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Yesterday I had to replace a string, so I tried my best to take some video of parts of that process. What I wanted to share here is that there is no deformation of the coil when a becket bend is removed from the pin in the piano, or from a dummy pin. In order to do that, you need to use a spiral twist twisting action with your technique. It happens fast, since the becket bend is a spring, so I follow each motion with a slow-mo version.

The main point that I would like to emphasis with this video is that taking the becket bend on and off the pin is not a big deal, and it is a non-destructive process. It happens fast.

I think one of the reasons technicians hesitate swapping out tuning pins for an appropriate size pins is that they think this process of removing and reinstalling the coils is in somewhat arduous. It really not. Once you get the technique, it happens fast.

https://youtu.be/J8-f1BVdeK8

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As a side note, you can see in the background that all of the turns on the coils are tight. There are no gaps in the turns as they are firmly held together.

The other obvious thing to point out is that all of the beckets are in the same quadrant, and at the same position, to within a few degrees. We can describe the position anyway we want, but the hole is essentially at 4:30 with the becket pointing at 4:00 (it all depends on what you are look at). Again, it is up to the tuner to decide what is best for them. I think anywhere between 4:00-5:30 can be reasonably argued for a number of different reasons. Some of which has to do with how the becket bend is able to go on and off the pin. If your beckets are in the other quadrants (especially the forward quadrants), they don't slip on and off like I've demonstrated. I've been getting better results with beckets ending up closer to 5:00, rather than resting at 4:00, so this may be the new standard for myself.

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Can you show us another video on an upright where the pin field is very crowded, an upper string is bearing against the coil you want to take off and where the becket is about 5mm away from the pressure bar?


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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Can you show us another video on an upright where the pin field is very crowded, an upper string is bearing against the coil you want to take off and where the becket is about 5mm away from the pressure bar?
That is oddly specific. Is this a kind of piano that you work with often and have specific concerns about? Unfortunately, I don't own a piano like you describe, neither do my customers, or any of my acquaintances--that I can think of anyway (5mm is shorter than I think I have ever noticed). So, no, I am not able to do that kind of video for you at this point in time, sorry about that. But, if you need to replace the pins because they are too lose, then reduce the tension on the wires and remove the pressure bar to give yourself more room to work. If you are asking about making the coil for a replacement string, the string doesn't need to be around the hitch pin to make it. Just take it off and give yourself more wire to work with, then install it onto the hitch pin. If it is extremely tight, like you suggest, you can install the coils first, then set the wire between the bridge pins afterwards to give you a little extra slack to work with.

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The point of this video was more-or-less in response to the following comment:
Originally Posted by BDB
There are also processes that will loosen coils, like taking them off a dummy tuning pin. So worrying about it when you are first making the coil is not that important.
As you can see in the video, taking the coil off the dummy pin in no way loosens the coil. The coil in that video was 3 1/4 turns. The turns are tight enough to firmly grasp on to a thin piece of. Once you understand that the coil is a spring, if you do the opposite, it'll come right off without deformation. It'll also go on to the tuning pin in the piano, without deformation. Again, you have to work with the spring of the wire and open it up onto the pin. You can't just pull. You can't just turn. You have to twist it open, so that it will spring onto the pin.

When I put my coils onto the pins, at that point, everything is already under equal tension on both sides. It is a balance system. Both strings are equal. When we bring the string into tension, this condition must be maintained. It is very easy for one side to slip and move tension to the other side. When that happens, I know my coils are not tight enough yet. So, I am constantly checking for this: the face of the tuning pins need to be facing the same way for both pins. They need to look identical. Each set of pins can be off a few degrees from another set, but the set themselves need to be identical.

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I mentioned those complications when removing tuning pins because they are really quite common. They are not oddly specific at all.

Having a very short non-speaking section makes springing off a coil very difficult or impossible. Removing the pressure bar is not an option in a home environment. The pin needs to be removed by turning the pin out while lifting the becket bend clear of the hole with pliers or a hook. Also, when loosening the coil, the hole may end up at any angle and often in an awkward spot. Other wires may be interfering. Always getting it at 4.30 is not possible.

There are many times when a normal tuning tip wall will not fit between the pin and the pressure bar, and even many times when a normal tip will not fit between tuning pins.

This is the reality of ordinary pianos in ordinary homes, and they form the backbone of the work for ordinary tuners.


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Removing the pressure bar and replacing it would cost more than the piano is worth!

I have never found it necessary to remove the pin, but positioning it carefully, and making sure that the bend is in a proper position to get it in the eye is essential. Normally I would put the wire in place, hitch- and bridge-pins and just put the coil on the pin, but in the case of pianos like this, I have to remove the wire from the distal pins, put the coil on the pin and the bend in the eye, and then replace the wire on the pins. Then the only problem is tightening the tuning pin while holding the coil in place. A third arm and a good selection of shame-shame words helps with this.


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Originally Posted by piano411
When I put my coils onto the pins, at that point, everything is already under equal tension on both sides. It is a balance system. Both strings are equal. When we bring the string into tension, this condition must be maintained. It is very easy for one side to slip and move tension to the other side. When that happens, I know my coils are not tight enough yet. So, I am constantly checking for this: the face of the tuning pins need to be facing the same way for both pins. They need to look identical. Each set of pins can be off a few degrees from another set, but the set themselves need to be identical.
thanks, piano411. I'm usually do it's too, but there places where coils very hard mounting off near standing of the pins.

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Originally Posted by BDB
Removing the pressure bar and replacing it would cost more than the piano is worth!

I have never found it necessary to remove the pin, but positioning it carefully, and making sure that the bend is in a proper position to get it in the eye is essential. Normally I would put the wire in place, hitch- and bridge-pins and just put the coil on the pin, but in the case of pianos like this, I have to remove the wire from the distal pins, put the coil on the pin and the bend in the eye, and then replace the wire on the pins. Then the only problem is tightening the tuning pin while holding the coil in place. A third arm and a good selection of shame-shame words helps with this.
Russian obscene language is a salvation in such situations,,,

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Originally Posted by Maximillyan
Russian obscene language is a salvation in such situations,,,
I think all languages offer this feature - even latin and sign language. wink

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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Maximillyan
Russian obscene language is a salvation in such situations,,,
I think all languages offer this feature - even latin and sign language. ;)

with gestures at this moment is problematic, I'm think. It is very difficult for a tuner to control the process of evenly distributing one string on its paired tuning pins. + make full-fledged spring coils there,

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Max,

You are exactly correct. The real world of tuning presents numerous situations where the "ideal" just cannot be adhered to, so we do the best we can under the circumstances. Life in this system tends to be that way.

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Originally Posted by BDB
Removing the pressure bar and replacing it would cost more than the piano is worth!
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
I mentioned those complications when removing tuning pins because they are really quite common. They are not oddly specific at all.
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
There are many times when a normal tuning tip wall will not fit between the pin and the pressure bar, and even many times when a normal tip will not fit between tuning pins.
OK, so you are talking about cheaply made uprights, that are so old they have no monetary value left. They just have to be made to somehow work. So do what works then. Such a piano may be common where you are, but I've never been hired to work on a piano where the tuning pin tip didn't clear the pressure bar because it was too close. Clearly they do exist, but that is not my experience. I don't know anyone with that type of piano. So, I'm sorry, but I can't demonstrate that for you. It may require a modified approach, specific to the situation.

So, you are not talking about restring or putting new pins in, because the piano has no monetary value, you are simply talking about replacing a broken string. I would make a coil on the instacoiler, so it doesn't need to be around the hitch pin when making the coil by hand. On an upright, the becket is going to be at 10:30. That part is important. If you mess up and cut too long or too short, start over. You don't have any extra room to error on this, in the situation you are describing. Then like I said before, install the coils, then use the bass stinging tool to place the wire over the hitch pin (then deal with the bridge pins). If I can't do it the normal way, because it is too tight of a space to work, then do it in reverse.

Originally Posted by BDB
Then the only problem is tightening the tuning pin while holding the coil in place. A third arm and a good selection of shame-shame words helps with this.
As a matter of common practice for myself, I invert the coil, bend the leg out, and then re-invert the coil. Now the leg is sprung and pointing into the coil. This not a factory practice. But there are a number of advantages in doing this. One of them is that is holds the coil on the pin. It allows you to get the becket tight in the hole, while also holding the coil pointing upwards on the opposite side of the becket.

You don't even really need a coil lifter under the hammer. Install the string at 10:30. Rotate the pin a 1/2 turn. Clean up the lowest turn and push in the becket. Rotate the pin 1/4 turn. Clean up the lowest turn and push in the becket. Rotate the pin 1/8 turn. And make your final adjustments to the string spacing, coil angle, height on the hitch pin, and final pushing in of the becket.

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It may not be obvious to everyone yet, but there is a relationship between the final placement of the the becket and the place wherein which the becket gets installed. It is essentially one full turn. When you take the necessary twist into account, when the final becket is at 10:30, you will essentially be pulling straight back against the wire to install it. If the becket at an other location, you will have to fight against that and in a different direction of the pull of the wire. Using the 10:30 (or up to 11:30, whatever works best for you) on an upright, everything will be in alignment. Any other position will be a tug of war.

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Nothing worse than someone who offers advice about something they admit that they know nothing about!


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The other strings look healthy.I am just curious why the string was removed ? By healthy I mean there seems to be no rust.

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Originally Posted by BDB
Nothing worse than someone who offers advice about something they admit that they know nothing about!
I've explained what I've done in similar situations where the spacing is limited. I haven't seen only 5mm of room, but I would still do the same approach in reverse order, as that is what logic and experience dictates. That doesn't mean that I don't know anything about something. There is a difference between offering advice, and a person stating an opinion. I've stated an opinion, on what I would do, if I were in that situation. Would it be as smooth as what I have demonstrated? That is the only issue here...well, that and you stating that taking a coil off a dummy pin deforms the coil. Obviously, you were wrong about that. So, there's that fun fact.

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
The other strings look healthy.I am just curious why the string was removed ? By healthy I mean there seems to be no rust.
Oh, it was a broken string. I had to replace it, and I thought I would try and capture on video one part of the process.

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Thanks,
When I had my Sauter piano, there was a "zing " in one of the low bass notes. The dealer technician voiced those bass hammers which did not solve the problem . Finally he seemed to have tightened the end of the string .This had a dramatic affect and took the "Zing" away or at least greatly reduced it. In fact the note sounded so much better yet still had a good sustain.

Before he left I noticed I could still hear a slight Zing when the note was played. He then said if I continued to have problems, he would replace the string ??? He actually gave a piano string which I keep for some unknown reason.( should I decide to replace the string)
Of course since it all seemed so much better.( "zing " hardly noticeable)
However after trying a number of different pianos , I began to realise I seemed to hear this kind of extraneous noise in a number of pianos around this same area in the low bass.
So I realised the problem is for some reason to do with my hearing. (no one else around me seemed to hear the same phenomenon)
However the problem seemed to have been mainly solved by the technician.
With the Schimmel K132 piano I now have , so far there has been no such problem ! (touch wood ! ) However the other day while listening to a recording of a piano recital , I heard the same ZING in their bass of the piano ,(in the recording ???) more than once too. I have since heard it in other recordings .

However I now have an independent technician, who is the retired Vancouver concert technician.When I told this technician about the problem and that a technician( I never mentioned names ) was going to replace the string .He looked at me seriously and said "you should never have to replace the string of a new piano ! "
I thought I would share this piece if information. Perhaps it was the thought of replacing the string on a new Sauter that "cured me". ., Or perhaps it was because I moved an old mechanical clock (in the piano room ) while the technician was tightening the end of the bass string.

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"Zing" sounds can be terribly hard to track down. Sometimes you have to have a second person playing the note, while you move carefully round the room putting your ear near things, to find out what is rattling. Your clock - perhaps the glass loose in the bezel, or the back door of the clock case not quite latched - might well have been a culprit. Years ago I walked around a room for a client, listening for a zing, and it turned out to be a picture on the wall which had some kind of metal mesh on the back of the frame.

Last edited by David Boyce; 01/05/21 08:00 AM.

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