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#2321456 - 08/29/14 08:33 AM Pin block not contacting plate flange  
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Bob Offline
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I've tuned this small grand 5 times since it was new in 2009. Each tuning has been a fight for stability and all but one has been a pitch raise. Yesterday was no exception, so I pulled the action and was able to pass a soundboard cleaning steel between the pinblock and plate flange nearly the whole length.

No wonder it's unstable, the block is held by the screws only, having no plate flange contact to help support the string tension. The block is rocking during tuning. This is not the first time I've seen this in this maker's pianos.

I would suggest to piano makers that having good contact between the block and plate flange is a good thing, and is a must have when you build a piano. In this day and age, fitting a block to the flange in a mass produced environment should be very easy. There is no excuse for a rocking block.

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#2321486 - 08/29/14 10:08 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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I'm finding the quality of tuning pins as more of an issue. A soft tuning pin in a tight block does not work. I'm guessing its poor quality control from the tuning pin manufacturer.


"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
#2321512 - 08/29/14 11:10 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Originally Posted by Bob
I've tuned this small grand 5 times since it was new in 2009. Each tuning has been a fight for stability and all but one has been a pitch raise. Yesterday was no exception, so I pulled the action and was able to pass a soundboard cleaning steel between the pinblock and plate flange nearly the whole length.

No wonder it's unstable, the block is held by the screws only, having no plate flange contact to help support the string tension. The block is rocking during tuning. This is not the first time I've seen this in this maker's pianos.

I would suggest to piano makers that having good contact between the block and plate flange is a good thing, and is a must have when you build a piano. In this day and age, fitting a block to the flange in a mass produced environment should be very easy. There is no excuse for a rocking block.


They aren't called "PSO's" for nothing.


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#2321543 - 08/29/14 12:57 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Or "POS's". :-)


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#2321590 - 08/29/14 03:14 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Most of us work in people's homes, so we call em PSO's. We do that so we won't make an embarrassing verbal slip-up. wink


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#2321675 - 08/29/14 07:03 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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The maker recommends shimming the gap between the pin block and plate flange.

#2321735 - 08/29/14 10:18 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Did you ask the maker why that wasn't done at the factory. Was the "shim guy" off that day?


David L. Jenson
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#2321823 - 08/30/14 08:30 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Bob, you have not identified the make of piano. The question I have here is whether or not it has plate bushings for the tuning pins. Pianos like Yamaha and Kawai (like many pianos)have plate bushings, and they argue that a pinblock does not needed to be mated to the flange because the bushings along with the plate screws offer sufficient support to the pinblock to create stability. I'm not convinced that this is the case, but that is the argument.


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#2321830 - 08/30/14 08:46 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Hi William, This piano does have plate bushings, and I saw that mentioned in a PTG thread recently. I don't subscribe to that theory that plate bushings are enough to stabilize the pin block when there is no flange contact. I can crush a bushing pretty easily, as can a tuning pin under pressure. I also don't agree with the assertion that mating just the top of the pin block to the flange is enough support. When that is done, the block can pivot.

Given the tension of strings that pin block has to be as secure to the plate as possible. I'm not an engineer, but to me it's simply common sense.

5 tunings in 6 years mean the strings are no longer stretching - so the only plausable reason for the instability is pin block movement. The instability is as bad today, as it was years ago. I can get a tuning out of the piano, but the instability is obvious to me as I tune it.




#2321976 - 08/30/14 07:00 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Originally Posted by Bob
Given the tension of strings that pin block has to be as secure to the plate as possible. I'm not an engineer, but to me it's simply common sense.


No doubt it's better for the pin block to mate with the flange but isn't the main thing for tone as well as tuning that the 30 odd screws going holding the pin block to the plate are tight?

Mind you, the piano I have in mind is 105 years older than the offending 2009 baby grand in question.


Ian Russell
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#2321980 - 08/30/14 07:12 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Anybody want to propose a test alternative to tuning instability to prove that the block fit (or lack of) to the plate flange is the problem? Is tuning instability proof positive in your opinion?


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#2321992 - 08/30/14 07:40 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Kawai, at least in the past if not still, uses hardwood "Plugs" not plate bushings on their grands. The fitting to the flange has a rather noticeable gap but the piano holds tuning just fine. The standard plate bushings from the supply houses would not accomplish this level of support. I have replaced a few Kawai blocks in the past but always do a careful fitting to the flange since I have no problem doing so, and I really don't want to re-invent the factory method of making hardwood plugs and drilling the new block with the plate installed.

Since the brand of piano is not mentioned, I am 'assuming ' it is NOT a Kawai.

5 tunings on a piano new in 2009 is not a lot of tuning. I would expect the tuning stability to still be somewhat of an issue. My curmudgeonly thoughts.

Last edited by Dale Fox; 08/30/14 07:43 PM. Reason: additional thoughts

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#2322031 - 08/30/14 09:48 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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I always wonder why piano makers who insist that having the block contact the plate flange is not needed feel the need to HAVE a plate flange. If there is no need for the block to fit the flange there is no need for a flange.


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#2322069 - 08/30/14 11:31 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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The plugs I buy are somehow hard, beech, may be. Could be harder if that is the intent but still they seem to shim the pins correctly (which I do not like so much)


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#2322463 - 09/01/14 12:40 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]  
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I always wonder why piano makers who insist that having the block contact the plate flange is not needed feel the need to HAVE a plate flange. If there is no need for the block to fit the flange there is no need for a flange.


Ed,

it's probably at the direction of the marketing department. Can you imagine the rhetoric from the competition, "Brand XXXXX is so cheap they don't even have a plate flange."


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#2322706 - 09/01/14 03:06 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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No....It's not a Kawai.....I would imagine a plate flange adds stability to the plate, helping prevent the plate bowing higher or lower in the middle. A rocking pin block has a different type of instability than stretching strings of a newer piano. The initial stretching of strings masked this issue on the first two tunings. My suspicions on the rocking block began with the third tuning. This is a rocking pin block.

#2322736 - 09/01/14 04:15 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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I've just realized = The tuning pins on this brand of piano tune much like many Kawai - the pins are small, flexible, very tight, and can be sticky. So if the strings are forcing the pins against the bushing.... 30,000 pounds total tension divided by 230 or so tuning pins = 130 pounds of tension per pin against the bushing if the plate screws fail to hold the pin block, and the block doesn't contact the plate flange.

No wonder I have to flex the pin away from the string (towards me in a grand) to turn the pin in the small increments I need. All of this makes sense. No wonder the tuning pins on some brands are difficult to manipulate - the tuning pins are pressing against the plate bushings with 100 + pounds of force


Am I off base here?

I've fitted every block I've done, and drilled the holes at 7 degrees angle, so the pin will contact the bottom of the plate hole only when under tension. Friction against the plate is minimal, and the block is secure and unmoving.

These Asian blocks are moving, creating addition friction at the tuning pin due to string pressure at the bushing.

#2322740 - 09/01/14 04:27 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Bob,

I think the tuning pins are not meant to hold the pinblock.

I think this would not be a good idea.

If the screws are not enough to maintain the pinblock in position then let it rest on the plate's flange.



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#2322742 - 09/01/14 04:31 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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No, the pins should not hold the pinblock - The plate flange should hold the pin block.

#2322748 - 09/01/14 04:45 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Sorry, I'm afraid I did not understand what you said in your previous post:

Originally Posted by Bob
So if the strings are forcing the pins against the bushing.... 30,000 pounds total tension divided by 230 or so tuning pins = 130 pounds of tension per pin against the bushing if the plate screws fail to hold the pin block, and the block doesn't contact the plate flange.


Doesn't that means the tuning pins are holding the pinblock via the tuning pin bushings?


Last edited by Gadzar; 09/01/14 04:45 PM.

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#2322765 - 09/01/14 05:27 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Originally Posted by Bob
I've just realized = The tuning pins on this brand of piano tune much like many Kawai - the pins are small, flexible, very tight, and can be sticky. So if the strings are forcing the pins against the bushing.... 30,000 pounds total tension divided by 230 or so tuning pins = 130 pounds of tension per pin against the bushing if the plate screws fail to hold the pin block, and the block doesn't contact the plate flange.

No wonder I have to flex the pin away from the string (towards me in a grand) to turn the pin in the small increments I need. All of this makes sense. No wonder the tuning pins on some brands are difficult to manipulate - the tuning pins are pressing against the plate bushings with 100 + pounds of force


Am I off base here?

I've fitted every block I've done, and drilled the holes at 7 degrees angle, so the pin will contact the bottom of the plate hole only when under tension. Friction against the plate is minimal, and the block is secure and unmoving.

These Asian blocks are moving, creating addition friction at the tuning pin due to string pressure at the bushing.


Bob, to me contact with the plate is to be avoided. (I hear you it is very small there) It can be seen on some Steinway repaired with stronger pins, when the plate hole have not been "reamed", often there are pins that touch the plate, and they are not as stable s the others, not as much set.

It can create noises, also I was said.

SO the hole is usually enlarged, some even create a pronounced conical aperture in the upper portion of the plate hole...

Then less risk of contact.

regards

PS pins "small and flexible" can be an advantage but small and soft, no, flexible mean "resilient" in my reading of your words, if they flex without much springy behavior, they are a hassle. (lets see Boston verticals in that category !)

BTW I have a box of "Japanese" pins that are shining, without being nickle plated.
I cut one in 2, and it looks like stainless steel , not frankly a springy metal.
That may be the cause of those trouble.

Klinke or Biene are in a somewhat soft steel (non tempered) but they get springy when tension is applied.

On sale : a box of shiny tuning pins !!!

Last edited by Olek; 09/01/14 05:33 PM.

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#2322799 - 09/01/14 06:45 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Ok! I've got it now. Sorry for the confusion.

The pins are resting in the bushings, which in turn push on the plate and part of the strings's pull is going also to the pinblock which is held by the plate by the surface in contact with the plate.

Anyway, I think it can produce some tuning unstability. I have always believed the pins should never touch the plate when there are not bushings.

I thought the bushings were there to center the bit when piercing the tuning pin holes in the pinblock and were not meant to hold the pins.



Last edited by Gadzar; 09/01/14 06:46 PM.

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#2322815 - 09/01/14 07:27 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Gadzar]  
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Originally Posted by Gadzar
Ok! I've got it now. Sorry for the confusion.

The pins are resting in the bushings, which in turn push on the plate and part of the strings's pull is going also to the pinblock which is held by the plate by the surface in contact with the plate.

Anyway, I think it can produce some tuning unstability. I have always believed the pins should never touch the plate when there are not bushings.

I thought the bushings were there to center the bit when piercing the tuning pin holes in the pinblock and were not meant to hold the pins.




the underside of the bushings are firmly in contact with the block, that creates a precise fit , and it may lock the plate in position at last in that direction.

I hae seen Steinway fitte with pin bushings, which is not a good idea, part of the friction is lightened by the bushing, and the pin cannot be stressed as tightly/securedly as when there are none.
The official theory said t-hat they are there to help supporting the pins, avoiding flag polling, , less stress on the block, but this is not really interesting, once one knows how to leave the pin stressed the same than the wire, without busching the tuning is easier, an the pins are more active,acoustically, not 'damped" by the bushing.
The block then can also be "active" hence the case.
(hence a more sonorous piano)


Looks like the "circle of sound" from Steinway many techs like to laught about on forums as they know so much better !!!!

once experimented the rise in tone that happen on any piano with corretcly straightened and stressed pins, that "marketing gimmick" can be appreciated differently.

Same happens with the ability of the keybed to radiate sound.
Some makers do not think about that (Fazioli) and the keys are less tinkling, the pianist hear the tone created a litte far from him, which is less pleasing, a piano is not a typewriter, but an acoustical instrument, even if the walls of the case are there to be massive and avoid losses, the tone is warmer when allowed to circulate elsewhere and not only returning into the soundboard, as I suspect it can saturate it sooner (the circuitry is up to the plate in some pianos)

the absence of cutoff bar on the left part of the soundboard creates also an escape circuit for the tone that make it more forgiving for the pianist, at the expense of a slightly more barrel toning output. there are too much other problems create by that one so it may be better to avoid that, but leaving some path for the tone is certainly a good idea.

Part of that may be in the resonator of M&H and that certainly filter and modify a little the output too.

I installed a treble tension resonator once, an could hear it in the tone, a metal composite due to the tensed metalic part resonating.

Sound waves are passing everywhere, it is why an isolate room to play without making noise outside loose much of its efficiency with the slightest aperture, as a heavy door that is not jointing anymore, or a hole for climate control, if no specific goodie is installed there.

I think the "cross" of the plate upon the pinblock and inner wall is sening much waves into the plate, hence the easily metallic sounding of Yamahas with their lighter plates (spherical iron, less damping) This is giving the tone a colorataion (more or less present)




Last edited by Olek; 09/01/14 07:49 PM.

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#2322828 - 09/01/14 08:06 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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Olek, those Japanese pins you have, are the threads blued (coated with a blueing agent) ? The reason I ask, is I use blued thread pins when stringing, and never have sticking issues or spongy issues.

#2322851 - 09/01/14 08:55 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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no , the threads are shining, not blued.
I will post a pic eventually.

They feel soft when tuning (spongy)



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#2322998 - 09/02/14 07:25 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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I suspected that.

#2323083 - 09/02/14 11:12 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Bob]  
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I tuned another of the same brand this morning different model (the next model up in quality) - new in 2009, raised pitch 25 cents in 2010, and raised pitch 25 cents today. This one came up normally for this brand and model. It was more stable than last weeks subject of this thread. There was 40% pin block contact with the plate flange - low bass and high treble had contact and there was a bit of contact at the bass break. So in this instrument, some contact seemed to be enough to prevent the block from rocking.

There was evidence of bushings crushed towards the rear of the piano, as if the block had moved with the string tension a bit, but a few bushings were narrow to the right of left side, which indicates off center holes during drilling.

The pins on this piano felt really good - not too tight, not sticky, not spongy - very nice feeling.

#2323421 - 09/02/14 11:41 PM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Olek]  
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Originally Posted by Olek
... Bob, to me contact with the plate is to be avoided. (I hear you it is very small there) It can be seen on some Steinway repaired with stronger pins, when the plate hole have not been "reamed", often there are pins that touch the plate, and they are not as stable s the others, not as much set.

It can create noises, also I was said.

If you make an accurate cross-section drawing of the original configuration of these pinblock/tuning pin designs you'll find that tuning pin contact at the bottom of the hole is pretty much inevitable. And, I think, intentional.

ddf


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#2323548 - 09/03/14 08:13 AM Re: Pin block not contacting plate flange [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del

If you make an accurate cross-section drawing of the original configuration of these pinblock/tuning pin designs you'll find that tuning pin contact at the bottom of the hole is pretty much inevitable. And, I think, intentional.

ddf


Yes, Del - I fit a block to the flange, screw it in, and use a tuning pin punch, resting on the rear of the plate hole, at a 7 degree angle to mark the center of the holes. I remove the block, and drill it on a drill press, with the base at the 7 degree angle - compressed air cooling the bit. When installed, the edge of the hole is 1/16" - 3/32" (sometimes 1/8") from the plate. Once strung and under tension, the pin seems to be very close to the bottom of the plate hole, but not with a great deal of pressure. The pin never touches the top of the plate hole due to the backwards angle.

I have to wonder if excessive pressure pin to plate though bushings is causing overly tight, sticky, lousy feeling pins. Many pins turn better when I pull the pin away from the front of the plate hole plate before turning.

I am going out today, to install shims between the block and plate flange on this piano, under warranty. I'm quite sure the shims will improve the stability.



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