Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hammer Butt Springs and Home Made Action Stands

 About a week ago I found a broken hammer spring in the piano action and needed to replace it. Thanks to the kind folks at the Tuner's Guild, I got a nice little supply now in case I need to repair more.

In order to do this though, I had to take the action out, which I've done before, but this time I wanted to be able to work on the action a little easier. They sell stands like this but I decided I would just make one.

I used some simple pine boards I had laying around and some 5/16 bolts washers and nuts. Using the bandsaw, table saw, and drill press, I put these together. They work relatively well. I need to add some support mechanism so they don't wobble as much but other than that they work well.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Software, Software, Software???

In my effort to learn to tune well, I've discovered that software is going to be a key element. This is not so I can tune faster or with out using my ears, this is so I can learn to hear things and check them against the ETD (electronic tuning device).

I've had a little time with only two ETDs. I've spent a very small amount of time with Reyburn Cyber tuner. I like the graphics of the spinning wheel on this and the side to side movement. I've also spent some time with Tune Lab Pro. This software was pretty easy to jump into. I'll need to spend some time reading the manual to make sure I'm using it to it's fullest potential.

On another note, last night was the first meeting of the Pittsburgh Piano Tuners Guild. It was decided that we would work on a 5'1" baby grand to refurbish it so we could sell it later. I will keep posted on the progress of that piano as well as I will be helping in what ever way I can. This will be a great learning experience.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

$200 Piano Light? I Think Not!

While it might not look like much it certainly does the job! After looking on Vandaking and other sites for piano lights, I found myself asking how something as simple as a few LED's could cost $200.

So as I was doing my weekly online Ikea hunt, I came across this fixture, Inreda @ $15. You also have to buy the power cord ANSLUTA.  I built a small box out of pine, took the LED driver apart and drilled a small hole into the enclosure to pass the led cable through. I then de soldered the barrel connector to the board and soldered the LED cable directly to it.  This worked out great and for $20 bucks, I'm going to say it can't be beat. I think it even looks pretty swell.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Restringing the Eb Above Middle C

Hopefully you can't tell which one of these is the new string. If you could see the coils then maybe you could!

Upon my first attempt at tuning, I broke the Eb above middle C and just today got the Music Wire in the mail to replace it.

After one wrong order, due to inch to mm conversion and lack of labeling on the companies website, I found the right size wire and ordered it. It took me a while but a chapter from the Reblitz book helped alot. Also I didn't have all of the fancy shmancy restringing tools either but with a pair of small needle nose pliers and my tuning hammer, I was able to get the job done. Everything is sitting on the treble bridge correctly. The only thing I would do differently next time would be measure more carefully. I have one too many winds on each of the two tuning pins.

The Piano I Learned to Play On

I spent some time this weekend with the piano that I learned to play on at home in Mechanicsburgh, PA. The piano was an old spinet, Wurlitzer spinet make.

I learned a few things. First off was how to take the music desk and key cover off of the piano. This was done by taking a few screws out. I then got to see the drop action of a spinet. After inspecting and cleaning out with a vacuum I started to attempt a temperament.

I got decent results, but wanted to focus more on fixing the unisons that were really off. I ended up spending about an hour just working through different things and afterwards it sounded nice. I still have a bit to do when it comes to the tempering but it was nice to get the piano sounding better considering it hadn't been tuned in over 10 years.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Tuning Literature

I received this book in the mail yesterday and while I haven't had too much of a chance to get into it, it is action packed with tons of great stuff already. It goes into different types of pianos and the maintenance that goes with it. It also goes into 2 different Equal Temperament methods. So far it's been a good read, a lot of pictures/diagrams.

Piano Servicing, Tuning, And Rebuidling - Arthur A. Reblitz

Another experience I was fortunate to have was sitting in a luncheon at the Steinway Gallery of Pittsburgh, PA with a famous piano tuner, Franz Mohr. He Tuned for famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz and more. He gave some great accounts of his time with remarkable artists and I got a copy of his book. So far it's been a good read.

My Life with the Great Pianists - Franz Mohr

Cleaning the Pins

While still working on the whole tuning part of being a piano technician, I received in the mail Travis Coil and Pin Cleaner. So with the best of intentions I started today cleaning the pins in the bottom of the treble section.

The kit comes with no instructions but after a few tries I think I got the hang of it. Each one of the little rubber guys loses it's usefulness after about 10-15 pins I've found. I also found out that if you put a piece of electrical tape around the bottom of the rubber bit, it stays in the chuck adapter better.

It makes a heck of a mess so keep plenty of paper towels around. I also put the brush adapter on the vacuum and keep that handy and brush off every few pegs. It's working ok, not perfect but certainly taking the rust off of it. The picture I took of the two sides shows completed ones on the left and rusty ones on the left. If I get more ambitious I'll take a video with some instructions from my trials.