regulate and voice a drop action

Posted by: Toni Goldener

regulate and voice a drop action - 02/12/13 02:50 AM

Till now, I never regulated and voiced a drop action in a console piano. How do I remove and resinstall this kind of action? Do I have to remove all the stickers from the keys? Can I flip back and forth the action for voicing?

Thanks for all your help.
Regards Toni
Posted by: BDB

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/12/13 03:35 AM

There are several different types of drop action, and how you service them depends on how they are made. If they have wire stickers, then yes, you do have to remove all the stickers, and tie them up so that they will not interfere as you remove the action. However, you may not need to remove the action just to regulate and voice the piano.

You need the proper tools for adjusting the lost motion and a long regulating screwdriver for the let-off. You can usually file hammers with just strips of sandpaper. Needles in an adjustable voicing tool can let you voice the hammers in the piano. I find that having a variety of wire bending tools which I customize by bending their shanks lets me reach damper and bridle strap wires more easily, not just in drop actions.

Also, you have to recognize that drop actions were not put in the best pianos, and you may have to decide how much work it is worth doing for the piano. Work on these pianos will take you longer than on other actions, and it may not be worth it to you or the customer. It may be sufficient to take out the lost motion, which is fairly simple on drop actions with wire stickers. If there are wood stickers, I may adjust the rail to remove the bulk of the lost motion. I often do this gratis if I have extra time after tuning, so that the customer will enjoy the piano more, along with some rough voicing. But I will suggest they get a better piano if they want more than that.
Posted by: Toni Goldener

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/12/13 05:50 AM

Thanks for your answer. In Switzerland you can hardly find pianos with a drop action. I have tuned only two pianos in my whole career.
The piano sounds really harsh and stony, and I told the customer, that it would be better buying a newer one. But he likes the piano for emotional reasons...

The main reason is the ugly sound of the piano, so voicing is the most important thing to him (although the regulation is in a bad mood, too). The needed tool I have. I thought taking out the action , file the hammers and needling the hammers outside the piano first a little bit, a rough voicing, would be faster and more comfortable. The rest of the voicing of course in the piano.
So if I can move the action back and forwards a little bit to voice easier, I was happy.
Thanks again

Toni
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/12/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Toni Goldener
Thanks for your answer. In Switzerland you can hardly find pianos with a drop action. I have tuned only two pianos in my whole career.
The piano sounds really harsh and stony, and I told the customer, that it would be better buying a newer one. But he likes the piano for emotional reasons...

The main reason is the ugly sound of the piano, so voicing is the most important thing to him (although the regulation is in a bad mood, too). The needed tool I have. I thought taking out the action , file the hammers and needling the hammers outside the piano first a little bit, a rough voicing, would be faster and more comfortable. The rest of the voicing of course in the piano.
So if I can move the action back and forwards a little bit to voice easier, I was happy.
Thanks again

Toni


There is no need to remove the action to voice the hammers in a drop action. If you want a copy of the updated version of my Piano Technicians Journal article on side-needle voicing, send me a PM.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/24/13 04:15 PM

Removing and then replacing the action in a spinet style piano potentially adds up to hours of work in itself, before anything at all is done to the action. Few spinets are worth it. And sentiment is not often powerful enough to open the wallet to any extent! I agree with the comments of others - adjust for lost motion, do some voicing with the action in place, and leave it at that.
Posted by: Toni Goldener

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/24/13 04:37 PM

Thank you for your help, I will try my best and will be very careful wink. Voicing is the most important thing on this piano.
Toni
Posted by: Supply

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/24/13 05:26 PM

If high demands regarding tone qualities are paramount, perhaps it is time to upgrade to a better piano. Usually you don't have to spend much money to get something that plays and sounds much better than a drop action piano.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/24/13 08:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
If high demands regarding tone qualities are paramount, perhaps it is time to upgrade to a better piano. Usually you don't have to spend much money to get something that plays and sounds much better than a drop action piano.


I agree with Jurgen. For what you will have to charge for a job like this, your customer could put it to good use as a sizable down payment on a gently used piano of much higher quality.
Posted by: Toni Goldener

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 01:21 AM

I know, that changing the piano was the best thing. But: the customer loves his piano and I feel, that it is difficult to let him know that. It's that feeling in my fingertips, that there is a big emotional worth in that piano for him.
I try to be honest to him, in a careful way, but if he wantsme to do the job, I will.

Thanks for all your advices and your kind help.

Have all a good day, hope to hear from you, Toni
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 03:34 AM

Is this an American-made piano?

If so, could you please give us the brand name and/or a photo or two?

Once the action is removed, working on it should be similar to working on any other vertical piano action.

But as everyone else here has said, you really should not need to remove the action to regulate and voice it.

Thanks,
-Joe
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 09:30 PM

Any drop action spinet like what is described could benefit from tightening all of the flange screws just as with any other kind of action, from top of the line to bottom of the line.

I started out as a technician in my area working mostly on this kind of piano. I don't see them very much any more but if I had to take the one described here, I would plan on a full day service at a price equivalent to four tuning fees, plus maybe a little more. If the owner values the instrument as much as you say, it will be worth the price.

There are any number of different kinds of drop actions. The kind to be really careful about are the Baldwin type that have a guide rail for the stickers. If you get the stickers separated from the guide rail, you may waste an inordinate amount of time trying to get things back together again!

For that type, I simply loosen the screws that hold the guide rail, let it drop down and fasten it to the tops of the stickers with several large rubber bands. This works better than tying things together with a string which could come loose during the process and thus let everything fall apart and create a nearly impossible task of getting things back together again.

I have always noticed how many technicians will say that this kind of instrument is not even worth working on. I have also read any number of technicians say that they won't do anything that will make the instrument play or sound better.

It always seemed to me like a doctor in the Deep South (USA) during Segregation (or South Africa during Apartheid) who would not treat a Black patient or a Veterinarian who would not treat a mutt dog in either case, for the most simple of remedies.

It does require experience and technique to service a drop action spinet. For someone who is just beginning to service pianos of any type, the drop action spinet will be as formidable a task as any fine grand piano would be, if not greater.

This is why you see the suggestions more of what not to even try than what you should do. Tell the customer to get a better piano is the usual remark. I am afraid that the reason for that is that although the people who say that may be very competent at what they do know how to do, they do not know how to handle a drop action spinet with efficiency and grace.

The simple truth is that any such piano desperately needs its flanges tightened. It needs the debris under the keys to be removed with a vacuum cleaner. It needs to have its hammers aligned to the strings and most probably to have the hammers filed.

The key level and dip will probably be OK or only need minor corrections. The Lost Motion and Let-off (escapement) probably do need correction but once those adjustments are done, the action will usually play just as it is intended.

The expectation from the client will always be far lower for such an instrument than it will be for a fine grand or even a higher quality vertical.

The problem with Spinet pianos has always been the difficulty in providing even the most basic service that is far more easily and efficiently done in virtually any other kind of piano. (Only Birdcage pianos are worse!) That is the main reason that they are no longer built.

I worked many long hours with Andy from Rockford, Illinois, USA on his spinet piano. He came to the realization of how difficult it really was to service such an instrument and how meager the returns were for the hours spent. Nevertheless, once the instrument played and was tuned as the manufacturer intended, it was (and still is) delightful to him as it would be for your client.

At this stage of your development as a piano technician, you have to decide what you can do and what you can't do or should not even attempt at the moment.

If you do, as others have suggested, provide photos of the piano, I and others may be able to provide suggestions on how to go about making the piano better. Lifting a drop action out of a spinet is certainly not the greatest feat to be accomplished in the world. You will just want to know the best way to do it depending on just how the piano was built.

Just as it would be with any finer make of piano, I would not suggest that you attempt any regulation or voicing until you have covered the basics. That means: secure flanges, proper alignment and resurfaced hammers.

If you do not think you are capable of the above, then even the lowly Spinet is beyond your capability at this point.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 09:47 PM

Also, be careful to see if the spinet has the rubberized screw/grommets at the end of the inverted stickers or lifter rods before quoting a price. They may be dry-rotted and may need to be replaced.
Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 10:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
[...] and how meager the returns were for the hours spent. [...]


Here, Bill, I must disagree! grin "Meager returns"? Quite the contrary!!! At least, on the 1940 Lester with wooden elbows! wink grin I suspect there are other spinets where the returns for time spent might be meager, but I must say that, as someone who spends hours a day at this particular keyboard, that the returns were far from meager and immediately identifiable!!! (For which I thank you! thumb )

In fact, I have been on a Handel Keyboard Suite kick of late (Nos. 13, 15 and 16), and am also working on a delightful Haydn sonatina, and there is something about the (now) fast, light touch coupled with the high singing tone of the Lester that is quite satisfying for these pieces, indeed!

Rysowers said something in another thread about what happens when a pianist gets to know one piano like the back of his hand, and so can make it perform. If that's your piano, then that's your piano, and you learn to work with it. As for the Lester, I have a vision!!! (I wish Horowitz could have stopped by my house to try my Lester!)

Originally Posted By: Toni Goldener
[...] The piano sounds really harsh and stony, and I told the customer, that it would be better buying a newer one. But he likes the piano for emotional reasons... [...]


Emotional reasons, perhaps. Familiarity also, perhaps. But sometimes, fit is the more important issue. Over-sized shoes can look silly and cause blisters. Perhaps this piano fits its owner?

It probably sounds harsh and stony due to hard hammers. Along with other fine voicing techniques, consider trying a toothbrush-sized wire brush on the face of the hammers. Several techs in this forum have suggested it, and I tried it on the Lester after playing the hammers to grooves (again) and it worked nicely for a while... I am back to using needles, now, and am considering another round of filing.

BTW, recordings of my Lester are, um, easily found on Piano World and on my YouTube channel, if you want to hear it and track its progress of improvements...

Each piano owner must do his/her own personal calculus in such matters. It is not always about the money!

--Andy
Posted by: Supply

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 11:12 PM

WOW
Bill's Back!
Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/25/13 11:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
WOW
Bill's Back!


(I had the same thought. Let's see what we can learn, Jurgen... quietly and gracefully.)
Posted by: rxd

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:04 AM

Welcome back, Bill, I've missed you.

Birdcages are indeed worse but them and spinets are where I honed my skills.

A felt hammer hitting steel strings is pretty much a felt hammer hitting steel strings on a birdcage or the finest concert grand. I don't understand a technician passing up such a perfect opportunity to practice finer skills. The end result is always better than the piano ever had any right to be.

The condition we find most of them in, we couldn't possibly make 'em worse.

There has to be more job satisfaction in making a 1000% improvement in a spinet that anyone would notice than the improvement on a fine grand for the same amount of work that only cognoscenti would appreciate.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:23 AM

Regular isopropyl 70% alcohol sprayed onto the surface of the hammers - along with a brass brush is a good prelude to needles. Controlled steam voicing can also be helpful in these situations; that's if the client won't agree to a full day's work.

Side needling, "angel shot" technique, both are good for quick results.

Check out the youtube video link below - there's something on voicing there.

Sometimes the brushing and alcohol serve to show the potential for voicing - a quick change to the tone that doesn't last very long gives the client an inexpensive preview of what a 'real' voicing can accomplish more long term.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:50 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Also, be careful to see if the spinet has the rubberized screw/grommets at the end of the inverted stickers or lifter rods before quoting a price. They may be dry-rotted and may need to be replaced.


Oh so true! At the age many of these are now, the action will exhibit considerable clatter. The clatter will come from both the need to have the flanges tightened and hard/brittle grommets. The rubber is like that of a windshield wiper. Outdoors on a car, it starts to get brittle in about 6 months. In a piano, about 30 years.

On some of these, you dare not even try to adjust the lost motion because the material will crumble. A bag of grommets only costs about $15 but installing new ones may take 2-3 hours.

Most of these instruments by now will need a half to full day's worth of work to put them in good sounding and playing condition. I have had very little resistance from people to pay what that costs in order to enjoy the piano that they have again.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
It always seemed to me like a doctor in the Deep South (USA) during Segregation (or South Africa during Apartheid) who would not treat a Black patient or a Veterinarian who would not treat a mutt dog in either case, for the most simple of remedies.


Bill, I request you withdraw your devisive and unfounded statement about whites and make a public apology here too for such language.

Some facts about what whites in South Africa have done for blacks, even prior 1994, and this is just a small drop in the ocean,

"The biggest hospital in the world, Baragwanath with 3200 beds and at its peak almost 8000 staff had 23 operation theatres fitted out with the most modern medical equipment that existed in the world. Blacks were treated here, operated on...at full state costs to the white-taxpayers for unlimited periods. The budget of this hospital was and is higher than the yearly budget of most small member states of the United Nations.

Next door to Baragwanath is the St. John's Eye Clinic. The clinic is world famous for the treatment of Glaucoma, Cataracts, traumatic eye injuries and rare tropical diseases. All built and maintained by white taxpayer's money for blacks.

Baragwanath in 1978 employed 450 medical doctors in full-time service. It treated 112 000 in-patients and 1.62 million out-patients per year. The children and infant death rate with 34.8 per 1000 was lower than Harlem in New York.

In 1982 alone, this hospital performed 898 heart operations of world quality.

Ironically...90% of the blood donors for this hospital were whites, who donated blood free of charge, total voluntarily...to save black lives. (Quoted from The Citizen, 2 April 1987).

Whites have already given blacks their blood. What more do they want?"

There were many whites working there in those days who got black blood on their hands seeking to save some from the brutal black ANC attacks!

The following are snippets/excerpts written by an American on the white South African demise,

"It is not often these days that we see an article from America standing up for South Africa’s besieged white farming community, or for South African whites in general, and exposing the ANC’s anti-white agenda. We were therefore very encouraged to see the following article, published by WND and written by Alex Newman, on 19 August 2012. It is well worth reading and digesting,

"To many people in the West, especially liberals and leftists, I think it is seen as normal for blacks to hate whites and oppress them,” he explained. “Because of their historical guilt associated with colonialism, whites are deemed to deserve punishment, even of the most extreme kind such as torture and mass murder.”

Even in South Africa, the press is largely silent about what is going on. Consider that after Stanton announced his preliminary findings in late June – explosive by any measure – just one newspaper covered it."

"The ANC regime has failed completely to create jobs for its mass of supporters,” Roodt told WND. “So it is using the white minority as a scapegoat, blaming them for its own economic failures due to corruption, mismanagement, nationalization, racial preferences and so on.”
Roodt says the “revolution” could drag on, slowly, with a lot of talk but little action. On the other hand, there could be a sudden, radical shift such as what happened in Zimbabwe, where white farmers who refused to be driven off their land were tortured or murdered.
There could even be a Rwanda-type situation in which whites would be targeted for wholesale slaughter, Roodt warned."

"The government, meanwhile, has already launched a campaign to disarm Afrikaner farmers. As Genocide Watch observed in a recent report on South Africa, disarmament of the target group is one of the surest warning signs of impending genocide.

Whites have not been the only victims. Even before apartheid was dismantled, the ANC was notoriously brutal to its opponents, using some of the most barbaric tactics imaginable even against blacks who refused to bow down.
Necklacing, in which a tire filled with gasoline is placed around a victim’s neck and set on fire, for example, became a common form of punishment for dissenters and ANC opponents. Even Nelson Mandela’s wife endorsed the monstrous practice.
Beyond genocide against whites lurks another largely overlooked but related phenomenon: the efforts by communist forces to completely take over South Africa."

"The non-stop wave of grisly, racist murders in the Rainbow Nation – new incidents are reported almost daily now – has led Genocide Watch to conclude that South Africa is close to the final phases of the genocidal onslaught.
When ANC Youth League boss Julius Malema began singing “Kill the Boer,” Genocide Watch moved up South Africa to stage six out of eight on the road to genocide – the preparation and planning. The seventh phase is extermination of the target group. The final stage is denial."
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:27 AM

Mr. Davis,

You are over analyzing Bill's analogy.
Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:35 AM

Nice to see you back, Mr. Bremmer!! I was beginning to get worried.
I owe you a lot. Your explanation on how to tune by starting with the 7bps was an
eye opener. It is the simplest method I've seen and the one I can readily understand.
Funny how 7bps sounds just like what I heard in many Sci-Fi films from the 50's and
60's, LOL. Still got to replace some broken strings in my own spinet and in my 58"
New England piano.
Thank you very, very much for having been such an admirable teacher all these years
especially here in Piano World.
Respectfully, Widmark Weiss
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 03:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Mr. Davis,

You are over analyzing Bill's analogy.


More than that. I'm afraid my fellow countryman has misread Bill completely. Bill was, in fact, making the point that to work on spinets is the right thing to do, just like treating black people during Apartheid was the right thing to do. To find excuses for not working on spinets would be just as wrong as to find excuses for not working on Blacks.

I do, however, understand sensitivities amongst white South Africans. We are blamed for most anything these days, and there seems to be a rather unsavory method to this madness.

That being said, I don't for one moment regard Bill or his postings as divisive.

To Mark Davis:

1) Even though I never voted for the old Apartheid regime (and never will vote for the new one), I was a beneficiary of the old regime by growing up under the last decade of its reign. I tend not to blow my horn all too loudly about all the good things that Whites have done and are doing.
2) If you're serious about impending genocide, you should pack up your tuning tools and emigrate now. If you're not, you shouldn't post it here.
3) From your recent posting about "OMG", I deduce that you are a man of faith. I would encourage you (as I do myself!) to try and live by forgiveness rather than embitterment.

God bless.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 05:34 PM

I think a very, very strong case can be made for not servicing spinets (aside from normal tuning).... at least unless is is already in above average shape. The vast majority of spinets I've come across would require at least one full day of service, maybe two.

In my service area, the average rate for tuning is about $100, but some technicians charge upwards of $135 for a non-pitchraise tuning. Even for a technician who charges only $100 for a tuning, that would turn into a $400 fee for a one day service and $800 for two days. Most customers with these pianos are hesitant to even pay $150 for their pitch raise + tuning and would probably laugh me out the door if I offered to spend a whole day fixing their 70 year old George Steck spinet....
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 06:26 PM

Hello Mark

Please quote Bill's comment, just the part about the white American and white South African, as I did earlier, in another post and then explain to me what you think all that talk about whites is about?

Is it true and is it right for him to just sprout this unsubstantial comment and prejudice drivel?

Thank you,
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 06:50 PM

The problem is, Mr. Davis, that removing the quote from the context of the posting changes the entire point of what Mr. Bremmer was saying.

Before you take issue, you should make sure that you are able to comprehend what was written. Please develop an understanding of analogy and/or metaphore. Then return the statement to the given context.

Debate the issues of the Republic of South Africa in South Africa. This is not a political forum.
Posted by: BDB

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 07:38 PM

The problem is that Mr. Bremmer finds it necessary to disparage other people to promote himself. I found his post distasteful even before getting to the part about South Africa.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 07:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Mr. Davis,

You are over analyzing Bill's analogy.


To say the least. GEEZE! For 30 years and more, I have read comments from supposedly the "best" technicians who have publicly stated that the would refuse to do anything that would help a spinet piano play better!

While I cannot pretend to know both sides of the story of racism in South Africa, I do know what happened in the USA. I was only drawing an analogy about the outright refusal to service a certain kind of piano and the refusal to give certain human beings basic services because of caste systems.

I am in the business of servicing pianos of whatever kind, shape, make or model. There is value in each of them that deserves to be respected.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 08:00 PM

AFAIK, no one is manufacturing spinets anymore. I wonder if, a few years down the road, spinets might become a hot novelty item because of scarcity.

I don't think anyone will argue that the old forte-pianos were superior to today's pianos. But, there is there is still enough interest to justify some technicians specializing in restoration of these instruments.

Edit: There are also all those gutted player pianos missing the player mechanisms. I remember talking to an old tech many years ago that told me he was actually taught to remove the player mechanisms and discard them to make the piano easier to service because they would have no value.

Just thinking...


--------------------------------------------------------------


Edit:

Back to the thread topic...

It might be worthwhile for Toni to work on this action for the experience. Of course, only he can be the judge of this.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:00 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
AFAIK, no one is manufacturing spinets anymore. I wonder if, a few years down the road, spinets might become a hot novelty item because of scarcity.


There are hundreds of thousands of these things in the US, and 50 years from now, most of them will probably still be around. That said, I don't think they will be scarce for a long time. If anything, they will become a novelty among the hipster crowd.

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I don't think anyone will argue that the old forte-pianos were superior to today's pianos. But, there is there is still enough interest to justify some technicians specializing in restoration of these instruments.


There is a sizable minority that thinks fortepianos are as good or superior.... people like Malcolm Bilson, Paul Badura-Skoda, Jorg Demus, Robert Levin, etc. There are several workshops that exist not only to restore them, but to build brand spankin' new ones from scratch, and they cost A LOT of money.... like Steinway B or D money. The fact is, a properly functioning Walter, Erard, Graf, etc. can be every bit as musically fulfilling as the equivalent concert grand because they were designed to be serious musical instruments. This was never the case with spinets.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:06 PM

Ahem,

I don't know about the others, but Badura-Skoda is not of that opinion. His thinking and discussion of the contempory piano is not of inferiority in the least. Quite the opposite.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:14 PM

Hi Beethoven986,

To quote:
There are hundreds of thousands of these things in the US, and 50 years from now, most of them will probably still be around. That said, I don't think they will be scarce for a long time. If anything, they will become a novelty among the hipster crowd.[Emphasis added]

That's fine by me smile I am perfectly happy to work on spinets for folks that want to invest the money... especially if there is a demand for them.
Posted by: BDB

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 09:36 PM

There are plenty of techs who will work on spinets. There is a paucity of spinet owners who will pay what it costs for that work, especially if you tell them that there are better options.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Ahem,

I don't know about the others, but Badura-Skoda is not of that opinion. His thinking and discussion of the contempory piano is not of inferiority in the least. Quite the opposite.


As there are plenty of recordings of B-S using the modern piano, I also doubt that he considers the contemporary piano inferior, but that's not quite what I said. He also performs extensively on period instruments, and I believe he has quite a collection of period instruments, which I doubt would be the case if he found them to be lacking.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:32 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Hi Beethoven986,

To quote:
There are hundreds of thousands of these things in the US, and 50 years from now, most of them will probably still be around. That said, I don't think they will be scarce for a long time. If anything, they will become a novelty among the hipster crowd.[Emphasis added]

That's fine by me smile I am perfectly happy to work on spinets for folks that want to invest the money... especially if there is a demand for them.


I'm perfectly happy to tune them, but I don't think I'm going to beg anyone to let me regulate one. I used to work for a tech who made spinets a large part of his business, and I'd have to regulate them, so it's not that I can't do it. It's just that 1) I'd rather be doing other things and 2) many people will opt to get a better piano, or at least start thinking about it, if prompted.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Hi Beethoven986,

To quote:
There are hundreds of thousands of these things in the US, and 50 years from now, most of them will probably still be around. That said, I don't think they will be scarce for a long time. If anything, they will become a novelty among the hipster crowd.[Emphasis added]

That's fine by me smile I am perfectly happy to work on spinets for folks that want to invest the money... especially if there is a demand for them. [Emphasis added]


I'm perfectly happy to tune them, but I don't think I'm going to beg anyone to let me regulate one. I used to work for a tech who made spinets a large part of his business, and I'd have to regulate them, so it's not that I can't do it. It's just that 1) I'd rather be doing other things and 2) many people will opt to get a better piano, or at least start thinking about it, if prompted. [Emphasis added]


Ahem... I'm not going to "beg" anyone to let me regulate them either. I currently advise any and all of my customers whether or not their instrument is likely to have sufficient resale value to justify the investment, and whether or not they might be further ahead investing that money in another instrument. If the client is informed of the realities and decides to go ahead, I have enough respect for them to provide the service they requested.

However, there can be other considerations beyond the merely monetary, or even if the instrument is capable of becoming a masterpiece. There is sentimental value, familiarity (as was mentioned earlier in this thread), space considerations, matching furniture styling, etc.

Just because the cost of a repair might not be able to be recovered in the event of a hypothetical sale does not automatically make the repair fraudulent or inappropriate. You can spend a large sum of money on a great meal, or a vacation, and that isn't resalable either. Edit: And, the repair is made with the informed consent... informed request... of the client.

Edit: As to whether the old spinets will ever become popular, I just think about the p[layer piano. They were common and the player mechanisms we reconsidered disposable. But, see how they are viewed now.

I'll make another preposterous prediction:
The day will come when people begin to appreciate the materials and workmanship used in the old uprights. I think you will see a revival there as well.

Back to the thread...
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/26/13 11:59 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Hi Beethoven986,

To quote:
There are hundreds of thousands of these things in the US, and 50 years from now, most of them will probably still be around. That said, I don't think they will be scarce for a long time. If anything, they will become a novelty among the hipster crowd.[Emphasis added]

That's fine by me smile I am perfectly happy to work on spinets for folks that want to invest the money... especially if there is a demand for them. [Emphasis added]


I'm perfectly happy to tune them, but I don't think I'm going to beg anyone to let me regulate one. I used to work for a tech who made spinets a large part of his business, and I'd have to regulate them, so it's not that I can't do it. It's just that 1) I'd rather be doing other things and 2) many people will opt to get a better piano, or at least start thinking about it, if prompted. [Emphasis added]


Ahem... I'm not going to "beg" anyone to let me regulate them either.... Just because the cost of a repair might not be able to be recovered in the event of a hypothetical sale does not automatically make the repair fraudulent or inappropriate.


No implication was intended. Just my own personal philosophy.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 12:16 AM

Quote:

No implication was intended. Just my own personal philosophy.

In that case, I apologize for jumping the gun. smile

-Joe
Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 01:23 AM

Well, I certainly hope Toni has learned a thing or two to this point in the thread... including the trepidation with which one must live prior to posting anything in the Tuner/Tech forum on Piano World.

My new bumper sticker says: "Threads Morph"

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
[...] The day will come when people begin to appreciate the materials and workmanship used in the old uprights. I think you will see a revival there as well. [...]


They don't make 'em like they used to, daniokeeper, that's for sure.

I think there are some pianos worth saving, not only as artifacts, but as "nice" pianos. Many pianos fall into this category, actually. I think a tech with good judgement could say to an owner, in good conscience, "This is a nice piano." Even if it's a spinet, or a dumpy console! Because: it can be made to be quite serviceable, given the situation. I have had two young teens, recently, express JOY at the way their pianos sounded after tuning. Both pianos were dumpy consoles with, um, issues... But a nice tuning invigorated both kids' enthusiasm for playing. Those of us who live in the "used" piano market may see things a little differently than those who work in the new...

Many things happen through piano lessons (in otherwords, "everything is over-determined,") and not everyone can afford a Fazioli or a Schimmelmeistervonheuten.

--Andy
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 11:42 AM

"The problem with Spinet pianos has always been the difficulty in providing even the most basic service that is far more easily and efficiently done in virtually any other kind of piano. (Only Birdcage pianos are worse!)"

With the greatest possible diffidence and respect, bearing in mind from whom the above opinion emanates, I'd like to suggest that "only Birdcage pianos are worse" needs some qualifying!

If we are speaking of VERY old overdamper pianos, perhaps of the "cottage piano" type with spring & loop actions and vellum hinges, then, yes, perhaps. In addition to the fact that spring & loop action geometry just never makes for a nice-feeling action in my experience, it's often the case that such very old overdamper actions have terribly brittle parts that start to break as soon as you do anything.

But birdcage pianos were made as late as 1954 in the UK, and of the later ones, I don't think I can agree about the degree of difficulty. In birdcage actions, for example, it is very easy and quick to tighten both the wippen and the hammer flange screws as they are on the same side of the action rail. The damper flange screws are on the same side too, if it comes to that. And of course it's the work of only a moment to remove the action to carry out any work on it. The damping certainly doesn't work as well on such actions, though, and it's difficult to regulate the overdampers.

Best regards,

David
http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/birdcage-pianos.php


Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 03:32 PM

Ah,good to see that good manners is still alive in Scotland.
A Gentleman indeed.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 04:35 PM

Why thank you Herr Weiss! One does one's poor best! (Shuffles feet and looks shyly up from eyes modestly downcast....)

P.S. My own piano is a Weissbrod.
Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 06:28 PM

Thank you, Mr.Boyce for a graceously prompt reply. I can see that you were raised very well.

Like he said before, he has given us 30+ years of his personal
knowledge, asking nothing in return; we benificiaries should be
forever grateful. Not that there aren't others who also help us
in our learning process, but what more can I say, the man is
Special.

And if he ever decides to get into the piano making business,
I guess we both would love to have a Bremmer in our homes.

Herr Weiss
Posted by: Phil D

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 07:35 PM

That's a really comprehensive look at overdamper pianos David, thanks for that!

My favourite overdamper that I've seen was one with a left shift pedal. It was german, and the mechanism no longer worked, but it looked like it would have been effective. The plate cracked as soon as i started tuning it, unfortunately!
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 02/27/13 07:56 PM

Oh what a shame about the plate cracking, Phil! I have very occasionally come across an overdamper piano with a left shift pedal. Maybe only once or twice, and it's a long time since I saw one. I will make sure to get photos if I ever see another. I'm on a mission nowadays to document things! It annoys me that many years ago I encountered an old spinet-height piano with tuning pins at the BACK of the pinblock, facing away from the player/tuner, and I never got any photos.

Best regards,

David.
http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/birdcage-pianos.php
Posted by: Toni Goldener

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/01/13 08:45 AM

Now, short before my weekend (only one tuning left), I find some time to thank you all for your help on my Spinet revision.
That was my first regulation on a spinet piano, but uprights and grands I did already many of them. So that's why I asked for your help, because I have heard before, that you can loose hours of putting back the action because of these fingers.

It was ( and still is) a Knight spinet (England) from 1965, the hammers were replaced a few years ago with a new set of hammers by Abel. Good quality hammer, but I think, they were not really good prevoiced, so the harshness of this piano. After regulating, a pitch raise, a fine tuning and voicing, my wrist hurts quiet a little bit, but it sounded, thank god, better than before. I you like, you can listen to the audio file:

http://snd.sc/Z2dFmD

The action contains three parts: One rail with wooden capstains, I could remove it without problems and put back too, a second one with these stickers and the third one with the hammers and wippens etc. see the pictures, made with my Ipodtouch.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/81qt0zj070a7n89/MoRBXLRjtF

Once again, thanks for all your help!! THat is very great in this piano forum.
Have a good weekend

Toni
Posted by: Cinnamonbear

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/03/13 11:42 AM

Wow, Toni! What a lovely sounding spinet! Nicely done! thumb

--Andy
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/03/13 02:21 PM

Wow indeed! Well done you! I hope your customer is suitably pleased and impressed!
Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/03/13 03:52 PM

@Mr.Goldener: Your spinet puts my humble, American made Weser spinet,which I bought brand new in 1972, to shame.
There is no comparison, my sounds more like a toy-piano.
The difference I reckon is in Craftsmanship. The Knight is visually pleasing as well; a work of Art.

Whilst my spinet, was made in an assembly line, to be sold to
ignorant customers, who do not know the first thing about pianos.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/03/13 04:38 PM

Knight pianos were quite sturdy, decent instruments. They sold a lot to Schools. The 1970s ones have a tendency now to sound hard as nails. But I came across one last week that were pretty good.
Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: regulate and voice a drop action - 03/03/13 05:54 PM

@Mr.Boyce: Hello again and thank you for the additional info.
I see now, more clearly than before, that, there are pianos and then, there are PIANOS.
As a newbie I want to study daily; to raise the bar and not stay
stagnant. I will 'dissect' my piano to learn all the pros and cons of Spinets. Already know that it is much easier to get the action out than to put it back, as precision comes into play;
so all the parts are synchronized like a fine watch.
Tuning them is another story, haha.
Cheers, H.W.