Blogs

Tuning Hammer Technique

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The following posts on hammer technique come from a very long thread on Pianotech in early 2014, entitled “What’s the Secret to going faster” (Somebody posed that question, and the thread evolved into use of an ETD and hammer technique). From that thread, I have selected mostly posts by David Love and myself, describing what we do in great detail – we are pretty much in agreement. The full thread is at http://my.ptg.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=43&MID=634052&CommunityKey=6265a40b-9fd2-4152-a628-bd7c7d770cbf&tab=digestviewer - bm104 There was a shorter follow-up thread at http://my.ptg.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=43&MID=634268&CommunityKey=6265a40b-9fd2-4152-a628-bd7c7d770cbf&tab=digestviewer...
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Hurricanes and pianos

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Wim, I'm hearing on the evening news there's a hurricane heading your way. After it blows over and you come out of your cubby hole, be sure to give us a full report on "Hurricanes & Pianos." Roger
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Verdigris

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About 6 months ago I used, as an experiment, a common chemical sold as "Break Cleaner"* on a set of Steinway flanges for cleaning verdigris. I removed the pinning and vigorously sprayed the flanges using the tube supplied with the can -- about 3 cans for 88 flanges. These flanges are still in good condition. Has anybody used this product with long term success? * Sold at auto supply companies as break cleaner. The ingredients listed are: Methyl Chloroform 71-55--6, Tetrachloroethylene127-18-4 I believe this is commonly known as carbon tetrachloride. Roger Gable
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I attended a workshop recently that at first glance sounded like it might be a bit boring. The title included "Bloom's Taxonomy" - something near and dear to the hearts of education professionals - and a topic that can be done many ways. In this case, the presenter really practiced what she preached. Her goal was to impress on us the value of breaking training into small segments called micro learning and she did just that during her 45-minute talk. There is lots of research out there that confirms an important truth for educators. What people remember the most is what they learn through experience. Whether it's on the job, or in a more formal learning...
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Grand Piano case rails

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I have an information blind spot. What is the purpose of the two long rails attached to the flat side of the case on large grand pianos? Steinway, Baldwin and Bosendorfer frequently installed these. I originally thought they were used instead of skid boards for moving, but they seem to be too impractical for that purpose. Roger Gable
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I've been reading and learning a lot lately about how to maximize workplace learning. The question is how to effectively train people in the skills and knowledge they need to perform well at their jobs. So many training factors affect the outcomes: time, location, content, methods, audience readiness, follow-up, technology, etc. I really like the problem-solving approach to presenting new knowledge and skills. The instructor has to put a little thought and planning into organizing the setting so that learners have what they need to discover the answer, but I've found that the retention rate is higher and students more able to apply what they learned to...
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Grand Piano Bass leg

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A customer has a Ridgewood grand piano with a damaged bass leg. The leg was damaged in a move. The Ridgewood piano is no longer being made. It appears that I'm going to have to find someone to custom reproduce this leg. Does anyone have a suggestion?
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2015 Denver Technical Institute instructors will be working on their classes and presentations throughout the coming months. One of the most frequent audio-visual requests is for a projector. I bet you can remember the best - and the worst - PowerPoint presentations you've ever seen. A great visual presentation conveys information to the group in a way that holds their attention. It enhances a lecture, emphasizes key points and accommodates different learning styles. Below are some tips for developing and using PowerPoint (or any visual slides) to maximize learning in your class. Contact me at kathy@ptg.org if you need more ideas. Font and Size -...
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The Journal

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Sure miss the Tips Tools & Techniques. Was one of the first things I looked at when I received Journal the past 35 plus years, if the TT&T section goes back that far. And thanks to Yamaha for remembering the season on the back cover. Don Bee, RPT
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How Am I Doing?

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How did your class go? Ever have someone ask you that? It's a meaningful question whether you were in the class as the instructor, or as a student. Sometimes it is hard to answer from an instructor viewpoint. If the class was short in length like a workshop or many of the classes we have at our convention institutes, regional conferences, or even at the chapter level, you haven't had time to work in a formal student assessment activity. Below are a couple of ideas you can easily incorporate into your next teaching opportunity. They not only give you a chance to see how well students are processing the information you are presenting, but also help you...
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Plate Refinishing

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Does anybody have a recommendation for cleaning and prepping a plate for refinishing? We normally use naptha and have few problems. I have a plate in the shop with terrible fish-eyes. We have used Naptha... Lacquer thinner... and Acetone. Nothing seems to work. We are using the canned lacquer from the supply houses. I realize we can use fish-eye killer mixed in with premixed lacquer but I don't have any premixed at this time. Just hoping for a quick fix since we are using spray cans. Thanks for your help!
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I have studied Lehman's theory very thoroughly, and have concluded that it is essentially analogous to the book The Da Vinci Code: it has enough historical speculation to appear plausible, but it is pure and simple fantasy. Let us start by stating Lehman's claims. According to Lehman: 1) The decorative design on the title page of the Well-Tempered Clavier is, in fact, a tuning diagram. 2) That diagram should be interpreted in a certain way, the way that Bradley Lehman has set out in an article in Early Music and on his web site. There are some related arguments/hypotheses that bear strongly on Lehman's claims. 1) Lehman believes...
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We've all clicked on a website link that takes us to a one-page, bare-bones company site that contains little more than name, address and phone number. What a shame! Sometimes we get something you might describe as a "brochure" site that was probably designed to look a lot like the company brochure. It might be informative if you are just trying to find the company contact info, or a general idea if this company provides the services or product you need. Instead, how about thinking of your website as a chance to educate and inform, advocate and champion, or promote and showcase? Years ago, my husband and I were interested in selling handmade toys and...
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Hi, Just wondering if any one has found any florescent ceiling lights suitable for a practice room and studio that don't buzz or if anyone knows how to get them to stop buzzing. The trombone studio had the ceiling lights removed and in most rooms one note or another will start the light fixture to buzz. Would like a solution before the school adds a new wing.
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I have a customer of mine who is an older lady.. She had a technician come out a year ago to replace the keytops on her 1920's Steinway M.. He took the keys, keyframe, and her money, and left the action!! It's been over a year now and the tech is nowhere to be found.. So now here I am trying to find a used keyframe with keys. My customer is on a fixed income with really not much money to work with.. I'm doing this just to help her out and prove that not every piano technician is a bad person out to screw people over!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Please call/email anytime. Thanks, John klavierquest@gmail.com (216)308-5854
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Hello, I'm new to PTC and read with interest your temporary setup for repairing a soundboard. Can I assume the ribs have detached from the spruce board or there are serious cracks in the board? I have a Gordon Laughead (furniture store/mail order piano from the 60s) that has detached ribs that have been reglued by previous techs in an attempt to reconnect the ribs to the board to prevent vibrations in the C3 range. What have your discovered to date? Thanks for your photo. I give me some ideas. Roger from Northern VA
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The most common class length at most conferences and conventions is ninety minutes. Whether you call it a workshop, a session, a breakout or a class, that's not a lot of time to cover a subject in much depth. By the time everyone gets settled and you make it through the instructor and workshop introduction, you're 10 minutes into your hour-and-a-half. There's still a lot to cover. Some presenters believe in the "speed lecture" method. I've been a victim in these type of classes where the instructor talks as fast as they possible can while flipping through slides at the speed of light. I'm a note-taker, so I've probably shut down about 30 minutes in out of...
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On my way

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After all the years my family and I put into practicing the piano, I felt it was time to begin learning how to fix the instrument that I watched my tuner do before. I love it! I look forward to meeting so many of you and grow as a piano technician; we are a very special breed.
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Every parent and educator is probably familiar with the term "teachable moment." WiseGEEK.com defines it as "a time when a child (or an adult) seems most receptive to learning something." You can rarely plan for it, but the things learned in this type of setting can have the biggest impact on understanding and retention. As you and your child are driving to the store, your child asks you how long it will be till their next birthday. You turn that into an opportunity to learn the names and order of the months of the year. If the trip is long enough, you can even squeeze in the rhyme that helps us remember how many days are in each month. On a larger scale,...
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Today I had a customer ask me to tune his piano to "256 cps", but he didn't know which note he was referring to. I presumed he meant C4 because that is the closest note (when tuned to standard pitch) to his 256cps request. Because I tune aurally and only have a strobe tuner (with only a cents vernier scale) for pitch raises I don't have any way to determine how many cents C4 -256 is deviated from standard A-440. I don't do historical tunings. Does anybody know if this is a "standard" historical pitch? Roger Gable
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