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#609021 - 02/05/07 09:53 AM Over Damper Upright
Jim Puckett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 251
Loc: Mount Vernon, Ohio
I forgot to post that I had my first tuning call on an overdamper upright last week. Spicifically a 1937 Kingscourt.

What a pain - and a challenge. The structure of the lid etc didn't even allow for a regular tuning hammer head - I used a 5 inch head that I normally only use for the last octave on grands!

In addition there are several things that need done to the piano - I wasn't sure I wanted to get into extra stuff on this one. Fortunately the family is using it as a starter piano for their child with a planned upgrade in a year or so. Based on my comments and evaluation of the piano she denied repairs and asked me to help her find another piano across this year.

I had to do a pitch raise and a tuning - it seemed to tune up ok. It just took a lot longer.

My question: what do you all do with fees? Do you charge extra for these pianos?
_________________________
Jim

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#609022 - 02/05/07 02:36 PM Re: Over Damper Upright
fourthgenerationpianorestoration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Brewster Cape Cod Mass
Hi jim: the kingscourt piano was made by Stroud in England,I have heard this piano action refered to as a "birdcage action"because the damper wires make it look that way to hold dampers above the hammers.I have had to make a special tool ,not fancy to fit as well.It depends on how much longer your talking about.I do charge a little more.For instance local regular tuning which travel time is under 30 minutes $75.00 ,prices off cape and in boston are running $100 .If I see ahead of time(before starting) that it will take more than two hours because of player parts or obstructions than I will charge $20.more added per hour.
What condition is the keyboard in.Does it still have Ivory keys if so how's their condition.The piano may be worth more than you think but knowone rely knows untill they see it.
The answer is yes! speaking for me that is.
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Swensen
35 years doing restorations
Tuning,Moving,Actions,Refinishing,
Restringing, Estimates,Players
jeffreyswensen@comcast.net

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#609023 - 02/05/07 03:12 PM Re: Over Damper Upright
Jim Puckett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 251
Loc: Mount Vernon, Ohio
The piano case was still in nice condition. The piano did have ivories - but not in great shape. Many chipped and many others discolored. The inside was a mess though - the hammers were "clean" but worn. Most of the other felt I could see was very worn and stringy. Many of the coils were resting against the plate and several plate screws were loose. The wood of the action was clean in appearance - but - of course - not working great. The whole piano has a "clicking" feel and sound to it - which may be normal for these actions - I don't know because this is my first one.

I left the situation with a happy customer. But I told her from the beginning that I would "attempt" to tune it. Between the birdcage and the coils resting on the plate - and it sure seemed like a long time since it had been cared for. I wasn't making any promises! I told her that if it didn't tune up - the rest would be irrelevant.
_________________________
Jim

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#609024 - 02/05/07 09:54 PM Re: Over Damper Upright
fourthgenerationpianorestoration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Brewster Cape Cod Mass
The felts in the action may be to worn or even gone behind the letoff jacks , which may mean that the whole action needs refelting .The key bed felts should be replaced to.Doing this will remove the "clicking" feel.The felt that is still under the keys is probably hard as a kock to ,you probably feel it when you play it.When your customer wants to sell it ,post pictures and email some to piano dealers dealing in that kind of era piano.I may even be interested if the price is right.Tuning it gets better each time.What do the prices for tuning go for in Ohio?
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Swensen
35 years doing restorations
Tuning,Moving,Actions,Refinishing,
Restringing, Estimates,Players
jeffreyswensen@comcast.net

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#609025 - 02/07/07 04:36 PM Re: Over Damper Upright
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 570
Loc: Boston, MA
Hi, Jim --

I have one birdcage piano on my service. For a regular tuning, I charge her for tuning plus what I usually surcharge for a pitch raise; for a pitch raise (which I only did once), I charge the regular tuning fee plus double my pitch raise surcharge. That usually works out to just about what I would charge if I just went by time, but charging by the job seems more peaceful for both me and the customer.
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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