Here’s part 2 in my list of tips for efficiency in tuning. After posting the first tip, I had quite a few technicians comment, both publicly and privately, and add their tips for efficiency. Hey, this was supposed to be my list ... (clear throat and act offended)... Just kidding! I appreciate all the input, and can always learn something new. My goal through posting these tips along is so everyone can benefit.
Most of the comments I received had something to do with the tuning lever, so that’s what this week’s tips will be about.
Tip 2: Use an efficient tuning lever.
What is an efficient tuning lever? By my definition, an efficient tuning lever is one that allows the technician to feel even the minutest of pin movements, tune quickly, and set stable pins.
One thing that contributes to efficiency in tuning is the feel of the pin. As a rule, the heavier the lever is, the harder it is to feel tiny pin movements. Using a light weight lever is good, as long as it follows the next point: stiffness.
Without stiffness in the lever the tuner tends to overshoot the correct amount of overpull. A lot. Generally, stiffness should be chosen over weight considerations, as it will allow the tuner to do a more stable tuning, because the pin has to be moved less. However, the heavier the lever, the slower one can move while tuning, which means less efficiency.
The ideal lever seems to be one of carbon fiber, at least by today’s standards. Going backwards in time, the ideal lever was made of aluminum, and before that steel. Each got progressively stiffer, as well as lighter. It’s not that one can’t do a good tuning with a traditional style extension lever; it’s simply not as efficient as an aluminum or carbon fiber lever.
While we’re on the subject, one thing that will allow greater tuning efficiency is using a ball style handle. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a ball handle is that it is more ergonomic, more natural, to the human hand. This can save a lot of joint problems down the road.
When combined with a light weight lever, a ball handle also provides some weight in the end. This can be especially useful when tuning uprights, as one small movement moves the tip off of one pin and onto the next. This tends to save around 10 minutes a tuning.
Alright, that’s enough tips for one week! I’d encourage you to really think about the lever that you use on a regular basis. If it’s not the most efficient, consider upgrading. ( keyword there is consider. Don’t go out and buy one today... maybe wait until next week’s tips... hint, hint) Generally speaking, you should buy the lightest, stiffest tuning hammer you can afford. However, beware! Not all carbon fiber tuning hammers are created equal, as will be discussed in next weeks tips, “tips, heads, and [ ?????], oh my!”
(You don’t really expect me to give it all away, do you?)