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Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. #2958674 03/19/20 04:31 PM
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James_C_L Offline OP
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Hey. I'm new to piano maintenance and was just wondering about this thing that is happening. I bought a used upright piano off a fella for dirt cheap that for the most part is in excellent condition. The tuning pins however do not seem to work like what i've seen in videos and so on. They're very stiff and require some real force to turn, and usually when they start turning they skip a few cents and sometimes make a loud squeaking/cracking noise. The strings have some buildup on them and i believe the piano spent the last 10 years unattended to on a beach front property. Thanks for any advice.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2958719 03/19/20 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by James_C_L
.The tuning pins however do not seem to work like what i've seen in videos and so on. They're very stiff and require some real force to turn, and usually when they start turning they skip a few cents and sometimes make a loud squeaking/cracking noise..

we shall wanted see it's video too.

Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2958740 03/19/20 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by James_C_L
Hey. I'm new to piano maintenance and was just wondering about this thing that is happening. I bought a used upright piano off a fella for dirt cheap that for the most part is in excellent condition. The tuning pins however do not seem to work like what i've seen in videos and so on. They're very stiff and require some real force to turn, and usually when they start turning they skip a few cents and sometimes make a loud squeaking/cracking noise. The strings have some buildup on them and i believe the piano spent the last 10 years unattended to on a beach front property. Thanks for any advice.


Isn't that kinda like saying a car is in excellent shape except you can't turn left and the brakes don't work?

Almost certainly your piano cannot be tuned by an amateur following instructions on YouTube -- and perhaps even by a professional.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2958750 03/20/20 12:08 AM
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A decade in a salty environment is bad for a vehicle, let alone a piano.

Consult an expert and see if it is salvageable.

Depending on year build and brand it might be done for.





Last edited by Learux; 03/20/20 12:08 AM.

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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2958943 03/20/20 01:22 PM
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Is there a wharf on the "beach-front-property" where she harboured for the past ten years?.....if there is (or even if there isn't) do yourself a favour and ".....set her adrift". You won't learn much from that sad forte except maybe what not to bring home the next time.

Last edited by Duaner; 03/20/20 01:23 PM.

Duane Graves


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959155 03/21/20 05:34 AM
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Haha no. It was a beach front apartment. Perhaps the title was misleading. it doesn't have a problem staying in tune, it's just a !@#$% to get there.

Now somewhere during the pitch raise i had broken one of the higher up strings so i went ahead and restrung it. The pins on the restrung strings move very smoothly now. I thought maybe either the new string or the unwinding and rewinding of the pin a few turns had done the trick. To test it i sort unwound and rewound a string near the top of the piano and sure enough the pin is moving smooth as ever. I suppose it's possible i've just gone and stripped the pin board but i think it's okay. The new string is still in tune from days ago so it seems alright.

Thanks for the advice anyways :p


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959171 03/21/20 07:08 AM
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Perhaps the strings are stuck on the felt?
Ian


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959176 03/21/20 07:56 AM
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Yes, if the wire rides over a decent amount of felt it will grip quite tenaciously to all the little bumps and divots from rust. PITN to tune. Lubrication on counter bearing and contact points will help.

Pwg


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959275 03/21/20 01:28 PM
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Jumping tuning pins are a problem with pianos that have been exposed to too much moisture. You might be able to turn them back and forth to make them smoother, but you may need to replace the pin block, which is probably more work than the piano is worth.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959388 03/21/20 10:34 PM
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Some pianos come right from the factory with overtight, jumpy pins. What you did in lowering the pin a bit and bringing it back up is the exact procedure for solving the problem. One must avoid turning the pin too fast when doing this or the problem can get worse.

One can do this without restringing. It takes about four hours and then tune again in a few days.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2959683 03/22/20 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by James_C_L
Haha no. It was a beach front apartment. Perhaps the title was misleading. it doesn't have a problem staying in tune, it's just a !@#$% to get there.

Now somewhere during the pitch raise i had broken one of the higher up strings so i went ahead and restrung it. The pins on the restrung strings move very smoothly now. I thought maybe either the new string or the unwinding and rewinding of the pin a few turns had done the trick. To test it i sort unwound and rewound a string near the top of the piano and sure enough the pin is moving smooth as ever. I suppose it's possible i've just gone and stripped the pin board but i think it's okay. The new string is still in tune from days ago so it seems alright.

Thanks for the advice anyways :p


If the smooth pin is sticking out further than the tight ones you can hammer back in a bit to match the height of the other pins. That might help increase the torque.

If that doesn’t work, you can try getting a pin that has a larger diameter to replace the loose one if doesn’t hold pitch. One or two size up.

Here are two books you should try getting. YouTube videos can be unreliable sources of information sometimes.

Piano Servicing, Tuning, & Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, the Hobbyist
Pianos Inside and Out


Last edited by TimM_980; 03/22/20 09:23 PM.
Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: TimM_980] #2959694 03/22/20 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
[
YouTube videos can be unreliable sources of information sometimes.

Piano Servicing, Tuning, & Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, the Hobbyist
Pianos Inside and Out



YouTube videos are almost always unreliable--either in presenting wrong information or not presenting enough information. And you, as a beginner, don't have the background to tell which is which. It is better to get authentic information from authentic sources such as the books mentioned above.

BTW The Piano Servicing, Tuning & Rebuilding book just came out in a 3rd edition with significant updates and improved graphics.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960148 03/24/20 10:12 PM
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James_C_L Offline OP
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I guess everyone is still getting the wrong idea, neither the stuck pins or smooth pins have any problem holding tune. I was just wondering why the pins are grabbing the pin board so tightly in the first place and if there was anything i could do about it. My thumb joint still hurts a week later from all the wrench work and i'd hate to ever have to do this again.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960162 03/24/20 11:04 PM
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What is the brand of the piano and serial number? With the serial number you can find out the age. This information can give us more insight into the piano you are working on.

Also what kind of wrench are you using? Is it a socket wrench?

Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960170 03/24/20 11:57 PM
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I replied with what I felt was most likely from your description, and Ed McMorrow replied with the other possibility. They both have to be dealt with in the same way. It is a lot of work. This job is not always easy. You got the piano cheap. The less money you pay, the more work you have to put into it.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: BDB] #2960424 03/25/20 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I replied with what I felt was most likely from your description, and Ed McMorrow replied with the other possibility. They both have to be dealt with in the same way. It is a lot of work. This job is not always easy. You got the piano cheap.
Quote
The less money you pay, the more work you have to put into it
.

[quote][/quote]

.....great point (in bold)


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960491 03/25/20 11:48 PM
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Whatever the case, the piano is in tune and it sounds great even with scummy strings.

I was using a little windy wrench thingy, you know that goes one way but not the other. I have a large tuning hammer now so i'll try that out soon to tighten up some of the unisons and i'll report back.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960508 03/26/20 01:15 AM
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You can ruin tuning pins by using a ratchet on them without the proper tip.


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Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: BDB] #2960512 03/26/20 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
You can ruin tuning pins by using a ratchet on them without the proper tip.


I think this is a lost cause.

Re: Tuning pins hard to turn, jumping many cents. [Re: James_C_L] #2960825 03/26/20 08:10 PM
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I've come across pianos like this in my travels.
I nickname them sticky pins or stuck pins that you have to get them past that crack sound before they actually do what they're told.
Just be careful of the strings and you should be right smile


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