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Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... #1463938
06/27/10 05:05 PM
06/27/10 05:05 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 414
London
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feebeeliszt Offline OP
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feebeeliszt  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2010
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London
Biggest mistake I have ever made in my life....

I was rehearsing for my performance for a school event using the Steinway grand piano of my school. Then I did the stupidest thing on earth - I put my pencil on the music stand. 1 minute later tragedy happened...................It dropped inside the strings so it's impossible to get it out.

What can I do before apologising to my music teacher tomorrow? Does it cost a lot to get a piano technician to get it out?

What concerns me is not just my pencil or being told off by my teacher. I really like the piano and don't want to see it being hurt. I truly regret what I have done frown


http://www.youtube.com/user/feebeeliszt
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides! - Schnabel
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Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: feebeeliszt] #1463945
06/27/10 05:25 PM
06/27/10 05:25 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
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Dave Stahl Offline
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Dave Stahl  Offline
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Fear not, no big deal. Nothing will be hurt, though it might sound buzzy if it's on the soundboard. Is it resting under the strings so that it can be seen on the soundboard? Or did it fall inside behind the key cover (fallboard)?

It shouldn't be expensive to retrieve, if the tech charges at all. I will occasionally remove pens and pencils for regular clients for no charge as long as I'm in the neighborhood, but any charge would be up to the school's technician.



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Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
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Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: Dave Stahl] #1463969
06/27/10 06:02 PM
06/27/10 06:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,646
PA
daniokeeper Offline
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daniokeeper  Offline
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Since this is a school piano, I would be very surprised if this is the first time this happened. I'd bet money that you weren't the first one to do this.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: daniokeeper] #1463980
06/27/10 06:17 PM
06/27/10 06:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 292
Utah
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PianistOne111 Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
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Utah
It's no big deal if that piano doesn't have to be used in a performance right after. Most likely the next person who works on it will take it out, and since that's a school piano, that would be very soon.


One111
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Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: PianistOne111] #1463985
06/27/10 06:24 PM
06/27/10 06:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Some teachers are the worst offenders at dropping things into their pianos continually....

It will depend on where it dropped in as to whether or not it could interfere with the workings. I've had plenty of pencils jam into one thing or another preventing keys from functioning. If this be the case, it's best not to play the piano until the pencil is removed to be safe.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: Jerry Groot RPT] #1464018
06/27/10 07:02 PM
06/27/10 07:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,481
Niagara Region, On. Canada
Emmery Offline
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Emmery  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2008
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Niagara Region, On. Canada
Sometimes if it fell to a spot that is in view from the top you can fish it out yourself. Long forcepts, a stick with some Wriggleys gum on the end or even a magnet on an extention (if the pencil had a steel end for the eraser) can be used. If it fell to a spot thats deeper it may require someone knowledgeable enough to remove the action but it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to get it out and its no big deal....they will probably find more stuff in there anyways from what I've seen in school pianos.

At least your honest enough to admit it and apologize for the accident which is farther than what many other people would do.

I once removed a pencil from a home piano that had been buzzing for 5 years from what the customer had said. They didn't call a tech earlier because they thought it was going to be an expensive problem to fix (they didn't know it was a pencil causing it).


Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region
Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: Emmery] #1464062
06/27/10 09:24 PM
06/27/10 09:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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Jeff Clef  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
You can get plastic "things" (which I don't know what they're called) that people put on the middle of their pencils to make them easier to grip--- any office supplies store would carry them. It will foil the crack.

Maybe this is not so easy to do at a school, but even though my piano's music rack joint does not admit pencils (so they don't fall in), I don't like to mark or erase scores on the piano. I keep a little rolling laptop stand nearby. It keeps broken lead points and eraser shreds out of the action.

"Biggest mistake I have ever made in my life.... the stupidest thing on earth..."

You have led a very innocent life, if that is true.

Last edited by Jeff Clef; 06/27/10 09:28 PM.

Clef

Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: Jeff Clef] #1464100
06/27/10 10:31 PM
06/27/10 10:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,105
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
Most pencils that fall in go behind the fallboard. You can remove the fallboard without too much trouble on a Steinway:
1. Slide the keyslip up to remove it. The keyslip is in front of the keys.
2. Remove the 2 screws under the keybed which hold the cheek blocks in.
3. The fallboard and cheek blocks come out together. Hold the fallboard at a 45° angle and lift them up. IMPORTANT: The cheek blocks will fall off the fallboard if you are not careful!

Once these are all out, you can fish out the pencils. You should not need to move the action.

If you do need to pull the action out, DO NOT press down on any of the keys, or you will break off the hammers. If you pull it out, it will be much easier if you put it back in position before replacing the fallboard and cheek blocks. Put it and the cheek blocks in, then put the cheek blocks back on the fallboard and put them all back in the piano, reversing the earlier steps.

These instructions work for Steinways and Mason & Hamlins. It varies on other pianos. If you do not feel comfortable doing this sort of thing, as others have said, it is no big deal for a professional.


Semipro Tech
Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: BDB] #1464131
06/27/10 11:38 PM
06/27/10 11:38 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 4,346
North Hollywood CA.
pianobroker Offline
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Posts: 4,346
North Hollywood CA.
Cautionary advice! If you have hardwood floors, marble,laminate,tile, concrete etc. lay a packing blanket,rug or ? underneath the front and keybed area. When you pull that fallboard,chances are you will lose a cheekblock. Chances are it will chip a corner of that cheekblock. Better safe than sorry! I've learned the hard way!

If it is a newer Steinway grand in great condition,one can actually remove the cheekblock screws and lift the entire frame"fallboard,cheekblocks,key slip all in one motion" This is for those who like to live dangerously. grin


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Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: pianobroker] #1464477
06/28/10 04:23 PM
06/28/10 04:23 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,778
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
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The piano needs a pencilectomy.

Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: pianoloverus] #1464555
06/28/10 06:26 PM
06/28/10 06:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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Jeff Clef  Offline
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Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
A shot of pencilcillin.


Clef

Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: BDB] #1464991
06/29/10 11:23 AM
06/29/10 11:23 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,789
Central TX
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bitWrangler Offline
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bitWrangler  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,789
Central TX
Originally Posted by BDB
Most pencils that fall in go behind the fallboard. You can remove the fallboard without too much trouble on a Steinway:[snip]


Out of curiosity, if any of you tech's were "school techs" (or for those that are), would you be ok with a student performing the above procedure on one of your institutions pianos? This isn't intended to be snarky but a genuine question as I'm surprised that this would be recommended for a student to do on a schools piano.

Re: Dropped a pencil into a Steinway grand piano.... [Re: bitWrangler] #1464997
06/29/10 11:36 AM
06/29/10 11:36 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,105
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
If it was necessary and I could not get there in time, I would be willing to talk someone through the procedure. But then, perhaps I overestimate people's intelligence.


Semipro Tech

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