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The Baldwin Piano.. .

You can see why it sound& better


At Baldwin we believe that perfect piano tone is an ideal shared with all those
who design, build, play and service pianos. That’s why continuous research in
piano tone has always been one of our major commitments. And that’s why
our piano engineering and research department is one of the largest in the in-
dustry. And that’s why you’ll often find in every Baldwin piano innovations to
improve piano tone introduced in our SD-10 concert grand.
RESEARCH shows us why, as well as how, some things
work better because we’ve taken a pioneering approach to
piano improvement. We’ve substituted scientific testing
and analysis for the unquestioning acceptance of tradi-
tional solutions. Some of the achievements that have re-
sulted are treble termination bars (U.S. Pat. No. 3,477,331X
the Acu-JustTM plate suspension system (U.S. Pat. Nos.
3,437,OOO and 3,478,635), and vertically laminated bridges.
Our patents are the most significant ones awarded for tonal
improvements in grand piano tone in recent years.

ENGINEERING translates research into reality. To support


our design innovations, we have produced our own testing
and construction equipment and have expanded the use of
precision tooling to insure that each Baldwin piano built
will exactly match established standards of tone and per-
formance. One example of this is a winding machine (U.S.
Pat. No. 4,055,038) developed in connection with the
SynchroToneTM Strings (U.S. Pat. No. 3,523,480).

MATERIAL STANDARDS insure continuing quality. For ex-


ample, stringent standards for weight, dimension, taper,
and hardness of hammer felt are established, and each
sheet of felt is checked to be sure it meets those standards
before it is accepted for production use.

First in a series of informative ads on piano tone published by Baldwin


Piano & Organ Company exclusively for the benefit of piano technicians.

For more information contact Kent Webb, Technical Service Manager; for parts contact Linda Gann,
Baldwin Piano & Organ Company, Highway 63 South,Trumann, AR 72472 - Phone:(501) 483-6116
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PIANO TECHNICIANS

v
NOVEMBER1990 - VOLUME 33, NUMBER11 OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONOFTHE PU\NO TECHNICIANSGUILD, INC.

4 12 23 32
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE TUNING UP PRACTICALLY SPEAKING AT LARGE
Dues and don’ts, Diferent strokes, Shank and hammer Fine tuning a piano climate
By Nolan P. Zmingue, RTT By Rick Baldassin, RTT installation, control system,
By Bill Spurlock, R7T By Robert Mair

6 16 27 34
HOME OFFICE AT LARGE
Successand the good old days, Masteringfriction with the EXAMINATIONS ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
By Larry Goldsmith balance weight system, Learning to pass the PTG School district contracts,
By David Stanwood, RTT tuning exam; part Xl, By David Barr, RTT
By Michael Travis, RTT

TECHNICAL
8
FORUM
19 30
PLUS
Display Ad Index ................. 10
GOOD VIBRATIONS Membership .........................38
Pieces of string too short to use, Coming Events .. ..... ... .. ...... .. 39
By Susan Graham, RTT Consider installing the AT LARGE
ready-to-go-cap, Act ion spread, Auxiliary Exchange ............. 40
By Nick Gravagne, R7T By Alan Vincent, RTT Classified Advertising ......... 42

ABOUT THE COVER:


Guild member Camille Morin,
RTT, of Scotia, NY, entered
this photographic study, titled
“Grand Design,” in a local
photography contest and came
up with a winner.

Piano Technicians Guild Board Of Directors


0 1990 The Piano Technicians Guild,
NOLAN P. ZERINGUE, RTT DONALD S. VALLEY, RIT FERN L. HENRY, RI-T Inc. Articles published in the Piano
TechnicinncJmmd represent only the
President Southeast Regional Vice President Western Regional Vice President opinions of the author and not those
619 Barbier Avenue 8861 Greenville Highway 3574 Cantelow Road of the I’ianoTechnidans Guild, Inc.
Thibodaux, LA 70301 Spartanburg, SC 29301 Vacaville, CA 95688 AI1 tights reserved. No part of this
publication may be mpied or
(504) 4466812 (803) 574-6165 (707) 448-4792 reprodud inany form withart
p&&sion from ihe publisher, The
BRUCE G. DORNFELD, RTT DANNY L. BOONE, RI-T Piano TechniciansGuild. Inc. The
STEPHEN H. BRADY, RTT words ‘The Piano TechniciansGuild.
Vice PresidPnt South Central Regional Vice Pucific NW Regional Vice President Lx,” and the Registered Tuner-
2134 Walters Avenue President 1402 3rd Avenue West TechnIcIan emblemare registered
wtth the U.S. Patent and T;ademark
Northbrook, IL 60062 9707 Timbcrvicw Seattle, WA 98119 offiiae - Unwthortzed use is strictlv
(70’3) 291-9218 Waco, TX 76712 (206) 281-8292 (H) prohibited.
(817) 792-0546 (H) (206) 685-9371 (w)
llu Piano Tahniripns ]owd (lSSN
SHARLA KISTLER, R’IT (817) 755-1723 (W) 00319562) is the official publication of
Secretary-Treasurer RONALD L. BERRY, RIT The Piano TechnldansCuLld, Inc.,
R.D. #8, Box 461 RICHARD BITTNER, RTT Immediate Past President 4510 Belleview, Suite 100, Kansas City,
MO 64111. The ~ovlnnl is published
Allentown, PA 18104 Central East Regional Vice President 6520 Parker Lane monthly. Second claw postage paid at
(215) 395-2348 519 Melody Court Indimapolis,IN 46220 Kansas City, MO., US ISSN oaOl9562
Royal Oak, Ml 48073 (317) 255-8213 foreign and domesttc. POSIMASTER:
please send address changes to: pirmo
JAMES S. BIRCH, RI-I. (313) 398-3876 Tcchniti \oumpI, 4510 Belleview,
Northeast Regional Viuz President Suite 100, KansasCity, MO64111.
56 Nashville Road MICHAEL A. DROST, RTT Annual subscriptIon price:$35(US)
Bethel, CT 06801 Central West Regional Vice President for One year; $155 (ml for hvo years;
(203) 744-4842 1052 South Fork Drive $750 RJS)per single copy. Piano
TechntctansGuUd mmbem receive
River Falls, WI 54022 the Piano T.&xi& /oumnl for $45
(715) 425-2068 (H) per year .w pati of their membership
(715) 425-3940 (W) dues.

2- NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL


Piano Technicians
Journal Staff GRADE: A
SUSAN GRAHAM, R=
Technical Editor
KEYBOARD Magazine’s November 1990 issue includes a comprehensive
2%7 Madeline review of home study courses teaching piano tuning. They gave our course
Oakland, CA 94602 an *A.* (Other courses received grades ranging from C to F.)
(415)482-4707 ‘I think the Randy Potter course is an extraordinary achievement, a
RICK BALDASSIN, R-I-T
terrific investment for anyone who wants to become a piano technician or
Tuning Editor upgrade their professional skills, and an unbeatable value for the price.
2684 W. 220 North ‘Not only does it bring together more information about piano technol-
Provo, UT 84601 ogy than has ever existed in one place, it does so in a philosophical and
(801)3742887 ethical context conducive to producing craftspeople who will be a credit
LAROY EDWARDS, R’IT to their profession, and provides a firm practical foundation for their busi-
journal On Tape Reader ness success.
‘Combined with plenty of practice, apprenticeship, and continuing
HOME OPFICE education, this course Is one of the best vehicles available today for
4.510 BeJJeGew, Suite 100 learning piano technology.’ - KEYBOARD Magazine, November 1990
Kansas City, MO 64111
(816) 753-7747
See us at the CaliforniaState Convention, February 22-24, 1991;
LARRY GOLDSMITH
the Pacific Northwest Regional Convention, March 20-22, 1991;
Editor/Executiw Director
the New England Regional Seminar, April 25-28, 1991;
PATTI CHAPMAN and the 34th AnnualPTG Technical Irktute,
Bookkeeper Philadelphia, PA, July 13-17, 1991.
SANDY ESSARY
Subscriptions Call or write:
LISA GRAY Randy Potter, R’IT
Assistant Editor/Advertising 61592 Orion Drive,
MARY KINMAN Bend,OR 97702
Membership (503) 382-54 11
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NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 3


PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Dues And Don’ts


T his month marks the beginning of the
period of time in which we pay our dues. /-
The PTG Board has decided after con-
sultation with the Home Office Staff that
We know every year without fail ourdues / consideration for assistance in the paying
are due in the month of January, and of dues in hardship cases will be consid-
notices are sent out in November, which ered only if the request for consideration
really gives us a period of 90 days in which is made before the drop date. After the
to pay our dues. Still there are problems drop date has passed, it is too late to take
every year - the deadline is at hand and a request for consideration of hardship
some have not yet paid their dues or con- payment since the membership informa-
tacted the Home Office. tion will have been pulled from the com-
When there are many who are late in puters and the member dropped from the
paying and time is running into March, it rolls of PTG.
Nolan P. Zeringue, RTT
becomes a problem for the Home Office Don’t hesitate to call your Regional
President
Staff.Thisis the timeof theyearwhen they Vice President if you are having a problem
have a heavy load in gearing up for the with paying your dues. The RVP is there
PTG Convention in July, and arealso trying to get member- to serve you; this is why you in the region have elected this
ship as up to date as possible for the PTG Directory. particular person to the PTG Board. And, of course, if the
The drop date was moved up to the first of March, and problem you have is not of a financial nature, your RVP cer-
this did seem to be a much better approach to putting an tainly will help there also.
end to past due dues running for four to five months. As soon as you get the dues billing, take out your
Collections seem to have gone well last year. checkbook, write the check, and get it back in the mail the
All this does not mean no excuses will be taken and the same day. Let’s see if we can create another problem for the
method of collection will only be hard-line. If you have a Home Office Staff in having them receive 3700 dues pay-
problem, please call your Regional Vice President to see ments in the first week after the bills go out. Wouldn’t they
what arrangements can be made for your particular case. enjoy that? Don’t forget that you can pay dues by credit
Legitimate hardship cases will be given attention by the card. I hope we can make this year’s dues collections
Regional Vice President, but you must contact him or her complete by the first of March with no late payments! g
beforethe first of March for assistance.

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4 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANSJOURNAL


Somemmtichms a&your
customm to investin their past.

Yom. Chang
investsin their ht ure.
Some of the most “prestigious” instruments make carefully crafted instruments available at
in the world are also the most expensive.At reasonablecost to anyone who sharesthis love.
Young Chang, we don’t believe a piano’s value We believe the instrument that’s most appre-
is limited to the number on its price tag or its ciated is the instrument that’s most played. And
place in history. asone of the most popular imported pianos, the
History isn’t restricted to what has happened value of Young Chang pianos appreciates like
on the stagesof the most famous concert halls few other instruments.
in the world. Because history is being made For technical information, call or write Alan
right now in the homes and studios of the Vincent atYoung Chang America, 13336Alondra
people you see everyday. It’s the discovery Blvd., Cerritos, CA 90701, (213)926-3200.
of the joy of music that inspires us to create
instruments of extraordinary beauty and
remarkable performance. And it’s a deep love
and commitment to music that requires us to The best the world has to offer:”
FROM THE HOME OFFICE

Success And The Good Old Days


Larry Goldsmith
Executive Director

W hat’s the secret of success? Clear-cut answers to this particular store - and it was like stepping into a
that question are hard to find, particularly for those who time warp. This was an old-fashioned place, with worn
operate their own businesses. Over the years, many and buckled hardwood floors, bins of this and that, and
writers have come up with their own secrets of success. fascinating gadgets tucked away in every dusty corner.
Is the formula for success indeed 10 percent inspiration I needed only two three-inch woodscrews, and I was in a
and 90 percent perspiration? Or is it that, as someone hurry.
else with a more cynical perspective once said, 90 per- Someone met me at the door, called me sir and
cent of success is just showing up? Here’s yet another politely asked how he could help me. His attitude didn’t
formula to consider: change when he found out that I was only going to spend
l You can beat 50 percent of the people in the United a few cents there. He found what I needed, rang it up on
States simply by working hard and not giving up. an old-fashioned cash register, and wrote out a receipt,
l You can beat another 40 percent by being honest in all the while acting as if I was spending hundreds of
your business dealings. dollars instead of a few cents.
l The last 10 percent? Well, that’s where creativity, It made my day. I stepped back into the 20th century
.ability, persistence and luck come into play. feeling as if everything was right with the world. My
It hurts to think that fully half of the people in this regular hardware store is a lot bigger, and has a lot more
country are afraid to work hard, but it has a ring of truth. stuff, but no one there has ever treated me as if my
When you think about the salesclerk who simply wishes business really mattered to them. I’ll probably still go to
you would go away, the Monday morning autoworker the big chain store sometimes, just because it’s conven-
who put together that lemon of a car, the bureaucrat who ient and cheap and I know they probably have what I
doesn’t care how long you wait in line, you wonder if need.
America’s trend toward a service economy is such a good But I’ll be thinking about the dusty little place that
idea. So many of us do it so poorly. treated me as if I were someone special. And I’ll go back
I visited a hardware store today - my first visit for there as often as I can. I’m looking forward to it. I

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6 -NOVEMBER 1YYU PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL


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PERKINS SCHOOL OF PIANO TUNING AND TECHNOLOGY


Teaching excellence in piano technology for 28 years

We are the only school teaching4 individualized coursesin Piano Technology: Piano Tuning and Repair, Grand Piano
Rebuilding, Concert Tuner Preparation,and Player Piano Rebuilding. The classesare all hands-on,with the instructor
present.When you have a question about that overtone, false beat,or inharmonicity, your instructor is right there to answer
your question. You will install pinblocks, bridges, and plates yourself. Most classesvisit a piano factory for the educational
cap to your chosenstudies.

Perkins School is a resident piano technology school with dorm rooms and kitchen facilities available on site. Students
from ages 16 to 60 have taken thesecourses.We also have taught studentsfrom many foreign countries.

You are urged to visit our resident school which offers individual hands-on,instructor-presenttraining. You can receive
a diploma and certificate(s) in 6 to 7 months and know how to tune and repair pianos at a cost only twice that of a correspon-
denceschool - where you have to reach for a telephone,VCR or typewriter to conversewith an instructor. For little more
than the cost of a tuning machine, you will learn to tune by ear as well as learn to repair and regulate the entire piano.

Classesstart quarterly - January, April, July and October. Call now for a free catalog and get startedin a rewarding career.

Robert K. Perkins, RTT, President


Perkins School of Piano Tuning & Technology
225 Court Street Elyria, OH 44035
Phone: l-800-852-1185
(216) 323-1440 (Elyria, OH)
(216) 671-9485 (Cleveland, OH)
__
TECHNICALFORUM

Pieces Of String Too Short To Use


Susan Graham, RTT
Technical Editor

A lazy late summer collection of tips


for shop, field and general piano service
traveling accomplished by varying the
width as well as the length of the strips).
thebottomedge. This tilts the part in the
wrong axis and/or cause overtraveling.
business operation. Shari uses auto detailing tape, which is
adhesive backed in l/B” strips - very Parts Lubrication
Regulation fast to use and comes in a variety of When you lubricate a jack, coat not
Traveling: To refine the travel of colors to enliven thingsaround the shop. only the top surface but also the side
parts which are wandering just slightly Many technicians use sandpaper, such which will contact the knuckle or butt as
off course, cut the strip of travel paper in as 220 garnet paper: if this is moistened the key is released.In both grands and
half lengthwise (so it will be under only before application, it too will adhere to verticals this will be the upper l/4”
one-quarter of the flange). What to use the flange. Whatever is used should not (approximately) of the side opposite the
for travel paper? Preferably, something be too soft and compressible, or results jack toe. Excess friction here can slow
gummed which will stick to the flange will be unstable. Be sure not to let travel the return of the key as the back edge of
and stay in place if the part is removed. paper stick out on the drop screw side of the jack drags against the buckskin of
Remember that the flange gets traveled, a grand hammer flange, where therepe- knuckle or butt.
not the rail: glue traveling paper to the titian lever may brush against it and Lubricants Update:
flange. I use old-fashioned paper pack- cause noise. Travel paper should not Checking farther (but too late to
aging tape, cut into strips and mois- run down the front edge of a butt or get in last months Journal), Pianotek
tened as used (varying the amount of wippen flange so far it overlaps around carries the McLube products, Dry-Lube
and VJ Lube. My apologies for the
omission.
The Best Spring Tool Ever? Speaking of vertical butt leather,
I mentioned thesubject of spring tensioninpassingand now,herein the you do know that some of the synthetic
mail, is what claims to be the best spring tool, ever. Hmmph, say I, I’ve made material used in vertical actions as a
perfectly fine spring tools ou t of old bass strings for years. Sentiment prevents buckskin replacement on butts and
me from agreeing that this new tool is better, but it is awfully nice .... works catchershasgottenveryhardandnoisy?
like a champ, seems almost impossible to misuse (won’t kink wire) and has (A shortage of buckskin for a time dur-
that wonderfully pleasing feel to the hand of a tool that knows what it’s ing the 1970s was partially responsible
supposed to do. Looks good in the tool case, too (for those hi-tech oriented for precipitating this problem.) It cre-
customers who insist on examining every item you carry into the house). ates an elusive click similar to that of a
Available from its creator, technician Glen Hart, P.O. Box 40685,Grand Junc- loose hammer head or other action part.
tion, CO 81504. You may find yourself pulling and reglu-
ing hammer heads and catchers, repin-
ning butts, etc., only to have the noise
continue. The solution is to replace the
“buckskin.” If the piano is still under
warranty, contact the manufacturer for
assistance. Degree of severity will vary
- it may be better left unmentioned to
customers who aren’t aware of it. Bald-
win isat least one source of pre-cut butt
and catcher leathers, supplied with a
cyanoacrylateglueandinstructions(for
warranty work, they will also recover
the butts if shipped to the factory). The
action will need some regulation after
replacement buckskin is installed and
will thenbequietand haveamuchmore
8 - NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
satisfactory feel. slightly. This can be enough to cause the kidding here), what can you do? You
Speaking of vertical pianos, here hammer to double strike. Reducing af- could make reminder calls to everyone
areafewadditional thoughtsinresponse tertouch may help: lengthening the the night before, but most of us feel we
to a recent query about sticking keys: hammer blow distance, shortening the spend enough time on the phone as it is.
In the August issue of the Journal, keydiporincreasingthedrop.Although One tip is to make a practice of giving
Mark Mandell is concernedwith sticking raising let-off will also decrease after- your phone number to the customer as
keyson Asian pianos.Here is theprocedure touch, do not do so in this instance: let- you are setting up the appointment.
I usefor new piano service (that is thefirst off and drop may need to occur slightly Here’s how I work it: I call the customer,
in-home-service).Basically this is for verti- farther from the string to help prevent set up the date and time, get any perti-
cal pianos although I often have to easeall the double strike. The other factors nent data I need, repeat to them the date
front key bushings on grands as well. mentioned can then be adjusted for the and time, and then say “Let me give you
*Tune. (Gives feel of that specific instru- desirable feel and to prevent the ham- my phone number just in case some-
ment.) mer from being pushed up toward the thing comes up.” This serves two pur-
l Removeaction,(if necessay)easeallfront string a second time. poses. One is to let them know that I
key bushings (that havenot already been expect a call if they need to cancel. What
eased). Business Operation I’venoticed, however, is how many times
*Shim hammerrest rail to achievesomelost Do you have no-shows? Apart they stop me at that point, saying “Oh,
motion. from breaking into the house, sitting on just a minute, I need to get something to
*Checkdip. Generally excessivewhich will the front stoop for hours in a state of write with.” This is after I’ve told them
causejack to cometoo fir forward and righteous indignation or overturning all the date and time twice. My theory is
bind against let-off rail. the lawn ornaments and leaving (just that people think they’ll remember a
*(After all the above,then checkjack to let-
ofi rail contact again.)
Doing this will generalZy clear the
piano of sticking keys and subsequentfree
return calls. Note: regarding dip, depress
key hard and visually examinejack. A big
gap betweenjackand butt indicateexcessive
dip. Reduceas required using visual check
initially and by feel for final adjustments.
Gerald F. Foye

Backchecking
Reliable backchecking of the heav-
ier hammers in a grand action can be a
problem. The repetition spring must be
strong enough to support the weight of
the hammer, help push down the wip-
pen body (to return the key) and pull the
jack back under the knuckle. This may
require it to be so strong it exerts force
against the hammer prematurely, pre-
venting checking (especially on a soft
blow). In most instances, if the hammer
does not actually rebound and restrike
the string, the lack of actual “check” is
not a problem. If double striking is a
problem, determine that the tails are
properly shaped and slightly roughened,
and have not become glazed with use.
/
Also check that the backcheck buckskin
is uniform, without areas of excessive
wear, and still has a distinct nap.
Also check the amount of after-
touch. During aftertouch, the hammer is
propelled toward the string: the addi-
tional slight amount of travel at the front
of the key takes place as upward motion
at the back, where the repetition lever
and therefore the hammer will rise
NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 9
date, but if you give them a number if I don’t (but I won’t go back), and I’m
they’ll take the time to write it down (I pretty soft about believing excuses of
use this trick even with customers emergency trips to the doctor, etc. (for
who’ve been calling me for years - I regular customers I’ll waive the service
know perfectly well they have my phone call if the story is plausible and I like the
number but I want to make sure they’re piano...). What the heck, life is too short
writing things down). This procedure is to carry grudges. Take along a good
particularly important if you are initiat- book, and keep a list of errands you
ingcontact:settingupthefreeserviceon could get done (who of us can’t kill an
a new piano from a dealer, for instance. hourquitehappilyinahardwarestore?).
The customer is probably not aware that Well, that’s it for me. The Forum
you do not work full-time at the dealer continues with the second article from
and that the flow of messages may be David Stanwood. The first described
unreliable. Be sure they have a way to the grand action he has patented and in-
reach you at the last minute, and they stalled in a number of pianos. In this
understand that you do need to know of issue, he describes his system for weigh-
cancellations before you hit the front ing-off any action. I might mention (for
stoop. Your part of the bargain is to call those who are new to this subject) that
them as soon as possible if there are hisapproachissomewhatdifferentfrom
changes in your plans. In addition to the conventional system. Using it may
cancellations, I call if I’m more than 15 workbetter for someand not so well for
minutes late - and I call as soon as I others: we print such articles not as
realize this is going to happen, rather pens occasionally that an address is endorsement, but to encourage think-
than waiting until the time I’m actually written down wrong, leaving me fum- ing and the exchange of innovative,
supposed to be there. I also call if I’m ing pointlessly in front of the wrong worthwhile ideas.
earlier than planned, both to make sure house... If you have a work number, you This Journal also contains (in addi-
someone is home, and out of respect for may be able to get in contact with some- tion to our usual stellar columnists) an
my client’s privacy. one and verify that they forgot about article from the Dampp-Chaser Corpo-
And, yes, I still get the occasional you (or you may have to wai t even longer ration, detailing suggestions for “fine-
missed call, and I get extremely annoyed. so they can dash home and let you in). tuning” their piano climate-control sys-
My policy is to wait 15 minutes, then try When all fails, I do leave a bill for a serv- tem.Thistoo,isnotanendorsement,but
to find a phone and call: they don’t ice call - and, usually, I get payment a welcome opportunity to get technical
always hear the doorbell. It also hap- and an apology. It isn’t worth pursuing information straight from the source. Z

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NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL -


TUNING UP

Different Strokes For Different Folks


Rick Baldassin, RTT
Tuning Editor

W e will begin this month with a let- naturallyleft-handed, whichinmymind several different hammer techniques,
ter from L. E. Minton, RTT, of Clayton, accounted for the fact that he tuned where he stated that none of these tech-
North Carolina. Mr. Minton writes: uprights left-handed, but his tuning of niques was more “correct” than another,
lenjoyreadingyourarticles,reprints, grands right-handed while being natu- but that there was a different procedure
etc., in the Journal. I have a burning ques- rally left-handed made no senseto me. I involved with each of these techniques
tion, however: Why is there never, or almost chalked this up to my training as a bass to achieve a stable tuning. Not only were
never, mention of proper position of the player, which was that it did not matter various hammer positionsdiscussed,but
tuning hammer or lever in the lengthy and if you were right-handed or left-handed, also various hammer manipulations,
informative articles on stability? To my you still bowed with the right hand and from smooth pull to impact-jerk. I was
fhinking, thisisasimportantasanyphaseof fingered with the left hand. I figured in very distraught to learn that the left-
stability in tuning. piano tuning, uprights were to be tuned handed tuningbetween 10and 11o’clock
When I began studying tuning over left-handed,and grands were tobe tuned which I learned required the most pitch
45 years ago, I was taught to keep the tuning right-handed. over-compensation to settle the string
hammer in line with the strings. In other This “correct” position of the and pin, and that a system of right-
words,keep thehammeras near72o’clockas hammer for upright tuning was con- handed tuning with the hammer at three
possible. Never, never tune with the ham- firmed by a textbookwhich wasused for o’clock required virtually none! Soon
merat rightangles to thestring. Keepit near my class, which showed the hammer thereafter, I became acquainted with
22 o‘clock, maybe at one or two o’clock when between 10 and 11 o’clock while tuning Francis Mehaffey, and saw his “impact
necessary. either left or right handed. I was not hammer” demonstrated. This hammer
Thereisnecessarilyandinadvertently, naturally left handed, but thinking that is positioned such that the weightswings
a slight bending of the pin regardless, If the this was the “proper” way to tune an between 11 and one o’clock, while tun-
“bend“ is to the right or left, which occurs upright, I learned to tune them left- ing with either the right or left hand.
when the hammer is at 12 o’clock, there is handed, with the hammer between 10 It soon became clear to me that
veylitflepitchfluctuafion. If thehammeris and 11 o’clock, as right-handed tuning there was no one correct way to tune an
at three o’clock or so, the bend affects the of uprights with the hammer in this upright, becauseI had somany examples
pitch, and the pin will tend to straighten position seemed an awful alternative. A of good technicians performing this task
after pressure is released, affecfing the sta- short time later, I observed the other in so many different ways, each with
bility. technician at the university tuning an excellent results. As for me, I still tune
Whenyouget timeand theurge,please upright right-handed with the hammer uprights left-handed with the hammer
tell the readers of the Journal your thinking, between one and two o’clock! I was between 10 and 11 o’clock.
and the thinking of other experienced tun- shocked,andimmediatelyinformedhim I learned to tune grands right-
ers, on the position of the tuning hammer that he was doing this incorrectly, and handed with thehammerat threeo’clock.
when tuning. Many new tuners treat the that the hammer should be between 10 I did not take me long to figure out that
Joumalasa Bible,and theyshould beaware and 11 o’clock, in spite of the fact that he this position would need compromising
of this fact. Perhaps you do not agree with was right handed, and obviously not during the course of a tuning. About an
me, but I have had good success in concert talented enough to learn to do it left- octave from the top I had to change to
work, and agreement with others on this handed,asIhad.Itdidnottakehimlong two o’clock, and a few notes later to one
topic, both engineers, and fine, successful to set me straight. He told me how o’clock, finishing somewhere between
tuners. awkward tuning right-handed with the 10 and 12 for the top few notes. I noticed
Keep up the good work. hammer between 10 and 11 was, and quickly how much more difficult it was
When I learned tuning, myinstruc- that even though it may be more “tech- to control the hammer when seated in
tor told our class that the best way to nically” correct, he could do a better job front of the keyboard and the hammer
tune an upright was with the left hand with the hammer between one and two, positioned at 12 o’clock. I soon found
with the hammer between 10 and 11 because it was so much more comfort- myself standing perpendicular to the
o’clock, and thebest way to hmea grand able for him while he was tuning. keyboard around the end of the instru-
was with the right hand with the tuning A short time later, I attended a ment while tuning those last few notes
hammer about three o’clock. He was class where Jim Coleman demonstrated with the hammer at 12 o’clock.
12- NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
Some time later, I attended a class ton’s way is the correct way for him. difference was the length and angle of
where I saw Dr. Sanderson tuning a This discussion parallels discus- the heads. Sinceboth tunerswereequally
grand piano left-handed with the ham- sions that have taken place in this col- competent, I could only conclude that
mer at nine o’clock! This seemed most umn in regard to a smooth-pulling tech- each had a particular type which was
backward to me, but I was envious that nique, or an impact-jerking technique. best for him or her, because he or she
he could tune to note 88 and still remain Either technique can be used success- was used to it. For me, a longer head
seated normally, because his hammer fully if done properly with all of the with a shallower angle works best, be-
did not run into the case, being posi- accompanying manipulations and cause I am used to it.
tioned at nine o’clock. There was a catch compensations. Never try the smooth- The next decision is the tip. I think
- when he tuned the bass, his hammer pulling technique with the compensa- all would agree that the tip should fit as
ran into the case, but rather than more tions for the impact-jerking technique, far down on the pin as possible, but
fromnine to 10, to 11, to 12, and so on, he or vice-versa. It will not work. Likewise, should the fit be tight or loose? If the fit
simply switched hands and tuned the never tune with hammerat threeo’clock is tight, there is a positive feel that exists
bottom few notes right handed with the using the compensations necessary between the hammer and tuning pin. If
hammer at threeo’clock. I wasconvinced when the hammer is at 12 o’clock, or the fit is loose, the lost motion permits a
that the solution for me was to continue vice-versa. This won’t work either. rather effective impact system of tun-
tuning right handed, as I always had, We could expand the discussion to ing. Which isbest? Whichever works for
but switch to left handed tuning in the include length and angle of the tuning you. I started out with a very tight fitting
treble, finishing this section as Dr. San- lever head, size and shape of the tip, and tip, changed to a rather loose fitting tip,
derson had. This seemed natural, as I length and weight of the tuning ham- and have since reverted back to a tip
had mastered left handed tuning of mer. Logic would tell us that we would which is rather snug, but grips the pin
uprights. Left handed tuning of grands want as short a head as possible at right along the entire length of the taper. I am
should pose no problem. Boy was I angles to the tuning pin. The tip would still able to impact the pins when I want
wrong. As hard as I tried, I could not fit as far down on the pin as possible, to, but also have the positive feel neces-
tune the grand with my left hand. Out of and would be a perfect fit, the taper of sary for my very final movements. I
curiosity, I attempted tuning an upright the pin matching that of the tip. The have, however, seen tuners use a loose
right handed. No way. Not even close. hammer would be as rigid as possible to tip and impact method with great suc-
I point all of this out to illustrate avoid any possibility of flexing along its cess, as well as tight-fitting tips with
that to a very large degree, what works length. smooth technique, also with great suc-
the very best is what we are used to. Sounds great, doesn’t it. Sadly, we cess.
Over time we learn the compensations would soon find out that such a hammer Finally, the weight and flexibility
necessary to make our system work. My would be unusable in practice, because of the hammer must be determined.
first exposure to the idea of tuning with of the physical constraints in the piano. Ideally, the hammer should be as rigid
the hammer parallel to the string came Our first decision is then short-head or as possible to avoid flexing along its
from my friend Bill Garlick. His reasons long-head. Short is definitely better. To length. The heavier extension handles
were exactly those which Mr. Minton clear the plate struts, however, a short- are rigid because they have two steel
stated, and it makes perfect sense, ex- head means steeper angle, longer head shafts in them. The additional weight
cept that I am not used to doing it that means shallower angle. As far as the can cause fatigue, however. Recently, a
way. I have tried tuning the entire grand angle is concerned, the closer to a right tuning hammer called the “Wonder
piano with the hammer at 12 o’clock, angle the better. So you see, there is no Wand” has come on the market. Its
and found it most uncomfortable, my perfectly logical choice in this regard. proponents claim that its lightweight
arm being stretched so far to reach the We must choose between a short head construction reduces fatigue, and that
end of the tuning hammer, and the with a steeper angle, or a longer head the single steel shaft allows a better feel
awkwardness of trying to manipulate with a shallower angle. Which is best? in the palm of the hand as to what is
the lever sideways, rather than pulling Whichever you are used to. This became actually happening at the tuning pin.
and pushing. I even tried a similar pro- apparent to me during several Master Much of this feeling is naturally ab-
cedure with the hammer at six o’clock, Tuning sessionsfor the PTG exam. More sorbed in the heavier hammers, and not
where the hammer is still parallel to the often thannot, theCTEs would have the felt by the tuner. The Wonder Wand is
strings, with no better luck. Even seated same or very similar hammers and tips, fitted with a ball at the end of the shaft,
perpendicular to the keyboard so that I but the headsvaried. Whenever a change and is designed to be held in the palm
could pull and push on the hammer, I was made as to who was tuning at the like the shift lever of your car. Though I
had no good luck. Perhaps if I were moment, the tuning hammer would be was skeptical at first, I am now more
taught this way, I could do i&or if I were handed from one tuner to the next, and optimistic about this concept, particu-
willing to take the time to totally re- this new tuner would proceed to try to larly on uprights. Generally, however, I
learn. Seeing so many technicians tun- clean up a few problems left by the would say that I prefer the heavier
ing in so many different ways with ex- previous tuner. After one or two notes, handle, because I am more used to it.
cellent results, has led me to the conclu- the new tuner would invariably say, As you can see, there are many
sion that there is not onecorrect way for “Hand me my tuning hammer, would combinations possible when you con-
everyone, but that there is one correct you? I can’t tune with this thing!” Fur- sider that there are both upright and
way for me, and I respect that Mr. Min- ther inspection would show that the grand pianos, we have two hands to
choose from, there are 12 possible posi- Our next letter comes from Jesse manic pattern 1 now hear doesn’tmatch the
tions for the tuning hammer, there are a Manley, RlT, of Griffin, Georgia. Jesse one in my memoy. I use two hearing aids,
half dozen or more heads and at least writes: but havesomedifficulty, especiallyin tun-
four sizes of tips available from a dozen I want to thankyoufor theinterviews ing the high treble.
different manufacturers, handles from with pianists, andfor all your tuning infor- ‘Differencetones”arehelpingmewith
light to heavy-extension type and fixed mation. my treble tuning. I losevey little time by
length, and smooth-pulling or impact- This summer, I celebratedmy 75th striking thetreblenotethatIam tuningwith
jerking technique. Pretty hard to estab- birthday. Ihavehad limited sight mostof my the fourth below, and then with the fifth
lish one combination which is best for life, and during the last few years,my hear- below.
everyone, yet eachof of must learn which ing has deteriorated.I now have problems For example, when I tune C6, I will
combination works best for us. recognizing voicesof closefriends. The har- strikeit with F5, and then with G5. With F5,
the difference tone is the pitch of F4. With
G5, the differencetone is C4. If both differ-
encetonessound harmonious,I haveproba-
bly tuned C6 correctly.
ZfZamtuninga high unison, when the
two strings get close to the samepitch, I
usually hear a differencetone that ti rather
SPECiAL7-Y TOOLS FOR PIANO TECHNICIANS faint and fairly low in pitch. I nudge the
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17 For catalog call or write BILL SPURLOCK
_- Zfany ofyour readershavemadeuseof
3574 Cantelow Rd., Vacaville, CA 95688 (707) 448-4792 - -
the sort of tests that I have mentioned, I
would appreciatehearing from them.I will
1 COMPLETE GRAND MIUSIC DESKS ’ behappy to write in detail to any tuner who
REPRODUCTIOXS OF PERIOD STEIAWAYS, KNABES, is interested in what I am tying to do.
OLDER MODEL Y.AMAHAS Zfmy hearing gets much worse,I will
retire. In the meantime,I am enjoying my
Built to your specifications
experimentswith any teststhat canhelp me
with the highest octavesana’unisons in the
treble.
Thanksfor any suggestionsyou may
have.
Our thanks to Jessefor his letter.
Loss of hearing in the high treble is
FLEISRER PIANO CARINETRY something that all of us will probably
face one day. By protecting our ears
, P.O. Box 618 Santa Monica, California 904-06 (213) 399-1227
from excessive noise, we may be able to
delay this process. 1 have never tried
using difference tonesas Jessedescribed
for piano tuning. I am aware of them
Piano Technology Certificate from my study of acoustics. If any of you
Eight Months... have used these techniques, please feel
free to write and describe what you are
or an A.S. degree with doing. If you would like to communi-
two years of study. cate with Jesse,you may write to him at
regulation. repair and rebuilding of grand and upright pi the following address: Jesse Manley,
including computer applications. Elective studies In R’lT, 325 Birdie Road, Griffin GA 30223.
construction.
Until next month, please send your
II Program Coordinator:
David Hoffman, RTT
COLLEGE AND
Winchester,
CONSERVATORY
Virginia 22601
Admissions.
questions and comments to:
Rick Baldassin
Tuning Editor
(703)665-4581 2684 W. 220 North
Provo, UT 84601
14 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
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NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 15


AT LARGE
Mastering Friction With
The Balance Weight System
0 1990 David Stanwood, RTT
Patent Pending

M y article in the October 1990 Journal describes how the


Stanwood Action creates a high degree of touch uniformity
friction, whereas upweight and downweight change daily
and seasonally with friction. Therefore, balance weight is the
through individual treatment of balance weight and friction. logical point of reference when balancing keys.
These touchweight components are derived from the follow- 2. An action with uniform balance weight has optimal
ing formulas: uniformity of the inertial component of touch. Since inertia
balance weight = downweight + upweight + 2 magnifies weight factors in the action, inconsistencies in the
friction = downweight - upweight + 2 balance weight will be magnified when the key is struck,
My approach for creating uniform touch is to weigh-off therefore, it is desirable to have a uniform balance weight.
to a uniform balance weight, then to set the final touch weight (There are many aspects concerning the subject of inertia
values by adjusting the friction level in each key. In the which I do not have space to cover in this paper.)
Stanwood Action this is done with the aid of adjustable 3. Keys with uniform balance weight will have more
friction hammer flanges. uniform upweight and downweight values than if balance
The success of the Stanwood Action would not be pos- weight were allowed to vary (compare touchweight analysis
sible without the ability to weigh-off the keys to a uniform figures before and after balancing to uniform balance weight
balance weight. Creating a uniform balance weight during in my previous article on the Stanwood Action).
the process of key balancing is a confusing and tedious task 4. When balance weight is uniform, upweight and
without a systematic approach to the process. I have devised downweight become true indicators of static friction levels in
a system which eliminates the need for calculation. I call it The the action. In other words, the technician can quickly tell how
Balance Weight System. Evenifyoudon’t have theoptionof the much friction is in the key without calculation by looking at
adjustable friction hammer flange, there are advantages to either upweight or downweight alone.
creating a uniform balance weight: Before I describe the balance weight system, let’s dis-
Specifically: cuss the relationships balance weight and friction have to
1. The balance weight value remains unaffected by upweight and downweight. Table A shows pairs of upweight
TABLE
a and downweight figures at different levels of friction and
balance weight. Note that the pairs of figuresin the horizontal
rows all calculate the same balance weight value and that the
vertical columns all calculate the same friction value.
A plot of upweight and downweight against different
Friction friction levelsdemonstrates that balance weight isunaffected
bychangesinfriction(figurel).Conversely,plottingupweight
anddownweightagainstdifferentbalanceweightlevelsshows
how changing the balance of the key effects upweight, bal-
ance weight, and downweight equally (figure 2).
There are three basic rules which govern downweight,
balance weight, and upweight:
1. The spread between upweight and downweight varies as
a function of the total action friction.
2. Changing balance weight does not change the spread
between upweight and downweight.
3.Changingfrictioneffects thespreadbetweenupweightand
downweight without changing the balance weight.
For example: If we add lead to the key so as to lower the
balance weight by five grams, downweight and upweight
willbothdropbyfivegrams.Whereasif wechangefrictionin
the action so downweight drops by five grams, upweight will
rise by five grams and balance weight will remain the same.
16 - NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
Consider the following set of fig- 1
ures: The pairs of touchweight figuresm Work Table For 3%gram Balance Weight
each vertical column both have the same Test downweight 56 54 52 50 48 46 44 42 40 38 36
calculated friction shown at the top of Corrected upweight 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
thecolumn.Notethatthefirst horizontal Corrected downweight 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46
row of paired figures have a common
upweight of 20 grams. The second hori-
zontal row of paired figures all have the same balance weight
of 38 grams.
Vertical columns have constant levels of friction.
18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8
20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
56 54 52 50 48 46 44 42 40 38 36
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46
Let’s remove the friction values at the top and the 20-
gram upweight values. This creates a new table which we can
use to create a 3%gram balance weight in each key during the
process of key balancing. (See Work Table For 3%gram Bal-
ance Weight)
This table makesit possible to test and correct for friction
when weighing-off they keyboard:
Let’s say that I’m weighing-off a keyboard to a uniform
balance weight value of 38 grams. I first check that the key
bushings are free. If there is lead in the keys from a previous
weigh-off I remove enough lead from each key so they all
need some lead added in order to make the balance weight
specification. I then determine how much lead to put back in
each key by first testing for friction and then weighing-off the
key to upweight/downweight values taken from the appro-
priate column in the work table.
First I test the key for friction (without regard for the
balance weight). This is achieved by placing a 20-gram weight
on the key and arranging any number of lead weights on top
of the key so the key shows a “test” upweight of 20 grams (the
actual position of the leads at this point do not relate to the
final lead positioning). Once I have made the upweight 20
grams I determine the “test” downweight to the nearest even

Effectsoechangrnq I
friction ona single note I

G
H

I / I1 I I ”!
33 35 37 39 41 43
BALANCE WEIGHT

NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 17


figure. The test downweight identifies Let’s say downweight measures out at hammer rail with the fist. The motion
the friction level in the key with a verti- 48 grams. should mirror that seen in the upweight.
cal column in the work table. I find the 4. Go across the top horizontal row I feel thatkeybushingfriction tends
figure that matches the test downweight in the work table until you find the 4% to skew the meaning of upweight and
by looking across the top horizontal row gram figure. downweight because it is not always
of the table. Directly beneath this value 5. Directly beneath are the friction- uniform through the stroke of the key. I
are the appropriate upweight and ally corrected upweight and therefore favor keeping key bushings as
downweight values for a 3%gram bal- downweight values for this key. In this free as possible. I have found that it is
ance weight which correspond to the case they are: upweight - 24 grams, difficult toachtie consistent results unless
friction in that key. The key should be downweight - 52 grams. key bushing cloth surfaces have been treated
weighed off to these frictionally cor- 6. Place a 24-gram weight qn the with a dy lubricant (such as M&be
rected values. key and arrange keyleads in their final #1725).
Now1 take thelead weightsoff the position on the key so the key lifts 24 It should be noted that friction, as
top of the key and replace the 20-gram grams. Confirm that the downweight is measured in the key, is magnified dur-
test weight with thecorrected upweight 52 grams. If so, then you have created a ing the actual playing of the instrument.
value from the table. I then arrange the key with a balance weight of 38 grams. The amount of magnification depends
leads on the key so it lifts that upweight. 7. Mark the key and remove the on the types of friction that are in the
Once I establish the proper upweight, I leads to a slotted tray so they can be later key. For instance: a key that has a fric-
check to see if the downweight matches mounted in the same key they came off. tion of 15 grams, largely as the result of
the appropriate value from the work This is the most practical method I a tight hammer flange and a loose key
table. The leads should now be in the have found to date for creating uniform bushing, will have a higher frictional
positions where they will be perma- balance weight. component in the touch resistance dur-
nently mounted in the key. I like to In my shop we generally set bal- ing actual playing of the piano, than a
position leads in the old holes wherever ance weight at a uniform value of 38 key with a 15-gram friction- largely as
possible. Even if it means clipping some grams. You may decide to use different a result of a tight key bushing and a
weight off thelead,orflatteningouta3/ balanceweightvaluesinwhichcaseyou loose hammer flange. This is because
8” lead to fit in a l/2” hole. I mark the may refer to Table B which has working friction in the hammer flange results
lead positions on the key and remove the figures for a variety of balance weights. fromtherubbingofthecenterpinagainst
leads carefully toa fray with numbered slots Judging the motionof the hammer the felt bushing cloth. When the key is
so that the exact same leads go back into the during measurement of touchweight is struck, the centerpin is driven more
same key. a critical aspect of key balancing. I like to tightly against the cloth which increases
Let’s review the procedure by judge the upweight in the normal fash- the friction between the two surfaces. In
weighing-off a hypothetical key to a 38- ion by depressing the key until the drop the key bushing, the force of friction
gram balance weight. screw and the jack tender just touch does not increase because the blow to
1. Place a 20-gram weight on the their respective cushions, but without the key does not tend to push the front
key and depress the key as if you were deflecting their springs. Upon release of pin and the bushing cloth surfaces
measuring upweight. the key, the hammer should move in a against each other. This subject deserves
2. Set the upweight by arranging controlled downward motion that the more thorough study and discussion
keyleads anywhere on top of the key so eye can follow to a place just short of the than I can offer here.
it just lifts 20 grams. rest position. For downweight I like to One last point: Buy or make your-
3. Remove the excess 20-gram see the hammer move upwards in a self a set of gram weights graduated in
weightand test thekeyfordownweight. sustained motion after rapping on the one-gram increments. My set has enough
weights so that I can make up a set for
weighing-off which are mounted on a
tray in a configuration like the figures in
the work table. Then you don’t have to
Accu-Tech@ look at numbers. Just find the appropri-
ate test downweight and when you re-
Tool Case... turn it to the tray, your hand will fall
a high-quality, heavy- right onto the corrected upweight and
duty tool case for the downweights. You can make your own
professional keyboard weights by tamping lead into cut and
technician. deburred lengths of copper pipe.
Also for sale, Sanderson In a future article I will discuss’
Accu-Tuners, new and how tochoosespecificationsforbalance
used. weight and how to use the balance
CALL TOLL FREE weight system in mastering the adjust-
(800) 776-4342 ment of wippen helper springs.
FOR BROCHURE See you in Philadelphia!:

18 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL


GOOD VIBRATIONS

Bridge Recapping: Consider Installing


The Readv-To-Go Cap J

Nick Gravagne, RTT


New Mexico Chapter

T hus far in our bridge recapping proj- paperrubbings.Thebridgemakerneeds and requirements which reek of imprac-
ect we have jumped through a variety of a pattern reference which truly repre- ticality-strange taperingforexample,
hoops: diagnosing the afflictions of the sents the actual bridge top. When send- or dished-out areas, or pin angle specifi-
original cap, then outlining surgical ing a pattern make certain that is “says” cations of biblical exactitude. Such re-
procedures for cap replacement; taking everything pertinent, including your quests will signal to the supplier that
location measurements and making a name, etc., and name of piano, etc. The you are either a flaming novice, or an
paper rubbing, or other pattern; remov- pa ttem should be readable, showing pin idealistic nut-two designations which
ing the original bridge top using both holes (punched by you) along with the could cause your pattern to end up back
hand and power tools while making l/8” location holes (if you drilled any), in your lap accompanied by a brief
sure that the machined surface is true; and including clearly identifiable uni- thanks-but-no-thanks letter.
and filling the original bridge pin holes son “patches,” complete with string
with hardwood shoe pegs. The next step grooves. Helpful, too, are indications in Send The Old Cap - If You Can
depends on whether you are going to the rubbing as to how the notches line Of course if you are fortunate
purchase a ready-made cap from a up with each other, as well as their ori- enough to remove the original cap in
bridge-makingsupplier-thecapcomes entation to the pin holes. Becausebridge one piece (which, I think, can only be
cut to shape and thickness, graphited, carving leaves plateaus of the bridge top done by invoking the black arts), or if
drilled, notched, and sometimes pinned standing higher than the lower slopes of you are able to remove i t in large enough
depending on how thick the new cap is the notches, a perfectly clear outline of pieces so as to allow subsequent recon-
-or whether you are planning to make the cap is impossible to get. Still, some struction, then the old cap, in one form
your own cap. semblance of its shape and contour can or another, can be sent to the supplier in
Ready-to-go caps offer obvious behadbybothcreasingthepattempaper lieu of any pattern. If the old cap came
advantages when considering the kinds with your hands, and rubbing the side off in pieces, try reconstructing with
of supplies and tools (especially ma- of a lead pencil over the pattern so as to glue, and send out only if the pieces
chine tools), you don’t have to have on pick up the outside line (more or less) of really look like the original cap; if what
hand. And if you’ve never carved a new the bridge. The new cap will be cut a bit you end up with, however, looks more
cap you might not beinterested in leam- oversize so great accuracy isn’t required likeafive-year-old’sfirstattemptatarts-
ing the craft. Like piano tuning, bridge here anyway. An additional check can and-crafts, better to keep the thing
making demands practice to master, and be held, though, after the old cap has around foran occasional laugh. If uncer-
although you may have the skills, tools, been removed: place the pattern over tain as to whether it is good enough to
and eager incentive to install a ready- the newly cut, flat surface so as to accu- send, include a pattern - the one you
made cap, the thought of taking on the rately determine and record the outline made before the cap removal - and
entire job from bridge making through of the cap. Caution: this works fine where send both. A bridge maker prefers to
installation borders more on metal an- there is little, or no bridge overhang to have on hand the original piece, if at all
guish than pride of accomplishment. contend with. Stay alert to such condi- possible, since anything in three dimen-
Give yourself credit for deciding to tions. sions increases the likelihood (or at least
replace the cap, no matter who makes it, Also, don’t forget to include re- ease)of successful job visualization and
rather than opting for the usual, and quired dimensions, such as how tall the follow through. Still, where the cap
often less satisfactory, quick-fix repair. cap needs to be, and whether the cap is cannot be sent, pattern-only orders can
to be made uniformly thick, or tapered be expertly filled by any skilled bridge
Ready-Made Caps From Patterns Only end-to-end. But be reasonable in both maker.
However skilled bridge makers your specifications and expectations. A
may be, they are not very gifted in read- cap which tapers by 0.060” from one end What Does The Supplier Supply?
ing minds, especially when those minds to the other should be duplicated; but If either a pattern, or the original
cross several state lines. Give them good one which tapers by 0.010” should be cap itself has been sent out, what can
information. A recent issue of the Jour- considered uniformly thick. Moreover, youexpectwhenthatbrown-shirtedUP!S
nal for this seriesexplained how to make be careful about specifying dimensions person shows up with a box? Should
NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 19
you expect to seebridge pins in the new trievable method of locating the new treated in more detail in the next article.
cap, or varnish in the notches, or what? cap will have been worked out, and the
To pin or not to pin? Not much of body of thebridge will havebeen routed Clamping Systems
a question really. Don’t expect to see down (or otherwise reduced by some There are a few favorite clamping
bridge pins if the replacement cap stands means). Let’s imagine that the new cap methods in use for installing the cap to
less than, say, l/2” tall. It should be is to cover the top two treble sections the bridgebody; each has its advantages
obviousfbut itisn’talways) that thenew (about 35 unisons), its length terminat- and disadvantages:
capcannothaveanythingstickingoutof ing where there are no unisons, such as
the bottom - such as inserted bridge under a plate bar. Let’salso imagine that Screws
pins which completely pierce the new the new cap has not been pinned by the A time-honored technique for
cap - or mating of the new cap to the bridge maker. Since the entire long providing clamping pressure when
bridgebodycannotbedone.Ifyouprefer bridge cap has not been taken down, gluing wood to wood. Screws are used
the taller pinned cap, allowance must be there will exist a vertical step where the extensively in the cabinet making trades,
made for it at the bridge body; that is, an newly routed area meets the original especially for carcassconstruction; they
appropriate amount of wood needs to cap, and it is here at this step where one offer the advantage of speed and amaz-
be removed when reducing the original end of the new cap will form a butt joint ingrelative simplicity compared tomore
bridge height. But pinning aside, ready- with the old cap. Make a trial fit: posi- elaborate clamping techniques. But the
made caps should be thicknessed to no tion the new cap and try it against your actual force they impart to the glued
less than l/4” if for no other reason than location method (marks, holes, pattern, joint, particularly to softwoods (and ill-
bridge makers require something rea- or whatever). It should be very close to fit, at that), is not only pale compared to
sonably substantial with which to work. final position, if not right on. You may clamps, but can not be evenly distrib-
Thin caps cannot be pinned by the have to use your motorized disc sander uted over large sections of the work.
supplier; everything else, however, can to remove a bit of material from the new Still, if hardwood pieces are well fitted,
be accomplished for you - specified cap end at the butt joint. Take off small that is they form a good “rub joint,” pan
thickncssing, cutting to rough shape, amounts of material at a time and keep head screws used with large “fender”
graphiting, drilling and notch carving. trying the fit. Don’t get hung up here washers (small hole, large diameter)
From there you are expected to glue on attempting to make a beautiful, invis- make for an acceptable clamping sys-
the cap and extend the pin holes by ible butt joint. Although that’s the ideal, tem. Drill clearance holes in the cap,
drilling into the bridge body, using as it is more important to align the new cap spaced about every four to six inches
guides the angled holes found in the properly, and equally important that and located in the center of unison
new cap. Although this is entirely pos- throughout the project you are able to patches. Drill smaller holesin thebridge
sible, it takes a bit of practice and a remove and relocate the cap in the same body for threading the screws. Dry-fit
steady hand. (Get the feel for it by drill- place on the bridge body. (Seebelow @ the cap. If it looks good, remove the
ing the rear holes first). Thicker caps are Gluing On The Cap for methods of screws and cap. Screw-clamped cap
better since the drill bit can more surely “brad-holding” the cap). installations are mostly reserved for
“follow” a deeper hole than a shallow With the butt end looking good, upright pianos and no-name grands.
one. A flexible shaft designed for chuck- and the alignment correct, determine A couple of variations on screw-
ing a drill bit in one end, and mounting how much waste overhang needs trim- clamping: If the new cap is already
to the shaft of a motor at the other, is an ming. It is easier to trim the cap before it pinned (and the pins are either level, or
excellent tool for this type drilling op- is installed than afterward. Place thecap filed so) the screw clamping system can
eration since it is less bulky, hence more in position, and using a short, stubby, still be used. Drill all clamping holes as
accurate, than working with ordinary sharp pencil, draw a line on the under- usual but use a longer pan head screw
drills. But however the holes are “fol- sideof thecapfollowing thebridgebody along the fender washer. The large di-
lowed” and drilled, the technique is as a guide. Lift off thecapand trim to the ameter washer will sit on top of, and
really not much different than re-drill- line but take care not to remove too push down on, the bridge pins when the
ing existing holes when reconditioning much material; save the final trimming screw is tightened. Still another method
an old bridge. until after installation. Trimming tech- requires countersinking ordinary wood
As to the other aspects of the re- niquesincludcpowersandingwithboth screws (number seven or eight) into the
placement bridge, check with your stationary discs and those chucked into cap, and the installation made as above,
supplier. Some will routinely varnish hand drills(usesmal1 incxpensivedrum though without washers. But note that
notches and file the pin tops, others will sanders for inside curves); hand and the larger, countersunk hole bored in
only by request. I suggest that, whoever power rasping; scraping; and planing. the cap requires a more creative idea for
does it, the notches be varnished and Power routing with a router or laminate the cosmetic cover-up.
protected before the workof installation trimmer works great, but is generally
begins otherwise they will surely be- reserved for after-installation cap trim- Pressing Off Beam Devices
come indelibly smudged. ming. For this article, suffice it to say The Pony Clamp Company’ offers
that the proper bit to use is a carbide pipe clamp heads which, when reversed,
Installing.The Ready-Made Cap “flush cut trimmer bit”; they come can apply a pushing force of consider-
As per past articles in this bridge equipped with a roller bearing (ball able magnitude. Photos 1 and 2 show
capping series, some recorded and re- bearing wheel). Power routing will be these clamps in action. Notice that the
20 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECIINICIANS JOURNAL
photo 1 photo 2

screw clamp-jaw is pushing up on a 4x4 NotesAboutBeams rim. Make the feet adjustable in order to
which, due to the large working room They are useless if too flexible. If accommodate various bridge height
required by the clamps, is sitting on a using a 2x4-inch member, it must be conditionsasfoundinthevariousmakes
six-inch spacer block at the end of the placed on edge where it is considerably of pianos. Place the channel on the legs,
beam. The beam and block are clamped stifferthanifplaced”ontheflat.“Avery plywoodbottomdownandclampfwith
to the piano caseby three-foot long pipe StiffbeamcanbebuiltupbymakingaT- moderate to light pressure) via long
clamps, also the Pony type, but used in section member of two pieces - a 2x6 clamps to the underside of the rim. Use
the typical clamping manner. When (or wider) placed on-the-flat for the your ingenuity to imagine the critical
pressing a cap on a cantilevered bass bottom, and a 2x4 placed on edge form- elements of the set-up, and vary to suit
bridge, support the underside of the ing the vertical piece of the ‘T.” The your needs. Mini go-bars can be cut
overhang with blocks or wedges. Also, advantage of the wider bottom is that it from any kind of wood into sticks ap-
with any overhead beam press set-up, can cover a bridge section which, due to proximately dimensioned to 3/B” by 3/
support the soundboard from under- its serpentine shape, cannot be covered 4”. Experiment with the go-bars; they
neath with wedges or other devices. everywhere at once by a narrow beam. mustbeabletobendanoticeableamount
Anotherbeam-type clamping tech- Stil1,allbeam.swill flexupward asclamp uponpressinghome,and they must stay
nique employs the use of metal Tee-nuts ing pressure is applied, often times so put as other bars are sprung into place.
which are inserted into appropriate holes much that, after the fourth clamp is Once you have constructed this channel
drilled through the beam. For anti-pull- brought to bear, the first or second actu- member, and worked out this technique,
out security, locate the Tee-nuts on the ally falls out. Or if using a screw-beam, you will be hard-pressed (pun intended)
undersideof the beam, and screw in the the first tightened bolts will be making to ever use any other.
long bolts which will act as the clamps. minimal contact as the last are being
(Pictures and drawings of this device tightened. Be alert to these frustrations Straight Clamping of Caps
have appeared in the Journal over the and keepgoing back tore-tighten clamps There is a clamp on the market
years, mostly in connection with the or screws. called an edging clamp. The device has
techniques of soundboard repair). In Similarly, a very stiff “U section” three screws threaded into it: two in-line
practice the beam is located over the or channel, or even a multiple T-section and opposing, and a third converging at
bridge and secured to the piano case member can easily be constructed hav- a right angle. Figure 1 shows the essen-
with long clamps. The bolts are then ing a wide plywood bottom against tials for cap installation. Disadvantages:
turned down with a wrench thus apply- which flexible, but rela-
ing the clamping force. The bolts I prefer tively short, go-bars can be figure I
are l/2” diameter carriage bolts having sprung. Thischannelbeam,
round heads, along with a convenient whichmustbelongenough
square shank just under the head to to clear the sides of the
which a wrench can be fit. When the piano case, will have to be
round head makes clamping contact affixed by clamps, and
with the work it tends to stay put, rather spaced about 18” (not criti-
than spiraling off center, since its con- cal) above the bridge tops.
tacting surface is minimal and smooth: The channel can sit at the
the force, however, can be great, but prescribed height on “legs”
spread it out with cauls and scrap blocks madeof simple lx4s, which
-standardprocedureanywayinclamp are standing vertically on
ing techniques, right? the soundboard at the rim,
and clamped to the outside I I
NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 21
,
cost-in that several are necessary and holes completely through the original convenient dowel size and fill by gluing ms’
_ 1

at $7.00 a piece (mail-order) you can go bridge, exiting out the bottom of the in dowel plugs, finally graphiting over
broke; application - in that they are soundboard (as explained in a previous the top end grain. The final waste over-
sometimes difficult to set up, or don’t article), then the new cap should contain hang can be trimmed flush to the body
work at all where there is steep bridge appropriately located registation holes using the tools and methods mentioned
overhang; universality - in that they as drilled by the bridge maker (accord- earlier, but power routing with a flush-
do not have much piano shop use out- ing to your pattern), or you will have cut-trimmer is quick and easy. Coat the
side of cap clamping; cosmetic - in that drilled them in. These holes in the cap raw edges of the cap (and body if it
the in-line screws mar the bridge body and body, when filled with l/8” dowels, needs it) with shellac and varnish.
upon tightening (and preventive scrap provide an excellent anti-skid system If the cap is not pinned, “follow”
blocksareanuisance to use). Still, under for gluing. Sometimes a hybrid system and extend the pin holes down into the
the right conditions they perform admi- of brads and dowels is wise. In any case, bridge body using either an electric drill
rably, are much less cumbersome than for bridge caps spanning the two high or a flexible shaft chucked with the
beam-presses, and require no under- treble sections, three or four brads or appropriatebit. Wrap thebitwithmask-
neath soundboard support. I recom- dowels are necessary. ing tape for a depth-stop guide. Clean
mend you buy one or two from a local As to the actual gluing, no big up dust and drive in the bridge pins. A
hardware store and try them out for a deal; but do consider the choice of glue. recent article in this bridge series dis-
particular job. If they work, or appear to For short spans of cap, yellow wood cussed some techniques of pin driving,
bepromisingforthemajorityofcapping glue is fine; but for longer spans this refer to it for a refresher.
applications, order a slew of them at aliphatic goo is too anxious to set up.
lesser prices from mail-order outlets. Where you want plenty of time to posi- Final Thoughts For First-Timers
tion an ingenious, but elaborate, clamp- About this time your brain maybe
Gluing On The Cap ing system a slow-set glue is necessary. feeling like a stone, and like it shall sink
When the fit is correct, and the Consider liquid hide (but see caution to thebottomof thelakenever tobeseen
waste overhang is minimal, it is time to below), or Garrett Wade’s “Slo-Set,” an again. Take heart. We all felt like that
glue on the cap. Now, glue is something aliphatic resin glue allowing a working when learning piano tuning - and
of a paradox: before setting up it makes “open time”of 30minutes. Weldwood’s ready-made cap installation is much
for quite a respectable lubricant, and water-powder mix, plastic resin glue easier to learn. I suggest you re-read in
although its life as a lube is short-lived, offers excellent strength and slow set- sequence the preceding bridge capping
it can create some very gripping mo- up time. Spread an even coat of glue on articles of this series until you have a
ments for the woodworker. We‘ve all the bridge body using a toothed scraper, handle on how the entire process pro-
experienced thisslipperybusiness when, and press on the cap. Clean up glue gresses. If after having ingested the
as the clamping pressure is applied, one squeeze with a damp rag and let dry. material again, and you still are hesi-
of the pieces (in this case the cap) casu- If your new cap is not already tant, or nauseous perhaps, then farm-
ally slip-slides away, precisely out of pinned I don’t recommend liquid hide out the rebuild (or at least the bridge
position. To prevent this annoyance, glue for cap installation. In gluing a part of it) to someone else. After all, it is
drive three or four brads into the bridge drilled cap to the body, glue will puddle just as valuable to “know thyself” re-
body and clip the heads off leaving about and dry at the bottom of every bridge garding those aspects of this vast work
l/8” protruding. Position the cap on the pin hole. If this glue is liquid hide it willwhich appeal to us, and those which do
bridge body and tap down with a rub- not take kindly to being drilled through not.
ber mallet to drive the brads into the later on when the holes are “followed” Those of you resolute in learning
bridgecap.Liftoff thecapand test to see and extended into the bridge body. In to make your own caps have probably
been to the bottom of the lake and back
if it can be easily repositioned into the fact, just for spite, the glue will partially
newly made brad holes. If your bridge liquify into an evil, gummy substance, again. And you likely feel driven to maul
locating method entailed drilling l/8” oozing and flowing up the flutes of the a piece of raw maple until it looks like a
drill bit, and finally hardening into piano bridge. My sympathies are with
Turkish Taffy. The effect is not perma- you. We’ll continue there next time.
nent, but chipping the taffy out of the 1 (Note: Pony clamp jaws can be
flutes is such an obvious drag that I purchased from: Trend Lines, 375Beach-
Phoenix Chapter of PTG presents: would doubt whether even Tom Saw- man Street, Chelsea, MA 02150. Toll-
ARIZONA STATE SEMINAR yer could hoodwink Huck Finn into free orders, 800-343-3248.The parts are
believing otherwise. Other “normal” called “reversible sliding head clamps”
Friday and Saturday glues also resist being drilled through and the ordering number is PN 56. In
January 4 - 5,199O gracefully, but at least are yielding. packsof 12 these clamp headscost about
Phoenix Airport Hilton $9.95 per set as of this writing. The 3/4”
Instructors: Final Work pipes necessary to complete the clamp
Norman Neblett Ernie Juhn After the glue has dried there is assembly can be found in good hard-
Priscilla & Joel Rappaport still some work ahead. If screws and ware or plumbing supply stores. One
Contact: Gary Miles (602) 942-2566 washers were used for installation, end of the pipe requires the standard
remove these, bore out the holes to a 14NC thread. J
22 - NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
PRACTICALLY SPEAKING

Grand Hammers: Part III


Shank And Hammer Installation
Bill Spurlock, RTI
Sacramento Valley Chapter

T he first two articles of this seriesready, chances are that removing the
second set of hammers will leave the
which area of the scale. After checking a
few to calibrate my eye, I can tell which
discussedhammerselection,boring,and
tail shaping. This month I will conclude shanks weak and unevenly sized at the pile they belong in by watching how fast
with a look at installing and traveling ends. In such casts you’ll get better re- the bare shanks drop from horizontal.
shanks, determining proper strike sults starting over with new shanks. If Any that are too loose or too tight go in
points, hammer hanging and final trim- the old shanks do seem useable, run- a separate pile for use in the treble. These
ming. ning them through a shank knurler will of course, must be sorted or pinned for
Throughout this series I have help to re-size them for a more uniform use in that area only.
emphasized that hammers must be fit later during dry fitting of the ham-
properly prepared, voiced,and installed mers. Thinning Treble Shanks
if they are to reach their full potential. New shanks willoftenbenefitfrom Most quality grands use thinned
Simply removing them from the pack- re-pinning. “What? Why would they shanks in the treble; this thinning seems
age and gluing them onto shanks will need m-pinning if they are new?” you to reduce the wooden impact compo-
usually not give the best results. Like- may wonder. Well, in many circum- nent of tone in this area and thus give a
wise, faults in other action parts will stances - the inexpensive home piano more musical sound. If replacement
also limit the performance of new ham- or the practice room work horse-new shanks do not come thinned, you can
mers. For even tone and best power, all shanks will probably work
action parts must be in good condition just fine right out of the box. figure I: jig For Thinning Treble Shanks
and properly regulated. Sometimes However, many new shanks
simplecleaningand regulation will bring are pinned quite loosely; and,
the rest of the action up to the level of the
if we want the best tone and
new hammers. In other cases extensive the most even touch on a
repairs and parts replacement are nec- quality piano, it is important
essary if the full benefits of new ham- to re-pin to ensure uniform
mers are to be realized. friction levels and solid,
wobble-free shanks. My per-
Preparing And Installing sonal preference is for each
Hammer Shanks hammer to swing four to five
Hammershanks are especially times. This means that shanks
importanttohammerperformance.They in the low bass will be pinned
must be solidly pinned and correctly to about eight grams friction
traveled so that the hammers strike the (measured at the flange screw
unisons squarely and rebound without hole) tapering to about four
scrubbing sideways against the strings. grams for the high treble.
Knuckles should be smooth and round To minimize theamount
so that friction is minimal and jack es- of re-pinning necessary I sort
capement is crisp. new shanksaccording to their
Original shanks (repinned and existing friction levels, plac-
possibly fitted with new knuckles) can ing those that are already cor-
be re-used if they are long enough. rect for the bass into one pile,
However, if you discover that the opti- looser ones into a tenor pile,
mum treble strike point requires that the etc. Using one hammer each
new hammers be installed farther out from the low bass, mid-tenor,
on the shanks than original, new shanks and high treble to swingtest
must be used. If the original shanks some shanks, I get a feel for
have had hammers replaced once al- what tightness is needed in
NOVEMBER~~~O PIANOTECHNICIANSJOURNAL- 23
figure 2: traveling shanks method, avoid glue lumps with cross lines, as shown in Figure 2.
under the paper which can This strip is simply clamped to a shank
cause traveling problems. ateachendusingclothespins.Ofcourse,
Holes can be punched in these end shanks must first be checked
the new paper with an awl using a combination square resting on
after it is glued. thebenchtop,tomakesurethattheyrise
Modem Steinway ac- straight and do not travel off to one side.
tion rails use a self-adhe- The end shanks then guide the wooden
sive hammer rail cloth strip straight as you move it up and
which can be easily re- down between the rest and level posi-
moved after a brief soak- tions. Any shanks that travel to one side
ing with naphtha. Com- then show up clearly against the cross
mon choices for replace- lines on the wood strip. This method
ment include original-type saves having to use a square on every
trim them yourself using the jig shown felt, stringing braid, sandpaper or just single shank. Note: In many sets of
in figure 1. Used with a table-mounted bare rails. shanks a majority travel to one side. If
router, this tool holds a shank by each When screwing new shanks to the these shanks are simply checked against
end; the sides of the shank are then rail, space the flanges evenly side-to- each other instead of against accurate
trimmed by a router bit. Capstans guide side, so that knuckles do not rub and so samples, you could end up with all
the jig along a fence and determine the there will be room to turn flanges slightly shanks traveling uniformly but all to
depth of cut. With the router running, laterwhenspacinghammers.Also,space one side.
the jig is lowered onto the table and the ends of the shanks evenly, centering
moved over against the fence; the jig is each over its wippen screw; this even Installing Guide Hammers
then slid along the fence as the bit trims spacing will make it easier to judge I normally install new hammers in
one side of the shank. At the end of the hammer alignment when hanging the second and next-to-last positions in
cut the jigispicked upand turned around hammers. each section to serve as guides in hang-
to trim the other side of the shank. The Simply screwing shanks to the rail ing the rest. The guides are installed in
capstans can be adjusted to vary the does not guarantee proper hammer line with the original end hammers of
shank thickness or to taper the shanks. I centerpin location. Some replacement each section, providing these end ham-
use a laminate trimmer bit with a ball flanges are slightly thinner, for example, mers still appear to be in their original
bearing top. Thebearingacts as a stop at so that the centerpins are located lower positions.
each end of the cut; more importantly, it than original. In such cases the entire The position of the high treble
shrouds the top of the bit, making the hammer rail can be shimmed up off the hammers is most critical; in this area
work much safer as the fixture is lifted action brackets to compensate. Also, where strong, singing tone is hardest to
on and off the spinning bit. Note: In thereisoftenextraclearanceinthescrew achieve anyway, slight errors in strike
most routing operations the work is fed holes so the flanges are not automati- pointcanmakethedifferencebetweena
against the direction of rotation of the cally located the same distance front-to- great treble or an average one. It is es-
bit. However here the shank should be back on the rail; here you should hold sential that the hammers be glued to the
fedwith thecuttingdirectionof thebit to each flange back against the lip on the shanks in the proper location, because
minimizechippingdue tocrooked wood rail when tightening. there is only limited adjustment avail-
grain. Steinway flanges, since they sit on able from sliding the action in and out.
a semi-round rail and often have screws Thus when we glue on our hammers we
Installing Shanks that tilt, tend to roll forward or back- mustbesure that theyarepositioned for
To minimize traveling problems, ward when tightened, leaving the cen- best tone when the action is positioned
wooden action rails should be carefully terpins and knuckles in different loca- for proper clearance between keys and
cleaned of old sandpaper, sanded flat, tions and at different heights. You can keyslip. This step is very important: I
and fitted with new 150-grit paper. Be easily see this by resting a straightedge can say from personal experience that it
very careful if using a scraper to clean across the flanges just behind the drop is no fun to take an action back to the
the rail; the blade will tend to dig in as it screws. This misalignment can be cor- piano, adjust the action locator in the
passes over the screw holes, leaving a rected by a combination of papering treble cheek block for best tone, and
corrugated surface. It is safer to heat the under the flanges and filing slightly then discover that the keyslip will not fit
old paper slightly with an iron and then angled areas in the tops of the flanges so back on because the action is too far out.
slide a chisel along, removing all but a the tilted screws scat squarely. An excel- By sliding the action slightly in
thin paper/glue layer. This residue can lent discussion of this procedure can be and out while playing treble keys, we
then be removed using a one-inch wide, found in the book, ‘The Educated Pi- can determine whether the original
flat non-padded sandingblockand coarse ano,” by Ed McMorrow, RTI’. hammers are located properly. How-
paper. I like to spray the back of my new ever, unless the new hammers are to
sandpaper with a thin coat of aerosol Traveling Shanks have the sameboredistanceas theexist-
contact cement, press it to the rail with a My favorite method of traveling ing hammers now have, this test can be
flatblock,and trimflush. Whateveryour shanks is to use a wooden strip marked deceiving: Because the tip of the ham-
24 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
mer moves in an arc rather than straight
upward toward the strings, a worn
hammer will strike the strings closer to
the cape bar than it did when new, as
shown in Figure 3. (A hammer worn
l/8” shorter strikes the strings almost
l/16” closer to the cape bar than it did
when new.) Therefore, your strike point
test with an original worn hammer
number 88 may show that the action
needs to be pushed in, leaving too much
gap between keys and keyslip, and you
might think that the original was hung
too close in on the shank (too close to the
centerpin). Realize however, that a new
longer hammer hung in the same posi-
tion as the original number 88 will strike
the strings further from the cape bar. In see whether these original guide ham- inserted from the flange side of the
other words, the new longer hammer mers appear to be accurate. Support all molding and the hammer carefully
will require the action to be pulled back shanksona long straightedgeand stretch reamed until it fits freely onto the shank,
out somewhat to position it for best tone. a thread from the center dot on number with just a small amount of wobble. I
The easiest and surest way to lo- one to the dot on number 88; normally like a fit that allows the hammer to slide
cate your treble samples is just to mount all guides from number one to the top of on freely but not fall over when tilted.
your new hammer number 88 (or any theagraffe sectionand number 88 should Agluewithadequateworkingtime
extra hammer bored correctly) on its be in a straight line, while samples in the is also essential, so small adjustments
shank with a tight dry fit. Then adjust it cape sections may be slightly closer to can be made without straining the ac-
in or out until you have the best tone the flanges. If some of the original guides tion centers or shearing a partially set
when the action is in the position that appear to be out of line they should be glue joint. I prefer hot hide glue for
best fits the case.When the best location removed. hammers, with thegelling timeretarded
is found, glue the hammer in place to Next,remove all original hammers slightly by the addition of urea (see
serve as your top guide hammer when except for your guides, and install and February 1990 ]ournal, pg. 22-23). Yel-
hanging the rest,make sure that the rake travel your new shanks (or repair origi- low wood glue is also a good choice.
is 90”, or whatever angle you deter- nals as needed). Then, install your new
mined earlier (see first article of series). guide hammers next to and in line with Installing The Hammers
Many pianos have a hammer line the original guides. Do this by support- There are three reference points
which jogs inward (toward the cape ing the shanks(not the crowns) of both that determine hammer alignment: strike
bar) at the lowest note in the top section the new and old guides at the same point location, rake (angle of molding to
andfollowsa straightlineorslightcurve height on a straightedge, and lining up shank), and vertical alignment (ham-
from there to number 88. Other pianos the dot marks using a thread stretched merperpendicular to action rails). These
do not have this jog but might benefit across asa reference line. Seefigure4. Be reference points are used to hang the
from it, so it is good to check this note sure to sight straight in line with the guide hammers. For the purpose of
just as you did number 88 to confirm hammer center line as shown. You must hanging the rest of the hammers, it is
that the existing hammer is actually in make sure that the rake of your sample easier to use a straightedge to check
the best place. Also check one hammer hammers is correct also; it is possible to alignment of the hammer felt at the
around number 76. have thecenterdotsofyournew samples widest part of the shoulders than to put
My procedure for installing the in line but have the rake incorrect. This a dot on the top of each hammer to align
other new guide hammers is as follows: would cause the hammer tails to be out strike points. Likewise, since we have
First mark the center point of each origi- of line. set the rake of our guides, it is easier to
nal end hammer by sighting down the Repeat for each section until you use a straightedge to align the tips of all
side of each from above while holding a have new guide hammers in the second tails than to check the rake of each
pencil point at the hammer crown; when and next-to-last positions for each sec- hammerusingasquareagainstitsshank.
you have the point exactly in line with tion. The old original guides can thenbe Vertical alignment can be checked using
the molding, make a dot in the center of removed and their shanks replaced (or a square against the side of each ham-
the hammer. Onangled hammers, make repaired) and traveled. mer if the sides have not been fully
sure to sight down each side of the tapered. Otherwise, thebottomedgesof
hammer and center the dot side-to-side Dry Fitting And Glue Preparation the tails serve as an accurate guide; look
on the hammer crown. Mark the crowns In order to makesmall adjustments to seethat they sit squarely on a smooth
of your nezusample hammers in the in hammer alignment during gluing, flat surface, as shown in Figure 5.
same manner. the hammers must usually be reamed Various methods can be used to
At this time you should check to for a free fit. For this, a tapered reamer is check shoulder and tail alignment dur-
figure 5: alignment points against the shoulders to align them. the Dremel saw, then lightly sand the
when hanging hammers Alternatively, various jigs are available shank ends flush using a flexible rubber
which have straightedges that can be sanding disc in a hand-held drill. My
adjusted to the guides in each section; tails were arced and textured before
this eliminates picking up and setting hanging, so I carefully avoid sanding
down a ruler as each hammer is placed. any area below the shank during these
Whatever method is used, the steps.
important reference point when check- For the finishing touch I use a
ing tail alignment is the inside bottom sanding block and medium paper to.
edge of the tail, as ‘shown in Figure 5. round the sharp bottom edge of the tails
After tail arcing, this will be the only very slightly, then de-burr the sides by
remaining original factory surface on stroking the space between each pair of
the tails, and therefore the most reliable tailswith thecorner of the sandingblock.
reference. Note: Acommon mistake here is to round
When installing hammers or as- the lower ends of the tails generously.
sembling any sliding glue joint, it is This effectively shortens the tail length,
important to apply glue to both wood because this rounded area can never
surfaces. Otherwise, glue applied only contactthebackcheck.(Justasthecurved
to the hammer or shank will be rubbed front end of a toboggan does not ride on
figure 6: hammershank off when the two parts slide together, the snow, a heavily rounded tip on a
glue applicator leaving a weak joint. A convenient tool hammer tail is just long enough for the
for quickly applying glue to the shanks ride.) Therefore to preserve as much
can be made by crimping a short length useful length of tail as possible, round
of metal tubing (upright hammer shank only enough to soften the sharp lower
repair sleeve) onto the end of a l/4” edge.
dowel, as shown in Figure 6. Leave 5/S” After double checking hammer
of tubing overhanging the end of the travel, I bum-in shanks as necessary to
dowel; this tool can then be placed over correct any tilted hammers.
the end of each shank and spun, auto-
matically coating the end with glue. Conclusion
After all hammers are hung, they should With the hammer installation
be left to dry completely before the complete, you will be ready to regulate,
shanks are trimmed flush. tune, and voice the piano. Here is where
you will realize the benefit of the time
ing hanging. The hammer tails can be Final Trimming spent before installation, testing sample
supported on a platform spanning the The excess shank length can be hammers for tone, size and weight, and
action, and a straightedge held up be- trimmed off with a small hand saw or determining thebestboringdimensions
tweenguide hammershouldersand tails with a 3/4” circular saw blade (care- and tail length. Since you confirmed all
as each new hammer is glued on. Or, fully) in a Dremel or Foredom tool. In these things beforehand, you can look
wood strips can be tacked down to the either case, the shanks need to be held forward with excitement to an action
platform to serve as fixed straightedges firmly so the action centers do not get that regulates easily, has an appropriate
for tail alignment, and a ruler held up stressed. I like to clamp the shanks to- touchweight, and enables the piano to
gether, one section at a produce its best tone.
figure 7: shank clampingfixture, to prevent time,usingthefixturein Since hammers are a major factor
stress on action centerswhen trimming shanks Figure 7. This is easily in the touchweight of an action, I will
made from one-inch follow this grand hammer series with a
thick-walled steel look at touchweight next month. f
square tubing, which
can be purchased cut to
length at any welding
shop. The stiff steel tub-
ing of this clamp holds
thcshanksverysecurely
and protects the action
pinning much better
than do some of the
commercial units.
After clamping a sec-
tion of shanks together I
cut off the excess using
26 -NOVEMBER~~~OPIANOTECHNICIANSJOURNAL
-

EXAMINATIONS
Learning To Pass The PTG Tuning Exam;
Part 11: Review
Michael Travis, RTT
Washington, D.C., Chapter

T his is the last of my series of articles


on the tuning exam, which hasappeared
generally indicated only when test scores
are in the 90s- the higher the better. To
tougher. This is much less likely to occur
today.
in these pages over the last year. A goal my knowledge, no one has ever scored The exam itself has undergone a
was to encourage those interested to go 100% in all categories on any one exam. number of changes and refinements
take the test. To this end, I’ve written Nevertheless, most who have tried since its inception. In earlier versions,
about how the exam works, attempted have come away with a sense of the there was a two-hour time limit for the
to enlarge upon the available informa- fairness and thoroughness of this exam initial tuning if aural, and l-1 /2 hour if
tion about tuning techniques as applied as an evaluation of their abilities. This electronic (employing a visual display
to the exam and offered some “test- occurs partly by design: in the exam electronic tuning aid). The unison toler-
wise” suggestions for making the best manual, CTEs are reminded that “The ance at one time was 3/4 of a cent, and
scoresyour abilities allow. This month I real success of a tuning examination the stability test blow standard was six
will try to tie together what’s gone be- depends on your ability to make it ac- ounces from six inches. In addition, for
fore, presenting all the hints contained ceptable and valuable to the person who a number of years there was an allow-
in the articles as well as a listing of titles takes it.” PTG examiners want you to ance for tuning fork pitch error, the
and subtitles that may help you find succeed, and if you’re willing to try, temperamentandmidrangepointmulti-
previously covered material and sources. you’re already halfway there. In this pliers were more liberal than today, and
But first, I’d like to review some of the sense, a successful exam does not de- you could pass the aural repeat portion
ground covered in the beginning. pend on whether you pass or fail so of an electronic exam by scoring only
The PTG Tuning Exam, adopted much as whether you feel your examin- 60% in pitch, temperament and
bythePTGCouncilinPhiladelphia,1980, ers treated you fairly. Whether you pass midrange with a l/2 hour time limit.
and most recently revised in Portland, or fail, however, depends entirely on In contrast, the current version of
1989,is the most complete and objective your performance. You may not per- the exam specifies the following: a
evaluation of piano tuning skills avail- form up to your abili ties on a given day,1 l/2 hour time limit for the initial tun-
able. The exam is administered under for a variety of reasons. Among these ing if aural and a one-hour limit if elec-
the guidance of the PTG Examinations could be your disorientation with the tronic; unison tolerance of one cent; a
and Test Standards Committee (ETSC), very process of the exam or a nervous- stability test blow standard of eight
and requires the direct supervision of a ness under pressure, as well as a basic ounces from six inches; pitch is scored in
specially trained and functionally- lack of knowledge and/or skills. relation to A440 at A-49, with no fork
sighted Certified Tuning Examiner If you learn about what you’re error allowance; mu1tipliers for tempera-
KTE). getting into by reading these and other ment and midrange are 2.5 and 1.5 (for-
This exam provides both an objec- articles ahead of time and by attending merly two and one) respectively; and
tive baseline for minimum or “entry tuning classes as well as special classes the passing score for the aural portion
level” tuning skills of Registered Tech- on preparing for the exam, your disori- (part two) of an electronic exam is 80%
nicians and a sufficient challenge for the entation on exam day will be less. If in pitch, temperament and midrange,
mastersof our craft. Those who pass this you’ve put into practice some of the with a 3/4 hour time limit. Exam proce-
test with scores in the low 80s may con- ideas presented, suchas trial runs under dures, equipment and scoring methods
gratulate themselves on achieving a test conditions, you should be able to have also evolved so that tuning exams
milestone in their careers, but should performconfidently. Whateverhappens, may now be given more objectively and
not rest on their laurels; they should you will get an evaluation that is mean- efficiently in three to four hours.
continue to advance their skills and ingful, which was not always the casein The 80% passing requirement for
perhaps try taking the test again at some the past. Before 1980,the scoresgiven on part two of electronic exams took effect
point to evaluate their progress. Many tuning exams were less objective and, the first of this year, but that’s the only
examiners who have the experience to whilenot necessarily arbitrary, werenot significant change to exam scoring since
associate scores on the exam with how standardized; a tuning that passed at 1986 when we simplified pitch scoring
the piano sounds have expressed the one test center might have failed some- and tightened scoring for temperament
opinion that high-level tuning skills are where else where standards were and midrange.
NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 27
In retrospect, being involved with muted pianos, for which a similar pro- available. Aluminum forks are big, easy
the tuning exam over the years since cedure is appropriate. to handle, and produce a clear tone with
1980has improved my own tuning, and Hint #4: Practice tuning the top exceptional sustain, but are too tem-
I feel that for anyone from the most octave by playing just the single octave, perature-sensitive to be reliably accu-
experienced to the novice who takes the both notes simultaneously, especially if rate. It’s not much of an exaggeration to
time, “learning” to pass the exam could you usually tune in that area by playing say that looking at an aluminum fork
likewise be beneficial. Don’t forget the notes sequentially (which will drive causes it to warm up and go flat.
you’ve already partially paid for it any- the single octave too sharp), until you Hint #11: Insulate the handle of
way - a portion of your PTG dues can hear the single octave when it beats your small steel tuning fork with plastic
subsidizes this exam, (non-subsidized as well as when it is clear. tubing (should be a tight fit, leaving
tuning exam fees would be closer to Hint #5: Maintain a professional only the very end uncovered). In addi-
$400) - so you may as well get some- attitude during the initial scoring so you tion to assisting with its pitch stability
thing out of it! With all-the time, effort will be able to finish the entire exam by avoiding direct contact with warm
and membership dues money invested regardless of the results, and be recep- hands, this will allow you to grip the
to develop and administer the current tive to suggestions for improvement. fork in your teeth for hands-free tuning
exam, I am frankly surprised that more Hint #6: Don’t use any more force- without shaking your fillings loose. It’s
RTTs who were tested before 1980 have ful testblowsduringa tuningexam than the next best thing to a good electronic
not wanted to get back some of that you would normally use in the field to pitch source for convenience, but don’t
investment and see how well they can produce a stable tuning. You can check hold it between your teeth longer than
do. I feel it’s one of the benefits of PTG your own tuning stability by tuning a necessary.
membership that we keep our exam fees few midrange octaves on a strip-muted Hint #12: The hefty 5 l/2” Deagan
artificially low so that more of our piano as you normally would, and us- chrome-plated deluxe pitch-master fork
members have access to testing. And ing an instrument such asan Accu-Tuner that you would normally keep in a nice
besides, wouldn’t it be nice to know to make sure that each note withstands fuzzy pouch and bring out occasionally
objectively that you’re as good as you three moderately hard test blows within just to impress certain customers has a
think you are? You owe it to yourself the measurement accuracy of the instru- rounded knob on the end which sug-
and to your customers. Thanks for lis- ment.Alternately,usecontiguousinter- gests the following technique. Sound
tening. val checksbeforeand after the test blows and hang it - fork down, palm up -
to detect any movement. There should between the second and third fingers,
The Collected Hints be no difference in the before and after touching the knob to the keybed below
Note: I unintentionally used “#16” soundsoftheintervalsaboveandbelow a note you want to hear it with. Then
for two different hints, which I refer to the note being tested. reach around and play that note with
here as #16a and #16b. Hint #7: If possible, practice uni- the thumb of the same hand, leaving
Hint#l:Tuneagoodqualitygrand sonsbefore the exam by measuring each your other hand free to operate the
for an RTT and ask for a critical evalu- of the three strings in a goodly number tuning hammer or play a different note.
ation of your work. This opinion should of your aurally-tuned unisons (whether Hint #13: borrow a Sanderson
give you an idea of whether your tuning they sound good or not) tobe sure you’re Accu-Tuner and practice setting pitch
would pass and, though not a guaran- well within test tolerances. Seealso hint aurally, using the SAT to check your
tee, it could save you some grief (and #1 - get a critical evaluation from an results. Try intentionally de-tuning A4
exam fees) later. Get as many evalu- RTT. by one cent and seeif you can detect this
ations as you can from different RTTs. Hint #8: Obtain and use an accu- interval using the 17th test with your A4
Hint #2: Practice tuning pianos that rate A440 pitch source. If you tune with tuning fork. Practice until you can set
are completely strip-muted to single a C523 or other non-standard fork, you pitch consistently within 0.5 cents of
strings, especially if you don’t normally should always double check to be sure A440.
tune that way. It’s not something you A4 comes out on A440. Hint #14: Recheck your pitch set-
want to do for the first time in the exam Hint #9: Have the fork or other ting after you’ve tuned your tempera-
room. pitch source calibrated at the tempera- ment (or about one octave in the
Hint #3: Tune all the required ture at which you intend to use it, and midrange), and make whatever small
single strings on the test piano at least bringit to that tempcraturebeforeusing correction might be needed. If you’re
once, if only quickly. You are severely it. Keeping it on the piano plate will not satisfied with A4 as to pitch, and
penalized when you don’t, and simply stabilize it to essentially room tempera- you’re running out of time, make what-
not tuning a few in the high trebleor low ture. Keeping it under your arm will ever pitch correction you can without
bassbecauseyouranoutoftimecancost stabilize it to near 98.6” F. If you always too severely compromising the aural
you the exam. Spend your first lo-15 keep it at room temperature (instead of checks with A4.
minutes or so to quickly go over the in your car overnight) temperature- Hint #15: If you are unfamiliar
piano to smooth out the ups and downs induced pitch errors should not be a with aural temperament tuning tech-
of the detuning. This will also help you problem for you. niques, you should learn at least one
get a feel for the instrument. Practice Hint #lo: Retire your aluminum aural temperament tuning sequenceand
this “quickand dirty” tuning in advance fork, or if you’ve been tempted to get associated aural beat-rate checks and
bydoingitonpitchadjustmentsofstrip- one, don’t. There are better alternatives practice tuning until you are comfort-
28 - NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
able and fairly proficient with it. stability, which for you are the more Part 4: (February 1990) ‘Tempera-
Hint #%a: Don’t experiment with likely root problem areas. ment”: more on pitch; temperament in
unfamiliar temperament sequences in Hint #22: Practice the “resonance the exam; tempering with reality (hints
the exam room. If you achieve good test” method of tuning the top octave #15-16a); a useful temperament se-
results with your regular temperament with or without an instrument. First get quence; beyond the temperament -
procedure, do not be overly concerned the note in the ballpark by playing both parallel interval bracketing; conclusion;
whensomebodysaysyoucan’tdoit that ends of the octave together and elimi- selected Journal references.
way, or that your way is somehow defi- nating the 2:l beats, or by setting the Part 5: (March 1990) “Midrange”:
cient. You will not be scored on what octave to a 2:l plus one cent width. Fine basic midrange tuning checks (hints
sequence you use to set a temperament tune by playing the top note by itself #16b-17).
and tune the midrange, but rather only and pushing, pulling and nudging the Part 6: (May 1990) “Bass”: leaving
on the results. tuning hammer as you find the “sweet” the midrange; the 12ths; the major tonic
Hint #16b: Practice as much as point of the single octave, the point of chords; the double octaves (hint #18);
necessary aurally tuning at least the greatestexcitationoftheopenstringone theminorthird-majorsixthtest-work-
midrange of a well-scaled grand in octave below. Settle the string/pin at horse of the bass; the bass in the PTG
advance of the exam, strip-muting and that point. tuning exam; first pass bass; nitpicking;
nudging midrange notes alternately Hint #23: When tuning unisons, second pass bass; the outside sixth-in-
sharp and flat to simulate the exam’s be sure to finish all the required unisons side third test (hint #19);your move;uh-
detuning. Make sure you can do your at least once, since substantial penalties oh! (hints #20-21); taking it home with
absolute best work from C3 to C5 in no result from untuned strings. It may be wider intervals; in conclusion; notes;
more than 45 minutes. Be strict with the advantageous to tune the unisons com- Journal references.
time, so you will be able to do a good job pletely once in 10 minutes, and then Part 7: (June 1990) “Treble”: treble
in the midrange on exam day and still spend theremaining20minutesnitpick- exam specs; first pass treble; goals for
have ample time to finish the rest of the ing them. Don’t get stuck ononc unison treble tuning; instrument tuning the
piano. or one string for any length of time; keep treble; nitpicking the treble; treble oc-
Hint #17: Practice hearing the 4:5 moving through the midrange unisons tave diagnostics; this is not a test; in
ratio of ascending contiguous M3s by until you either can’t find any to im- conclusion; Journal references.
listening first to the lower M3 counting prove or you run out of time. Part 8: (July 1990) “High Treble”:
beats l-2-3-4-1- 2-3-4-l-2-3-4, accenting Hint #24: Warning-just because the high treble in the exam; a minor
the one each time. Then, using the same we do not “stress test” unisons for the correction; high treble tests; (hints #4,
length of time between ones, see if the exam, do not make the mistake of as- 22); in conclusion.
upper M3 beat rate can be counted l-2- suming that you can safely get away Part 9: (August 1990) “Stability”:
34-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5. If not, adjust with merely “springing” the pins to tune how to score well on stability (hint #6);
the ‘bridge” note until you can count l- unisons. The best advice is to tune uni- what does it mean?; stability factors; the
2-34 in thelower M3and l-2-3-4-5 in the sons as you normally would for one of stable condition; getting there;
upper M3 in the same amount of time. your more discriminating clients. conclusion; ]oumfzl references.
Soon you will beable to just playpairsof Part 10: (September 1990) “Uni-
contiguous M3s and immediately know Previous Articles In This Series: sons”: unisons in the exam; make a
whether the proper 4:5 ratio exists, and Titles And Subtitles practice run (hints #7,23); what does it
what you might want to do if it doesn’t. Part 1: (November 1989) “Why mean? (hint #24); the unseen artist in
Hint #18: It maybe to your advan- Bother?” (hint #l). recital; conclusion and postscript.E
tage before leaving the midrange to Part 2: (December 1989)“TakeThis
expand the range of intensive midrange Test!“: behind the sccncs with the exam
checking down to P2 and up at least one piano; close encounters of the detuned
note to C5, which will give you a series kind (hints #2-3); test order; pitch and Wusic is the eye
of double octaves F2-F4 through C3C5, high treble instructions (hint #4); scor- of the ear”-
more notes to check the ends of the exam ing tolerances; scoring procedure in a Thomas Draxe
midrange with, and a head start on bass nutshell; aural verification; converting
tuning. points to scores (hint #5); stability (hint Music Makes
Hint #19: Listen twice, tune once. #6); unisons (hint #7); the aural repeat
Hint #20: If an interval sounds like sections; how long does all this take? A Difference
it needs improvement, apply checks to Part 3: (January 1990)“Pitch”: A440
You can make a
both ends and try to determine which and us; A440 and temperature; A440 difference for music. The
end is more of a problem in its “constel- and the tuning exam; tuning fork tips signaturee you gather in
lation” of intervals, and fix that end first. (hints #8-12); the Q & D tuning - prel- support of the music
Hint #21: If you always have these ude to pitch setting; transferring A440 to community’s petition
seemingly insolvable problems check- the piano - the 17th test (hint #13); campaign are vital. The
campaign ends in
ing your bass while tuning fine grand some common mistakes in pitch trans-
February 1991
pianos, you should practice more on fer; A440 pitch or A440 temperament/
temperament tuning, and/or tuning for midrange?(hint#14);JournaIreferences.
NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 29
AT LARGE
Action Spread
Alan Vincent, RTT
Young Chang America
Los Angeles Chapter

T he piano technician is most likely to


encounter a leverage problem within
the metal to metal contact between the
rail and the bracket (the coefficient of
after regulation will necessitate that
work being performed again. Any
the grand action in the form of a com- friction is a numerical representation of change in the spread also changes the
pressed action spread.Theaction spread the static friction present between two function of the lead key weights and
is the distance between the wippen contacting bodies constructed of differ- renders their placement and number
flange center and the shank flange cen- ent or similar materials. If a body is ineffective. Within the factory action
ter and determines the proper relation- placed on an inclined plane, the friction assembly process, slight f.030” to .060”1
ship between the two action rails. This between the body and the plane will discrepancies in the action spread can
dimension varies on several current prevent it from sliding down the in- be overcome with the use of key leads
pianos from 4.406” to 4.484,” the differ- clined surface, provided the angle is not (the weigh-off process) but larger vari-
ence being .078” or slightly more than too great. There will be a certain angle, ancesencountered in field service should
l/16.” If the wippen flange rail is con- however, at which the body will just be corrected by establishing the proper
structed of wood, then the screws secur- barely be able to remain stationary, the relationship between the rails.
ing the rail to the action brackets may frictional resistance being very nearly When the key of a grand piano is
become loose as the wood of the rail overcome by the tendency of the body to depressed to a point which is halfway
undergoes humidity cycling. Most grand slidedowndue togravity.Thisis termed through its total travel, the contact point
action brackets have a built-in vertical the angle of repose and the tangent of of the wippen heel and capstan screw
“step” in front (towards the player) of this angle equals the coefficient of fric- should be on a line drawn from the
the horizontal wippen rail mounting tion. The angle of repose is frequently wippen flange to the balance rail pin at
area. Traditional practice has been to denoted by theGreek letter Theta. Thus, the bottom of the key. This alignment
install wooden shims between this por- the coefficient of friction equals the tan- represents travel of the contact point
tion of the bracket and the forward edge gent of angle Theta. The total frictional from a position of half below center to
of the wippen rail once the proper spread force present between two contacting one half above center. The center posi-
is established. If this gap is not shimmed bodies is the product of the coefficient of tion of the key should be attained at the
and as the piano is played, the rail can be friction times the normal, or perpen- half travel point.
driven forward towards the player re- dicular, force forcing the two bodies To further illustrate thisalignment,
sulting in a decrease of the leverage together. In the caseof an action with an an arc can be drawn using a radius from
within the wippen (i.e., compressed aluminumrail, themountingscrewscan the balance point of the key to the wip-
action spread). As the wippenrail moves be tightened with more torque resulting pen/capstan contact point and another
toward the shank rail, the length of both in increased pressure forcing the rail drawn from the wippen flange back to
wippen lever arms is diminished. This and bracket together). The aluminum the wippen/capstan contact. The two
resultsin thecapstanbeingmovedcloser rail also does not change dimension due arcs represent the contact of the wippen
to the wippen flange center as is the to humidity and the screws will not and capstan and the distance between
jack/knuckle contact point. become loose (it is important to remem- the two arcs the amount of movement,
As mentioned, the loss of leverage ber that the screws used to mount a or sliding action, which occurs at the
resulting from the diminished lever arm wooden rail do not become loose within contact point as the key and action parts
lengths requires more force (or weight1 the tapped holes of the action bracket move. The half under center to half above
at the playing end of the key to lift the but instead the rail thickness changes center travel allows the contact point to
hammer. causing the screws to become loose). move through its travel arc with a mini-
Actions manufactured with ex- Thewoodenactionrail isperfectlystable, mumof friction. The correct positioning
truded aluminum rails are less prone to provided the gaps between it and the of the capstan/wippen contact point is
compression of the action spread.This is action bracket have been properly determined by the correct action spread,
due to the fact that the screws or bolts shimmed. capstan location and wippen rail eleva-
used to secure the rail to the brackets can before attempting any grand ac- tion. If it is necessary to increase the
be tightened with much more torque tion repair or regulation, the action wippen rail elevation (the height of the
without crushing the rail, and also to the spread must bechecked and corrected if wippen flange center pin from the key-
higher coefficient of friction present in necessary. Any change in the spread bed), this should also be accomplished
30 - NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
by using wooden shims glued onto the same at 20 grams. By then removing one densely packed surface to the hammer
bottomsurfaceoftherailwhereitsitson of the four key leads, both the but also makes the hammer lighter
the action bracket. downweight and the upweight will (which also reduces friction and iner-
increase. To determine how much the tia). The hammer, now lighter and
Effect Of Hammer Weight removal of a single weight will increase harder, rebounds from the strings faster.
As we observed in last months the downweight, multiply the weight, This allows the higher partials of the
article, the leverage ratio of the grand in grams, by the distance of the weight string to ring, resulting in increased
action is approximately 5:l. An increase from the balance rail and divide by the “brilliance” (a softer hammer “clings”
of weight at the hammer of one gram length of the front key lever arm. Most to the strings and dampens the higher
will result in an increase in the l/2” key leads will average about 18 partials producing a more “mellow”
downweight of at least five grams plus grams in weight. For example, remov- tone). The pianist is now able to produce
an added quantity of friction. The in- ing an l&gram weight whichisinstalled more sound with less effort and these
creased weight of the hammer creates five inches from the balance rail will factors result in the feeling that the ac-
more friction throughout theactionpart result in an increase in the downweight tion is now lighter. The lower inertia
assembly due to the added pressure of of about nine grams (18 grams x five and friction within the key and action
the knuckle on the repetition lever, the inches divided by lo”, (the front key part assembly allows for the more effi-
wippen on the capstan and etc. This lever arm length), = nine grams). With cient transfer of energy from the pian-
increased weight and friction is measur- the downweight now 54 grams with ists fingers to the strings.
able at the playing end of the key as an three leads, the upweight would be Most rebuilding technicians will
increase in the downweight. increased as the hammer does not have reduce the excessweight of the hammer
During the factory weigh-off pro- to overcome the weight of the fourth molding before installing a new set of
cedure, the weight (remember that the lead in returning the key and action hammers. Whenservicinganassembled
effective weight is a product of the ac- parts to the resting position. The re- piano, the hammers should be checked
tual weight and the leverage) of the duced frictionand reduced inertiaof the for excess weight if the pianist is com-
hammer and action parts and the fric- key/action assembly (because of the plaining that the touch is heavy. In ev-
tional components present are counter- lighter hammer and key; the weights at ery casewhere the author has serviced a
balanced to a desired downweight by the ends of the leverage train) would grand action for a touchweight prob-
the useof lead key weightspermanently now yield a more responsive touch than lem, felt was removed from the ham-
installed in the forward key lever arm. If the52gramdown/20gramupachieved mers and the piano was voiced “up.”
the weight of the hammer is excessive, initially with the use of four key leads. When this work is performed (along
or excessfriction is present, the number The upweight is used as a check of the with other rudimentary work to be de-
of weights used in the key will also be weigh-off and the difference between tailed in our next issue), it will most
excessive and will impede the return of the downweight and the upweight is an likely be found that the number of
the key to the resting position. This is indication of the frictional conditions weights already installed in the keys are
caused by the excess friction within the present. Low friction within the action sufficient (possibly excessive) and the
assembly and the excess weight of the would normally result in a low addition of lead is unnecessary.
front key lever working against the downweight and high upweight (for In our article next month, which
weight of the hammer which is trying to example, 45 down/35 up) and high fric- will be the last of this series, we will
push the key and action part assembly tion in a high downweight and low furtherdiscuss inertia, key weightplace-
back to the resting position. upweight (Gplus down/l5 up). It is ment and a list of items to check when
For example, 1eYssay that four key easy to use the example of an extremely servicing a grand action for a
leads are required to weigh off a single tight front rail bushing as an example to touchweight complaint. i
note of a grand action to a 52-gram the high friction condi tion where excess
downweight. A check of the upweight force is needed to depress the key and,
gives a reading of 20 grams. Although when released, it stays down; an
these numbers fall within an acceptable upweight of zero.
range, the use of the four leads to obtain It is possible that a touchweight
these numbers in, for example, the tenor problem can be traced to excessweight
section of an instrument would be an at the hammer and this can be easily
indication that somewhatless thanideal corrected. Often, a “heavy touch” com-
conditions exist within that particular plaint will accompany a “dull sound”
action part assembly. An inspection of complaint and the cure to both is to
the action reveals a slightly tight ham- voice the piano “up” (provided the heavy
mer shank flange center, a poorly shaped touchweight condition was not being
and “fuzzy” hammer and a “burred” caused by excess friction or by a lever-
capstan screw. After repinning the cen- age problem). Any voicing done in this
ter, filing and shaping the hammer and situation would include some filing of
polishing the capstan screw, the the hammers. The removal of dead ten-
downweight is then found tobe45grams sion felt from the perimeter of the ham-
and the upweight remains about the mer not only restores a harder and more
NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 31
AT LARGE
Fine Tuning A Piano Climate Control System
Robert Mair
Dampp-Chaser Electronics Corporation

T he many negative effects of changes


in humidity on the piano’s pitch and
most out of the equipment toward
achieving tuning stability. This “fine
and less general piano deterioration.
Frequently, a humidity level is
useful life are generally recognized by tuning,” which qualifies the technician desired that is higher or lower than that
piano manufacturers, dealers and tech- as an expert, and helps justify his fee for produced by the particular climate con-
nicians. After many years of successful making and servicing the installation, is trol system and other variables associ-
use by many technicians, the effective- the subject of this report. ated with that specific piano or environ-
ness of a piano climate control system in The five-part climate control sys- ment. The following statement is pro-
stabilizing the humidity within a piano tem is designed to produce a constant vided in the instruction sheet for the
is also generally recognized. humidity level within the piano despite Humidistat installation, but this de-
Not so well understood however, considerable variation in the humidity scribes only in general terms how to get
is the extreme sensitivity of the system levels that surround the piano. This more or less humidity.
to the location of the various compo- minimizes the expansion and contrac- “The amount of feedback the
nents with respect to each other in each tion of the soundboard due to the ab- humidistat gets from the humidifier de-
installation. This knowledge is crucial sorption and desorption of moisture. termines the operational range of the
so that each technician is able to get the The net result is less variation in pitch, system. If you want the system to oper-

photo 1 photo 2

photo 3
32 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
ate at a higher humidity spent in this overshoot mode,
level, move the humidistat iday Wednesday Thursday but it does add several points
12 14 16 16 20 22 24 2 4 6 6 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 2 4 6 6 10 12 14 16 16 :
further away from the hu- to the humidity level that are
midifier and the moisture taken away in short order
distribution shield. Move it once the dehumidifier be-
closer to produce a dryer en- comes hot. The total amount
vironment.” of time spent at the higher
This is more defini- levels is sufficiently short that
tively described by the fol- its effect on moisture content
lowing pictures and the ac- is negligible. The time spent
companying recording hy- in the 47% and lower area of
grometer chart. These show the curve is much greater and
three positions for the hu- produces the systems effect.
midistat at different dis- Thus the three differ-
tances from the humidifier. ent humidistat locations pro-
The humidistat receives vided average humidity lev-
three different feedbacks els of: 38%, 44% and 42%.
and the recording hygrome- Similar results can be
ter indicates there are three obtained with a grand piano
distinctly different humid- by employing the same prac-
ity levels produced. tice. Here however it is more
Picture 1 shows the test difficult to predict the results
vehicle. It is one of the test sday Wednesday Thursday because of the added vari-
casesused routinely for test- 12 14 16 16 20 22 24 2 4 6 6 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 2 4 6 6 10 12 14 16 16 : ables created by the open pi-
ing humidistats. It simulates ano bottom. As a matter of
the lower half of a vertical fact the following should be
piano without the plate, added as a caveat to both the
strings or trapwork. The re- grand and vertical installa-
cording hygrometer can be tions: Specific exact humid-
noted on the shelf in the ity levels are difficult to at-
background. A standard tain becauseof the large num-
five-part climate control ber of variables encountered
system has been installed in fromonesituation to thenext.
the case and additional 35 Producing a 42% humidity
wattdehumidifiersadded to level by placing the humidis-
improve dehumidification tat two inches from the hu-
response time. midity depends on many
Picture 2 shows the things - ambient humidity,
humidistat receiving maxi- air flow quantity and pat-
mum feedback. It is directly terns, amount of dehumidifi-
over the humidifier. The cation power, and humidis-
ambient humidity level plus tat calibration to name a few.
the minute amount of mois- Going from moist to dry by
ture coming from the pads moving the humidistat to-
is sufficient to keep the de- Thermohygrograph Chart ward the humidifier can be
humidifier on constantly. predicted, however. This is a
The recording hygrometer indicates the dropped to38%.Theuppcrlevelreached fact, and this is how to fine tune the
humidity level in the case has run from was 52% and the range was 14% as system to attain the desired humidity
37% to 39% with a 38% average. against 16% in the previous situation level. Z
Picture 3 shows the humidistat (picture 3). The time weighted average
receiving the least feedback of the three humidity level in this case was 42%.
positions. It was 10” from the left edge of Note that the upper portion of the
the humidifier. Once a settled condition recording hygrometer curve demon-
wasattained the humidity ran from40% strates overshoot of the system. The
to 56%. The time weighted average was humidistat has turned the humidifier
44%. off and the dehumidifier on, but it takes
Picture 4 shows the humidistat time for the humidifier to cool and the
between the two previous extremes. Its dehumidifier to heat. During this transi-
right edge was two inches from the left tion the system is continuing to produce
edge of the humidifier. The low point moisture. Not a great deal of time is
NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 33
ECONOMICAFFAIRS
School District Contracts
David J. Barr, RTT
Pittsburgh, PA, Chapter

Icontracts,
have always viewed school district
and some larger church con-
acquiring acontract is the first step. That work for a cover letter. I strongly sug-
is gathering preliminary information. gest making preliminary phone calls to
tracts, as the foundation of a solid tun- You need to know at least two people’s any district you are trying to acquire.
ing business. Properly balanced in your names. You need to know who will Call the director of finance. Try to find
schedule and professionally serviced, administer the contract, such as the out in this call if there is any interest or
these contracts can provide a financial chairperson of the fine arts department, not in another technician. If so, the di-
base that can be counted upon every or the head of the music department, or rector of finance will suggest calling the
year. There isa certain personal security the band or chorus director. You also administrator of the contract. Follow
in the knowledge that a base percentage need to know the director of finance for through. Conclude your conversation
of your work and income is already the district. You should know approxi- with the administrator by suggesting
booked before the new year even be- mately how many pianos the district you could mail them a cover letter in-
gins. ownsand how many buildings in which cluding information about your creden-
I want to talk about just two general they are housed. You should also know tials as a tuner/technician and as a
areas of school district contracts here. who the most recent tuner has been or businessperson.Suggestthatyouwould
They are 1. getting the contract, and 2. still is. If a district is currently satisfied also like a chance to meet with them
keeping in the contract. According to with its tuner, it maybe very difficult to once they have had the opportunity to
the last severalJoum& the new “Guide- win such a contract. If, on the other review the information you are sending
lines For Effective Institutional Piano hand, there is a known problem, a dis- them. This will also give you the chance
Maintenance”isavailablefrom theHome trict may be ripe for a change. (Don’t to see some of the pianos and their cur-
Office which was put together by the push yourself into a position where you rent conditions, so that you can prepare
College and University Committee. It must talk down a proven tuner. You a more specific final proposal. If there is
offers a great deal more specific infor- won’t get the job and you may loose the an opening in the first place, this careful,
mation than I intend to cover. I am writ- opportunity for other contracts in the conservative method should help get
ing this article without the benefit of area.) you an interview.
reading this information, but feel that Once you have gathered all this The interview itself is critically
the information I am offering is timely, information, including phone numbers important. Your presentation of your-
beneficial, and proven. I have held sev- at work, the next step is getting an inter- self can make or break you. The inter-
eral contracts for 15 years and my larg- view. Let me suggest an orderly method viewer will be looking for only a few
est contract for nine years. togetin thedoor.One thing thatmustbe important details. Do they feel a senseof
Volume tuning requires a good bit demonstrated to theinterviewer is your real confidence that you can do the job?
of stamina, both mentally and physi- ability to administer efficiently yourpart Do they feel at easewith you? Can they
cally. I would suggest that one’s tuning of the contract. You must show yourself workwithyou?Do they feel thatyouare
time for a solid quality tuning has to be to be organized. The first step in this reliable and credible? These questions
well under an hour in order to make a process is to put together a resume. This can be worked in your favor by coming
decent income. I would also suggest, if resume should include your positive in prepared. Your resume will already
possible, a minimum of six tunings accomplishments and acquired skills in have helped you focus on your positive
should be scheduled per trip, particu- the piano service field. It might include attributes as a tuner/technician. Let the
larly if you discount volume contracts. prominent customers, concert work, or interviewer ask questions about you. Be
Remember,also, that the last piano tuned other contracts. It could include a tun- prepared to ask questions about the
on any given day must sound as good as ing school, or seminars attended, or detailsof thecontract. You need to know
the first or second. Never assume that an classes taught. Now let me say, do not exactly how many pianos there are. You
elementary teacher won’t know the dif- mail out this resume. Take it with you to need to know how many timesperschool
ference. It is possible to lose a lucrative the interview. The purpose of the res- season they are going to be tuned. You
contract over one justifiable complaint. ume is primarily to organize your ap- need to know approximately how much
These things being said, let’s get down proach for the interview. It makes you money has been in their annual piano
to getting the contract. much more aware of your own positive maintenance budget. You want to know
One of the most critical steps in attributes. It also provides the frame- howmanyextrasareexpected.Youwant
34 -NOVEMBER 1990PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
to know how extra work, such as ham- today’satmosphereofkidnappingsand may encounter is a teacher or adminis-
mer filing, action regulation, etc., is to molestingsit should beconsideredmore trator who uses a different tuner who
be bid. You want to know what hours of than a mere courtesy. The next person I wants your contract. If the teacher be-
the day the pianos are available during report to is one of your most important comes that tuner’s ally, you may find
the school year. You also want to know contacts other than the administrator. yourself in a battle. In that teacher’s
if the fall tuning round can be done just That person is the custodian. Far too eyes, you aren’t doing as good a job as
prior to school opening. Thereisalso the many technicians fail in school district his or her friend could do. All of a sud-
concert/recital schedule. You might work because they underestimate the den, out of nowhere, you encounter
need to ask about gaining access to pi- importance of the custodians. Most numerouswrittenandvocalcomplaints.
anos during evening or early morning schools now lock every individual class- They don’t go away. Don’t sit back and
hours. Obviously, there is a lot of infor- room for security purposes. You need hope the problem goes away. Attack it
mation tobeexchanged.Ishouldn’thave that custodian to not only unlock those at its source. Go back to that piano.
to write that you should arrive at an doors,butoftentohelpyoulocatemoved Check it. Retune it free, if necessary.
interview well groomed and clean. It pianos and lost benches. The custodians Don’t if it’s as good as it can be. If the
could be said that it would be difficult to are responsible for the maintenance of complaints exceed the problem,look up
overdressbybeinginasuit,but it would the building on a daily basis. Consider the complainer and politely inquire
be easy to be underdressed by being too this: if the custodian doesn’t do his job about the problem. Eventually, you will
casual. Certainly, you wouldn’t go in for one or two days, it may be necessary probably hear something like, “My pi-
black tie or formal gown, but don’t ar- to close the school. If you don’t do your ano at home doesn’t have this kind of
rive in jeans and a T-shirt. Equally, try to job, nothing quite that catastrophic problem.” That’s your clue. An outside
be balanced between too tense and too wouldhappen.Understand that you are tuner is critiquing your work second
relaxed in your posture and attitude. normally interrupting their work rou- hand. Take the time to show that teacher
Self-assured is a good word. Be confi- tine or lunch break in order to help you. the extreme conditions that the school
dent, knowing that the interviewer Treat them rudely, and I guarantee they piano is exposed to daily and season-
wants to find someone good. You may will make your job miserable.Treat them ally. Take the time to tell the teacher
very well be the answer they are looking with proper respect, and often times, the what your credentials are and why you
for. right doors will be unlocked ahead of are perfectly qualified to do the work.
You get the contract. What now? you. Also tell them that the school does not
Let me share some steps that can help The next stepinvolvesdealing with have limitless money to correct every
you keep the contract. First, there are the the inevitable problems that come up. If problem they have reported and you
most obvious steps; quality, reliability, you have held a contract longer than one have reported. Then report your com-
and punctuality. These should not need year, you will have dealt with at least plete conversation to the contract ad-
any explanation. Be consistent in your one potentially serious complaint. I be- ministrator. Don’t be shy about naming
quality, accountable and reliable, and lieve in attacking problems that I can the competitor and their ulterior mo-
be there when you promise. These are foresee. If there are humidity control tive. Protect your reputation.
essential in order to keep any contract. problems due to steam pipes running Another related step in keeping
The next step, in order of impor- through classrooms, or classrooms lo- the contract is simply taking the oppor-
tance, I would consider is maintaining cated below ground level, I tell the tunities you have to educate your cus-
your visibility. I drop in periodically on teacher, the custodian, and the adminis- tomers. They include everyone from the
the contract administrator, or phone trator that it will be impossible to actu- administrator, to school principals, to
periodically. If I find myself in the par- ally keep the piano in tune, unless it is teachers, to custodians. Talk to them
ticular area with even ten minutes to done virtually every month. By educat- about humidity and its effects on the
spare, I drop in to say hello. I also return ing those involved, either a solution, soundboard and tuning stability. Talk
calls as quickly as possible. Being acces- such as humidity control systems, or an to themaboutmovingthepianosaround
sible is an assumed part of these con- understandingbetweenyourselfand the all the time. Tell them about regulation,
tracts. These steps go a long way after primary person playing the piano and voicing, and tuning technicalities. Talk
you have held thecontract several years. the administrator exists. For several to them about their kids, too, or their
One of the very next steps in keep years, I carried an inexpensive relative cars, or the local sports team (like the
ing a contract is learning what I call the humidity gauge with me, and wrote Pittsburgh Pirates!). Part of all of this
protocol of your job. All requests need to down the humidity and temperature in talk is to establish a working relation-
go through proper channels. If you want the room immediately following the ship with your customers. Another part
to do extra work on a piano, it must go tuning. I was easily able to prove my is the establishing of your credibility
through the proper authority. If a teacher point by this simple effort. I also docu- with your customers. This step to keep
wants an extra tuning, it also has to go ment pianos which have sticky actions, ing your contract isn’t much different
through the proper channels. You will etc. and request additional funds to than normal in-home service.
find yourself in a position similar to a correct the problems prior to any com- There are several other important
middle manager in a larger company. plaints. Then, in their eyes it isn’t my steps to keeping the contract. The next
Every time I enter a school building if fault there is a problem, it is the piano’s two are interrelated. They are keeping
the office is still open, I report myself in problem or the piano’s environment. good records and careful, timely, and
the building to the school secretary. In One of the most difficult problems you accurate billings. I keep my service rec-
NOVEMBER 1990 PIANO TECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 35
ords with my computer. I include a seasonal pitch movement, and organiz- period might be. You will need to de-
completeprintoutof eachpiano,itsserial ing your schedule. Such a printout also cide, accordingly, what your billing
number, location, year manufactured, provides the district with a complete practices will be. If the normal pay pe-
pitch at which it was found, work record for any insurance purposes they riod is 45 to 60 days, you may need to bill
needed, extra work done (by prior agree- may have. I also use it to make recom- weekly. If the pay period is 15 to 30 days,
ment), and the total charge per piano. I mendations, such as selling off old pi- you may be comfortable in billing the
also use an extra copy of this printout anos, or moving a piano to a more useful entire amount upon completion of a
the next time I do a round of tunings or position. With this type of record-keep- tuning cycle. Realize that if you spent
service. It provides an excellent founda- ing, it is much easier to be accurate and two or three, or more, solid weeks tun-
tion for locating pianos, comparing timely in my billing. Most districts ing only school district work, and then
appreciate this sense of detail and time- bill the entire amount, without a decent
liness. They can more easily track their bank account, you could easily end up
7 piano maintenance budget and know short on cash as your bills are due. It
THE AMERICAN when they have the money remaining in may be wise to space a number of in-
~STITUTE OF PIANO the budget to proceed with periodic home tunings throughout your flow.
maintenance programs. Use your common sense in this step to
TECHNOLOGY The final step in the process of keep your financial balance.
An excellent school of Piano keeping the contract that I plan to talk I have tried to outline some practi-
Technology & Tuning, pro- about here is timing your cash flow. cal steps to obtain school district con-
viding “hands-on” workshop According to most modern small busi- tracts, and, once you have them, some
experience, as well as intro- ness management books, lack of ade- steps to keep them. As in any different
ductory and advanced classes quate cash flow is the primary reason type of work, there are pros and cons
in every aspect of this for most business failures. If you are that I have tried to touch upon. I enjoy
profession. new to a large contract, you may not be this type of work, but I realize it may not
aware that a 30- to 45day pay period is be for everyone. If you are in school
650 Moulton Ave. fairly common. Some districts will take district work or are moving in that di-
Los Angeles, CA 90031 up to 60 days to pay their bills. Few will rection, I wish you contracts as fine as I
Pleac;e mail inquiries to: pay you under 30 days. Do not hesitate have enjoyed and hope this article is of
to ask up front what the typical pay assistance. g
AIPT
P.O. Box 4418
Chatsworth, CA 913114418
(818) 348-1530
(213) 223-2010
Visitors Welcome
A non-profit, non-discriminatoq
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36 -NOVEMBER 1990 PI~OTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
PETITION S H E E T
MUSIC MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MUSIC EDUCATION
Just as there can be no music without learning, no education is complete
without music. Music makes the dlyference.

IQYY I want to make music education a driving force in America’s schools. If our children are to succeed in the workforce and
world of the future, they must be provided with a well-rounded educational curriculum incorporating music and the other arts.

NAME ADDRESS

I I

I I
I
I
I
I

IMPORTANT: We can accept signatures from adults of legal voting age only. Please be sure to sign your name to verify the
authenticity of the signatures.

This petition sheet voucher authenticity verified by NAME:

ADDRESS:

UN: STATE: ZIP: DATE:

Please return to: The National Commission on Music Education


1902 Association Drive
Reston, Virginia 22091-1597
SEPTEMBER1990 MEMBERSHIP
New Members CHAPTER 323 - CHAPTER 467 - CHAPTER 675 -
TALLAHASSEE, FL INDIANA HUTCHINSON, KS
CHAPTER OOl-
MICHAEL R. WOJNAR LARRY E. DULL DONALD L. SMITH
CHAPTER 061- 1507 DAWSON ROAD A429 SR 108 RI 230 S. WEBSTER CALGARY, AB
077-A WA, ON ALBANY, GA 31707 NEW BAVARIA, OH LIBERAL, KS 67901 GLENN MCONNELL
WILLIAM R. GEROW CHAPTER 372 - 43548 301-9803 24TH ST., SW
522 BAY STREET, #1 NASHVILLE, TN CHAPTER 481- CALGARY, AB T2V lS5
OTTAWA, ON KlR 685 Dr.-WINDSOR, MI CHAPTER 921- CHAPTER Oll-
EDWARD R. BROWN
CHAPTER 201 - SAN DIEGO, CA VANCOUVER, BC
65 LOCKHART ROAD JAMES D. ROUSSEAU
NEW YORK CITY DUNLAI’, TN 37327 26341 BEAMER JEFFREY LAMBERTH TERRY R. MACHAM
ROBERT D. POULOS MT. CLEMENS, Ml 108 VISTA WAY-CREST 4963-197A STREET
CHAPTER 379 -
90-05 242ND STREET 48045 EL CAJON, CA 92021 LANGLEY, BC
KNOXVILLE, TN
BELLEROSE, NY 11426 JAMES R. MCCORMAC V3A 6Wl
TIMOTHY JOHNSON CHAPTER 496 -
CHAPTER 190 - NORTHERN 1650 WINTER HAVEN CHAPTER 981-
5329 LAVESTA ROAD
SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN ROAD SEATTLE, WA
KNOXVILLE, TN 37918
PENNSYLVANIA FALLBROOK, CA 92028 STEVE R. KELLY
TONYA L. PERRY
MARTHA M. KELLY 143 HEIDTMAN ROAD CHAPTER 926 - 2420 E. POLE ROAD
68 HIGH POINT DRIVE CHAPTER 756 - SKANDIA, MI 49885 ORANGE COUNTY, CA EVERSON, WA 98247
CHURCHVILLE, PA EAST TEXAS RICK C. BURIAN
18%6 72 GREENMOOR Reclassifications
DAN L. KESSINGER
CHAPTER 195 - 4808PRESTWICK LANE CHAPTER 553 - IRVINE, CA 92714
RDG.-LANCASTER, PA TYLER, TX 75703 TWIN CITIES, MN CHAPTER 941-
ROBERT B. WEISEL SAN FRANCISCO, CA CHAPTER 151-
DEBORAH L. CHAPTER 771- PJ7-TSBURGH, PA
NORTHEY HOUSTON, TX 132 W. VINE, #2 J. OLINTO DIAS
9 BLACKHORSE CR. RIVER FALLS, WI 54022 2110 MCKINLEY AVE. JONATHAN
CHARLES T. LANGHAM
DOWNINGTON, PA RAINWATER CHAPTER 631- BERKELEY, CA 94703
19335 ST. LOUIS, MO RD. 1, BOX 232N
6227 GLENHILL DRIVE RAY E. THEIS WELLSBURG, WV
SPRING, TX 77389 KENNETH CONRADY 681 HAIGI-IT 26070
919 TAYLOR SAN FRANCISCO, CA
CHAPTER 301- GODFREY, IL 62035 94117
ATLANTA, GA CHAPTER 405 - JOANNA V. PARKIN CHAPTER 945 - CHAPTER 941-
CRAIG MILLER BLUEGRASS, KY P.O. BOX 295 GOLDEN GATE, CA SAN FRANCISCO, CA
460 HARDER CIRCLE H. RUSSELL SCHMIDT CEDAR HILL, MO RICHARD G. ESSER HORACE GREELEY
DALLAS, GA 30132 311 DESHA 63016 2230 SPENCER 1066 SHORELINE DR.
LEXINGTON, KY 40502 NAPA, CA 94559 SAN MATEO, CA 94404

38 - NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL


COMING EVENTS
Nov. l-4,1990 Texas State Association
El Paso Airport Hilton, El Paso
Contact: Guy Nichols; 901 S. Main; Las Cruces, NM 88005 (505) 524-1465
Nov. 9-lo,1990 North Carolina State Seminar
Brownstone Hotel, Raleigh, NC
Contact: Tom Karl; 20 Mayo Street, Apt. F-6; Raleigh, NC 27603 (919) 832-3149
Arizona State Seminar
Tempe, AZ
Contact: Gary Miles; 3722 W. Port Royale Lane; phoenix, AZ 85023 (602) 942-2588
Feb. 22-24,199l California State Convention
Radisson Hotel, Sacramento, CA
Contact: Patrick C. Poulson; 15474 Airport Road; Nevada City, CA 95959 (916) 265-6739
March S-10,1991 South Central Regional Spring Seminar
Bentley Hotel, Alexandria, LA
Contact: Elizabeth Ward; 1012 Warren Street; Alexandria, LA 71301 (318) 443-0327
March U-17,1991 Pennsylvania State Convention
Allentown Hilton Hotel, Allentown, PA
Contact: John J. Zeiner, Jr.; 830 Hanover Avenue; Allentown, PA 18103 (215) 437-1887
March ZO-22,199l Pacific Northwest Conference/Convention
Tyee Hotel, Olympia, WA
Contact: David J. Stocker; 9324 Littlerock Road SW; Olympia, WA 98502 (206) 786-TUNE
April 25-28,199l New England/Eastern Canada Regional Seminar
Sonesta Hotel, Portland, ME
Contact: Joseph Bacica; P.O. Box 6834; Portland, ME 04101 (207) 773-1779
July 13-17,199l 34th Annual PTG Convention & Technical Institute
Adams Mark Hotel, Philadelphia, PA
Contact: PTG; 4510 Belleview, Suite 100; Kansas City, MO 64111 (816) 753-7747

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7-

AUXILIARY EXCHANGE

President’s Message many things that go wrong in the life and the times of the
I’m not quite sure whether I’m writing in praise of the tuner, and may help to explain why he or she often arrives
“two-car” family or bemoaning having to be counted with home after a long day not always in the best of spirits.
those who have only one car at their disposal. I am trying Those of us who stay at home or work at another;’ job, as I
to catch the attention of anyone who has encountered once did, don’t always understand the irritability of our
similar situations and who may have the perfect solution, spouses later in the day or evening. This small-scale auto-
other than retiring, for the annoyed RTT and hischauffeur. motive complaint doesn’t even cover the many tense situ-
Take a lovely, clear, dry, bright, sunny day, for in- ations, decisions to be made on reluctant, stubborn pianos,
stance, having gotten up before the sun had risen and discussions held with reluctant and stubborn piano own-
driven twenty miles to be sixth in line - 7~15a.m. -at an ers, to say nothing of the complexities and problems found
auto-center which is adjunct to a well-known department withdrivingfromhere to thereindifferent typesof weather
store. Then zoait until 7:30 a.m. for the auto-center to open and traffic.
andzuaittobewrittenupandwaituntil11:15a.m.forthecar I used to feel superior about making my husband’s ap-
to be put in the bay, and wait until 12:15 p.m. to be on one’s pointments before I traveled with him. Often, upon an-
way to lunch and a second appointment at 1:30 p.m., swering the phone, he would forget to record many of the
having missed the early one. Fortunately, I had called our items1 thought important, and now I find, hurrying to take
10:00 a.m. “piano” the evening before, being of a suspi- an appointment, I am beginning to forget to take down the
cious nature where auto repairs are concerned. Our tuning same or similar information. being harried or in a rush
“appointees” were amenable to being switched to 4:30 certainly changes the face of things. I wonder if the me-
p.m. if things went awry, as by now you know they did. chanics were harried or rushed that day?
Since I intend to drive to Philly to help check out the Weal1 need to take a deep breath and try to understand
1991 convention site for our Auxiliary, it seemed the least one another better. This evening I’m going to hurry home,
I could do, for safety’s sake, was to have the alignment of make a quick supper and go off to a church meeting. I
the car’s wheels corrected. My arms at the steering wheel wonder whether I’ll be able to “keep my cool” this eve-
had been doing a rapid, violent shimmy whenever the ning? I’m sure you all can and do. Right?
speedometer rose a hair over 55 mph; but hours out of our Do we need to be reminded that we all need better
day was a horrendous additional price to pay! appreciation of one another and our special problems, in
Now I have a fantastic excuse for not having written what can be considered a unique field, where tact and
this or phoned that, or whatever. I did write to our daugh- restraint are called for all day in dealing with comparative
ter during the wait, and actually got the letter mailed, but strangers, where thoseout in the field aremakingcountless
the attached department store didn’t open until lO:OOa.m., decisions and performing countless delicate operations to
which led to my extracting revenge by only spending $1.50 provide an often unaware public with the best of service
in the store. We won’t mention the cost of alignment, tire- and an art form few even appreciate? Let’s all be good,
switching, and wheel-balancing! better, best to our hard-working, creative spouses, rela-
This diatribe on life’s little aggravations may seem like tions and friends, as long as they are members of PTG!
a lot of fuss over nothing, but it is a small example of the Arlene M. Paetow

Music No Longer
-.
Part Of Daily Life giving them support and assistance.
_
That headline appeared on a recent Associated Press Sometimes piano technicians underestimate their role in
release from Rochester, New York. The article quoted com- keeping music alive in our society. No bells go off as the
poser Robert Morris as saying one reason we have trouble technician puts tools back in the bag after a job well done. The
understanding and appreciating modem concert music is stock market doesn’t climb and dive based on what piano
that few of us participate in music in our daily lives. technicians are doing in the field.
Morris went on to say music is becoming a moreand more Nevertheless, the music people make in their homes and
passive experience now that people don’t join choirs and play churches and at their parties sounds better because of the
the piano and sing at parties as frequently. technicians who care for their pianos. In addition, the techni-
It is interesting to think about these ideas in relation to cian is there talking to all those musical folks and weaving a
piano technicians. The technicians are right there helping network among them.
people participate in music, helping music be part of their The technicians go from music-maker to music-maker
daily lives. People who are playing their pianos, people who and on to new music-makers the following day. Those who
participate in music at home or church are the ones who are are close to technicians may be talking to those music-makers
keeping music appreciation alive. And piano technicians are on the phone. This gives many of us and almost all the
40 - NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
* . technicians a wonderful opportunity
NOTICE and, in fact, a responsibility of sorts to
Due to an oversight, the election of the PTGA Nominating Committee support the people who keep music
did not take place at the Council meeting in Dallas at the 1990 PTG Conven- alive. How important can you get!?
tion. An attempt was made to correct this oversight at the Installation
Luncheon. However, since this was not in compliance with PTGA Bylaws, no A Seasonal Note
slate of officers will be offered, and nominations will be accepted from the Thanksgiving is a wonderful holi-
floor at the Council meeting in Philadelphia at the 1991 34th Annual PTG day. You don’t have to buy presents.
Convention. You don’t do a lot of decorating or have
Arlene Paefow, PTGA President pre-Thanksgiving parties and post-
c Thanksgiving depression. It brings a
handy Friday holiday along with it
which many folks are able to use to good
Part Of The PTG Family
advantage. There isn’t a lot of guilt in-
We tend to think of the Guild as being more than simply a trade associa-
volved in Thanksgiving because the
tion. We wouldn’t bother to have an Auxiliary for something that was just a
celebrating is positive... no atonement,
business group with an insurance plan available. So when the Guild confers
its highest award each summer we get excited about it. This year Ben just celebration.
McKlveen received that award and Janet Blees wrote a poem in his honor: Fortunately, most of us also have
lots to be thankful for. Over the years I
have heard many of you express thanks
1990 Golden Hammer Award Recipient’s Saga, Or: Ode To Ben that a person you are close to has found
a career in piano technology. Many tech-
Most hearty Congratulations to Ben! You flirt with the ladies, and sing of their nicians seem to be drawn to their work.
You showed us that you’re outstanding gl0n’eS. Most of them have spent a lot of time
- AGAIN! Your colorful ambience, so debonair, becoming good technicians, and they
As this year’s Golden Hammer winner, Makes you sfand out in a crowd, any- love what they do. Most of them stick
You’ve proven once more that you’re no where. with this profession quite willingly even
beginner. though it is a general trend in society for
As Institute Chairman, with Ernie and people to change jobs and even careers
With leadershipfirst, in A.S.P.T., Dick, on a regular basis.
And later on, teaching for our P.T.G., You’vegiven us programs so smooth and As we pause to give thanks for the
You took pearls of wisdom you had to im- so slick, things that are right about our lives this
part, Both “upright andgrand,” without clash Thanksgiving, let us remember how
And shared them with many, you gener- or clamor - grateful we are that technicians we know
ous heart! For this you deserve the award, “Golden make their living doing something they
Hammer.” love. Special thanksgo to you, too,if you
With humor and grace your classes are are reading this because you care about
taught; Locally, too, your colleagues all know a piano technician. Everybody appreci-
With info, and anecdotes rare, they are How you’ve served that chapter, and ates having supporters. Happy Thanks-
fraught. helped if to grow. giving!
A look of delight is on everyone‘s face Of your great contributions, my story’s
You‘re quite entertaining! (And quite now told:
a Nut Case!) You’ve certainly earned that “Hammer
of Gold!” Need a gift for that fall
Known for your jumpsuits, and wealth of Janet Blees , July 29,199O bridal shower?
good stories, Give a PTGA Cookbook and add
clever kitchen magnets or pot-
holders! Write or call

President
Arlene Paetow (William)
Rt. 1, Box 473
High Falls, NY 12440
(914) 687-0364
Vice President
PTG Auxiliary Executive Board
Recording Secretary
Ivagene Dege (Ernest)
2056 Milan Avenue
S. Pasadena, CA 91030
(213) 682-2064
Corresponding Secretary
Treasurer
Barbara Fandrich (Delwin)
10131 SE. TaIbert
Clackamas, OR 97015
(503) 653-7576
Immediate Past President
I Nita Kadwell, 591 Leonard
Road, Onalaska, WA 98570
(206)978-4913

Phyllis Tremper (Fred) Marge Moonan (William) Agnes Huether (Charles)


413 Skaggs Road 811 Amherst Drive 34 Jackhn Court
Morehead, KY 40351 Rome, NY 13440 Clifton, NJ 07012
(606) 783-1717 (315) 337-4193 (201) 473-1341

NOVEMBER 1990 PIANO TECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 41


52 PIANO KEYS RECOVERED - .050- VICTOR A. BENVENUTO VIDEO
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING
$60.00; .060-$70.00;.075 with fronts- TAPES, PIANO TUNING AURAU
Classifiedadvertisingratesare35cents $85.00. New sharps-$35.00. Keys re- ELECTRONIC - $175. The most accurate
per word with a $7.50 minimum. Full pay- bushed, felt-$75.00; leather - $95. Return approach to fine tuning. KEY MAKING,
mentmustaccompanyeachinsertionrequest. freight paid with prepaid order. Charles $124.75.GRAND REBUILDING (two
Closingdatefor ads is sixweeks prior to Wilson; 1841 Kit Carson; tapes), $225.75.Preparation, pinblock
the month of publication. Dyersburg,TENN, 38024. (901) 285-2516 replacement, damper installation, restring-
Ads appearing in this publication are ing. GRAND REGULATING, $175.75.
not necessarilyan endorsementof the sew “PIANO REBUILDER’S HANDBOOK SOUNDBOARD REPLACEMENT, $94.75.
icesor products listed. OF TREBLE STRING TENSIONS” The Ship old board - new board comes to you
SendcheckormoneyordeW.S.funds, ideal way to easily analyze the scale when ready for installation. Please specify VHS
restringing. Available hardbound from or Beta. All prices include shipping. THE
please)madepayableto Piano Technicians PIANO SHOPPE; INC.; 6825 GERMAN-
your supply house. $35.00
Journal, 4510 Belleview, Suite 100, Kansas TOWN AVENUE; PHILADELPHIA, PA
City, MO 64222. PRE-HUNG HAMMERS: We are now 19119 (215) 438-7038
equipped to pre-hang Nu-Tone,
For Sale Imadegawa or Isaac grand hammers to AUBREY WILLIS SCHOOL -Our home
PIANOS FOR SALE-Spinets, consoles, your samples (for almost any grand piano) study course in piano tuning, repair and
studios, grands. One or a carload. Exccl- on new shanks and flanges for an $80.00 regulating has been used by hundreds to
lent brand names. As is or rebuilt. Lowest pre-hanging fee. An example of the total learn the basics. Accredited member
possible prices. Owen Piano Wholesalers; price for a Steinway M, using Nu-Tone National Home Study Council. No cost
2152 W. Washington Boulevard; Los mahogany molding hammers, Tokiwa information. Aubrey Willis School; 2633
Angeles, CA 90018 telephones (213) 732- shanks and flanges, prc-hung with hot East Indian School Road, Suite 401;
0103 (818) 883-9643 animal hide glue, would be 6468.00 Phoenix, AZ 85016 (602) 9554600
complete. Highest quality workmanship,
PLAYER STACKS REBUILT FOR YOU. fast turn-around time, ready to screw on. SANDERSON ACCU-TUNERS from
Ship it to me and I will do the work. Expect minimum travel and burn-in. Write Authorized distributor. Tuning lever note
Installation instructions provided. (501) or call Wally Brooks; Brooks, Ltd.; 376 switch for Accu-Tuner: $35/toiled cord,
642-7100 Shore Road; Old Lyme, CT 06371(203) !$30/straight cord. Consignment sale of
434-0287 used Accu-Tuners and Sight-O-Tuners for
TOOLS THAT WORK! Made for techni- new Accu-Tuner customers. Call for
cians by a technician, to save you time and STEINWAY GRAND LOCK details. Rick Baldassin (801) 292-4441,
make you money. Key bushing cauls of ESCUTCHEONS. New duplicates of (801) 374-2887.
high-density polyethylene -the ideal original part. Available in raw brass for
material and most economical on the polishing or custom plating @$10 each, or THE GUIDE $10. The Piano Technicians
market, in all common sizes. Also key preplatcd in polished nickel slightly Guide. A job-time study and work guide.
clamps, gram weight sets, grand hammer higher. VlSA/MC Richard Anderson, Revised and printed to fit a pocket.
hanging jig, soundboard cleaners & more. Rl’T (708) 464-4500. Newton J. Hunt, Piano Tuner-Technician;
Order by phone - immediate shipping. 74 Tunison Road; New Brunswick, NJ
For brochure, call or write Bill Spurlock; BUMPER STICKER. “Piano Tuners Still 08901. (201) 932-6686
3574 Cantelow Road; Vacaville, CA 95688 Make House Calls.” Two-color with
(707) 448-4792. graphics. Send $5.00 to B.S.E.; P.O. Box “LET’S TUNE UP” Hardback 1st Edition
93297; Rochester, NY 14692.NY residents only $17.50 per copy. Paperback 2nd
SIGHT-O-TUNER SERVICE: Repairs, add sales tax. MC/VISA orders, l-716-473- Edition still available per copy $17.50No
calibration & modifications. Fast, reliable 0300 immediate plansfor another printing. Make
service. Richard J. Weinberger; 18818 checks payable to John W. Travis; 8012
Grandview Drive; Sun City West, AZ HANDCRAFTED SOUNDBOARDS by Carroll Avenue; Takoma Park, MD 20912.
85375 (602) 8544116 NICK GRAVAGNE. Ready-to-install
crowned boards or semi-complete. Your ACCU-TUNER TOOL CASES. “Newly
FOR SALE: Steinway “A” #202055, Louis choice. Ordering and installation instruc- redesigned.” 4 sizes ($120, $150, $180,
XV, handpainted composer portraits above tions $15.00.20 Pine Ridge; Sandia Park, $200). For Accu-Tuner and tools. Bob
legs, painted in London. Beautiful one-of- NM 87047. (505) 281-1504. Conrad, (800) 776-4342.
a-kind piece, good restorable condition -
$18,000. Also Steinway “A” #75884, barrel PIANO SERVICE BUSINESS FOR SALE. THE RANDY POTTER SCHOOL OF
leg - $5,600, excellent restorable condi- 18 years in beautiful San Francisco Bay PIANO TECHNOLOGY - Home Study
tion. Others available. Richmond Piano; Area. 80% of clients in affluent Marin programs for beginning students, associate
3133 West Cary Street; Richmond, VA County. Call or write for details: Richard members studying to upgrade to Regis-
23221. (804) 358-1929 Kane, RIT; P.O. Box 1384; San Raphael, tered Tuner-Technician, and RTI’s wanting
CA 94915 (415) 388-3310 PST to continue their education. Tuning,
RESTORATION OF CARVED WORK, repairing, regulating, voicing, apprentice
turnings, inlays, and marquetry, including “COMPONENT DOWNBEARING training, business practices. Top instruc-
repair of existing work and reproduction GAUGES (bubble type) give readings in tors and materials. Call or write for
of missing pieces. Edwin Teale; 19125 degrees (string angle) and thousandths of information: RANDY POTTER; RTT;
S.W. Kinnaman Road; Aloha, OR 97007 an inch (dimension). Available at supply 61592 ORION DRIVE; BEND, OR 97702.
(5031642-4287 houses. Box 3247; Ashland, OR 97520.” (503) 382-5411 Seeour ad on page 3.

42 - NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL


WHYSETTLEFORLESSTHANTHE PLATING-PIANO HARDWARE. Strip- NILES BRYANT OFFERS TWO HOME
BEST? We have the finest tools: SOLID ping, buffing, and NICKEL plating with STUDY COURSES: Electronic Organ
BRASS ACCUCAULS, BUSHMASTER, hinges up to 60” lengths $125-$225/set, Servicing: Newly revised. Covers all
KEY BUSHING IRON; we have the fastest, depending on quantity of parts included. makes and models -digital, analogue,
most accurate, and easiest to learn method: Enclose packing list indicating number of LCT’s, synthesizers, etc. Piano Technology:
THE ACCUBUSH SYSTEM; and now we screws with description and quantity of Tuning, regulating, repairing. Our 87th
have the best deal for ordering. Call toll items. REFERENCESAVAILABLE. COD year! Free booklet; Write or call NILES
free: l-800-388-BUSH(2874). Join the delivery in 2-3 weeks. A.R.O.M. through- BRYANT SCHOOL, Dept. G, Box 20153;
experts who agree: THE ACCUBUSH out the U.S.A.! We will serve you with Sacramento, CA 95820 - (916) 454-4748
SYSTEM is the BEST system for rebushing quality & reliability. CRAFFECH ELEC- (24 hrs.)
keys! (Many have already changed over; if TROPLATING; #46R Endicott Street;
you haven’t you are losing time and Norwood, MA 02062. (617) 769-0071 days, Wanted
money). MASTERCARD & VISA accepted. (617) 469-9143 evenings. WANTED: STEINWAY AND MASON
KEY BUSHING SUPPLY; 84A Main HAMLIN GRANDS. All sizes and cabinet
Street; Kingston, NH 03848. For informa- PERKINS SCHOOL OF PIANO TUN- styles. Ask for Karen Bean at (415) 676
tion only, call (60316423633. ING & TECHNOLOGY Since 1962. 3355. Piano Finders; P.O. Box 23814;
Courses offered: Tuning & Repairing, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.
STATE OF THE ART KEY COVERING Grand & Player Rebuilding. Write or call
- 52 piano keys recovered .075 with fronts for free catalog. Licensed by the Ohio State UP TO $1000.00 FINDER’S FEE will be
- $85.00 Premium work - includes tops Board of School and College Registration. paid for successful purchase of a Mason
and fronts resurfaced, clean and renew 225 Court Street; Elyria, OH 44035 (216) and Hamlin Ex-Player. I have mechanism
wood and backcheck, coverings, polish 323-1440 to install. Please call collect (317) 2594307
capstans. New sharps, $45.00. Return or evenings (317) 849-1469. Jim Brady;
freight paid with prepaid order. Fast FOR SALE Piano Service Business in 4609 Cranbrook Drive; Indianapolis, IN
service. “Try us, you’ll like us.” Mr. C. Danbury, CT, area. 60% tuning, 40% 46250.
Brunkow; 4991104th Way North; St. repair, regulation, action rebuilding.
Petersburg, FL 33708 (813) 397-1699. Access to full rebuilding shop shared with WANTED!! DEAD OR ALIVE: “Steinway
other technicians; good working relation- Uprights.” Call collect, Ben Knauer (818)
CUSTOM PIANO COVERS MADE TO ship with same. Business very solid, 343-7744.
YOUR SPECIFICATIONS. Perfect for any including concert series, shared university
storage or moving situation. All work music school, public school systems, and WANTED; Halbisch manufactured piano.
guaranteed. Also available, many gift very substantial file of private customers Build around 1880-1920in Louisville, KY.
items. Send for brochure and samples. JM who pay top dollar. File extremely detailed Any condition. If you have one for sale or
FABRICations; 902 185th Street Court; and clear, including direction cards to each know the whereabouts of one call collect at
East Spanaway, WA 98387 (206) 847-6009 location. The name is good and the (502) 426-4471.
business is still expanding. Will work with
FOR SALE - “A Guide To Restringing” buyer to establish him/her securely in my WANTED-large numbers of pianos.
Paperbacks $16.50 plus $1.50 for postage place. Michael Skeen, 4 Memory Lane; Will pay cash and remove immediately.
and handling. Hardbacks $21.50 plus $2.00 Sherman, CT 06784 (203) 350-9161. No large uprights except Steinways,
for postage and handling. Order today. please. (716) 774-0044 Grand Island, NY
Sorry, no CODS. Make check or money SUCCESSFUL PIANO RENTAL STORE
order payable to: JOHN TRAVIS; 8012 FOR SALE. Established 1964, in growing “ATTENTION: EASY WORK! Excellent
Carroll Avenue; Takoma Park, MD 20912. sunbelt city of 550,000.Asking $50,000 pay! Assemble products at home. Details
down, bank references (or equal), and (1) 6028388885, Ext. W-15669, Cam-llpm,
NEW SOUNDBOARDS MADE FOR description of collateral security for 7 days.“
YOU. Ship old board. New board comes to balance. Possession April 1,191 prox.
you ready for installation. Send for Ideal for tuner-spouse combination. Send WANTED: 7-foot to 9-foot American
instruction on: Victor Video Tapes; $94.75. information to: PIANO STORE AD, P.O. grand needing work. (713) 363-0488John
Victor A. Benvenuto; 6825 Germantown Box 75304; Albuquerque, NM 871204725. Pels
Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19119. (215) Principals only.
438-7038 TUNER/TECHNICIAN: Experienced. To
BUMPER STICKER. “Have You Played work in piano shop. Full-time, excellent
NEW! Korg MT1200 MULTI-Tempera- Your Piano Today?“ Two-color with piano benefits. Salary commensurate with
ment Tuner. $275 postpaid (list $360). on quality vinyl. Send $4.00 each to: TPT; experience. Pickle Piano; 104 West Lake
Hears 8 octaves: AOC8. Shows note, P.O. Box 906-A; Johnston, IA 50131. Street; Bloomingdale, IL 60108 (708) 894-
octave, frequency by LED; pitch by meter 2992
(one cent increments). Plays 4 octaves (can DON’T LEAVE HOME without your
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Tuner. $155 postpaid (list $2251.Hears 7 your tungsten carbide sanding file ($7.00). grand. Will pay finders fee. Especially
octaves. Shows pitch, octaves, note, plays 4 Rapidly becoming an essential part of want carved (fancy) case. Call Collect, Jim
octaves (soft/loud). Calibrate A=430-450 every technician’s bag-of-tricks (Postage Brady; (317) 2594307; 2725 E. 56th Street;
Hz. Both have case,batteries, adaptor, one extra). Steve Pearson Piano Service; 831 Indianapolis, IN 46220.
lb., warranty. Song of the Sea; 47 West Bennett Avenue; Long Beach, CA 90804.
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5653
NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL - 43
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44 -NOVEMBER 1990 PIANOTECHNICIANS JOURNAL
Date: November 1, 1990
To: Piano Technicians Guild Members
From: Bruce A. Stevens, President
Subject: Steinway Factory Technical Announcement
RE: NOTIFICATION OF NEW IMPROVED STEINWAY HAMMERS
Steinway & Sons is proud to announce the development of new improved hammers;
which are now available for immediate delivery - with a guaranteed 48 hour
turnaround from our Parts Service Department.
Over the last six months, the Steinway factory has achieved significant
technical advances both in "state of the art" manufacturing equipment and in
the process of hammermaking. The technical improvements summarized below have
resulted in a harder more consistent hammer, which will provide overall better
sound quality to our valued customers.
Smmary Listing of Hafmer Process Improvements:

ITEM: Replacement of hand pressing operation with precisely controllable


"state of the art" hydraulically powered prebending and gluing
presses.
Benefits: Total and precise regulation of pressure, depth stops, temperature
and cycle time. Greater control of hammer properties including
size, shape, and hardness. Improved consistency set to set.
Increased output.

ITEM: New hammerfelt cutting machine to cut the felt sheet into strips
for individual hammer sets. The sheet is positioned for cutting
with accurately drilled tooling holes and the two sides of the
strip are cut simultaneously against a template to insure
accuracy.
Benefits: Improved hammerfelt strip symmetry,and consistency of finished
hammers.
I!l!EM: New hammerfelt reinforcing solution and application method (new
dipping system). New colorless solution wicks more evenly with
less swelling. New application method (patent pending) insures
that each strip receives the same quantity of solution as all
others.
Benefits: More consistent penetration of dipping solution provides a firmer
hammer shoulder and improved resistance to humidity effects.

If you have any questions regarding the hammer quality improvements described
please call the Steinway C Sons Service Department for more detailed informa-
tion. Attn: Michael Mohr, Director, Service Administration, (718) 204-3119. To
order new Steinway hammers or other Steinway parts please call Glorie Lefrak
at (718) 204-3150.

STEINWAY C SONS
Yamaha Piano Service November, 1990

Grand Action These 40 not bind parts together find that proper sharpening, by
Regulation in 3’7 but rather adjust or regulate the tim-
~ng and limits of the hinged units
hollow grinding the blade, produces
somewhat parallel sides and a much
Steps... as they are put in motion by the more useful tool.
One at a Time piano keys.
A FEW FINAL PRECAUTIONS
Second, there are binding sireu!s.
STEP 1: TIGHTEN ACTION These serve to hold parts together When tightening the screws:
SCREWS in proper position and are the ones l Do not let attached parts shift
The overall musical performance of to tighten. Specifically as relates or move out of position when twist-
a grand piano &pen& on having a to action regulation, locate and ing the screws.
solid foundation tor the action. tighten the screw:s: l Do not apply so much force
Fkdl the piano’s touch and t&e are l In the brackets that the wood is compressed or the
affected by the solidity of the base l In the hammer rail thread is stripped.
for the hammers. Tightening the l In the whippen rail l Do not let the screwdriver slip
action screws so that all parts are l Under the key frame ad mar the screwhead or scratch
securely fastened will: Next, tighten those screws in the the surrouncling area.
l Provide stability for the regu- damper rail which are left inside the l When tightening the screws on
lation - insuring that the piano can piano action cavity after the action the underside of the key frame, it is
be played without action parts was removed. Just center the screw- necessary to stand the action on the
becoming misaligned. driver blade in the slot and turn edge of the back rail. If this is done
l Eliminate unnecessary noise clockwise until \:ery snug. Do not with the action on the key bed, the
caused by loose action parts. overtighten. drop screws are in position to possi-
l Assure that various parts are in bly scratch the front beam (the fin-
proper relationship to each other. CORRECTING STRIPPED ished beam in front of the running
Especially important is the distance THREADS pins). Do not al& this to happen.
relationship between the center pin You’re already \vell aware of how Having taken the time to tighten
of the whippen flange ad that of to correct stripped threads in the action screws, you should now
the hammer flange. -Since the two w~~de~~ action rails. But there are have an action that is stable, noise-
parts are on different rails, and the pianos with rails ma& other than free and with parts secured in proper
whippen flange is usually adjustable, of wood. The incidence of stripped relationship to each other. This
it is imperative that the screws be threads in, for example, metal alloy important, yet commonly over-
tight to maintain this relationship action rails is very Iow. Tests con- looked, step assures a solid founda-
precisely. ducted on the metal used b\ tion for other steps in grad action
Yamaha in its rails show that it is regulation to be covered in later
HOW TIGHT SHOULD THE ten times stronger than wood for issues.
SCREWS BE? resisting stripping of threads.
Let your skill, attentiveness and If, however, you do encounter a
past experience guide you. The stripped thread in a metal action
screws should be very snug, but not rail, just replace the original screw Yamaha will
too tight. You certainly don’t need
anythjng other than the strength of
with one larger in diaieter. The
screws are self-tapping. and the only
participate in
your own wrists. tools required are properly sharp- DISKLAVIER” SERVICE
ened screwdrivers in various sizes. SEMINARS:
WHICH SCREWS NEED TO BE November 5-9
TIGHTENED’ A FEW WORDS ABOUT December 3-7
A piano has t\vo distinct classes SCREWDRIVERS
of screws, each with its own sepa- It remains a mystery why compa- PTG SEMINARS
rate purpose. nies that make screwdrivers con- November 2-4 Texas State
First, there are regdlting scree(:s. tinue to taper the blades. You wiII
NOVEMBER U PDATE
Published Monthly For Members Of The Piano Technicians Guild, Inc.
19
'91 Convention Foundation To Offer Scholarship
Theme Set The Piano Technicians Guild to Rl’l’. The winner will be
Foundation will offer a scholar- required to take either the tuning
The theme of PTG’s 1991 ship for one Associate member of or technical examination during
convention in Philadelphia, PA, the Guild to attend the PTG’s the convention.
will be “Keystone Of Better Piano 1991 Convention in Philadelphia. Scholarship application forms
Service.” The theme and other The $180 scholarship, which was will be available from chapter
convention arrangements were approved by the Foundation presidents. The president must
set during a planning meeting at Board of Directors during a also sign the application before it
the convention headquarters recent meeting in Cleveland, OH, is returned to the Home Office,
hotel, the Adam’s Mark Philadel- will cover member registration indicating that the applicant is a
phia, October 8. The planning fees and the cost of one of the member in good standing, an
committee was composed of RTT examinations. active chapter member, and has
Nolan Zeringue, PTG President.; The scholarship is designed completed the Guild written
Sharla Kistler, PTG Treasurer; to assist an Associate member examination with a goal of
Jim Birch, Northeast RVP; Ernie who is in the process of becoming becoming an RTT. The applica-
Juhn, Institute Committee a Registered Tuner-Technician, tion deadline is January 31,
Chairman; Arlene Paetow, PTG and to encourage Associate 1991.
Auxiliary President ; Ruth members to upgrade their status
Brown, Host Committee Chair;
and Larry Goldsmith and Sandy I
Essary of the Home Office Staff.
Fees will be $120 for mem- The PTG Survey:
bers before June 10, and $140 The Composition Of Your Clientele
after that date. Non-member fees
will be $170 and $190. Spouse
program fees will be $45 and $55 Carl D. Root members who tune, 46 percent of
for Auxiliary members, and $55 Chairman, Economic their tunings were for clients on
and $65 for non-members. Affairs Committee an annual schedule. The second-
The 1991 Technical Institute, How many customers do largest category is a bit of a
to be directed by Ernie Juhn, will you have in your card file? How surprise. Don’t many tuners have
include tutoring on any subject many tunings does each cus- a low turnover? Some insist that
for $60 per 1 l/2-hour session. tomer generate per year? A they are not accepting new
Here’s a summary of the 1991 technician may claim to have a customers. It turns out that 24
convention schedule: thousand names or more on file, percent of the average techni-
but what we really need to know cian’s tunings are for first-time
July 12 Council is how many active customers callers. These two categories,
July 13 Council
Exhibits open
there are. A rule of thumb is that annual and first-time, already
Opening Assembly there should be about the same account for more than two-thirds
July 14 Technical Institute number of clients as tunings per of all tunings.
Exhibits year. The theory is that many are We all have some pianos
July 15 Technical Institute annual customers, and the six- that require service three or more
Exhibits month tunings offset those who times per year, but most of us
Awards Banquet are tuned infrequently. have very few of these customers.
July 16 Technical Institute
Exhibits How does this rule of thumb Eight percent is the average
July 17 Technical Institute stand up to actual data? The figure for tunings produced per
Closing Luncheon PTG survey reveals that among Continued on next page

November 1990 - 2XJl


The PTG Survey:
year. (Statistical error is an important factor when Customers Tunings
the percent response to a question is quite low, as is First-time 105 21% 105
the case with three-plus tunings. This is com- Infrequent 45 3% 15
pounded by the fact that few technicians keep Annual 235 47% 235
records on the composition of their clientele.) Six-month 50 20% 100
We don’t have figures for infrequent tunings or Three-plus 15 9% 45
six-month customers, but you can see by adding Totals 450 100% 500
three-times-per-year customers that about three-
quarters of your tuning load is now accounted for. The rule of thumb is valid (See Graph #l). In
Even if we arbitrarily decide that pianos tuned this example, 450 clients will produce 500 tunings.
infrequently account for only five percent of your Should we expect a technician with more three-
work, that leaves you with less than 20 percent plus tunings to have a higher income? Remember
which are tuned twice a year. That doesn’t mean that the average income for all respondents was
that 20 percent of your piano owners are on a six- $21,300 (See Graph 2).
month schedule. Remember they each provide two
tunings per year, so half as many customers are 3+ Tunings Zncome Respondents
needed to fill that slot. 20% $27,100 146
We are left with a surprising statistic. The six- 5-19% 23,000 328
month customer, supposedly the backbone of a piano l-4% 18,200 978
technician’s business and the focus of manufacturers’
recommendations, comprises only about 10 percent
of a typical clientele.
These numbers include all tuners. What hap- Graph 2: Income / 3+ lImings
pens to the statistics if we limit our sample to
established tuners who tuned 500 or more pianos uo.~ - . rlao
last year? The figures change only slightly. Annual ..ow
tunings increase from 46 percent to 47 percent, first- 125.m.I ..ooo
time calls decrease from 24 percent to 21 percent szo.ooo
.. -.lQo
..600
and three-plus times a year increase from eight 115,ooo . . -500
percent to nine percent. -.400
To test the rule of thumb, let’s find out how t10.000
.. ..340
many clients are needed to produce 500 tunings s5.ow
.. -200
. . 1M)
according to the breakdown described above? (Infre-
504 r
quent tunings are arbitrarily set at three percent to 5.19% 14%
keep six-months tunings at 20 percent.)
la;-1 O

Graph 1: Clients Needed To Produce 500 Rmings


Tunings
Customers

15 45 Pw

100 (20%)

45
235

235 (47%)

22/u2 - November 1990


The Composition of Your Clientele
No mystery here. With more
experience comes more of all Graph 3: First-It’me Calls
kinds of clients, including the
more desirable ones that produce Tunings
more tuning fees per year. I - sz5,ooo
suspected that discounts might
erode earnings in this group, but 1: -- ,/.\rn.., -.z
the income provided by that
400 --
segment is too small to have I --s15mQ
much effect. This is a good 300 --
example of a strong correlation
-- Slmo
where a cause-and-effect rela- 200 --
tionship is unlikely. Notice also
that the vast majority of mem- 100 -- -- wm
bers have only one to four per-
0, 23Years , 21Yean , 19Yean , 16Yeafs , 1lYeafs. #1
cent three-plus tunings, where
the average figure is.eight l-4% 53% lo-19% 20-39% 40+%
percent. This suggests that most piisiiq
technicians may have 12 percent
six-month customers rather than
10 percent.
Every technician ought to
know about the role of first-time Graph 4: Time I Experience I Fee
calls in his or her business. I’ve
added years’ experience and Yeats
number of tunings as variables. 20 -
Here’s the data (See Graph 3): 10 --
16 --
Percent Of Income !lhings Years
!Zhings 14 --
l-4% $19,600 366 23 12 --
5-94 23,600 487 21
lo-- .
10-194 22,000 515 19
20-394 20,400 455 16 a --
40+% 14,700 316 11 6 --
. .
4 --
The category with the
2 --
lowest income and the highest
0,
percent of new customers has the
fewest tunings and noticeably
Minutes: 45-59 60-74 75-89 Xl-119

less experience. The technician 0 Experience(Yean) -m-Fee(Dollars)


we wrote about last month who
asked about the time it takes to
get established in his business
should take note. At the other The group with the largest of conversion to regular status
end of the spectrum are techni- income had less than 10 percent was still better than 50 percent.
cians with the most experience first-time calls. I recently re- New clients are important
who accept very few new custom- viewed my tunings for 1988, I to me, even though they only
ers. Their income and number of checked first-time calls to see represent 12 percent of my
tunings is also lower than aver- how many continued with service workload each year. They make
age, no doubt because of the into 1989 and 1990. I hoped for a up for people who drop out, but
number of retirees and second- 50/50 split, but found, to my also are important because they
career part-time technicians delight, that two out of three improve the quality of my clien-
It is clear that some new continued as regular customers. tele. Quality means different
clients are needed to compensate Some of them produced only things to different technicians. I
for normal attrition, but they another appointment or two am interested in getting rid of
should be kept to a minimum. before dropping out, but the rate Continued on next page

November 1990-22W3
The PTG Survey:
poorly designed mini-pianos and may not. If this extra work is and income. It is obvious that the
old Trasch & Junkett uprights being done without charging for number of tunings per day is
and replacing them with fine the additional time, it must be limited by how long it takes you
musical instruments. But I am assumed that some technicians to service each one. The question
not willing to reduce my profita- do some work for their own is, do you have the additional
bility. Travel time and schedul- satisfaction rather than as an clients and interest to do the
ing are the crimary determining integral part of earning a living. additional work?
factors. A spinet 15 minutes Taking more time would seem to There is a way to reduce
away stays in my clientele. A have little effect on income, since time spent without compromising
grand 45 minutes away that can the average technician works less quality of results. It involves
be tuned only on alternate than 40 hours per week. You making a distinction between
Thursdays gets referred to simply end up with a longer putting a piano in tune and
another technician. Most profes- workday. However, the data does keeping it in tune. I’m trying to
sionals should make every effort in fact show a clear correlation put together a clientele that will
to seek work that is close to home between time spent on a service permit me to keep the piano in
and accessible if an increase in call and annual income. tune because, first, it is techni-
profitability is important. cally satisfying, and, second, it
Another policy that will Tuning Income Tunings takes less time and is therefore
improve the quality and profita- Time Per Year more profitable. The way to do
bility of your clientele is to favor 45-59 $28,800 590 this is to decrease the number of
pianos that don’t take a long time 60-74 23,700 500 customers who have their pianos
to service. Our survey shows a 75-89 20,500 420 tuned infrequently. An effort
curious relationship between go-119 16,500 350 must be made to keep annual
time required to service a piano, 120+ 12,500 230 customers on a strict schedule.
years of experience, and average Nearly all first-time and infre-
service fee (See Graph 4). Keep in mind that the first quent calls must be reduced to a
chart shows that technicians who minimum. Rates and/or stan-
Time Experience Fee take less time also have more dards can be adjusted to compen-
45-59 19 55 experience and are likely to be sate for the condition of the
60-74 18 54 more established. Be careful not piano. (See October 1989 Jour-
75-89 18 54 to assume a cause-and-effect nal, “First Time Calls.“) Six-
go-119 15 53 relationship between tuning time month and three-plus per year
120+ 12 57
-I-

First, we notice that the


technicians with the most experi- Graph 5:
ence take less time to service a liming Time I Income I llmings Per Year
piano. What’s curious is that
those who take the least amount
Tunings
of time charge slightly more than
600
those in the average time range.
In strict business terms, 500 $25.MK)
this makes no sense. We must
recognize that as far as the basic 400 $~,~
fee is concerned, many techni-
cians are not being compensated 300 s15.@3J
for additional time spent. It may

I
200 $1 o.ooo
be that some really need more
than an hour and a half just to do 100 ss.~
an acceptable tuning. On the
other hand, some may be doing 0I so
more than just a standard tuning Time 45-59 75-89
as a matter of course. Some
customers may appreciate the
higher level of performance, some
I0 Tunings Per Year -.- Income
I

22AJ4- November 1990


The Composition Of Your Clientele
customers are valuable as long as those who work for more accom- are reprinted. A trend in recent
customers’ budgets are consistent plished musicians? I’ll crunch years has been to tone down the
with their performance require- some numbers and report my insistence that pianos be tuned
ments. findings next month. seasonally. Every six months is
For most homes, once a year A survey such as the one we common now. It would be better
really is enough from a mainte- completed in April of last year is still to avoid recommending a
nance standpoint. The piano will best used as a constructive specific time interval.
be close enough to pitch to do a influence on action to be taken by 2. All personal recommenda-
good job without spending an the organization and its mem- tions and promotional literature,
inordinant amount of time. bers. My interpretation of the in the form of pamphlets de-
Installing climate-control sys- data that pertains to frequency of signed by PTG or by individual
tems is as much for your benefit tunings leads me to the following technicians, should recognize the
as theirs in this regard. Twice-a- conclusions: validity of annual tunings as part
year tunings are really for the 1. Manufacturers should of an array of scheduling choices
benefit of people who play and recognize that in making recom- available to the piano owner.
listen rather than for the benefit mendations for service, annual We all know that how often
of the piano. tunings are sufficient from a a piano is tuned depends on
Although six-month custom- maintenance standpoint after the climate, heating and cooling
ers are important, we must first year for many customers, habits, age and type of piano,
recognize that annual customers even though the piano may not budget, and the player’s musical
are the backbone of a piano sound its best during all four requirements. Each technician
service business. Unfortunately, seasons. should take a personal interest in
12 months becomes 15 months, PIG’s popular pamphlet the needs of the customer and his
becomes a year-and-a-half and “How Often Should My Piano Be piano rather than succumbing to
two winters, and now we’re Tuned” quotes representatives of a simplistic one-size-fits-all
spending the additional time to piano manufacturers that con- approach. The result will be a
put it in tune instead of keeping tain their recommendations for higher measure of credibility
it in tune. There’s only one way service. These quotes are occa- which is essential to the growth
to minimize the negative affects sionally updated when pamphlets of any business.
of this scenario. You must take
the responsibility for contacting
the customer. You can pre-
schedule, mail reminder cards, or
‘91 Dues Invoices Ready For Mailing
get on the telephone. Why, then,
does the PTG survey clearly show The Guild’s annual dues renewing their memberships
that the most common schedul- collection process will begin in must contact their Regional Vice
ing method is waiting for the November, when invoices for President to make special ar-
phone to ring? I would like to 1991 dues will be mailed to the rangements before the drop date
think that those who wait for organization’s more than 3,700 - no late payments will be
.phone calls work for musicians members. allowed without prior arrange-
who are so discriminating that Many members’ invoices ments. Registered Tuner-Techni-
their ears will alert them before also will include their 1991 cians who allow their member-
any extra tuning work becomes chapter dues. A total of 87 ships to lapse may be required to
necessary. But the survey also chapters have arranged to have retake part or all of the Guild
shows that most of us tune more their dues collected by the Home examinations before rejoining the
for children taking lessons than Office in amounts ranging from organization in their former
for any other group. Children and $8 to $60. classification.
their parents are not known for Dues will officially be due Members should pay close
being conscientious about timely January 1. They will be delin- attention to their addresses and
piano care. quent on January 31, and those telephone numbers printed on
Do technicians who make whose dues remain unpaid on the dues invoice. Unless cor-
phone calls earn more money March 4 will be dropped from the rected, that information will be
than those who wait? Do techni- membership roster. Those who used to compile the Guild’s 1991
cians who service pianos played are prevented by hardship or membership directory, scheduled
by students fare better than other special circumstances from for publication in April.

November 1990-22KJ5
Focus On Ethics: Selling The Guild
Francis Hollingsworth way, we can inform the potential
Code Of Ethics customer that there is an organi-
Committee Chairman zation dedicated to the better-
Imagine, if you will, another ment of the piano service indus-
To The Soundboard: tuner has been contacted to give try and that as a member, we
I would like to congratulate an estimate on a potential have the opportunity to go to
all of the people who put together client’s piano and you know that classes at conventions and
the questionnaire in our recent he or she does poor work. Do you: seminars that cover every phase
poll. I’m convinced that question- a. keep your mouth shut (the of piano work - from tuning, to
naires that are filled out and idea being that if you can’t repairing and even to complete
returned are the very best way to say anything nice, don’t say rebuilding. We can meet and talk
get very important information anything at all), with representatives of all the
that we can all use. It seems to b. warn the potential customer major manufacturers and can
me the single most important that they might be throwing keep abreast of all the latest
area of information in our profes- their money away, or technology.
sion is an area that has been c. tell the potential customer of course, not all PTG
ignored for far too long, and may about PTG, explain the Code members themselves are above-
at last be allowed to take its of Ethics and explain that board. There are always a few
rightful place. Of course, I am you are a craftsman member rotten apples in every barrel. We
talking about the business of and can be expected to follow know that, but the emphasis has
piano technology. After nearly 40 through on your work, supply to be on the positive. If we are to
years as a practicing piano references, show previously educate the customer, we tell
technician, I am well aware of at completed work, etc. them of the ideals and the
least my ignorance as to what is If we reread the Code of opportunities that are available
being done in our profession. I Ethics, we know we can’t run the to every member. For the most
would like to know to what level other tuner down nor warn the part, we don’t have to have any
our profession is supporting its customer that they will be qualms about “selling” the Guild.
practitioners and.what we have getting inferior work. Still, we I realize that this kind of
to look to in the future. I hope should keep the best interest of situation calls upon our ability as
this is just the first of at least a the client in mind and be fair in a salesperson, but it is a skill
few more information-gathering what we say. This is a wonderful that we need to sharpen and
efforts. opportunity to “sell” the Piano keep in our tool kits.
Johnny Blackwell Technicians Guild. In a tactful

In Memory... Operating Room Nurses.


John had a great tenor voice Membership
John Hutton which he displayed for the Dallas Status
John Edward Hutton passed Chapter at our Annual Christ- Northeast Region ............ .840
away on Saturday, September 9, mas Party. His love for music led Northeast R'ITs ............... .538
1990, in Fort Worth, Texas. John him to become an excellent piano Southeast Region ............ .602
had been ill for nearly two years tuner/technician. He joined the Southeast R'ITs ............... .392
and received experimental Dallas Chapter in 1977, and later South Central Region .... ..32 9
treatments in San Antonio for his became an RTT. South Central RTTs ........ .214
illness. He was born on June 13, John was well-loved and Central East Region.. ...,...64 4
1926, in Nacogdoches, Texas. highly respected in the Dallas Central East RTTs .......... .403
A retired R.N. from the Air area. He was very active in the Central West Region ....... .374
Force, including time served in Boy Scouts and as Elder in the Central West R’M’s .......... 253
Vietnam, John spent 20 years Rockwood Christian Church in Western Region ............... .617
helping other veterans recover Fort Worth. He will surely be Western RTTs ................. .402
from their wounds and ills. ARer missed. Pacific NW Region.. ......... .351
the Air Force he went on staff at John is survived by his wife Pacific NW R’ITs ............. .236
Harris Methodist Hospital in Gerry and four children John, Total Membership ......... .3684
Fort Worth. There he became a Jr., Aaron Lee, Cheryle, and Total R’ITs ..................... .2438
member of the Association of Thomas.

2!YU6- November 1990


Progress Is Not Made By Contented People
Webb Phillips, Chairman, some kind of activity, and inter- your RVP, working together, will
Chapter Management and est in our CMAC reports. The RD surely stimulate more and
Achievement Committee should be in constant contact greater chapter efforts for ex-
Every year at the interna- with he RVP regarding strengths panded goals and chapter recog-
tional convention I’m asked by and weaknesses of a chapter. nition. Your current regional
several persons, “How can our For officers - we try to director is a person with a feeling
chapter win an award?” My reply encourage them to use the new of responsibility and importance,
is, “It’s easy -just send in all chapter management manual and an enthused significant figure
your CMAC reports.” This is the new business meeting films who is a valuable asset to this
partially true, but there is a little for guidance, not only in conduct- organization. Our current re-
more to it. ing meetings, but in projects gional directors play a much
First let me explain how the regarding all Guild planning. bigger role than having their
committee is set up, how it These will help any officer who is names appear on a list. I feel we
functions, and some if its presiding over a business meet- have an outstanding committee
charges. There is a regional ing, or in any other capacity. of outstanding people with
director for each of the seven We encourage officers and mutual interests, dedicated to
regions, and a national chairman the entire board to study all the growth and improvement of
to direct and coordinate all the three of our new chapter busi- the Guild. Please help them to
efforts at the national level. ness meeting films. These are help you.
(Your directors are: Northeast- extremely educational, for both To determine the winners of
Ruth Brown; Southeast-Lewis the business and technical the various awards we do have a
Spivey; Central East-Bob aspects. master score card with a value on
Russell, Jr.; South Central- What ideally follows from the various bits of information
Leonard Childs; Central West- this is more research and support collected from your monthly
Paul Olseq Pacific Northwest- in the form of ideas for better CMAC reports; however, each RD
Mike Reiter; Western-Patty business and technical meetings. can set up his or her own system
Biasca. The national chairman is Using the CMAC reports and or deviate from the norm to
Webb Phillips. I think the most newsletters, each RD will sum- customize for their own area’s
significant change we have made marize the reporting chapters’ needs. I will give you an example
in the last four years is allowing activities at the end of the year. of the value in points of some of
each regional director to be not They report their selection to the the items on your CMAC report.
only responsible to the chair but chairman. The chairman then Projects - large and small -
mainly to their own region. measures each RD’s report each project evaluated on: First,
Instead of the chairperson alone against all the other regions to its worth to the Guild, then its
being recognized as the stimula- determine who the recipients of value to the chapter. Any number
tor, motivator, collector of mate- the various awards will be. The of points could be given.
rial, and decision maker, much of awards presentations are what l Did you have a meeting? - 1
this now is the responsibility of we all look forward to at our point.
the regional directors. annual international banquet. l New CTE - 5 points.
The first responsibility of a These awards are earned by l CTE in training - 2 points
regional director is to communi- chapters which have developed a (credit for one year only).
cate with all chapters in his or positive attitude, and have built l Did you have a technical? -
her region, to educe a response in a great belief in themselves and 1 point.
any manner possible - prefera- their capabilities. They receive l Did you give a detailed report
bly via the monthly CMAC recognition for their good work, on the person giving the pres-
report. If your area has specific leadership, goal setting and entation? - 20 points.
problems, your regional director upgrading their level of achieve- l New applicants - 3 points.
can customize his or her basic ment. l The names and addresses
assignments to fit your area’s Needless to say, none of this that can be added to home
needs. could easily be determined ofice and regional mailing
If there is a stagnant chapter without the CMAC reports or lists of guests and non-mem-
in your area, it is the RD’s job to newsletters. Participation with bers - 5 points each.
try to communicate with inter- your regional CMAC director and This is only a sample of the
ested persons in that chapter, chairman is the only way for your scoring items and points credited
contact the RVP, and try to find chapter to win an award. for each. We are in need of any
out what is needed to stimulate Your regional director and and all kinds of information that

November 1990- 22/LJ7


CMAC... RTT Receives
you can give us. We need to know the Guild. Fullbright Grant
about your public relations, Virtually everyone has far
teacher programs, photos, who more potential for achievement Ramon Ramirez, RTI’, piano
has a new shop, your social than they ever use. When they technician at the University of
functions, anything you are use their hidden resources, the Texas in Austin, has received a
proud of and would like to share result can be amazing. We all Fullbright grant to present
with the rest of the Guild. Any- develop a more positive attitude lectures in Mexico from August
thing you share means points, as we build greater belief in 1990 through March 1991,
and in some cases there will be ourselves, in our own capabilities probably the first time a
many more points than you see and our own potential for Fullbright Lecturing Award has
listed above. achievement. been given to a piano technician.
Because there is getting to be I’m sure that 99 percent of Ramirez will present semi-
a great deal more competition our members are aware that nars and master classes in piano
every year we had to add another many, many of us spend several technology and tuning at the
category this year. The number hours each week to help all reach Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico
of members in each is as follows: various Guild goals, but it sorta City and at other Mexican
Bantam, l-11; Small, 12-18; knocks the hell out of the enthu- institutions yet to be determined.
Medium, 19-25; Intermediate, 26- siasm to hear of someone who A member of the Austin
41; Large, 42+. There are four can’t take a few minutes a month Chapter, Ramirez came to his
awards for each category - 20 to fill out a report to help us to present position at UT Austin in
awards in all. help them. 1987 after having held similar
Our charge is to develop good Our greatest asset is each positions at the University of
programs to help chapter officers other and our ability to rise to Illinois and Ithaca College in
gain management ideas. This the occasion, and share all New York.
challenge is not an easy task, but information. Remember, progress He received a master of
it is exciting and gratifying to is not made by idle or contented music degree in piano technology
know there are many chapters in people. But with team effort, from Michigan State University,
our organization which respond. there is no end. the first to receive that degree
These people are the backbone of from an American university.

Dates & Deadlines January S-6.1991


RTT Tuning and Technical Exams.
March 25.1991
RlT fining and Technical Exams.
Southern California Area Examining Skyline College, San Bruno, CA.
November 16, 1966 Board. Contact: Carl Lieberman (213) Application deadline: February 25, 1991.
Deadline for committee reports for 392-2771 Contact: Neil Panton, 5 Cedar Court,
January Board meeting. Menlow Park, CA 95025 (415) 8548038
RTT Tuning and Technical Exams. Pug&
November 17,1996 Sound Chapter Test Center, Tacoma, April 6.1991
RlT Tuning and Technical Exams. WA; Application deadline January 10, RlT Tuning and Technical Exams.
Austin Chapter Test Center. Application 1991. Contact: Wayne Matley, 2502 Austin Chapter Test Center. Application
deadline: October 17, 1990. Contact: Bill Harmony Lane, Enumclaw, WA 98022 deadline: March 6, 1991. Contact: Bill
Cory; 711 Landon Lane; Austin, TX (206) 825-6921 Cory; 711 Landon Lane; Austin, TX
78705 (512) 472-9358 78705 (512) 472-9358
January 31,199l
November 24 - 25.1996 1991 dues delinquent. July 13-17, 1991
Rll’ fining and Technical Examina- 34th International Pn: Convention &
tions. Area Examining Board. Gladsboro February 1,1998 Technical Institute. Philadelphia, PA,
College, Glad&m, NJ Contact: Hilbert Deadline for nominations for 1991-92 Contact: Home Office; 4510 Belleview,
Felton (215) 482-2000 officers due to Nominating Committee Suite 100; Kansas City, MO 64111(816)
Chair. 753-7747
December 17,19&I Deadline for amendments proposed for
Rll’ fining and Technical Exams. 1991 Council to be submitted to Bylaws October 11.13,199l
Skyline College, San Bruno, CA. Committee Chair. RTl’ flrning and Technical Exams. Texas
Application deadline: November 17, 1990. State Seminar -Austin Chapter Test
Contact: Neil Panton, 5 Cedar Court, March 1,199l Center. Application deadline: September
Menlow Park, CA 95025 (415) 854-8038 Deadline for committee reports for 11, 1991. Contact: Bill Cory, 711 Landon
inclusion in 1991 Council agenda book. Lane; Austin, TX 78705 (512) 472-9358.
January 1,199l
1991 dues due. March 4,199l
Members delinquent on 1991 dues to be
dropped from roster.

22KJ8 - November 1990