Posted By: macsoft
Newbie with a total restoration..HELP! :P - 12/14/12 05:13 AM
I'm a guitarist. But i've always loved pianos. I play a little bit, not too much (mostly some blues i've got from the guitar), but i always wanted to have a piano. And since I've finally got my own place, I finally bought a piano. I've seen a few before I bought one, but i admit it was a totally emotional buy, and i should have been a lot more rational.
I like old pianos.. I know they are a pain.. and bring a lot more problems, but i finally got a 140 years old vertical french piano.
It was in bad shape, the owners use it just as a pretty furniture item, and painted it red, and caught my heart. I got it for a good price, and thought to my self "if I can't get it to play some day, it will still make a beautiful bar to keep my bottles.
I'm an artist and an extreme DYI guy. I've built from scratch most of my furniture, and totally renovated my house from pipes and electricity, to floors walls and furniture. I believe that with the right tools i can fix anything..so ye.. i bought a piano in bad shape, and believed i could fix it. :S
of course if I bought it emotionally, i didn't know all I need about pianos before the buy. I've read some "what to know when buying a piano" posts online, but certainly not enough because when i bought the piano I've forgot all that i've read :P
With the piano back at my place and after I've striped it open, I just found out its all wood... there is no iron frame :S Yap.. i didn't even know old pianos wore all wood..and because of that they are a pain to tune, and a lot prone to brake somewhere.
I've ordered some parts on-line, and started visually studying all the moving parts, on the keys and the action parts.
I've changed all the key tops. changed all the bridles. fixed 7 broken hammers, com broken screws, and cleaned it all up.
Everything is working and now its time for tuning. Since I haven't found any broken harp parts, I figured, if it is broken, I will only find out while trying to tune it.
I've seen some youtube videos on tuning a piano, and ordered a tuning hammer and some felt.
first problem.. the tuning) hammer has too loose on the tuning pegs.
i has able to adapt it to the odd tuning pegs on the piano (they seam a little smaller then the should), and got some tuning software and started the tuning process.
All the strings wore badly out of tune. when i mean badly, i mean BADLY..a lot of the strings wore really loose.
I went along with the videos.. i would felt up 2 of the strings, strike the key, an tune each string at a time.. with the software.. but it was getting a very long process.. and the guitarist in me end up just removing the action set for better access, got me a guitar pick, and tuned it like a guitar. I would tune the first string with the software, and the adjacent 2 strings to match it by ear (until they hummed together in harmony), and it worked out much faster and sounded great too.
Like I guitar that gets new strings, or has been with loose strings for a while, I expected the piano to need retuning several times before it holds in tune. every time i tense up a set of strings i expect the rest to get out of tune a little.
My question: how long should I expect until it stabilizes? It was the first day of tuning, i managed to tune all strings 3 times. the last one seams to be holding much longer. How much more days of this can I expect?
Any tougths on this craziness? :P
A cool fact: on the last piano key, on the side, when i remove it for capping it, it had some french text written by hand. Is this usual? does the piano maker leaves some text? It is very faded, i can't make it out, but it is a cool idea, that someone 140 years ago would left an hidden message on the side of a piano key