Harpsichord

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1979 Zuckerkit

  • 1.  1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-08-2021 08:24
    When my COVID vaccinations are completed I'll go visit this instrument.
    That lifted stretcher, gap at the end of the jack rail and apparent angle of the wrest plank at the bass bode ill, I think.
    Colleagues' thoughts?

    DSC_0741.JPG

    DSC_0743.JPG

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 2.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-08-2021 13:41
    I'm going to guess the stretcher is glued to the wrest plank, which has pulled loose from the liner, rotating upward. That would account for what we see.

    I have successfully pulled a couple wrest planks back, running long bolts through them and the liner (I'm thinking there is another word. Shelf?): Lower tension, clamp to close gap, drill, remove clamps, insert glue, clamp and tighten bolts. Requires long (12" or more) bit. It is analogous to doing the same on an upright piano. [Clamp before drilling so as not to get wood chips in the gap.] 
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity, and there is no cure for curiosity." Dorothy Parker






  • 3.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-09-2021 15:57
    Fred-
    That's my guess as well.
    Not an innately complicated repair if the structure below is sound.
    If there are deeper structural problems I'll probably recommend sending it to the Zuckermann shop.
    Since the pins are becket-less, loosening the tension will probably loosen the coils and require re-stringing, not the worst case if these are 1979 strings.
    The owner recently adopted the harpsichord as a memento of her late grandmother.
    I don't know yet if there's real interest in it as a musical instrument.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 4.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-09-2021 20:12
    Yes, those becketless pins. If the pins were actually tapered gradually along their length (rather than too fast the bottom 1/4), and slightly roughened rather than polished, one might put up with the authenticity. The small diameter has much to say for itself if those other factors are in place. 

    As executed, though (at least in those early years of the 70s and 80s), my approach has been to drill out and replace with zither pins. Tapping in the pin has negligible effect, you have to be pressing firmly down at all times while tuning, and if you don't, POW, the pin unwinds and the wire is no longer attached. At least that was my (fortunately limited) experience with them. 

    Otherwise, not a bad design. I have a rental Flemish that has served a large portion of the continuo needs of NM for maybe three decades.






  • 5.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-09-2021 20:20
    For this family, zither pins could be a good adaptation.
    I've done several instruments with those Zuckermann pins, and am not eager to do another with three registers.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 6.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-10-2021 20:38
    Ed,

    When you get the opportunity to have a look at this harpsichord, check for cheek disease. I do not know if cheek disease would cause this particular problem but it cannot hurt to check.

    Regarding the wrest pins, Willard Martin used to have pins made by a company in Germany. These pins had the old style top but, they had a beckett hole, were straight and had threads. I tried to get information from Willard about his supplier but he did not want to give me the name for some reason. Ithaca College had a harpsichord with the becketless tapered pins and strings broke regularly on it. I wanted to replace the pins with the type Willard used. They really were nice pins.

    Best,
    Don

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    [Don] [McKechnie,] [RPT]
    [Piano Technician]
    [dmckech@ithaca.edu]
    [Home 607.277.7112]
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  • 7.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-11-2021 10:52
    Marc Vogel carries oblong head pins with becket holes and threads, both cylindrical and tapered (cone).

    I punched and drilled several Zuckermann pins for when a string would break, to speed things up (concert emergency and the like). Not easy, but doable.
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    www.artoftuning.com
    "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey






  • 8.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Posted 03-11-2021 13:13
    In Ed Kottick's book he tells how to drill holes in those beckless pins. I don't have the book handy, or I'd type it in. Basically you
    use a piece of wood for the base. Lay a beckless pin down flat and pound the impression into the board. (Any solid scap should do, huh?) ...one that will take an impression. Now you have a cradle to secure
    all your pins. Drill out the holdes with a small drill bit. You may need some metal cutting oil since the bits are quite small you'll want to use.

    Or check out Ed's book on tips on that.
    and many more things. Ed built a lot of
    Zuckerman harpsichords, so you could also
    give him a call about the other issues.

    He's still in Iowa City.
    R

    --
     Richard Adkins 
     Keyboard Tuning and Maintenance
     Curator of Instruments 
             
    Notice:
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  • 9.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-11-2021 16:22
    Thanks Fred,

    I searched the Vogel site yesterday before posting but those pins did not show up on my search. I am very happy to see they have them should the opportunity arise for replacing becketless, tapered pins somewhere down the road.  I got pretty good at replacing strings without the becket hole but, the real issue for me has always been the smooth tapered pin. I know how builders want to follow original design but some times a little innovation without too much compromise is a good thing. Those Vogel pins are a good compromise.

    Best,
    Don

    ------------------------------
    [Don] [McKechnie,] [RPT]
    [Piano Technician]
    [dmckech@ithaca.edu]
    [Home 607.277.7112]
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-11-2021 13:20
    A major challenge is to get a good center punch impression, well placed and positive, and another is to avoid breaking bits. I used a drill press vise to hold the tuning pins, drill press to drill and, yes, definitely cutting oil. I went slow and still broke a couple bits. It is actually easier to just learn how to attach the string to a becket-less pin. 

    I am happy to know that pre-drilled pins are available from Vogel, should the need arise. I'd hate to have to drill a whole set.
    "Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it; doubt everything but yourself." Gide






  • 11.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Posted 03-11-2021 13:35
    Yes, Fred, that's what has kept me from doing a whole set of beckless fortepiano pins....

    I've seen pre-drilled pins too, but then you have to pay for them, so it would depend on if the owner wishes to do that. Of course, they have to pay us to drill them, so maybe it doesn't matter.

    Ed has instructions for stringing with beckless pins, too. I think I've seen some
    Youtube lessons on that as well, but in the distant past. They may not still be up on the site. 

    I don't much care for the beckless pins and if a string breaks close to concert time, I'm even less happy about it. I don't do it enough to keep in practice, and even less these days, sorry to say.

    R

    --
     Richard Adkins 
     Keyboard Tuning and Maintenance
     Curator of Instruments 
             
    Notice:
    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not named you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this email. Please notify the sender immediately and delete this email from your system.

    Warning: Although the sender has taken reasonable precautions to ensure no viruses are present in this email, the sender cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of this email or attachments.






  • 12.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-11-2021 21:07
    I didn't find it hard to wind the coil around the pin without a becket hole. I first learned on a small clavichord with miniature pins,
    so the harpsichord pins seem large to me.
    In a way it's easier than restringing a zither pin since you turn the pin in your hand, not in the wrest plank;
    turn until the pin is above the hole, then push it in, always keeping some tension on the string.
    If the coil is slipping as you work down to larger gauges, scrape the pin with abrasive paper or the edge of a file to
    roughen the pin.
    I restrung a Zuckermann fortepiano with these pins, and found it easier to drill holes in the low bass pins.
    My concern with this harpsichord is that it will be necessary to lower the tension to pull down the wrest plank, and I
    expect then all the strings will come loose. But they were apparently installed in 1979, so it would not be inappropriate to replace them.

    ------------------------------
    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: 1979 Zuckerkit

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-11-2021 16:57
    The Marc Vogel website search has a glitch. If you click on Iron Goods in the left column, you get an error. If you click on Iron Goods in the menu bar, you find them. In the search box, the search term needs to be wrest pins (not tuning pins). 
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." Brecht