Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions.

Posted by: Mark R.

Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 06:24 AM

I recently ordered a Watanabe #1 tip from Steve Fujan, and have just received it. On close inspection, there seemed to be some slight burrs or bumps on the faces (not edges) of the star shape. Wanting to give the tip its best chance at a long life, I removed these by lightly filing with a small square file. They came off easily - it might not even have been solid metal, but some machining residue.

I then fitted the tip on my Schaff extension lever. I immediately noticed that the thread and bearing surface "lock" the tip to the lever's head much better than the Schaff tips. I don't need to tighten the thread very much at all, yet when I unlock the tip, it comes loose with a definite "crack", so obviously it mates very well with the head. Not the case with my Schaff tips!

I then tried it on my upright Ibach that has some troublesome pins (not perfectly uniform and square, tend to have my Schaff tips rock in one position and firm in another). I found the fit a huge improvement over my Schaff tips!

I also checked the fit on my tip wrench. The Schaff tips tend to sit snugly in one position but rock when one turns them through 45 degrees. This tells me that the star pattern on the tips is not
perfectly uniform. The Watanabes (no.2 bought from Schaff, no.1 from Steve) fit much more consistently - more or less snug in all 8

So, I'm very happy at this stage, even though I haven't done a full tuning with the Watanabes.

My thanks to Steve, who found a cheaper shipping option from the USA to South Africa (took a while to get here, but cost me only $6.00!!)
Posted by: Olek

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 08:48 AM

I just received a new tuning lever NKG with rosewood handle, the model known as Yamaha tuning lever.
Just to say it is a little more heavy than the one I own , but the tip and head seem to be exactly similar.

that lever , 3 tips, allow to tune any piano . I only have an old French lever better adapted to some very old French pianos. very light and robust, but I rarely have to use it.

NKG engraved on the head
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 08:49 AM

Mark, it is not unusual for the tips to wear unevenly as you have found. The 4 sides to the tuning pin only contact a small portion and number of the star drive splines. Because we generally position our levers within a narrow segment of X oclock on the pins, the same splines get over used and others ignored.

Tip, if you cut a small washer material about .010" thick out of some shim material and put this between the tip and the hammer head, it indexes your tip about 30 degrees and you can utilize the unworn splines for many additional years.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 08:53 AM

excellent tip Emmery. to be honest I did not notice uneven wear, but I am attentive not to rock my tips on the pins. I will give a try to your tip..

another thing I always do is dusting the tuning pins...
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 10:44 AM

Thanks for that tip, Emmery.

However, my Schaff tips have a grand total of 10-20 tunings on them. wink Their inconsistent fit was evident right from the first day - which is what prompted me to buy the Watanabes in the first place.

Anyhow, thanks for the info and the shim idea.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 12:52 PM

Mark, good to know that your first impression of the tips is a positive one. Over the past few years, I have heard negative reports from many sides. I know that some suppliers check the tips carefully and are forced to reject a high percentage of tips due to problems with the thread and the fit to the pin. Given this, I personally wonder where they are actually produced.

Glad to know you are all set to go, though!
Posted by: Olek

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/28/12 01:42 PM

Hi I am sorry but it is NGK , not NKG as I wrote.

THose levers and tips WHERE sold by Watanabe (?) , but I buy them from Yamaha directly.

I had a look at the Watanabe web site and indeed the lever I received is not sold there actually. (may be they never sells it in the end)

I would guess that the proof that it is the same product is the print "NGK" (Nippon Gakki K...?) on the tip (not on the bottom part but on the top.
Those tips last very long, and are precisely machined. I heard recently that "Watanabe" tips where of lesser quality, so may be the provenance have to be verified.

But Watanabe sells to professional tuners, they have no interest to sell Chinese cheap copies.

I have used a few american tips Sole, and Apsco, and some without brand - the longevity was not as good, I also have noticed that the shaped part was just a small strip in the tip, on some of them, hence a risk for the tuning pin if the fit is not very good. (a piano tuning pin if bashed with a metal hammer get deformed easily, way more I suspected, and that whatever the brand is)

They also can deform in their axis plane somehow, but the necessary torque level is unclear to me, they seem to be springy a lot the force to twist a pin is higher than what we have in a pinblock usually)

That said, if the tuner is waving a lot the pin, possibly the metal get more soft after a moment.

Posted by: Olek

Re: Received Watanabe #1 tip - first impressions. - 11/29/12 09:32 AM

Here are the tips I know and use and they are sold by Watanabe, hence my confusion)

Yamaha tip
It is not written Yamaha on the tips I received with the levers (only on one of them, #2 probably) but this is the exact model.

I cannot see the tuning lever that relates to those tips (sign NGK on ithe lever )

I like the false extension shape !!) my first Yam lever (10 years old) have a little play where the tip is screwed, corrected with teflon, may be some solder could work too)

I stopped to change the lenght of the tip since then and then play did not come back.