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Posted By: Duke of Dunning A mute point - 03/27/17 06:10 PM
Yes, mute and not moot. As a piano tech "noob" I am just starting to assemble needed tools and think it is best to purchase on an as needed basis. I'm looking for advice on two items:

1) Mutes. Which ones and how many of each?
2) Tuning fork. I have an old one somewhere but think it is an aluminum fork, which is Is not desirable apparently. I plan to purchase the Verituner (I know the owner) eventually.

TIA for the advice
Posted By: Floyd G Re: A mute point - 03/27/17 06:46 PM
Here is my list of frequently used mutes:

Split Mute built from 2 Schaff #200 mutes, glued together with a 1/4 inch offset. See PTJ April 2003 tip from Mitch Kiel. (I've started carrying 2 of these, one without a wire handle.) I bend an offset into the wire handle for muting behind treble dampers.

2 rubber mutes with wire Pianotek MR-1W (Longer wire than the Schaff equivalent)

2 3" x 3/4" rubber wedge mutes Schaff 203-1/2

2 4 1/4" x 1/2" rubber wedge mutes Pianotek MR-1M

4 Felt Wedges, 2 of each size from Pianotek MF-2M and MF-2L or Schaff equivalent

1 Paps Spring Mute Pianotek MP-1 or or Schaff 207

I have a wooden mute Pianotek MJ-2 that I have only ever used on a birdcage piano.

I will often double up wedge mutes to mute a string next to a strut. The glued-together assembly mentioned above is also useful for this.
Posted By: daniokeeper Re: A mute point - 03/28/17 04:30 AM
Originally Posted by Duke of Dunning
Yes, mute and not moot. As a piano tech "noob" I am just starting to assemble needed tools and think it is best to purchase on an as needed basis. I'm looking for advice on two items:

1) Mutes. Which ones and how many of each?
2) Tuning fork. I have an old one somewhere but think it is an aluminum fork, which is Is not desirable apparently. I plan to purchase the Verituner (I know the owner) eventually.

TIA for the advice
[Emphasis added]


I don't know what the objections others have to aluminum forks. But, I'll relate my experience using them.

I started out back in the 1979. I loved using aluminum forks. But, I found I had to keep replacing them all the time.

I didn't have an electronic reference. So, I would keep 3 forks on hand all the time. Every so often, I would test all 3 against each other. If any of them would start beating against the other two, I would replace it. As I remember, I was buying a new fork about every 3 or 4 months.

They are wonderful for their long sustain, though.
Posted By: BDB Re: A mute point - 03/28/17 05:15 AM
Aluminum forks are loud and the tone lasts a long time, but they are much more susceptible to changes in temperature than steel forks.

I use two sets of mutes, one for uprights and another for grands. I use thinner and softer felt mutes for grands and thicker, more firm for uprights, because there is often not much room behind the strings on uprights, so I need firmer felt to stick between the strings.

I use two different sizes of rubber mutes, Schaff #200 (2-9/16 x 1/4) and #203-1/2 (3 x 3/8). For uprights, I have handles, which are available at the grocery store. They are used for trussing poultry for cooking. These are light-weight, so their weight does not pull the mutes out from the strings. I tie a ribbon to them so if they do fall out, the ribbon gets caught on something before the mute falls in the string. I use two #200 mutes for the treble where there are dampers, one above the strike point and one below. I use one #203-1/2 where there are no dampers, below a #200, and in the bass.

I use one or two #203-1/2 mute on grands. I attach them to lanyards that I picked up going to conferences, to keep them from falling into the action if they pop out. You want a lanyard with only the metal clip on it, not a swivel or anything else that can rattle. Usually one mute is enough, but you need a second for Steinway-scale concert grands, which includes Yamahas and Baldwins, where they are needed for G and G# below middle C, and sometimes for the bass trichords.
Posted By: daniokeeper Re: A mute point - 03/28/17 07:15 AM
Sometimes, you can get lucky by just using a free app.

I use a cheap $50 smart phone. Just out of curiosity, i installed a free app called Diapason. When I used it to generate A4, it was right on the money with my Verituner.

Sometimes, you get lucky.

Edit: There are also electronic tuning forks out there. You can find one at the SAT website. There are others available for purchase online.
Posted By: Mark Cerisano Re: A mute point - 03/28/17 01:35 PM
I recommend:

4 rubber wedge mutes 1/2" wide
4 rubber wedge mutes 1/4" wide
4 handled rubber mutes
2 Papp's mutes
3 mute strips 36" long x 1/8" thick

Re:forks

Even steel forks change with temperature. I've tested mine and it changes about 1.25 cents every 10 degrees. Unless you live in a temperate climate, this could create problems. I like using the fork but I check it with iStroboSoft, especially in winter or summer where outdoor temperature can be so different.

It creates an extra problem, so for beginners, I would recommend an electronic source.

Here's a video where I demonstrate the effect of cold on a fork and how I get it to read zero cents.

https://youtu.be/CIXU4Y-E18U
Posted By: terminaldegree Re: A mute point - 03/28/17 02:50 PM
Using Verituner, tuning unisons as I go, and checking unisons and intervals by ear while using the program, I use:

on grands--
two regular felt mutes
one large felt mute to check unisons as I go in the treble
one large felt mute for the bass, which I only use on copper wound bass strings, to try and keep them clean (my mentor is OCD about keeping bass strings clean)
I also use a wooden hammer shank shaped like a pick at the end for tuning the last 7-8 notes of the high treble cleanly

on verticals--
two long rubber mutes
one smaller rubber mute with a handle to check unisons as I go, and for the bass
one Papp's mute

If you're going to set the temperament by ear, instead of with the assistance of an ETD, you will need a strip or more mutes.
Posted By: Anne Francis Re: A mute point - 03/31/17 07:08 PM
I am forever leaving my rubber mutes in the tuning pin area in grand pianos (how I fail to see them when replacing the music desk, I don't know!). So you might need 4-6 or more even though you only need two at a time. I also find the skinny wire-handled rubber mutes for uprights get worn and hard after a couple of years, so I've replaced them a couple of times over the past few years. If you get a Papps mute (which you definitely need for the treble area in uprights), make sure it's made of nylon and not plastic. I got a plastic one that broke the first time I used it. I've been using a couple of nylon ones for years and they are great.
Posted By: BDB Re: A mute point - 03/31/17 08:15 PM
Another reason for the ribbons and lanyards! Rubber mutes are cheap, and cheaper by the dozen, so I buy them that way. If you cannot afford a dozen, you are undercapitalized.
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