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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

State of the Piano 7/9/2012

I just wanted to shoot a quick video to document the piano before I did too much work on it. I did attempt some basic tunings like setting a temperament and tuning unisons. The Eb above middle C broke on the slightest of adjustments. So that will need to be replaced. I will be getting the gauge of it soon and replacing the string. I will attempt to document that process.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tools of the Trade

So I got my tools in the mail. It feels kind of old school getting a set of tools like this in the mail, it would've been more old school if they would've come from a paper catalogue, but anywho.

Just a quick aside, I doctored the photo up with instagram. I'm going to try to keep this blog looking sweet old school (although I know everything is being "Instagrammed" right now).

Anywho, the tools! Got me a nice Shaff extending hammer, pretty good weight at that. Got a variety of rubber mutes. Set came with an A440 tuning fork, orderd a C523.3 as well, it really rings. In the very top left corner of the photo you can see some red felt, thats the Temperament strip. Looking forward to trying that out. Also got a Paps Mute we'll see what that does but I've seen a lot of people using them and they looked cool. Last but not least they threw in a canvas baggy thing. I will probably take a video tonight or tomorrow night of the current state of the piano before I get to far into trying to tune Maybel.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cleaning the Keys

First is first....maybe because it was one of the easier things I could do. Some of the bass keys and some of the treble had tape residue on them from being labeled A-G# for students. Most of this had already been removed but there were still a few that remained.

I first tried some heavy duty Goo Chewer, but it did more damage than good. It whitened and put dips in the keys. I then tried WD-40, much to no avail. I almost forgot I also tried Nutella thinking it might help with the oils, no luck.

The final solution came by way of a XACTO knife with a squared edge blade. It took a little time but the results were great. I think I will eventually put new keytops on each of the keys but this was a fund project for the first day.

Next some surface rust off of the pins and coils....

Pianos, Blogs, Etc.

To whom it may concern/interest,

I've purchased a piano. I've also started a blog. Before today, I've had blogs and I've had a weighted keyboard but both of these things are different. In this entry I'll go over why exactly I bought a piano, why I'm starting the blog and the history of this piano.

I've decided to take up piano tuning, I have a lot to learn and I'm not sure if I'll even like it. I've always been interested in pianos and mechanical things. For some reason up until this point, I haven't put the two things together. Beyond the actual tuning of a piano, I am very interested in the restoration of pianos. What you can't see in this picture all to well is the condition of the piano, I will go into that in more detail later. Overall it is in pretty good condition, rough on the outside but the mechanics are in good shape.

Now as to why the blog. I've blogged before mostly on personal stuff, but I thought it would be neat to chronicle the "restoration" of the piano. It won't be anything tremendous but cleaning the keys, cleaning the case, cleaning some surface rust off of the tuning pins and some other things. I will document these so that others might see what worked and what didn't.

The piano, which my wife and I have named "Maybel", is originally from a Pittsburgh area school. A couple with 2 children from Brentwood acquired it and since November of last year it was sitting on their front porch. Luckily the winter was a mild one. You might be able to note in the picture that the front board under the keys is much lighter. This piece has been replaced by the previous owner.