Zorba's "Secret" Piano Page
The beast is tuned at last! HURRAY! Just a couple of pix, and a LOT of news...
25 January 2006
Can't see it too well in this photo, but...
This one shows clearly what may, or may not be a harbinger of trouble!
The above photos show that the pin-block *may* be coming loose from the back-frame. Even if it is, it may or may not be a problem - if it is, I know how to repair it. It appears that the pin-block is pushing up the wood plank on the top.
Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?
The news is mostly good. The tuner, a very nice gentleman who calls himself "PianoSmith" (as his last name is Smith) took the time to discuss the entire instrument with me. I'll forgive him for wearing a necktie!
Ok, I learned that:
- Most pianos go about 80 years before needing major work
- This one is in remarkable shape even though its 88 years old
- Most uprights this age aren't worth working on - but this one is!
- The tuning pins are reasonably tight - not like a new piano of course, but tight enough.
- It was better than 150 cents flat across the board (100 cents = 1 semitone).
- This means it probably hadn't been tuned in 40 or 50 years!
- The hammers need voicing/sanding down (I already knew that).
- The keys need to be rebushed similar to the one I did on August 21.
- Virtually all the hammers are nice and tight, but a few are slightly loose.
- Much to our mutual surprise, no strings broke while bringing the instrument up to pitch!
- He discussed with me my errors in forming the beckets when I installed the new strings. I'll see if I do better if/when I need to do that again!
- It needs regulation - but I knew that. He was kind enough to discuss the various aspects of same.
- It might sound better with a new set of bass strings. I'm sure he's right, but my unsophisticated ear can't tell the difference - at least not at this point.
It now sounds so very much better, he really brought the music out in it. Says it is a very nice instrument, not just a "Piano Shaped Object" (PSO). We'll now wait 6 months and retune, at which point it should be reasonably stable. If its 100 cents flat again at six months, then the pin-block IS a problem and I'll have to fix it.
So with this relatively good news, I think I'll dub it the "FaziSteinDorfer"!
So now I have an entire new list of stuff to do to it, but probably won't do too much until we find out about the pin-block. If that needs fixing, I'll have to get that under control before worrying about anything else, otherwise it just won't stay in tune and won't be worth much. But the good news is that I'm pretty sure its fairly easy to fix if I remember my reading correctly. Time consuming yes, but relatively easy. Doing so would involve dropping tension on the entire instrument, with the attendant hassles, but "whatcha gonna do?".
I also plan to have him voice/reshape the hammers - that's too touchy a job for an amateur like me. I asked him if it'd be better to replace them - but he said no, the hammers are in good enough condition to simply reshape.