tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand?

Posted by: Neil Sundberg

tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 01:14 AM

Hi,

I own a Mason Hamlin BB.
I'm prepping to tune my piano.

On reading the Reblitz book, I learned that good hammer technique is to put the hammer on the pin so that the handle is parallel and away from the string at about a 5 o'clock position. He says " you'll have the least tendency to bend the pins as you tune" this way.

He goes on to say you should have your elbow firmly resting on the piano so that as a right handed person pushing will tighten the string.

Now, I do have a simple student type tuning hammer but doing what Reblitz suggests means that the handle of the hammer does not end up being high enough to clear the board above the keys ( sorry, don't have the term for it)

So, I guess I have two options. Put the hammer at a different angle with the handle pointed away from the keys

or buy another hammer or tip extension. Of course my 'student' hammer has a 2 1/2 inch tip screwed on to the handle.

So, my question for you guys:

Do you use Reblitz's technique?
If so, how do you extend up over the 2 1/2 inch height of the wood between the keys and the pin block?

I have searched extensively the various tuning hammers, I'm just not sure if this is really that important to do it from the above mentioned angle.

thanks,
Neil
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 02:25 AM

You have one of the finest pianos available today. Work with your tuner to make sure you have the correct sized tip for your pins, and to learn the correct technique.

It would be a shame to accidentally damage such a piano. You shouldn't be learning from an online forum: it's like playing tennis by mail.

--Cy--
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 08:22 AM

The questions you are asking indicate that you should work with a pro as a mentor. Cy is right. That's a very fine instrument that can easily be damaged by inexperience.

Try working on a junker to find out what tuning entails. That way, the inevitable missteps won't ruin a fine piano.
Posted by: Dave Stahl

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 08:45 AM

I share Cy's and David's opinions. Unless this is a really old, beat up piano, you're better off getting a beater for $100.00 or so (roughly the price of a tuning) to practice on.
Posted by: Randy Karasik

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:13 AM

I use a different technique to tune. I hold the hammer with the handle away from me, pointing towards the tail, maybe at around one or two o'clock.

I pull to raise the pitch, and push to lower.

... diff'rent strokes ...
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Randy Karasik
I use a different technique to tune. I hold the hammer with the handle away from me, pointing towards the tail, maybe at around one or two o'clock.

I pull to raise the pitch, and push to lower.

... diff'rent strokes ...




That is called "flag-poling", and bends the tuning pin. It also ovals out the top of the hole in the pinblock. There's a whole lot to know just to manipulate the pin and the lever. In fact, "Different Strokes" is just one of the books written on the topic.

--Cy--
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 11:01 AM

Thanks for your all your concerns about my piano. The point is that I want to do the best for it. Learning to tune it is just an extension of being a musician and making my piano my own. So, if you are too worried, it's fine, I understand.

Anyway, it sounds like you guys agree with Reblitz. What sort of hammer do you use to get over the wood then?

I found a page that lists various solutions-
http://www.mypianoshop.com/store/home.php?cat=43&sort=orderby&sort_direction=0&page=4



thanks
Neil
Posted by: Dale Fox

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 11:45 AM

Neil, why don't you at least hire a professional tuner for the first tuning. Watch, discreetly from a distance and try to pick up some of the answers to your many questions. Then you can observe some of the techniques for yourself.

Though the Reblitz book is a fine source, much of what is in there is not current practice. I'm not sure I'd agree at all with the tuning hammer technique you described. Certainly not the way I position the lever.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 12:01 PM

Hi Dale,

It's OK. I have a tuner who does an fine job. If i get too lost with this, I'll just give him a call( and I imagine pay him extra for the extra work wink )
I have hired two different tuners. But I wasn't thinking about this detail when they were here. On the other hand, I don't recall either of them having a hammer that would extend over the wood opposite the strings.
How about this? Anyone in Seattle want to come give me a tuning lesson? Yep, I'm sure I can call the local guild or one of my tuners. I know there is a sizable learning curve here. I'm happy to do my homework though.

Neil
Posted by: Gene Nelson

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 12:35 PM

So, if you are too worried, it's fine, I understand.

You missed the point - it is you who should be worried.
Learning to tune pianos is not necessarily an extension of musicianship. It is a craft all by itself and takes years to master.
Your enthusiasm is a good start and I am certain that you can learn if you want to invest the time and effort required to properly learn the necessary skills.
There is a great PTG chapter in Seattle - I would suggest that you attend a meeting and meet the pros - it would be a demonstration of your desire to learn then you can connect up with someone willing to help - a much better approach to this imho.
Purchasing a student hammer was your first mistake, using it to turn pins on a BB would be another.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 06:15 PM

Thanks guys. I guess I'll ask elsewhere.

This is my path, this is what I intend to do, it's my piano, I really didn't expect this to end up being about me. In the end though, it's all about me because this is my dream just like it was your dream to become a tuner.

Bottom line, everyone starts somewhere. And I didn't miss anyones point. I really think on the contrary there was only one person here that actually answered my question

I have wanted to learn to tune pianos for over thirty years. At this point even if I ended up totally destroying my beloved Mason Hamlin it would be worth the fact that I had the courage to try to do what I wanted to do. After all, my life is about trying to improve and learn, not about protecting what I happen to be fortunate to own.

Always mystifies me the barriers people try to put up. I respect you or what you have learned to do. Frankly though, I have plenty of brains to do the same, and so I will.

Neil
Posted by: Alan T.

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 08:24 PM

Neil:

Buy a better hammer with an extension. Resting your elbow is not as important as pulling the hammer straight in the same plane as the pinblock otherwise you will bend pins. I like to keep the handle about the 2-4 o'clock position. Small movements produce the results you want. Too much movement and you add too much tension and will break a string. Sounds like for you, though, that would just be another learning opportunity.

You do have an exquisite piano. Proceed, and be cautious and deliberate. Use all resources you can. This forum, books, dvds, consult with your tech, etc. I admire your desire to learn.
Posted by: Dave Stahl

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 08:32 PM

I don't know very many techs who push on the handle to raise the pitch, if any. I and others I know pull the lever from about 1-3 o'clock, depending on pin position. Pushing on the pin to tighten it offers virtually zero control for me. I was always taught "12 o'clock, give or take a couple of hours."

The point is, you want to turn the pin, not bend it. Bending it, as Cy says will cause damage to the hole.

I have a couple of occasional customers who do a creditable job of tuning their own pianos. Like you, they seem to be intelligent and sincere in their quest for knowledge. It isn't rocket science, but it does take a fair amount of practice to get proficient enough to be pleased with your own results.

Be cautious, have patience.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:14 PM

This post illustrates a problem that comes up again and again with DIY tuners. If a question is asked that reveals a woeful lack of basic knowledge it becomes very difficult to make suggestions that will not insult the questioner.

Inevitably the original poster takes to insulting the technicians, and very little is gained on either side.

DIYers, take some courses. Get some mentoring. That's really the best course.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Alan T.
Neil:

Buy a better hammer with an extension. Resting your elbow is not as important as pulling the hammer straight in the same plane as the pinblock otherwise you will bend pins. I like to keep the handle about the 2-4 o'clock position. Small movements produce the results you want. Too much movement and you add too much tension and will break a string. Sounds like for you, though, that would just be another learning opportunity.

You do have an exquisite piano. Proceed, and be cautious and deliberate. Use all resources you can. This forum, books, dvds, consult with your tech, etc. I admire your desire to learn.


Thanks Alan,

So, it sounds like your hammer position is normally perpendicular to the string. And I get what you are saying about trying to keep the torque in the same plane as the pin movement.

This gets to the central issue I wonder about and which Reblitz has me concerned about. Because if I buy, say, a four inch long tip for my current hammer to get over the wood above the keys, it just seems that the longer tip may put more bending force into the pin. I suppose, similarly, too much angle used may do the same thing.

In other words, my thought is that the shorter the tip the better for minimizing pin bending forces. In looking at the available levers, it appears that many lever makers do seem to keep that part of their lever short.

In any event, it just sounds like I need to ignore Reblitz's advise ( parallel to string, handle away ) on this one.

I did read a whole thread from last year here about levers. It sounded to me like you all have your faves.

I had some fun last night checking out some of the pricey tuning levers. I especially liked the Fujan or maybe the Jahn. Problem with all that is I wouldn't know in detail how to configure such a purchase. To some extent thats what I'd like someone's advise on if they care to write about it.

I did find a nice article on Fujan use here http://thundermush.com/fujan/

Again, perhaps it doesn't matter that much about tip angle or length. That would be interesting to understand too.

Anyway, I can understand that this subject may be hard to detail without being able to show it. I probably need to seek out video(s) like you said.



Neil
Posted by: Zeno Wood

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:25 PM

If you're going to get a pricy tuning hammer, check out Charles Faulk. He has pictures and descriptions of what he has available, no configuring involved.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/28/09 09:41 PM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
This post illustrates a problem that comes up again and again with DIY tuners. If a question is asked that reveals a woeful lack of basic knowledge it becomes very difficult to make suggestions that will not insult the questioner.

Inevitably the original poster takes to insulting the technicians, and very little is gained on either side.

DIYers, take some courses. Get some mentoring. That's really the best course.


I'd be happy to take back whatever you may have thought was insulting in any of my posts David. As I see it, everything I have said was a statement of my position.

I have read many posts recently where long time piano tuners are taking issue with each other, so apparently even after years in the field, there is plenty to discuss, argue about, whatever.

On the other hand, sure, I can see there would be plenty of reasons an experienced tuner might role their eyes at my post. That's fine, I can handle it.

On this particular subject though, as I am apparently finding out, there seems to be at least some divergence of opinion, and especially from what Reblitz said in his book.

I suppose if this is just too elemental to be interesting to you, why not just move on to the next post? Like I said before, this just happens to be where I'm at right now. Sure, if and when I can find a teacher, that sounds good to me.

I really do respect your profession and find it amazing that people can count 4.5 or whatever beats in 5 seconds. Takes a long time to learn. So I'm at the beginning of my journey

Neil
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/29/09 04:17 PM

I am not a tech but I do own a new BB. I agree with all the tech posts.

But even excluding the danger of harming the piano, don't you think a good experienced tuner could do a better job of tuning?
Posted by: Les Koltvedt

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/29/09 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave Stahl
I don't know very many techs who push on the handle to raise the pitch, if any. I and others I know pull the lever from about 1-3 o'clock, depending on pin position. Pushing on the pin to tighten it offers virtually zero control for me. I was always taught "12 o'clock, give or take a couple of hours."

The point is, you want to turn the pin, not bend it. Bending it, as Cy says will cause damage to the hole.

I have a couple of occasional customers who do a creditable job of tuning their own pianos. Like you, they seem to be intelligent and sincere in their quest for knowledge. It isn't rocket science, but it does take a fair amount of practice to get proficient enough to be pleased with your own results.

Be cautious, have patience.



Dave offers sound advise...
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/29/09 06:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Monster M&H
Originally Posted By: Dave Stahl
I don't know very many techs who push on the handle to raise the pitch, if any. I and others I know pull the lever from about 1-3 o'clock, depending on pin position. Pushing on the pin to tighten it offers virtually zero control for me. I was always taught "12 o'clock, give or take a couple of hours."

The point is, you want to turn the pin, not bend it. Bending it, as Cy says will cause damage to the hole.

I have a couple of occasional customers who do a creditable job of tuning their own pianos. Like you, they seem to be intelligent and sincere in their quest for knowledge. It isn't rocket science, but it does take a fair amount of practice to get proficient enough to be pleased with your own results.

Be cautious, have patience.



Dave offers sound advise...



Yes, I like Dave's advise. I do think it would be interesting to hear from a tech about what might have happened to Arthur Reblitz's method and the apparent fact that very few current tuners use it. ( edit; yes, I see Dave said pushing to tighten doesn't give him the control he wants, to paraphrase)

Neil

Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/29/09 06:50 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I am not a tech but I do own a new BB. I agree with all the tech posts.

But even excluding the danger of harming the piano, don't you think a good experienced tuner could do a better job of tuning?


Congrats. Happy to hear we have this good fortune in common. I love my Mason Hamlin almost as much as my girl friend. smile At least that's what I have to say in her presence.

And who knows how good I'll get at tuning. It's simply something I am learning to do and having fun doing.

I should say, I understand the reaction I have gotten here. It's OK. I get that tuners have put a huge amount of time and effort into learning their trade.

Neil
Posted by: Randy Karasik

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 08:27 AM

I can't imagine that using a student hammer will actually damage a piano. If anything, the student hammer will take the bigger beating due to its cheap material and construction. Has anyone of us here actually damaged a piano using a student hammer?

And using an extension lever is entirely unnecessary. The important thing is to have a hammer that has a clear path, is tall enough, and is comfortable to use.

I gave up extension hammers years ago due to their heavy weight. I'll never buy one again. Using a rigid, light-weight hammer allows you to feel the pin and the string better. You are much better connected to the string and you have much less fatigue to deal with. A pear-shaped handle is best. I use a Jahn non-extension pear handle.

And 'flag poling' is extremely effective for fine tuning - if done correctly. It settles the string and the pin at the same time. It increases speed and accuracy for a skilled tuner. The tuning pins are being twisted as you tune the piano. Learn to use the twisting to your advantage. Holding the hammer parallel to the strings gives the best advantage for this.

This technique does not harm pianos. I have been tuning some pianos now for almost 30 years and the tuning pins are still very tight.

The previous suggestion to hold the hammer at 12:00 give or take an hour is a perfectly fine place to start. If your body needs a better position in order to accomplish the task, that is an individual adjustment that the technician determines for himself.

The most important issues are that you listen - LISTEN - to the piano and feel the string and tuning pin as you adjust the strings. It takes months or years to get the coordination down to a fine skill. When you can tune a piano from start to finish in about an hour, and manage to lock in the frequencies with good stability, it is a very satisfying feeling to have.

For those of us professional tuners with hundreds of satisfied clients (who try other tuners only to come back to us again and again), we experience a lifetime of confirmation that our skills are the correct ones to use. After several decades, we learn that our technique delivers the best possible results without harming the piano.

Start with the student lever if you want to. Buy a better one if you're going to continue your quest to become a skilled tuner. But don't expect perfect results unless you become a full time tuner and are willing to devote years to hone your craft.
Posted by: BDB

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 11:02 AM

I came across a cheap hammer with a bad tip that left ridges on the tuning pins. Yes, there are hammers that can damage pianos.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 11:10 AM

Thanks Randy.

I enjoyed reading your post. Tuning does sound like a great career. And I appreciate the lever technique tips.

If you are ever in Seattle, please look me up.

Neil
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 11:20 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I came across a cheap hammer with a bad tip that left ridges on the tuning pins. Yes, there are hammers that can damage pianos.


Good info, this is the kind of thing I need to learn about.

I plan to buy the best I can afford- maybe a Fugan. I need to know what size tip to buy for my Mason.

Right now I am assuming #2 since my impression is that is most common.

It makes sense that the tighter the tip on the pin the better. I see the pins are tapered.

I have also read somewhere that I want the tip to be near the coil but not touching it. On this student hammer I have the tip ends up about 3/16 above the coils.

Neil
Posted by: Gene Nelson

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 12:39 PM

In all cases it is not the hammer that does the damage.
When poor quality is combined with inexperience the risk increases dramatically.
Always buy quality.
I have 4 hammers and for each I have all tip sizes and extensions available. Neither is a Faulk or Fujan.
There will never be one hammer tip combination that fits all situations.
Posted by: Randy Karasik

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 03:19 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I came across a cheap hammer with a bad tip that left ridges on the tuning pins. Yes, there are hammers that can damage pianos.


That makes sense.

My first student hammer was kept in the workshop and used from time to time while my good hammer was in my tool kit in the truck.

I continued to use the student hammer for chip tuning and non-tuning work in the shop. It never damaged pins, but eventually the tip failed. It literally cracked wide open and became worthless. I kept it and showed it at a PTG meeting in Denver.

Exhibit 1 - A cheap tuning hammer that fails after 20 years of use. We got a kick out of that one.


Posted by: Randy Karasik

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Neil Sundberg
Originally Posted By: BDB
I came across a cheap hammer with a bad tip that left ridges on the tuning pins. Yes, there are hammers that can damage pianos.


Good info, this is the kind of thing I need to learn about.

I plan to buy the best I can afford- maybe a Fugan. I need to know what size tip to buy for my Mason.

Right now I am assuming #2 since my impression is that is most common.

It makes sense that the tighter the tip on the pin the better. I see the pins are tapered.

I have also read somewhere that I want the tip to be near the coil but not touching it. On this student hammer I have the tip ends up about 3/16 above the coils.

Neil



Yes, start with a #2 tip. My guess is that it's the only one you will ever use.
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 05:03 PM

Before I bought my first grand piano about 4+ years ago, a 1915 M&H A, I had a Japanese upright for about 15 years. I knew absolutely nothing about tuning a piano. The upright had a Pianocorder as well as the M&H A. That Pianocorder was playing the the grand every day, and the piano would not stay in tune for very long...so I called the pro-tuner in..he did a great job.....a few weeks later, piano was not in tune, for my ear. I asked him about learning to tune, in fact he suggested it after he came back to tune it again and again. I bought an ETD and with a little help from him, started to tune. 4 1/2 years later, I have broken only 1 string, and it was on a friends upright that had all rusty stings, and it was the last string in the treble....lol...murphy's law.

I have found the most difficult thing to master is the pin-setting.....To get those pins to not wander. Thank heavens for the improvements in ETD's, otherwise I might not have been able to do it on my own. I plan to take some lessons from the pro's to get this pin setting better.

I use a Fujan hammer most of the time.

For those not familiar with my postings, here are a few of my tunings on my 1925 Mason & Hamlin BB. They are not perfect, but they are pretty good considering I am not a pro-tuner.

Bottom line, it IS possible to learn to tune your own piano. smile

"The Age of Innocence" Reyburn Cyber Tuner OCT5 Stretch, Normalized in Audacity http://www.box.net/shared/hagt0fk2ly

"The Age of Innocence" Stopper Tuning, Corrected in Audacity. http://www.box.net/shared/s4huo9y1pm

"Dancing in the Dark" http://www.box.net/shared/eb4bmh0uoa
"Yours and Mine" 1930's Fox Trot http://www.box.net/shared/f6sdscfus8
"Il Postino" Theme http://www.box.net/shared/1qifx1ep3p
"Out of Africa" http://www.box.net/shared/1qifx1ep3p
"IF You Knew Susie" 1920's Fox Trot http://www.box.net/shared/e2isp8k8u0/1/31495054/327262276
"Somewhere in Time" http://www.box.net/shared/g63xlxj4og


Posted by: AUTPHF

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 05:29 PM

Hi Neil,

I am not a tuner (yet). But like you I am bound and determined to learn. Personally, I think using some basic common sense with a basic understanding of leverage (ie incorrectly used leverage of the hammer can damage a pin) will keep you safe from any chance of doing any damage. Piano's seem to be pretty solid instruments, from what I can tell. You already mentioned the importance of moving the hammer and the pin in the same plane. That with very small movements should get you the results you wants WRT chnaging the pitch / beats slightly. As far as the technical side of guessing beat rates and setting the temperment ... well ... theres no quick and easy road there. I think I have seen most of the YouTube vids on tuning now and have bought several books on it. I am fortunate in having a junker baby grand to hone my (lack of) skills on. I wish I could get someone to tutor me for an hour or two for 100 bucks on tuning, it would be money well spent!!

It was my understanding that you should have some play between the hammer and the pin (ie not a super snug fit) so that you can kinda rock the hammer while setting the pin? It also makes small movements of the pin easier and more accurate? Maybe a tech can confirm this technique.

Just out of curiosity will you be using an ETD to start your tuning?. I am using TuneLab (free download) as a training aid and just out of curiosity. It's kinda cool, but I want to be an aural tuner with the ETD as a backup. Tuning is an interesting field with no end to perfecting it. I am gonna take the plunge and do the Randy Potter course starting in the new year.


Cheers


Tony
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 09:55 PM

Originally Posted By: AUTPHF
Hi Neil,
Just out of curiosity will you be using an ETD to start your tuning?. I am using TuneLab (free download) as a training aid and just out of curiosity. It's kinda cool, but I want to be an aural tuner with the ETD as a backup. Tuning is an interesting field with no end to perfecting it. I am gonna take the plunge and do the Randy Potter course starting in the new year.


Cheers


Tony


Hi Tony,

And thanks to all who have participated in this thread today. I am liking the spirit of it now.

And thanks to Grandpianoman for posting your recordings. Hopefully I will have some to share at some point.

So, Tony,

Yes, I will be using an ETD. I purchased Verituner for my Ipaq 210. It downloaded and installed on it just fine. I did that just a few days ago and haven't yet had time to work with it. But so far I am quite impressed with it.

My old friend Dean who is a tuner used Verituner to tune my Mason right after I trailered it home from Colorado last Fall. I was quite impressed with Verituner then and I liked the way Dean and Verituner made my piano sound.

I also tried Tunelab which worked fine for me really. There was just too much movement in it's phase display for my liking. Plus I already knew I liked Verituner's capabiities, so I decided to go for it. But I did have success with Tunelab. I got about half of the piano tuned with it last week.

Given the above, I would agree with anyone that at least understanding what is going on is really helpful. I am also studying Arthur Reblitz's excellent book on the subject. It is well written and easily understood. I truely am not sure I would have the patience to listen for beats to tune intervals. But I think it could be fun to master that too. One of the future features of Verituner, according to the web site, will be that it may end up having the ability to count the beats for you. ( This is Verituner Pocket I am talking about. The Verituner 100 already does that but costs around $1800.) Anyway, that could be a great learning tool to help learn beat counting.

I have started a Yahoo group for folks like us that are just starting, want to share anything about any brand of ETD or talk about these basic lever technique type of things.
Here is a link to it- http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/DIYPianotuning/?yguid=74281353

If that doesn't work, just search on DIY Piano Tuning in Yahoo groups. I have not set it up to require approval yet, so it should be quite easy to join. So please do join and we can help each other out. Tuners who would be friendly to our cause are quite welcome also.

Thanks,

Neil
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 10:34 PM

I never did quite understand that part of the Reblitz book. Nobody but nobody ever tunes with the handle of the lever hanging out over the keys!....do they?
In the book he does mention that six o'clock on an upright is different than six o'clock on a grand.

From my perspective, twelve o'clock is from where I am sitting, not from which way the hammer handle is in relation to the strings direction. At a vertical twelve o'clock is with the handle sticking straight up away from the strings direction. On a grand 12 o'clock is with the handle is straight back toward the tail going WITH the direction of the strings. I don't know if it makes much difference, other than one way is possible and the other is not.....for me anyway.
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 10:51 PM

So for grand tuning, Reblitz's 5 o'clock is actually 11 o'clock so I don't think you need to get a super tall extension to get over the stretcher.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 11:34 PM

Originally Posted By: byronje3
I never did quite understand that part of the Reblitz book. Nobody but nobody ever tunes with the handle of the lever hanging out over the keys!....do they?
In the book he does mention that six o'clock on an upright is different than six o'clock on a grand.

From my perspective, twelve o'clock is from where I am sitting, not from which way the hammer handle is in relation to the strings direction. At a vertical twelve o'clock is with the handle sticking straight up away from the strings direction. On a grand 12 o'clock is with the handle is straight back toward the tail going WITH the direction of the strings. I don't know if it makes much difference, other than one way is possible and the other is not.....for me anyway.


Thanks for addressing this subject about what Reblitz wrote. I think it would be possible to use his method, but the fact is that you would have to put a long tip extension on your lever to clear the wood above the keys. (Sorry, could someone tell me what to call that?) So, in using this method, you may avoid pin bending forces by having the handle at that position and then introduce some other kind of side force on the pin since you have this long, say 3 inch in the case of my Mason Hamlin, tip- tip extension combo.

I guess the reason I thought it could have been worth figuring out was that it seemed to make sense that you can sit on the piano bench and tune with a relatively relaxed posture. it just seems like leaning over the pin block so that you can get the lever handle at the 12, 1, 2 O'clock position is a bit awkward.

But now I am concluding that is what I will need to figure out how to do. I do want to keep the tip length shortish and the head angle low. I realize this is most likely old hat for you tuners. You have found a posture and a way of doing it that works for you and I'm sure I will too.

Am I wrong, would a piano made differently with lower wood in that area perhaps create more followers of Reblitz's lever method?

Neil
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 11/30/09 11:53 PM

Originally Posted By: byronje3
So for grand tuning, Reblitz's 5 o'clock is actually 11 o'clock so I don't think you need to get a super tall extension to get over the stretcher.


I have his book here. I will quote it directly-

" You will bend the pins the least if you keep the handle of the tuning lever approximately parallel to the strings, extending away from them. As you look at the tuning pins in a vertical piano, orient the lever in a position around one o'clock if you are right handed. , or eleven o'clock if you are a lefty. Looking down at the tuning pins while sitting directly in front of a grand, orient the lever somewhere around five o'clock."

A few paragraphs latter he says

" For best control of the lever, rest your elbow firmly on the pinblock , cabinet, or other convenient part of the piano. With your elbow resting on the piano, your wrist and elbow are the pivot points for your hand. With your elbow hanging in midair, your shoulder is a pivot point, decreasing control."

Then in his first tuning exercise he confirms that he is pulling the handle in a counterclockwise direction to lower pitch and raising pitch by pushing on the lever.

So, am I wrong or what? When I try what he is saying, the lever handle is over the keys on my grand.

Neil
Posted by: Tranesong2

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:13 AM

Damn, aural tuning is our only authentic signature to the music. Using tuning software may get you to the frequency. But does not show you how to set the pin or the string? Does it replicate your natural stretch? Never.
Get a real education. Try to get to North Bennet St. School in Boston, or the University of Western Ontario, the Chicago School of Piano Technology, and learn the entire trade. You can't learn this stuff from the mail. Sorry Randy.
Posted by: Tranesong2

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:14 AM

Reblitz is a good book. Can you learn the trade from this? NOOOOOO.
Posted by: Tranesong2

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:23 AM

Much to the dismay of our peers. The direction of the hammer is secondary to the ability to set the pins. Flag poling aside, set the string, set the pin. Bang and test the keys....hard!
Posted by: Tranesong2

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:40 AM

Oh ya, don't have the patience to listen to beats? You really don't have a clue. Piano tuning is completely about beats. If you want to be a true piano technician you have to undestand that pianos are not tuned by pitch. They are tuned by frequency, by beats. Anything else is ignorant and completely lazy and without ART!It takes the same amount of time to learn our trade as it does to learn to play the piano. If you think you can take a shortcut to the art, to the trade.....forget it. You will always be a novice.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Tranesong2
Oh ya, don't have the patience to listen to beats? You really don't have a clue. Piano tuning is completely about beats. If you want to be a true piano technician you have to undestand that pianos are not tuned by pitch. They are tuned by frequency, by beats. Anything else is ignorant and completely lazy and without ART!It takes the same amount of time to learn our trade as it does to learn to play the piano. If you think you can take a shortcut to the art, to the trade.....forget it. You will always be a novice.


OK, I'm a novice. when it comes to tuning pianos I'm pretty ignorant, lazy hmm I wish I had some free time to enjoy. Did I say I wanted to become a piano tuner for anyone else? Anywhere here? What does it matter to you what my piano sounds like? This is for me. If you want to be rude, please go elsewhere.

Another thing here, read this whole thread, have I not given tuners the respect you deserve? I think the answer to that is yes.

Tranesong, it's really tough to respond to you when you sound mad. But maybe you can tell us what seems to be really bothering you if you insist. I'm serious. This is not retorical.

Neil
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 11:32 AM

Reblitz doesn't say that the best tuning hammer position is with the hammer handle hanging out over the keys!
The 5, 6, and 7 o'clock referred to in the Reblitz book is actually 11, 12, and 1 o'clock for a grand.

There's no need for a super long tip extension to get over the stretcher.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 11:36 AM

Thanks Byron

I appreciate it. Oh and I finally know what to call that wood- stretcher


Neil
Posted by: Tranesong2

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 11:50 AM

Sorry Neil, just passionate about my trade. Way too many hacks kicking around posing as technicians. Again, Sorry
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 12:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Tranesong2
Sorry Neil, just passionate about my trade. Way too many hacks kicking around posing as technicians. Again, Sorry


Thanks for the apology tranesong. Really I do understand your point of view.

I also am interested in learning as much as I can and think it would be quite a cool thing to be able to tune aurally as you do.

Maybe I'll get there some day.

Cheers
Neil
Posted by: AUTPHF

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 10:57 PM

Hi Neil,

Yes, I have looked into the Verituner as well and will seriously consider getting the 100 model once I finish the Randy Potter course. It seems like a nice piece of kit although others swear by the SAT III. It wouldn't take long to recoup the price if only tuning your own piano, which you would probably tune a lot more if you knew how your-self. Anyway the more control you have over your own piano the better grin I think though that you have to learn to be able to discern and count the beats (or at least know how they "sound") to do well at tuning.

I will definately check out the Yahoo groups you suggested. Thanks



Cheers


Tony
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 11:30 PM

Tony. If you get the Verituner 100 you will not be sorry. It is a very nice machine.
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/01/09 11:45 PM

I apologize for repeating my point with three posts! I did not see that my first two had been posted. I thought I lost them before submitting them! Sorry.
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 12:25 AM

AUTPHF,

One can tune a piano without learning to count beats...the ETD does that for you, at least that's been my experience so far.

One thing I did learn on my own the more I tuned with the ETD, and that is I am now able to hear if a unison is out of tune, and with my ear, I can tune the unison so it's beat-less, and the ETD usually agrees with me. smile
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 12:59 AM

Originally Posted By: grandpianoman
AUTPHF,

One can tune a piano without learning to count beats...the ETD does that for you, at least that's been my experience so far.

One thing I did learn on my own the more I tuned with the ETD, and that is I am now able to hear if a unison is out of tune, and with my ear, I can tune the unison so it's beat-less, and the ETD usually agrees with me. smile


Hey GP,

Love to have your views expressed in DIY piano tuning yahoo group. http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/DIYPianotuning/

Would you do a post there about your ETD experiences?

I set it up to require approval, but that's a cinch.

Hope to see you there. You too Byron and Randy

Neil
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 01:26 AM

Byron ,

It's all good. Only one post showed up.

BTW guys,

I ordered my Fujan today. I think it's exciting really. Kind of a small tool to spend almost $400 on but one piano splurge , OK maybe two, a year is OK isn't it? I'm just doing my part to get the economy moving, right? wink

Anyway, I bought the 5 degree head, the 9 3/8 tube, the straight handle assembly, the #2 tip that's an inch long( common knowledge here I assume) and then his 5/8 tip extension.

Then I went to Pianotek supply and bought their Watanabe #2 2 1/2 inch tip and their tip wrench which was quite a bit cheaper than at Fujan.

So, this is my wild and crazy plan. Byron, I hear you on the technique thing where nobody does it with the handle out over the keys. Well, With the combo of the 5/8 tip extension and the 2 1/2 tip, I can get over the stretcher. So, I'll give that a shot. If that doesn't feel good, I'll switch to the one inch tip combined with the 5/8 tip extension so I hopefully will be able to clear the plate webbing. Failing that, Steve Fujan was willing to exchange the head for just the cost of the postage.

So, I'll keep you posted on how this goes. Steve says it'll be around two weeks for delivery.

Neil
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 01:49 AM

BTW, the correct spelling is "Fujan" (and "Watanabe").

--Cy--
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 01:54 AM

Thanks Cy,

I'm a terrible speller but I should have gotten those right.

In fact, I'll fix that now.

Thanks

Neil

edit-- fixed Fujan and Watanabe, I couldn't spell without spell check but that was right in front of me, my bad.
Posted by: JBE

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 06:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Neil Sundberg

Byron, I hear you on the technique thing where nobody does it with the handle out over the keys. Well, With the combo of the 5/8 tip extension and the 2 1/2 tip, I can get over the stretcher. So, I'll give that a shot. Neil


OK...if you want to look and feel like you are driving an outboard motor boat then give it a shot but I'm telling you what the Reblitz book really says.
Posted by: Neil Sundberg

Re: tuning hammer for a Mason Hamlin grand? - 12/02/09 07:42 PM

Originally Posted By: byronje3
Originally Posted By: Neil Sundberg

Byron, I hear you on the technique thing where nobody does it with the handle out over the keys. Well, With the combo of the 5/8 tip extension and the 2 1/2 tip, I can get over the stretcher. So, I'll give that a shot. Neil


OK...if you want to look and feel like you are driving an outboard motor boat then give it a shot but I'm telling you what the Reblitz book really says.


Hi Byron

That's great. Made me laugh. ha Maybe it'll make my piano float too. lol BTW- I think I just saw you on the Verituner forum, right?

Neil