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Joined: Jul 2009
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Hello friends!
I am needing some advice. I have a church with one of those 1960's era Story & Clark pianos, you know "The Only Piano Specifically Designed for Churches." laugh I have about five of these that I service. ALL of them have problems with the bass pins being loose. In fact some of them are so loose that I can let my lever go, and the pin turns back down, lever and all! On this particular piano, At the last tuning, I treated pins with CA glue hoping that would help. I did the whole tilting the piano and saturating the pins with as much glue as they would take. It seemed to help the tuning last a little longer, however today, some of the pins were doing the exact same thing. I am considering repinning the bass section. The bass strings still sound good, so I'm wondering if keeping them and just going up a size in tuning pins might work. I know new bass strings would be best, however I don't think it is going to be in the budget. Several of the the pins have already been hammered in by a previous tech to the point where many of the coils are touching the plate. Just needing some direction. Thanks for your help!


Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com
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Keeping in mind that this piano is about 50 years old, I would recommend that they replace it.


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Larger pins are a fine economical choice. Be careful removing the strings; the coils can break.

Caveat: Mark the loose pins. Do not replace with larger pins if the loose pins are in a line. That means a pin block crack. Larger pins will just open up the crack more.

Last edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT; 09/23/15 09:38 PM.
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As Mark C indicated, assuming the pinblock is not cracked...

You could also try:

Sandpaper shims

Max's cardboard shims

These would be even less expensive than replacing the tuning pins.

These may not be permanent, of course. But, they may be useful as a diagnostic tool. If neither of these helps, then there is a bigger problem.. probably with the pinblock.

I am very concerned that the CA repair did not last very long on either piano.

Are the bass pins that do hold jumpy? Before applying the CA glue, did you observe any sort of discoloration on the plate near the bass tuning pins?

I am wondering if the pinblock itself might be contaminated with something.

Maybe someone with a can of WD-40 who sprayed the nut thinking it would help the strings render easier? Then, the over-spray got to the pinblock.

It's also possible that someone may have been a bit overzealous about cleaning the piano. I've seen customers open the lid of a vertical piano and then apply a very generous amount of furniture oil to the top of the pinblock/core in order to clean it (before I could stop them). Not only can the oil wick into the wood if the top of the pinblock is exposed, but the oil can run between the pinblock and the plate.

This seems possible to me. The bass pins will be closer to the top than most of the tenor/treble pins. So, furniture oil can reach these pins more easily.

I think the key is whether or not the other pins in the area are jumpy.

This is only speculation, of course.

Could there be some sort of ongoing external problem, such as the sun beating down on the back of the piano on the bass end? Or, maybe the piano has a heat source behind it or beside it, such as a heating duct or steam radiator?

Edit: Do you see any finish damage on the bass side of the piano, or on the back of the piano? Is it a "striped" piano?

Last edited by daniokeeper; 09/24/15 03:29 AM.

Joe Gumbosky
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I'll echo BDB - a fifty year old piano in an institutional setting is due for replacement. In fact, the ideal replacement age for a cheaper institutional upright would be 30 years old or so, though that's asking a bit much for some schools or churches.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. On another forum to which I belong a couple techs who have experience with this exact model said that the CA glue was not effective the first time, but after a second application worked great. I think that is the way I'm going to head right now. Apparently it's just a problem with this model of piano. Like is said above I service about 5 of these pianos at different churches in the area and they all seem to have the same problem. The piano is not in the main sanctuary of the church, but in a smaller chapel. I think it was probably in the sanctuary years ago and when the pins became loose they replaced it with a digital piano and moved it to the smaller chapel. It's only used occasionally. The treble pins still are in good shape, so I can't in good conscience just condemn the piano and tell them to buy a new one. To me, a 50 year old piano is not that old. Maybe I just service a lot of really old pianos in my area. :-)

Thanks again for your replies. I really appreciate it!


Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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