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Player Piano Tuning #2362376
12/16/14 03:23 PM
12/16/14 03:23 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 34
P
PeterGriffin Offline OP
Full Member
PeterGriffin  Offline OP
Full Member
P

Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 34
What is the difference between tuning a regular upright piano and a player piano? What parts need to be removed to tune that are not on an upright piano if any? Are there any risks associated with tuning player pianos?

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Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362396
12/16/14 04:29 PM
12/16/14 04:29 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 864
Boston, MA
B
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member
bellspiano  Offline
500 Post Club Member
B

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 864
Boston, MA
Way, way back in the dim past, a friend said, "You can practice tuning on my piano," and it turned out to be a player. What I remember about this elderly specimen was that the inside of the piano was filled with air hoses/tubes which cracked when you looked at them, their rubberized fabric was so fragile. Do you have any idea of the age of the player you are thinking about?


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362400
12/16/14 04:43 PM
12/16/14 04:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
J
Jon Page Offline
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Jon Page  Offline
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J

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
Do not touch it until they play a roll. Because, "It worked before you tuned it"; will get you every time; even though it was 5 to 10 years ago. If you want to tune a player, learn the basics. But even a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Depending on the type of player, the items to remove are: wind motor, 'soft' rail pneumatics, governor, mute/rinky-tink rail. The tubing that is disconnected may not go back on tightly.

Forget action repairs.


Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362401
12/16/14 04:44 PM
12/16/14 04:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
M
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
M

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Remove just the motor. You'll need an open unison technique for getting at the strings behind the stack. The mute strip is a bit difficult to insert back there.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
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Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362409
12/16/14 05:15 PM
12/16/14 05:15 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 864
Boston, MA
B
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member
bellspiano  Offline
500 Post Club Member
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 864
Boston, MA
P.S. My son, who listened to after-visit piano reports for years, just moaned at your question. "Tell him it's like tuning a piano with an old-fashioned vacuum cleaner stuck inside the case, and both devices have to be in working order when you're done." No shame in refusing work which is too complex for your training.


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: bellspiano] #2362477
12/16/14 08:19 PM
12/16/14 08:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 407
Morgantown, West Virginia
D
Dan Casdorph Offline
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Dan Casdorph  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 407
Morgantown, West Virginia
I suggest you not break any strings.


Casdorph Piano Service
Morgantown, WV
www.casdorphpiano.com
All pianos are bald ones.
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362483
12/16/14 08:32 PM
12/16/14 08:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
J
Jon Page Offline
Full Member
Jon Page  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
We are assuming that it is a pneumatic player and not electronic. Spinets require more pats to be removed which is about the entire list I gave, big old uprights, just the 'mandolin rail' and the wind motor. Make sure you get the ladder chain back on correctly (if it was on correctly to begin with). You can get in trouble real fast and liable for hiring a player tech to come in and straighten it out.

Don't bite off a bigger Can of Worms than you can chew.


Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: PeterGriffin] #2362484
12/16/14 08:35 PM
12/16/14 08:35 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,613
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
David Jenson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,613
Strong, Maine
If you are a beginner, I'd advise leaving the player pianos alone.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: Player Piano Tuning [Re: David Jenson] #2362505
12/16/14 10:10 PM
12/16/14 10:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,557
Sandy Eggo, California
O
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member
OperaTenor  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
O

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,557
Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted by David Jenson
If you are a beginner, I'd advise leaving the player pianos alone.


This ^^^

If it's an early 20th century player, you need to remove and reinstall the upper player action to tune it properly. And, as was said above, you might be dealing with rubber hoses and cloth that is 90-100 years old, and you can easily damage it.

It's a can of worms you don't want to open.


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind

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