PTG conferences that
was set up like this.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself as did the patrons.
I wish we had one in my neighborhood!!!!!


People do have a great time there. I also sing whenever I'm there - they like my rendition of Minne The Moocher. :woot:

Rod, if you're ever in Sandy Eggo, we'll go.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 01:32 AM

We're beginning to think it's getting to be time to retire these pianos. The stage right piano is starting to have some rather unique issues. It's breaking more strings than the stage left piano, and now the action has become comparatively sluggish. IMO, the repetition lever springs have fatigued, causing the action to feel heavier and respond slowly. I've pulled wippens out from various places, and the wippens from rarely used notes(A0, C88, etc.) still feel taut, while other notes(G2, used all the time, for instance), feels loose and the lever rebounds weakly by comparison.

Also, the wedge damper felts have deep ridges worn in the sides of them where they rest on the strings, and are also now failing.

These issues, plus impending hammer replacement, are seemingly more than the owners want to sink into these pianos at this age and wear.

One of the owners sees this as a sign of the impending end of the pianos, and has put the word out he wants to replace them.

I have a pretty special deal lined up for them, but I don't want to divulge specifics until it goes through.

This will be one of those times where the old pianos will be unmitigated, unsalvageable junk. Nothing to even cannibalize.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 07:02 AM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
...
One bit of accidental luck they had in buying these particular pianos is that all of the plain wire strings are single-strung. When they pop a string, they only lose one instead of two. It makes string replacement a relative pain - they're not only looped, but double-looped at the hitch pins..

I think this is perfect. As you are regularly replacing 4 strings every week, in your situation, I would come prepared. I would have a bundle of strings along, of all the gauges that break. They would be cut to approximate length in the shop, with pre-made double loops. Then, in the club, simply slap them on.



Interesting gig, to be sure.


Thanks!

I mounted one of those bench-mount loop making machines from Schaff(haven't found anything better yet, and I'm certainly open to suggestions) on the lid of my repair box, so I can make them on the spot, but I just might try your suggestion. the strings most likely to break are in the 14-1/2 to 15-1/2 gauges, so it's not like I'd have to keep a huge selection pre-looped, and it is a real time-sucker to make them at the job.


SIngle or double loops can be simply made with pliers , use gloves if it hurts, or make them at home with ahook as Jurgen propose.

Interesting concept, the industrial piano bar : the pianist are paid by the song or do they have a real pay.

I see toons of food, a lot of alcohol, a lot of people singing and having fun but not much dancing/moving. I thought that Rock and Roll was a dance initially ... In most dancing place I've seen (with some time real bands) no one is drinking and the food is there to restore energy.

I believe the fun is as good ! aside, if the people where drinking they could not dance for long, and they stay on their feet from 9:00 PM to 2:AM !


Posted by: Ryan Hassell

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 08:35 AM

While not a piano bar, I have a local church that has a Samick Grand that has been played hard and put away wet...as the saying goes. A previous tech (who didn't know what they were doing), when a bass string would break would just put in whatever random string was laying around. Needless to say the unisons were TERRIBLE in the bass. After getting frustrated with the previous tech, the church called me in. When I first saw the piano, it was one of those cases that was so overwhelming because of all that was wrong with it, that I didn't know where to start. I thought about replacing the worst offending strings in the bass, but because it had been so messed up from the other tech, I could not even figure out which string was an original and which had been replaced. In the end, we just restrung the entire bass section. Thank goodness I was just able to give the model number to Mapes, and they sent me a whole new set!! The hammers were so worn that they were flat. I reshaped the hammers and voiced them down. Those new strings have lasted about a year, and on my last visit, found two newly broken ones. I usually am called to tune the piano about every 3-4 months. Once we even made it to the 5 month mark. Compared to what it started as, the pianists at the church are MUCH happier with how the piano sounds now.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 09:25 AM


"While not a piano bar, I have a local church that..."

Sorry, but when I read that lead in statement, I just couldn't stop laughing. The first thing that popped into my mind was 'what is the proof of the communion wine?'

laugh ha thumb
Posted by: Eric Gloo

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 11:50 AM

This is SO cool! Can't believe I missed this thread when you first posted it. I'm assuming the lids are always kept closed when the pianos are being used? When you tune them, are they always about the same...or are some weeks worse than others?
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 12:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
SIngle or double loops can be simply made with pliers , use gloves if it hurts, or make them at home with ahook as Jurgen propose.


The dowel tool that I posted about saves your hands, saves excess wire, and can be easily carried in one's tool bag, so there is no need for a trip to the shop. This topic was revived because OperaTenor tried it and liked it. You should try it, too.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 12:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
This is SO cool! Can't believe I missed this thread when you first posted it. I'm assuming the lids are always kept closed when the pianos are being used? When you tune them, are they always about the same...or are some weeks worse than others?


Yes, the lids are always down. They have bar pickups over and under the strings and pump them through the P/A.

The condition varies widely from week to week, and as far as i can tell, it depends on who's playing that week. they have nine pianists on the roster, and only one is classically-trained. When I first met him, three of his fingertips were bandaged from playing so much.

I've had runs of several weeks with no broken strings, and I've had as many as nine break in a week.

I can't get in any earlier than 10am(that's the earliest any of the managers get in), and I have to be gone by 2pm during the school year to pick up my daughter from school, so when there are a lot of broken strings, it can get a little tense. And let's not even talk about stability. I can always tell which strings I replaced in how many previous weeks by how far they've fallen.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 12:51 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Kamin
SIngle or double loops can be simply made with pliers , use gloves if it hurts, or make them at home with ahook as Jurgen propose.


The dowel tool that I posted about saves your hands, saves excess wire, and can be easily carried in one's tool bag, so there is no need for a trip to the shop. This topic was revived because OperaTenor tried it and liked it. You should try it, too.


I LOVE it!

(And don't let it get to your head, BDB...)
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 12:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
...
One bit of accidental luck they had in buying these particular pianos is that all of the plain wire strings are single-strung. When they pop a string, they only lose one instead of two. It makes string replacement a relative pain - they're not only looped, but double-looped at the hitch pins..

I think this is perfect. As you are regularly replacing 4 strings every week, in your situation, I would come prepared. I would have a bundle of strings along, of all the gauges that break. They would be cut to approximate length in the shop, with pre-made double loops. Then, in the club, simply slap them on.



Interesting gig, to be sure.


Thanks!

I mounted one of those bench-mount loop making machines from Schaff(haven't found anything better yet, and I'm certainly open to suggestions) on the lid of my repair box, so I can make them on the spot, but I just might try your suggestion. the strings most likely to break are in the 14-1/2 to 15-1/2 gauges, so it's not like I'd have to keep a huge selection pre-looped, and it is a real time-sucker to make them at the job.


SIngle or double loops can be simply made with pliers , use gloves if it hurts, or make them at home with ahook as Jurgen propose.

Interesting concept, the industrial piano bar : the pianist are paid by the song or do they have a real pay.

I see toons of food, a lot of alcohol, a lot of people singing and having fun but not much dancing/moving. I thought that Rock and Roll was a dance initially ... In most dancing place I've seen (with some time real bands) no one is drinking and the food is there to restore energy.

I believe the fun is as good ! aside, if the people where drinking they could not dance for long, and they stay on their feet from 9:00 PM to 2:AM !




Yes, the only dancing that occurs is up on the stage, and on the lids of the pianos. Everyone in the audience is there to eat, drink, and watch the spectacle.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 01:00 PM

I. Did the design is well known . I like the hook, the best, and pliers aallow to match the original one better. But indeed it is a good simple gig, does not avoid the necessity to learn to make things in different ways. To me the less tools the best i feel.

It is easy with a hook and the winding is tight, the round pliers allow for different diameters, indeed for thick wire it is hard but for the ones that break it is ok.

That said, and due how the pianist play in that club, strings should not break so often. To me they dont brutalize the pianos it is only show, they are pro piaists ( some should refrain singing when they are drunk !! )
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 01:11 PM

Now it is certainly late fot the wire,but i suggest that if the piano provide more dynamics, the pianist will play less hard. The unison also can help.

Those pianos are miked. A llttle maintenance. Would protec strings.

I haqd 28 pianos for 4 years in a 2500 students music school.with One sttriing break only .
Posted by: malkin

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Ok, that's abuse. Sorry, it's not a respectful way to treat an instrument!


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_destruction
Posted by: Zeno Wood

Re: The Shout!House - 05/27/12 08:02 PM

Nice gig! Looks like everyone is having a blast!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 02:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
Now it is certainly late fot the wire,but i suggest that if the piano provide more dynamics, the pianist will play less hard. The unison also can help.

Those pianos are miked. A llttle maintenance. Would protec strings.

I haqd 28 pianos for 4 years in a 2500 students music school.with One sttriing break only .


I think there are some worthwhile distinctions between these pianos and your music school pianos. First, these pianos are a little over ten years old, and they've been play almost every day of those ten years, 5-6 hours a day. As such, my opinion is that the strings are in the advanced stages of metal fatigue. Second, the players are gorillas, unlike your music school students. Even the one classically-trained pianist has to bandage his fingers from pounding. Keep in mind, these players also DRINK on the job, and sometimes they get pretty hammered, which also doesn't add any finesse to their technique. wink

What kind of maintenance do you suggest to protect the strings? Both pianos were fully regulated a little over a year ago, and there was never a drop in string breakage. The closest thing to a pattern of string breakage seems to correspond *slightly* with who's playing that week. I.e., if a certain player goes on vacation, I may experience less breakage. The prevalent attitude in the club is that breaking strings just goes with the territory.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 02:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Zeno Wood
Nice gig! Looks like everyone is having a blast!


They do indeed have a blast. It's a great atmosphere.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 02:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
That said, and due how the pianist play in that club, strings should not break so often. To me they dont brutalize the pianos it is only show, they are pro piaists ( some should refrain singing when they are drunk !! )


Ah, but they do brutalize the pianos -they make a point of it, for show. It drives the crowd wild when the four 200lb pianists climb up on the pianos, jump up and down on the lids, and beat the edge of the lids with drumsticks. they slam the fallboards up to induce the crowd to clap along with a song. Several times each night, some employees will climb on and dance on the lids, as in the photo in the original post.

The downstage edge of both lids is covered with black duct tape to hide the chewed-up edge from beating on them with drumsticks over the years.
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 03:19 AM

If they make enough money from the pianos to replace them when they need to, the pianos have done their job, which is, after all, to entertain people.

I hope they reinforce the lids for that sort of use, especially if they are particle board. If they break with someone on them, it could cause injury.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 11:41 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
If they make enough money from the pianos to replace them when they need to, the pianos have done their job, which is, after all, to entertain people.

I hope they reinforce the lids for that sort of use, especially if they are particle board. If they break with someone on them, it could cause injury.


Yep. These pianos are used as tools in the business. Like any other often used tool, they will be used up prematurely.

I would agree with the safety issue. Big liability if someone goes through and then through the sounding board…..
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 12:38 PM

Especially if someone gets sliced up like with a cheese cutter!
Posted by: TunerJeff

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 01:22 PM

The only option would seem to be living with it...given the extreme use these pianos are getting.

But...if there is a rebuilder in the area who specializes in rescaling, you might try lowering the tension on the instruments, and get away from the breaking strain on the strings a bit.

I had an extreme breakage problem with one artist, all bass strings, and discussed this with JDGrandt in Canada. They suggested a rescaled bass. They moved the tension down, and the diameter of the core wire up, with a lighter wrap. No more broken strings.

A similiar approach to the plain wire might help. There is a balance between weight/size/tension in every scale, but maybe you can reduce your breakage by rescaling the pianos.

Worth a thought, anyhoo!
Posted by: Supply

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 01:25 PM

Now THAT might really break some strings!
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: The Shout!House - 05/28/12 08:45 PM

Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
But...if there is a rebuilder in the area who specializes in rescaling, you might try lowering the tension on the instruments, and get away from the breaking strain on the strings a bit.

I had an extreme breakage problem with one artist, all bass strings, and discussed this with JDGrandt in Canada. They suggested a rescaled bass. They moved the tension down, and the diameter of the core wire up, with a lighter wrap. No more broken strings.

A similiar approach to the plain wire might help. There is a balance between weight/size/tension in every scale, but maybe you can reduce your breakage by rescaling the pianos.

Worth a thought, anyhoo!


Contrary to popular opinion, reducing tension -- if done by reducing the wire size-- will not reduce the % breaking point of the string. In other words if a #22 string is at 75% breaking point, then changing it to a #18 string will result in no change in the breaking point, although there will be less tension on the system and the soundboard may be freer to vibrate (or may not, depending). You can only reduce breaking percentage for a given note by changing the speaking length.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/29/12 05:53 AM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
But...if there is a rebuilder in the area who specializes in rescaling, you might try lowering the tension on the instruments, and get away from the breaking strain on the strings a bit.

I had an extreme breakage problem with one artist, all bass strings, and discussed this with JDGrandt in Canada. They suggested a rescaled bass. They moved the tension down, and the diameter of the core wire up, with a lighter wrap. No more broken strings.

A similiar approach to the plain wire might help. There is a balance between weight/size/tension in every scale, but maybe you can reduce your breakage by rescaling the pianos.

Worth a thought, anyhoo!


Contrary to popular opinion, reducing tension -- if done by reducing the wire size-- will not reduce the % breaking point of the string. In other words if a #22 string is at 75% breaking point, then changing it to a #18 string will result in no change in the breaking point, although there will be less tension on the system and the soundboard may be freer to vibrate (or may not, depending). You can only reduce breaking percentage for a given note by changing the speaking length.


I dont agree, it reduce, not in a very significant way (about 1 to 3%) also the tensile strenght of thinner wire is higher (due to more annealing ?) .
Why would thinner wire tend to break more ? may be only because the pianist would play stronger to have more tone probably (while the thinner wire gives less)

I agree that some of the pianists may be hard on the pianos, and try to break strings, but not all, then if the hammers are accepting hard impacts and the tone is thickened, strings are less prone to break.
As the pianos are miked it is always possible to push the top of the spectra.

Indeed not the same than a music school ! (but dancing on the lids does not break strings usually !)

In Jazz clubs here some tuners keep the pianos in shape well, others tend to break strings, the musicians are the same in all clubs, so this may be related to the way the piano is maintained in shape. (also the design of the piano will be helping or working against you)

Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: The Shout!House - 05/29/12 09:48 AM



Under section 3 on size strength.

Maximum Tensile Strength
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/29/12 05:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos


Under section 3 on size strength.

Maximum Tensile Strength


Merci ! that is interesting..
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/30/12 01:33 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I hope they reinforce the lids for that sort of use, especially if they are particle board. If they break with someone on them, it could cause injury.


If you look at the second photo in the OP, there are 1X4's screwed into the underside of each lid. Even so, the lids(laminated, not particle board) nevertheless flex so much the lid hinge screw holes get hogged out on a regular basis. In less than two years, I've shimmed those holes three times.

What surprises me is that the legs haven't blown out from under them.
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 05/30/12 01:37 AM

The legs are strong enough, as long as they are on tight.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/30/12 01:38 AM

Imagine they put the piano on those 3 wheels dollies you are so much using !!!! NOw that would be fun !

About liability, I suggest the people who pass a night there and have a BIG headache on the next day ! now that is sort of a concern !

Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/30/12 04:10 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
The legs are strong enough, as long as they are on tight.


I guess that's a basic assumption, but I can't help but wonder if they were designed to hold an extra 400-500 lbs.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: The Shout!House - 05/30/12 05:31 PM


The three grand legs could easily hold twice the weight they are rated for.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/08/12 02:43 PM

Ah well, it's all moot now.

Two Brodmann 5'9" grands are set to be delivered Tuesday. I just had a talk with the dealer, and illuminated him on the future these pianos face. I'm going to be on hand at the delivery to disable the soft close mechanism on the fallboards, as well as help in whatever other way.

I wonder what will become of the old pianos...
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 06/08/12 03:02 PM

I would say they can be repaired as they are not so old, but indeed one may be ready to alot of work and keys may have front to back motion, capo bars are probably well marred.

New strings/agrafe, repair of the keyboards, all action work, and of course the cases.

Then the dealer can present them as "the famous pianos from the Stout house" and sell them a high price (as I have seen people buying conservatory instruments believing it was a guarantee for quality wink
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: The Shout!House - 06/08/12 05:16 PM

A long time back at Cal State Long Beach an entire cement roof of a building collapsed and landed on top of a Steinway Model D. The legs held, and so did the internal structure.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/12/12 07:47 PM

Today was new piano day at the Shout House. The old pianos received more gentle treatment today than they ever had on stage, and have been moved into storage, awaiting a decision on what to do with them(a suggestion from one of the players to charge for hammer swings to demolish them was rejected, thankfully). Some of us were a little melancholy to see them go; they had been the center of so much fun for so long...



When I showed up this morning, the floor had been cleared, and the ancillary equipment had been removed from the old pianos.



The stage left piano in the process of being moved out. I removed the fallboards because there was nothing retaining them.



We found these souvenirs stuck on the bottom of each key bed. Yes, it's gum, and each side had a trash can less than five feet from where they sat and played.



The future new stage left Brodmann coming off the truck. The road crown was pretty steep, so I played the role of tip over cushion.



I had a calm, rational discussion with these guys about lyre-tipping. Given their explanation of how they see modern piano construction, and their use of the lyre bar, I have to say I was okay with how they did it.



This was my first opportunity to really look one of these pianos over, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by their quality of build.



The new pianos in place, with the lids in the foreground ready for reinforcement. They're going to install rib-like supports on the underside of the lids, and from the looks of the way they're doing it, I think they'll work well. The movers were cringing as the owners went about installing the ribs, especially after going to all the trouble they did to protect the finish of the new pianos.

Those new lids are set to be danced on in about three hours...
Posted by: Eric Gloo

Re: The Shout!House - 06/12/12 10:31 PM

Very cool! Let us know when the first new piano string breaks!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 12:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
Very cool! Let us know when the first new piano string breaks!


I will indeed.

We checked out features like the soft close mechanism for the fallboards to see if we needed to disable them(not for now - the fallboards seem to slam up just fine), and probably going to remove the bumpers on the lids so the dancers don't trip over them.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 01:18 AM

good health problems for the movers! lyre tipping also only for dollies there. I would not argue with those guys for long however )
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 01:21 AM

dont tell us they dance, they only move their bottom. no danger at all for the lid,
Posted by: wayne walker

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 05:32 AM

It scares me when I see movers move pianos with little or no padding on the piano.
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 12:15 PM

Padding is slippery. It should only be used when needed.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 04:02 PM

They were told not to worry too much about padding the old pianos. After all, people had been dancing on them for years.

I thought the new ones were sufficiently padded.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 04:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
dont tell us they dance, they only move their bottom. no danger at all for the lid,


Oh no, Isaac, they DANCE. At times, the pianists climb on top and jump up and down on them......SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 06/13/12 04:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
good health problems for the movers! lyre tipping also only for dollies there. I would not argue with those guys for long however )



Ha! The movers, who were quite experienced, were huffing and puffing by the end of it. They said they were used to getting a break after moving one piano - after all, they usually move one at a time - and on this job they were moving four at once.

No argument, though. It was all congenial.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/05/12 08:31 PM

Today was my first day back after being in Taiwan for 2-1/2 weeks, and my first tuning on the new pianos(they're Brodmann CE 175's, BTW).



As I expected, no broken strings yet, since they're still so new. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the pins turn on these pianos; they were a pleasure to tune.

I gave them a good cleaning and buffing when I was done. There was dust, sticky rings from drinks being set on them, and of course, show prints from the dancing, already. The piano in the foreground is clean; the one in the background yet to be cleaned.

Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/05/12 08:33 PM

BTW, in the first photo you can see the ribs attached to the underside of the lid to strengthen it for the dancing. I think they did a much better job this time, and there will be less flexing in the lid(hence less hinge screw stripping).
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 07:07 PM

Back in today for my second week on the new pianos.

And. They. Already. Did. It.

One broken bass string in EACH piano.

Damn...
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 07:48 PM

It might be a good idea to order a set of bass strings for these pianos. You can exchange them when they break, and reorder spares afterwards.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 07:57 PM

Exactly! I've had pianos do that often on me and have done that exact same thing, ordered a full set so I've always got at least one on hand and then order them separately thereafter as necessary.
Posted by: BDB

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 08:07 PM

The good thing is that with two identical pianos, one set should be sufficient, as the chances that the same string will break on both pianos at the same time are slim. It is like why two bathrooms are usually sufficient for several people, while one bathroom may not be sufficient for two people.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 09:32 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
It might be a good idea to order a set of bass strings for these pianos. You can exchange them when they break, and reorder spares afterwards.


They ordered them when they bought the pianos. Not in yet.

They did the same for the K&C's. Those strings are still in the storeroom, so I thought I'd see if I could at least use them as a temporary fix, but the windings are in the wrong position by ~5". Even if I removed some windings to clear the agraffe, the square portion of the wire would pass through it. I figured that would be one compromise too many.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/12/12 09:33 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
The good thing is that with two identical pianos, one set should be sufficient, as the chances that the same string will break on both pianos at the same time are slim. It is like why two bathrooms are usually sufficient for several people, while one bathroom may not be sufficient for two people.


Acutally, they bought two sets for the K&C's and they needed them. Over the course of nine years, they broke a lot of bass strings.

And a lot more treble strings...
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 07/13/12 06:31 PM

Got called in today. One of the unisons that had a broken string already broke the second. Fortunately, the broken string was still in the trash, so I rescued it and spliced.

I asked them to notify the players to save the broken bass strings in the future if at all possible.
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 07/31/12 09:29 AM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Today was my first day back after being in Taiwan for 2-1/2 weeks, and my first tuning on the new pianos(they're Brodmann CE 175's, BTW).



As I expected, no broken strings yet, since they're still so new. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the pins turn on these pianos; they were a pleasure to tune.

I gave them a good cleaning and buffing when I was done. There was dust, sticky rings from drinks being set on them, and of course, show prints from the dancing, already. The piano in the foreground is clean; the one in the background yet to be cleaned.



Jim, you tune left handed ?

I would comment on the position of the lever : this position is good to lower the pitch, when using it to raise a note the pin is directly pushing on its bed;

if I where to tune left hand, I would use the lever on the external of the piano if possible.

It sound possible with that very long tip. However, I would avoid such long tip as a too large source for flagpolling ; very short is not necessary in my view, but "standard" with a moderate angle, seem to suit well my way of doing things.

Do you have a recording of those new pianos that break strings ? why not regulate them with too much key dip and large letoff, so some energy is lost but the pianist can still look like if they try to break the piano (if this necessity is dictated by the show) ?
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 07/31/12 09:33 AM



On that piano , G5 and F#5 for instance, are prone to break strings if played brutally.

Samefor that one :
http://youtu.be/gOV8d7EzwH0
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 08/01/12 12:08 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
It might be a good idea to order a set of bass strings for these pianos. You can exchange them when they break, and reorder spares afterwards.


They had two sets of spare bass strings for the K&C's, and we had agreed it would be best to order sets for the Brodmanns. But, the owners assumed it would be a while before they started popping strings again, so they hadn't ordered them yet. They're on order now.

Right now, I'm jury rigging the old spares to fit if possible.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 08/01/12 12:18 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
The good thing is that with two identical pianos, one set should be sufficient, as the chances that the same string will break on both pianos at the same time are slim. It is like why two bathrooms are usually sufficient for several people, while one bathroom may not be sufficient for two people.


That would be a logical assumption, but, since these pianos play mostly rock n' roll, they play a lot of songs in the same few keys, most A, E, B, and G. As a result, the keys in those strings get hammered the most. In the stage left piano - the *new* one, mind you - E2 has had THREE strings break so far. One of those broke twice.

The SR piano has had B♭2 and G3 break so far.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 08/01/12 06:48 PM

Hey OT,

What is the latest string tally on the new pianos? I only have ten fingers to count on. Oh, I can start using my toes. Do the lid dancers ever jump on the keyboards?

I would sooooooooooooo like to go to that club!!!!!!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 08/11/12 07:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Today was my first day back after being in Taiwan for 2-1/2 weeks, and my first tuning on the new pianos(they're Brodmann CE 175's, BTW).



As I expected, no broken strings yet, since they're still so new. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the pins turn on these pianos; they were a pleasure to tune.

I gave them a good cleaning and buffing when I was done. There was dust, sticky rings from drinks being set on them, and of course, show prints from the dancing, already. The piano in the foreground is clean; the one in the background yet to be cleaned.



Jim, you tune left handed ?

I would comment on the position of the lever : this position is good to lower the pitch, when using it to raise a note the pin is directly pushing on its bed;

if I where to tune left hand, I would use the lever on the external of the piano if possible.

It sound possible with that very long tip. However, I would avoid such long tip as a too large source for flagpolling ; very short is not necessary in my view, but "standard" with a moderate angle, seem to suit well my way of doing things.

Do you have a recording of those new pianos that break strings ? why not regulate them with too much key dip and large letoff, so some energy is lost but the pianist can still look like if they try to break the piano (if this necessity is dictated by the show) ?




Isaac, I somehow completely missed this post.

Yes, I tune left-handed; I always have.

As for that long tip, I had only recently gotten it, and was trying it out. I have gone back to my short tip that I've had since 1976.

Regarding letoff adjustment, yes, maybe we'll do just that.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: The Shout!House - 08/14/12 09:26 PM

Hey Jim!

With all of that string swappin' you been doin', got any magic tricks to keep a new string at pitch? Just wondering if you've tried everything and found something that has a better chance of keeping a new bass string at pitch for a good long while...

Ron Koval
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 09/08/12 11:42 AM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Hey Jim!

With all of that string swappin' you been doin', got any magic tricks to keep a new string at pitch? Just wondering if you've tried everything and found something that has a better chance of keeping a new bass string at pitch for a good long while...

Ron Koval


Geez, I missed this.

What I do won't apply to other situations, since i see these pianos every week.

I always do string replacement before I do anything else when I get to the club, and tune the piano with the worst/most broken string(s) last. After I replace the string(s), I come back to it multiple times while I'm doing other things and over pull it by 5-10 cents, and I seem to be able to get a lot of stretch accomplished by doing this before I tune, so it will at least hold for a couple of days without sounding noticeably out of tune. However, by the time I come back the next week, it's usually noticeably bad, but then, I'm there to tune it again.

On a side note(no pun intended), I've discovered I have a knack for remembering what I did previously. I can walk in, open the lid, and remember which strings I replaced from week to week, even the plain wire.

That was a major challenge with the K&C's and all of the broken plain wire strings; most of their instability was due to the sheer volume of strings replaced.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 09/08/12 11:46 AM

Bass string update:

The frequency (again, no pun intended) of bass string breakage seems to be falling off. I've only had one let go in the last three weeks. And it was one of my improvised substitutions. I'm half-tempted to attribute that to the weather: Even with A/C, the humidity went up so much the pianos raised ~5 cents across the board in one week.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 10/11/12 04:40 PM

Update:

Some of the bass string saga was covered in the other thread on the subject, but I thought I'd put the latest here.

Schaff is making new strings as we speak, and they're doing a little redesign work to lessen the tension and hopefully prevent future breakage.

I took this photo of one of the pianos today, after splicing yet a second string on that one - I always try to splice first if it breaks at the agraffe, especially since at the moment, it's just a matter of time anyway. It's funny, my splices have held as well as the intact strings...

You can also see some of the horrible match-ups with windings. The new strings will have slightly different winding dimensions and will invariably sound different than the originals, but then, how much worse could it possibly be than these duds?

Posted by: RonTuner

Re: The Shout!House - 10/12/12 09:10 AM

Are you aware of the pitch lock clips? http://pitchlock.com/pitch-lock-string-couplers/

I find them helpful in unifying the sounding pitch of mis-matched bass strings. It's kinda weird to tune with them - if you tune one string first and then bring the other to tune with it, there is a couple of cent pitch drop. Most of the time I tune with both strings sounding; a little different skill-set!

Some of the unisons in the picture would be hard to fit the clips with the knots - just place them on the bridge end... They are a good "quickie" to have in your bag of tricks! Also good with front segment noise up in the capo section...

Ron Koval
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 10/12/12 09:39 AM

Hi Ron, never heard of them. I'll have to look into it, thanks!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 10/18/12 09:36 AM

Oh happy day, or so I hope. The new, rescaled, replacement bass strings arrived at my house yesterday, and I'm taking them in to the club today.



We're hoping these, being lower tension, will minimize future breakage. And now, even when we need more replacements in the future, Schaff has the scale on file, and can whip one out whenever we need it.

A big thanks to Ed at Schaff, and to Ron Koval for the help!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/10/13 11:03 AM

A long overdue update (as if anyone cares...):

About two months after coming up with our own strings, the set from Brodmann arrived. I'm in the process of using them up, along with the strings from Schaff. Despite our rescaling efforts, even the new strings break. But, at least, now we have a steady, reliable supply of replacements from Schaff. They have the scale saved digitally, so I can simply call them up with the string and scale number, and they can whip them out.

One thing remarkable is that we have yet to pop a plain wire string on these pianos. The treble strings have stabilized as a result, and the tunings are easy these days.

I should post pictures of the pianos in their current condition. A lot of the polyester finish is already chipped off the edges of the lids, and the lids are pretty scratched up from people dancing on them. I went to the club one night, and one piano had a 275 lb server holding another employee who had to weigh in at ~175 himself! I could see the legs flex...

But, the pianos are sounding good enough, and everyone's happy.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 03/10/13 11:17 AM

Glad this interesting thread is back!

Photos of the "dance floor" pianos would be great.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/10/13 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Glad this interesting thread is back!

Photos of the "dance floor" pianos would be great.


I'll take that as an order, Sir! laugh
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/14/13 07:01 PM

As requested, here are photos I took today on the job. They are before and after views, so you can see the signs of use, and what they do to the lids, and what I do to try to instill a little hesitation next time they think of bashing the pianos, for what little good it may do.

This is the edge of the lids, and the chips are from the pianists occasionally standing on the lids (all FOUR of them), beating on the edges with DRUMSTICKS. So, these pianos, which were brand new last June, now look like this:





You can only see one in the center of the bottom photo, but there always at least a few rings from drinks set on the lids during the course of the week, too.

After I tune, I wipe the pianos down, and today I replace the black duct tape that covers the downstage side of the lid edges, to help protect them from the drumming. And yes, the finish chips off even with the duct tape covering it.




The pianos are getting to the point where I'll soon be resurfacing the hammers and doing some regulation; the hammers are grooved and tinny, and there's noticeable slop in the action.

All in a week's work...
Posted by: accordeur

Re: The Shout!House - 03/14/13 07:20 PM

That's quite the gig you got there!!! Shame for the pianos but good for your business!
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 03/14/13 07:33 PM

I just read an article about the new Sherman Tank & Sons 6"9" Steel Edition.

Might be worth checking out! whistle
Posted by: Ryan Hassell

Re: The Shout!House - 03/15/13 08:23 AM

Well at least the piano is sitting in caster cups to keep from scratching the floor. :-)
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 03/15/13 09:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Ryan Hassell
Well at least the piano is sitting in caster cups to keep from scratching the floor. :-)

Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: The Shout!House - 03/15/13 01:18 PM

Hey OperaTenor--

How 'bout 1" foam pipe insulation to protect that edge? It would crimp on by its own pressure, and it's flexible!

http://www.lowes.com/pd_24434-1410-P12XB/6_0__
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/17/13 02:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Hey OperaTenor--

How 'bout 1" foam pipe insulation to protect that edge? It would crimp on by its own pressure, and it's flexible!

http://www.lowes.com/pd_24434-1410-P12XB/6_0__


Since people climb on and off the lids so much, they'd pull the rubitex off in no time at all, I think.
Posted by: miscrms

Re: The Shout!House - 03/17/13 05:01 AM

I'm thinking spray on bedliner smile

If you haven't seen the Mythbusters episode where they investigate its alternate uses, I'd highly recommend it for inspiration. wink

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Pty4NmVyI&feature=youtube_gdata_player
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JOXrpCLCJg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Rob
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 03/17/13 06:28 AM

I would reorient the casters so the flex of the leg is oriented toward the reinforced part of it. In time, that external position can also bend a little the keybed.


I seem to notice a scratch on the lid.. Probably just a defect of the picture...
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 03/17/13 08:54 AM

The Meaning of Life is duct tape and hot glue.
Posted by: Jorge Andrade

Re: The Shout!House - 03/22/13 02:22 PM

Plenty of furniture polish on those lids will make for some interesting dancing (plenty of band-aid supplies required), piano vengeance at last!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 03/22/13 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek

I seem to notice a scratch on the lid.. Probably just a defect of the picture...


laugh
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 03/22/13 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Jorge Andrade
Plenty of furniture polish on those lids will make for some interesting dancing (plenty of band-aid supplies required), piano vengeance at last!



(I realy did LOL!)
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/17/13 12:44 AM

Update: Still breaking bass strings. A *lot* of bass strings.

This is what I saw when I opened the lid of the stage left piano today:

Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/17/13 07:56 AM

not enough first voicing ? bass hammers may be really hard to break so much strings (unless something wrong with regulation)

around 30 40 stiches with 3 needles, from bottom up 10:00 is not so much on hard hammers and may make a somewhat slower spring than what is generally find on pianos with asian hammers .
Just a guess of course , you may have more tone in the basses then.
Posted by: SMHaley

Re: The Shout!House - 05/17/13 12:04 PM

Hammer shape and voicing aside (as well as playing style and abuse), it interesting to me that it appears the bass are all breaking right at the agraffe, and the grooving in the felt at the bearing bar prior to the tuning pin is quite significant. Could the agraffes be too far in or a burr on the chamfering of the agraffe cutting at the core wire?

In any case this fits the profile of a "high use instrument."
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: The Shout!House - 05/17/13 07:53 PM

The bass strings are breaking because the players are beating the bejeezus out of the pianos. 8 out of the 9 players don't even know what voicing is.

They are content with buying lots of replacement bass strings. :shrug:
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: The Shout!House - 05/17/13 08:38 PM

Yep Jim, just shrug all the way to the bank!
Posted by: Olek

Re: The Shout!House - 05/18/13 05:06 AM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
The bass strings are breaking because the players are beating the bejeezus out of the pianos. 8 out of the 9 players don't even know what voicing is.

They are content with buying lots of replacement bass strings. :shrug:


It is no surprise, many technicians also , but it is the job of the tech, not the one of the pianist.
I am persuaded even Jerry Lee Lewis dont break strings or not as much. But his piano is voiced, as all the jazz boogie pianos I have seen coming with pianists that play tgat kind of music.

There may be a problem with agrafes as well and with the slant behind them.