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A Piano Tuner's Blog
#2512925 02/20/16 02:08 PM
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I decided to start a blog of my piano tuning adventures.

Although I frequently post something on Facebook, those posts quickly get lost in the clutter. By posting on my own forums I have a better chance of finding them again if I'm looking :-)

I've been tuning since 1975 (no, I'm not going back that far). As anyone who has been tuning for a while knows, some days are more interesting than others.

I thought I'd share a few with you.

If you have any interest in seeing larger versions of any of the pictures, they will all be posted in our Piano Photo Gallery here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/galleries/2512921.html

I also post tuning and other piano related stories and pictures on my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom

========================================================

We'll start with a tuning job I did 02/19/16
Piano is a Young Chang babygrand G-157

The customer wanted me to clean the piano (they bought it used), tune, and fix some "sticky" keys. I spent 6 hours at their house.

This picture will give you a good idea of how dirty the instrument was.

[Linked Image]

Using a swiffer duster with a soundboard steel.
Also used Q-tips, handi-wipes, shop vac and more.
[Linked Image]

My helpers, Lucy & Charlie
[Linked Image]

Cleaning the keybed and action next
[Linked Image]

Align some hammers, a little regulating, and more cleaning.
[Linked Image]

Customer and her teenage daughter (the piano player) were very happy with the results. Mother emailed me later to tell me her daughter played the piano for three hours straight after i left.


Last edited by Piano World; 02/21/16 02:22 PM.

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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512930 02/20/16 02:21 PM
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Continuing my Piano Tuner's Blog...

A tuning from 02/18/16

Old upright Symphonia Player Piano.

The owner, Rita is a real character. Sharp as a tack and very independent. I think Rita's age, the piano's age, and the temperature in the room (see photos below) were probably all pretty close to the same (the piano may be slightly older).

Rita, with her infernal wood stove behind her.
[Linked Image]

Another shot of the stove, which seemed to be on a mission to melt me down. Rita apologized for the heat.
[Linked Image]

The temperature of the room. Mind you the piano is directly to the left of the stove.
[Linked Image]

A note from the manufacturer stating that the piano can be tuned without removing the player mechanism, which was true except leaning over ruined my back for two days.
[Linked Image]

The player roll motor
[Linked Image]

Piano was down over a half step, I left it down there and just tuned it to itself. Sounded pretty good when I was done, in spite of the bass strings being dead and tubby.

Rita was happy, and that's what counts.



- Frank B.
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-------------------------
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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512952 02/20/16 04:41 PM
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This time it's a Baldwin Acrosonic, tuned Feb. 2016

Client told me their church choir often comes over to practice (rather than spend the money to warm up the church). He said the pianist (I know her, another client of mine) was complaining the soft pedal wasn't working correctly.

I checked it out, it was working fine. I pretended to adjust it, then told my client I had it adjusted as far as I could, and that he should tell Connie I have her all the soft pedal possible, for any more she'd just have to play softer.

I often take pictures of my clients animals (after asking permission). I call them my helpers.

the piano
[Linked Image]

Boomer, one of my helpers. He greeted me warmly, then quickly lost interest.
[Linked Image]

My other helper, Mischief (a Maine Coon cat)
[Linked Image]




- Frank B.
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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512955 02/20/16 04:55 PM
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I had a dog chew the handle on one of my tools once, so I am rather wary of pets when they are around my tools. There was a singing dog once, but he sang on such a different key that it did not interfere. Loud birds can be troublesome, but we have budgies. Cats are only a problem if they decide that those are mice that are moving towards the strings.


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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512956 02/20/16 04:59 PM
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Ha!

Rita's my inspiration with that wood stove and her piano. That'll be me someday.

Oh, wait. It already is!!!

:o))

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512957 02/20/16 05:00 PM
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Frank, what year was the Acrosonic? I met my first the other day.

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
BDB #2512959 02/20/16 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I had a dog chew the handle on one of my tools once, so I am rather wary of pets when they are around my tools. There was a singing dog once, but he sang on such a different key that it did not interfere. Loud birds can be troublesome, but we have budgies. Cats are only a problem if they decide that those are mice that are moving towards the strings.


I'm an animal lover, but I do watch them to make sure they don't get into anything.

Loud birds?
Meet Buddy, more about him soon.
[Linked Image]


- Frank B.
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Estonia L-190 w/ ProRecord, Yamaha P-80, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880, 2 - Antique Pump Organs
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2512964 02/20/16 05:18 PM
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Frank, are you thinking of a sticky topic where any tuner can post their adventures and mishaps etc for the day? There was a popular topic call "So,what did you do today" that was rather like that but it seems to have died.

I think it is a interesting recurring type of topic and provides aspiring tuners with a dose of biased or selective reality. It is also motivating for seasoned tuners to share day-to-day experiences in a congenial way. Many other occupations have a daily tea break or "smoko" time in a common area to air out their experiences but piano tuners do not normally have that luxury except in places like this.

I think in fact that such sharing of experiences through forums or social media has been a major advance in the piano tuner's career.


Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513038 02/20/16 09:51 PM
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Love this thread !

And really enjoyed the "Rita's age, piano's age, and room temperature all the same". laugh

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513045 02/20/16 10:13 PM
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You should read the story from Ward Guthrie, RPT about meeting his tuning clients pet bear! I am not making this up.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513222 02/21/16 12:27 PM
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Chris Leslie,
I am thinking of a sticky thread dedicated to tuners posting about their tuning experiences.
The one here though I may limit to my own experiences as a way to share them with my friends and cohorts.

Bosendorff - I'm glad you like the thread.

Ed - Would like to read Ward's story, although I'm not a fan of bears.

Best,

Frank B.
Piano World

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513224 02/21/16 12:42 PM
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A lovely Yamaha C5 at a clients home in S. Portland (Maine).

Picked up this customer from a referral from her boyfriend up in Parsonsfield. She in turn mentioned a Nursing home in Fryeburg that has a piano needing tuning and said she would donate the tuning.

I love customer referrals, they are one of the best ways to pick up new business.

The Yamaha C5
[Linked Image]


One of the reasons I shoot pictures of the customer's piano(s) is to give me a visual reminder of the piano, and capture the serial. I know I could write stuff down, but snapping a few pictures is quick and accurate.
[Linked Image]

My helper at this tuning. I think she is trying to tell me which tool I should use next.
[Linked Image]



- Frank B.
Founder / Owner / Host
PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Maple Street Music Shop
Find Us On:
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My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190 w/ ProRecord, Yamaha P-80, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880, 2 - Antique Pump Organs
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Please invite every piano enthusiast you know to join our piano forums!


Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513254 02/21/16 02:13 PM
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This time I'm on my way to a tuning in Effingham, NH

Customer found me through my classified ad on Piano World (http://www.pianoworld.com/tuners/metune.htm).

It's only about 12 miles from my house to theirs, but half the roads are dirt (shortest route).

I guess I won't be using this one this trip though...
[Linked Image]

Crossing from Maine into New Hampshire
[Linked Image]

Passing the First Normal School, almost to customers house.
[Linked Image]

This is not a road, it is the first part of this customers driveway
[Linked Image]

Finally arrived at their house
[Linked Image]

Piano is an old McPhail Upright, cabinet in good shape, action not so much. Customer told me they head it "reconditioned" a few years ago.
[Linked Image]

When I think a piano is way out of tune, I use this app in my phone to take a quick reading. When I played G the app showed E, Houston we have a problem.
[Linked Image]

Did my best to tune the piano right around where it was when I found it. Still ended up snapping two high treble strings.
[Linked Image]

Action obviously needs work. Whoever worked on it before replaced the bridle straps (using the cork insert type) and the damper felts. However the action was sad. Hammers wobbled from side to side, lost motion, etc.
[Linked Image]

Told this customer their piano needs work inside, sending them an estimate.

More adventures coming...




- Frank B.
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Please invite every piano enthusiast you know to join our piano forums!


Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513313 02/21/16 05:45 PM
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Great stories! And what a terrific idea to use a swiffer duster attached to a sound board steel for cleaning the sound board. Never thought about that!

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2513745 02/22/16 05:41 PM
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This tuning features Buddy the Parrot.

The piano is an old Emerson upright, way out of tune and not in the best shape.

Doing my best to make it sound like a piano again.

Emerson Upright in Dayton, Maine
[Linked Image]

Another shot
[Linked Image]

And introducing Buddy the parrot
[Linked Image]

Apparently Buddy had his own opinions about my skills.


Below is a "video", with no pictures because every time I pointed the camera his way he'd stop (which I guess makes it an audio). So I set it down inside the piano and let it run while I was tuning the high treble area.

If you listen closely you will hear Buddy squawking things like "Quiet", "Shut Up", and my favorite "Higher!" All the sounds in the background are him, squawking over the high pitch tones of the upper register of the piano.

Proving once again there is a critic in every group.




More piano tuning adventures to come






- Frank B.
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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2518835 03/08/16 02:32 PM
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A recent tuning at a Health Care center in Maine.

The piano was built circa 1987, I'd guess it has been tuned maybe twice.

One of the residents donated the piano to the facility, she said she originally purchased it for her children but they didn't take an interest.

Other than being grossly out of tune (listen to short YouTube clip) and having many years of dust accumulated (which caused all kinds of friction/sticky keys) it really isn't in bad shape.

And it sounded pretty decent after I'd tuned it (twice).
I've told them we definitely need to schedule a follow up during which I will need to remove the action and work on all the pivot points (CLP, re-pin, etc.).

They are also considering hiring Kathy and I to entertain the residents (https://www.facebook.com/LoveToMakeMusicForYou/)

They were pretty sure it needed tuning. You think?


Baldwin Spinet at Health Care Center
[Linked Image]

Dust everywhere (including in the action parts)

[Linked Image]

CLP and Key Easing Pliers helped, but will need to pull action to get at the hard to reach parts that are still causing friction issues.

[Linked Image]





- Frank B.
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Please invite every piano enthusiast you know to join our piano forums!


Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2519102 03/09/16 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Piano World
They were pretty sure it needed tuning. You think?
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zqN2nu2U4IQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Jeepers Creepers - what an appropriate choice of tune!


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Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
Piano World #2519160 03/09/16 01:03 PM
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Even out of tune I kind of like the sound of that Baldwin.

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
David Farley #2519207 03/09/16 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by David Farley
Even out of tune I kind of like the sound of that Baldwin.


It would have been nice to hear the same music played on the "after" version smile

Re: A Piano Tuner's Blog
pyropaul #2519212 03/09/16 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pyropaul
Originally Posted by David Farley
Even out of tune I kind of like the sound of that Baldwin.


It would have been nice to hear the same music played on the "after" version smile


I meant to do exactly that, but the residents all started gathering around, so Kathy and I gave them a concert for nearly a half hour (we're good with older people, probably because we're getting closer to their age :-) https://www.facebook.com/LoveToMakeMusicForYou/



- Frank B.
Founder / Owner / Host
PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Maple Street Music Shop
Find Us On:
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My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190 w/ ProRecord, Yamaha P-80, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880, 2 - Antique Pump Organs
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Please invite every piano enthusiast you know to join our piano forums!


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