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#2049798 - 03/17/13 05:03 PM How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string  
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TimR Offline
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Our church pianos were tuned for Easter this week.

They told me today that during tuning one of the bass strings broke on one of the pianos, and that the tech would be back to replace it later, because it was a two person job.

I haven't heard anyone here mention string changing being a two person job, so it surprised me a bit. Is this really common practice? I would have thought it more likely he just didn't have the right size wire on the truck, maybe even had to order it.

I didn't play that piano, but the other one he tuned sounded very nice, no complaints at all about his tuning job.


gotta go practice
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#2049813 - 03/17/13 05:27 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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I can't think of any string replacement that would need two people. Bass strings must be custom-ordered because of the windings (unless the old one can be spliced).

Many great tuners don't do string replacement, and get a technician to help. That's how I was when I started.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#2049814 - 03/17/13 05:29 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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RestorerPhil Offline
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In a few instances, an un-sighted tuner may rely on an assistant to help with a broken string - or that assistant may actually do the repair. Otherwise, no, the replacement of a sting is easily done by one QUALIFIED technician.

Perhaps that is the key word for you to consider quite soon.


Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
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#2049861 - 03/17/13 06:58 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Originally Posted by TimR
Our church pianos were tuned for Easter this week.

They told me today that during tuning one of the bass strings broke on one of the pianos, and that the tech would be back to replace it later, because it was a two person job.

I haven't heard anyone here mention string changing being a two person job, so it surprised me a bit. Is this really common practice? I would have thought it more likely he just didn't have the right size wire on the truck, maybe even had to order it.

I didn't play that piano, but the other one he tuned sounded very nice, no complaints at all about his tuning job.


It is possible that something was lost in translation between the secretary in the office -- or whoever the tuner spoke with -- and you. This is an ongoing source of consternation an marvel to me over the years: What I tell people of a technical nature gets quite garbled when it gets passed on.

But no, a bass string should never be a two person job -- even to an blind person. A low tenor string going under the bass section might be more of a challenge, but the bass is right there.


Keith Akins, RPT
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
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#2049866 - 03/17/13 07:08 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Blues beater Offline
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Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted by TimR
Our church pianos were tuned for Easter this week.

They told me today that during tuning one of the bass strings broke on one of the pianos, and that the tech would be back to replace it later, because it was a two person job.

I haven't heard anyone here mention string changing being a two person job, so it surprised me a bit. Is this really common practice? I would have thought it more likely he just didn't have the right size wire on the truck, maybe even had to order it.

I didn't play that piano, but the other one he tuned sounded very nice, no complaints at all about his tuning job.


News to me! This DIYer replaced all the bass strings on a hundred year old upright with no help other than the Arthur Reiblitz book and advice from my tuner/tech.. My very highly qualified tuner/tech, said the job looked pretty good.

There are so-called "universal" bass strings that some techs carry. They are said to be not as good as special ordering an exact replacement.

After that string is replaced it will likely drift flat pretty quick and need touch up tuning a few times.


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
#2049872 - 03/17/13 07:15 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Old Hangtown California
Is it splicable?


RPT
PTG Member
#2049874 - 03/17/13 07:16 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
On a grand, doesn't it take four? Just like a light bulb?

One to hold the tuning lever and three to . . .

:-)


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2049882 - 03/17/13 07:26 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]  
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TunerJeff Offline
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Originally Posted by Cy Shuster, RPT
Many great tuners don't do string replacement, and get a technician to help. That's how I was when I started. --Cy--


Dear Cy,

In the word of Mr. Spock; Fascinating.

The reason I get paid to sit in the wings at a concert is to handle the unexpected...like...uh...a string breaking, perhaps? Attending to pedal squeaks or perhaps cleaning unisons during an intermission, too, but the big bugaboo is always taking care of a broken string. I have quite honestly never heard such a notion as this. I would sincerely like to know more!

Great tuners have the same issues as anyone else. BANG! Does a great tuner walk away from the piano? I'd think he or she would show their skill by dealing with the issue in a direct and time-efficient manner. I've spliced a C4 wire less than 20 minutes before the house doors opened for a concert..took me less than 5 minutes, for instance (had a leader in the #2 toolbag, thank goodness). A great tuner does not replace wires???

There is clearly a tale behind that statement! Would you care to share?

Curious,
I am,


Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com
#2049905 - 03/17/13 08:00 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: Gene Nelson]  
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BDB Offline
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Is it splicable?


So many things in life are not 'splicable!


Semipro Tech
#2049909 - 03/17/13 08:10 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: BDB]  
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Is it splicable?


So many things in life are not 'splicable!


The duck says, "it was once splicable, but now is desplicable!"


gotta go practice
#2049911 - 03/17/13 08:13 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: BDB]  
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David Jenson Offline
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Maine
Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Is it splicable?


So many things in life are not 'splicable!
I always view a broken string as an opportunity to enjoy the splice-of-life!

It's remotely possible that the tuner in the original post meant that a broken string was a two trip job. Communication can break down in interesting ways.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
#2101373 - 06/12/13 08:47 AM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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TimR Offline
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Sorry to revive an old thread, but I found the invoice in the wrong file yesterday, and realized I'm still curious about this one.

It was a "Cable Console" piano, and the string in question was F3. It took two people 4 hours. The trip charge as well as the tunings were quite reasonable.


gotta go practice
#2101404 - 06/12/13 10:05 AM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Ed Foote Offline
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Tennessee
Originally Posted by TimR

It was a "Cable Console" piano, and the string in question was F3. It took two people 4 hours. The trip charge as well as the tunings were quite reasonable.


This appears to me to be a case of total incompetence. There is nothing I can imagine that would require 4 hours, and there is scant room for two people to be working on a console.
regards,

#2101447 - 06/12/13 12:04 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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F3 could be the lowest tenor note, and the hitch pin could be covered by the piano bottom. That would require removing the bottom of the piano to replace. So it is conceivable that the charge was reasonable.


Semipro Tech
#2101460 - 06/12/13 12:53 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: BDB]  
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
F3 could be the lowest tenor note, and the hitch pin could be covered by the piano bottom. That would require removing the bottom of the piano to replace.


So you'd tip it over, and tip it back?

Next time I'm at church I'll open it and see if I can spot the new string.

Quote
So it is conceivable that the charge was reasonable
.

No complaints about the cost, it was low. I was just surprised to hear it was a two man job. Perhaps the tuner rarely does it and just brought somebody more familiar with it. I would think if you tune pianos long enough you are going to break a string. Maybe it doesn't happen often though.


gotta go practice
#2101510 - 06/12/13 02:30 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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That Guy Offline
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Quote
So you'd tip it over, and tip it back?


I'm assuming he was referring to opening up the door under the keybed, not tipping it.

Well, at least it all ended well and you didn't get taken advantage of as far as the fee goes. My guess is that it was just inexperience or ignorance.

Yes, strings break every once in a while, so it's something we have to deal with.


Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
#2101520 - 06/12/13 02:46 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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I meant the actually bottom of the piano, which holds the pedals. Yes, the piano would need to be tilted for that.


Semipro Tech
#2101611 - 06/12/13 05:44 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Ryan Hassell Offline
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Four hours to change a string? WOW! I did eight today in less than 30 minutes.


Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
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#2101629 - 06/12/13 06:23 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Q: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb?

A: Only one, but he will probably have to build a jig first.

#2101785 - 06/13/13 12:08 AM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Q: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb?

A: Two. One to change it, and another to come along later and tell the homeowner that "The last guy didn't know what the heck he was doing!".

#2101793 - 06/13/13 01:17 AM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
F3 could be the lowest tenor note, and the hitch pin could be covered by the piano bottom. That would require removing the bottom of the piano to replace. So it is conceivable that the charge was reasonable.


Exactly what I was going to say. Some Steinway uprights need to be tilted back and the bottom removed to do a simple bass string twist or replacement. I usually get a helper when I have to tilt such a piano on its back.


Tuner-Technician


#2102122 - 06/13/13 06:08 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Dave B Offline
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Its like the chiropractor.

How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb???

Just one, but it takes ten visits.



"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2102201 - 06/13/13 10:27 PM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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A couple years ago I had a customer tell me that the previous tuning was done by a pair of tuners. One would operate the tuning lever, the other would say whether to go up or down. "Up, up, up", or "down, down, down". Someone had recommended them! The customer said that they were there 3 or 4 hours, and it sounded worse than when they started. I could just picture it. It sounds like a Laurel and Hardy skit to me. The tuning was as bad as you might imagine.

Last edited by RoyP; 06/13/13 10:28 PM.

Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com
#2102298 - 06/14/13 06:00 AM Re: How many tuners does it take to change lightbulb/bass string [Re: TimR]  
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Mark R. Offline
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Pretoria, South Africa
About 43.

Two CLEEs (Certified Light-bulb Exchange Examiners) to do a master light-bulb exchange and document their results.
One candidate to do the actual light-bulb exchange (including a cable splice).
And 40 RLTs (Registered Light-bulb Technicians) to fight about the merits of equally vs. unequally tempered bulbs.


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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