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Setting the pin

  • 1.  Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 12:06
    Here's another topic of discussion, plus I'm not sure exactly who to listen to with what advice I've gotten.

    How do you set the pin and make it as stable as possible til the 6 month tuning again? This is what I'm up against now, and I am dreading once I actually start the business that customers will call a couple months or weeks later saying their piano is out of tune and I'll lose money having to go back and retune again.

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    Justin Hill
    Jacksonville IL
    217-370-2458
    tuneworkspianoservice@gmail.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 12:31
    Hi Justin:
    The real truth is that you really can't "guarantee" your tuning, even if you're an experienced tech. The weather and climate, and other events around the piano like open windows, a nearby fireplace or heating/cooling vent, floods, storms, etc., all affect the tuning. Of course, you need to set the pins properly so that it stays in tune. If you're unable to make a stable tuning, you won't have to wait 6 months to find out- they'll call you in a day or two. You also have to convey to the client that these unforeseen circumstances can affect the tuning. That way if it happens, they'll not blame you for it being out of tune.
    As far as making a stable tuning, I have a few suggestions.
    First, practice doing unison tuning before heading off to doing a temperament. Practice by muting off one string, and moving one or both of the other strings of that note until you can reliably eliminate any beat between them. If you have an ETD, you can check your work. It is sometimes hard for a new tuner to distinguish when the note is in exact unison.
    A good suggestion I learned in the beginning of my career is to put the tuning lever so that it is parallel to the string, especially in the agraffe section (tenor) of grand pianos. That way the pin won't be bent forward/back when you're moving it. That would be 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock. It might seem a little awkward to have the handle in that position, but your tuning will be very stable.
    Use a strong blow when you're done to see if the note stays in tune. If it goes out with a strong blow, it isn't stable.
    In the capo section of grands, you can use a 1:30 lever position so that you are using the lever to push to the downside. There's more friction to hold the tension, and when you let go, the tension of the wire coming off the pin will end up "slightly" higher than the speaking length. This is a kind of advanced technique, using the slight bending of the pin like a spring, along with the torque of the pin, to prevent the speaking length from going slightly flat by dragging the other section over the bearing point (capo bar).
    Practice making micro movements of the pin in the wood of the pinblock. You should be able to feel when the pin moves, a slight "tick". Sometimes it is necessary to adjust your technique because the pin is loose or very tight. In that case, sometimes a "bump" or slap on the tuning lever works to just get a tiny movement in the pin, and sometimes you might use a smooth pull. After doing this a while, experience will tell you which way to do it. New tuners almost always have a problem making these small movements of the pin, and end up going back and forth trying to dial it in. Try to anticipate how much turn of the pin is necessary to get it very close, then use some finessing techniques, getting the pitch just slightly higher and then giving it a last nudge town to pitch.
    When you tune, make sure that all doors and windows to the outside are shut no matter how uncomfortable it may be for you or the client. No fans, AC, any air movement at all around the piano, no temperature variations. If you have these, you'll chase your tail with notes going out shortly after you tune them. This is especially true of upright pianos which are closed up and then exposed when you open them to tune.
    These are a few hints you might find helpful. I'm sure others will chime in.
    Good luck.
    Paul McCloud
    San Diego




  • 3.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 19:23

    Hi, Justin

    Regardless of how you tune, in every life some call-backs will occur. Some will be your fault, but others will not. My approach has always been to take a no-fault attitude, to do the call back as soon as possible, to listen very carefully to what the customer is telling me, and to always do the first call-back for free, whatever the actual merits of the case are.

    If it is apparent that a customer is anxious and has unrealistic demands, I drown him or her in a flood of cheerful attention and hard work, with copious and completely blame-free explanations. Then if necessary (it usually isn't) I explain that the first call-back visit is always free, but if they need to call me again, I'll have to charge a modest fee for a service call. No one has ever incurred the service call fee.

    The exception to cheerfully scheduling a free call-back visit: I sometimes have had to explain what one might call "the statute of limitations" when someone calls back four or five months later complaining that the piano is "already" out of tune. It's unpleasant, but one just has to explain that seasonal changes, heavy playing, etc., will change the tuning. I assure people like this that if they had called within the first few weeks I'd have come back and checked the tuning. After all, we're not infallible.

    As for tuning stability, many of us take different approaches. The point is to end up where we want to be. I never found any difference in stability from the angle of the tuning hammer to the string. I set the hammer where it is physically the easiest to move, and where I can keep a relaxed but straight wrist. Sometimes when nudging the pitch downward, I'll even push on the end of my long extension hammer by putting it between my ring finger and little finger, just because my wrist and elbow are the most comfortable that way. I make many small nudges, jerks, taps, etc.

    Fans -- overhead fans distort the sound by reflecting some of it, so they have to be turned off. In very hot situations (when I was down in <sweaty> Stockton, CA), I'd take a small fan with me and aim it right at myself, to keep from getting heat stroke. It was quiet and didn't disturb the tuning. I'd also stop partway through, go to the bathroom, and wet my head if I felt dizzy from the heat. I prefer to tune in the same conditions as the piano will live in when I'm done, but a certain amount of comfort is necessary. One thing I really get testy about is if the piano has sun streaming across it. I tell people that tuning stability is impossible when a piano suffers intermittent sun exposure, and it's also lousy for the piano.

    What I feel all stable tuners have in common is the ability to move the tuning pin in extremely small increments, without "flag-poling" or springing it too much. If uncertain about stability, in the middle treble (where it is both the hardest and most important), I give very hard blows in a chromatic scale through the whole area. Then I check the pitch with very moderate blows, and fix whatever needs it. I find that it is better for stability to set the pitch quickly, still moving the pin as little as possible, and then to check it several times so that I can micro-manage the pitch. I always want the last tuning of a pitch to be as "micro" as possible. The greater the pitch change you've had to do, and also the more likely it is that the piano will have very heavy playing (some concerts ...) the better it is to rough in the pitch, give the note a firm blow, and then wait awhile, come back, and clean up whatever shift it has done, if necessary more than once.

    Lots and lots of practice of course helps. As for using an ETD to tell if a unison is in tune, I think you're much better off listening carefully to it, trying to get a particular tonal quality to it. (I prefer creamy.) Listen to see what vowel sound the note is making. Long Ah's and Oh's, very unchanging, are the best.  People talk about various tests, but for me the best test is, "do I like it?" If I don't, that tiny but invaluable touch of OCD kicks in, and I tune it again. As you gain experience, dealing with problematic notes and questions of stability will seem less threatening. It's a permanent part of the work, trying to get a piano to behave long-term, so you might as well drop the burden of worrying about it as soon as possible and just do your best, as so many of us do.

    When I was taking Ted Sambell's course in Toronto, one day in class someone asked, "how long does a fine tuning last?" Ted had a little smile on his face as he said, "as soon as you finish and pack up your tools, they all start going out again."

    Regards,




    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 4.  RE: Setting the pin

    Posted 08-12-2017 12:34
    "I set the hammer where it is physically the easiest to move, and where I can keep a relaxed but straight wrist." - Susan Kline

    Right on Susan! Maybe there are others that have no problem with wrist fatigue or pain (or they're young!) so this isn't a big deal, but it is to me. Like you Susan, I use a very long hammer (Fujan, 17") and get great torque and that's helped a lot. I have my springy finger that I use to hit keys and a sowing glove I also wear to help with the blows. Right now I'm working on being able to sit when tuning a big ol' upright because standing has been painful on my right ankle. (I think it's an old injury coming back to haunt me.) I'll see how that goes... Anyway, I think it's important to be mindful of what we're doing to our bodies as well as doing a good job tuning. The Levitan C hammer is a good example of innovation that's important to our work and bodies. I think his main idea was not flag-poling the pin but a great side affect is being able to keep your shoulder low. I purchased one but haven't used it in a while because I just really like my Fujan, but I'm keeping it just in case I have some shoulder trouble down the road.

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    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    Tunic OnlyPure & TuneLab user
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2017 17:27
    Hi, Scott

    I've been sitting for more and more of the time needed to tune an upright, as my knees and hips complain worse and worse. It means that I have to reach up with my right arm an awful lot, but my right shoulder and elbow are good, and I set the hammer at the most convenient place.

    My very good cello teacher had a similar approach when teaching how to hold the instrument. He had us sit perfectly straight but relaxed, as if all the vertebrae were quietly placed exactly on top of each other, and then the cello had to come to us instead of us curling ourselves into pretzels to accommodate it. All those hours spent with my back straight but not strained might help account for how little back trouble I've had through the years, even though tuning a grand often requires some twisting at the waist, which has never bothered me.

    I use firm but not brutal blows when tuning, and only go to the hammer blow imitation when I feel the need to. A lot of the piano does not require super heavy blows to stay stable, or even to test stability. I've not needed to use a pounder, etc. I start a very heavy blow almost at the key surface, and I sometimes clump two fingers and a thumb together.

    As we age, we all have to figure out what works for us, and of course it varies. The important thing, I feel, is that we deal with the true problems, and not with mythology such as that about which direction the tuning lever always must go. I remember watching a younger tuner (to whom I sold my business when I moved away.) He must have believed all that stuff about keeping the tuning lever exactly parallel with the strings. He put the (short) hammer at 12 o'clock, bent over sideways from the waist, and stuck his right elbow high in the air. Being a young guy, he was very strong, and grabbed the hammer at that awkward angle and used a slow pull. It looked agonizing to me, as well as so unnecessary.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 6.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 15:48
    Justin, the piano doesn't suddenly go out of tune in 6 month intervals. As soon as you leave, the piano is going out of tune.  Think of a car oil change. Yes it needs an oil change every 5 months, but as soon as you start the car that oil is getting dirty.  Many factors affect how long a piano tuning will be "usable". And in many cases a piano will need more of a tuning at 6 months than it will at 12 months.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 15:58
    Justin
    We appreciate your questions, but I wonder if asking a piano tuner in your area who has a lot of experience if you could take some tuning tutoring sessions.  He/she might be able to give you a lot of inormation that will not only answer you're questions, but also help you get your tuning time down to less than 2 hours, if not in the one hour range. 


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    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    Mililani, HI 96789
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  • 8.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 16:21
    Hi Justin,

    I don't guarantee my tunings will last 6 months; the length of time I guarantee my work depends on the piano and the conditions it is subject to, and the pianist. Keep in mind that you need to talk with the customer in order to find out these things. Generally I guarantee my tunings for 1 to 6 months, depending on the situation and piano. Keep in mind that pianos will go out of tune eventually.

    On thing I did was offer a two-for -one tuning for the first 5 tunings I did -- mostly friends and family. I'd tune the piano for full price, and in three months come back and tune it again for free. This was a tremendous blessing; I got paid, and was able to see how my skill improved. Clients were happy, because they got a great deal, and if it wasn't a good tuning, they had it fixed for free, with no inconvenience on my end, because that was the deal from the start. Win-win.  Of course, after that, they paid full price for any subsequent tunings -- and most of them set up another appointment then and there.

    As Paul said, focus on moving the pin in tiny movements. With grands this is easier than on uprights. That's why I switched over to impact tuning for verticals. Impact levers make setting the pin on verticals easier -- not setting the string. That's the same as with traditional levers, and it is part of a stable tuning.

    Also, DO NOT BEND THE PIN! Doing so will ruin the pin block. Try to turn the pin in its rotation. Do not change pitch by bending. I can't emphasize this enough. One guy I know does this with every piano he tunes; they almost always fall out of tune within 24 hours.

    Don't forget to set the string properly. Give your tuning blows at a F level, and your test blows (only three or so) at the FF level, then listen at the P level. This is generally how I test to see if the string and pin is set, and if the string is where I want it.

    Feel free to give me a call at the number below if you have any questions about anything. You may have to leave a message, but it's no problem on my end.

    Happy Tuning,

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 14:54
    Hi Justin,

    Case in point about guarantees: yesterday I tuned a 1903 Kingsbury old upright. It has every problem imaginable, except a cracked plate. Extremely loose pins with about 50 visible cracks in the pin block. The action didn't work, three strings popped while tuning (it was 67 cents flat), etc. I warned the teacher before starting (it was a school piano -- poor students) that it most likely would not hold a tune, and that the action was unplayable, so even if the piano were in tune, it would do little good. Still, she insisted I try.

    Long story short, I hope to never see that piano again. Ever. Do you think I guaranteed my work in that situation? No way! It's probably already out of tune. And that wouldn't be my fault, considering the piano and its condition. If I had guaranteed my work on that piano, I would probably be called back about every one to two weeks to retune it.

    As I mentioned before, the guarantee that you place on your work is dependent on the situation. If you are trying to do the best job of tuning that you know how, you need not be ashamed of your work! If the piano goes out of tune due to your tuning technique, then yes, that is your fault and you should fix it if requested. If it goes out due to the piano itself, then there is nothing you can do. And you will know when it's the piano or you. But don't be ashamed of your work if you did the best you could, and don't be afraid to tell the client that it's the piano's fault if it was. But don't lie either. Pianos hate being lied about.

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 19:57
    Old, very old Kingsbury upright --- LOOKS like a big substantial old upright, which usually are of excellent quality. It doesn't matter what general impression it gave. It's rubbish.

    Mine did have a cracked plate as well as the other traits you describe. That was the good news. I got to stop working on it.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 11.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 23:50
    Susan,

    About half way through I was tempted to try and find a crack ... even though I had already looked. Yea, it was that bad... the only reason I didn't was because the owner was watching the entire time.

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 17:22
    While the term "set the pin" has been very common for decades (well over a hundred years), the truth of the matter is that it is a false image, with little relationship to reality. The image old time tuners used was that of the pin in a somewhat oblong hole in the pin block (oblong because of the pull of the tension of the wire). When you raised pitch, you lifted the pin in that hole, turned it so that the string rose above the target pitch, then settled or set the pin back into its rest position in the hole, bringing it to pitch. I have read that story in text books at least back to the 1890s. It is hokum, never was actually true, though imagining it to be true probably helped new tuners learn how to get a somewhat stable tuning, as a starting point.

    The facts are these:

    The top of the pin itself will twist before the bottom of the pin moves in the pin block. How much depends on how tight the pin is in the block. In a tight block, the top of the pin will twist enough to change pitch by 25¢ and more before the pin actually breaks loose and turns in the block. With a looser fit, that change in pitch before the pin turns can be pretty small.

    The pin wil flex (not bend, flex) along its length when the tuning hammer is twisting it. That will occur at a right angle to the lever arm. (This won't occur with a T hammer, or with Dan Levitan's C hammer). This will have the greatest (temporary) effect on pitch when the flex is in line with the string - hammer at 3 or 9 o'clock. The effect will be minimized when the tuning hammer is in line with the string (12 o'clock).

    There is friction between the speaking length of the string and the tuning pin. This varies from piano to piano, and from string to string, depending on materials (brass, cast iron, felt), conditions (rust or lack thereof, lubricant).

    Pin twist and flex are temporary. As soon as you stop applying force to the tuning pin with your tuning hammer, the pin will revert to its original shape. (If this were not so, tuning pins would change shape over time, which does not occur.) To be precise, the pin is always being twisted and pulled by the string, so its "rest position" includes some force being applied to it. But the effect of the hammer on the pin, both twisting and flexing will disappear as soon as you stop applying force to the tuning hammer.

    If you'd like to verify that, there is a simple jig that can be made. A scrap of pin block material in a vise. Drill a hole, pound in a tuning pin. Drill a hole in the bottom of the tuning pin to accept a piece of wire. Epoxy a wire into that hole and bend it so that it is in line with the surface of the pin block. Glue another wire into the becket hole. Bend those wires so that they meet about a foot away from the tuning pin (put a right angle bend in the end of each and bring the ends to the two wires together so they touch.

    Now turn the tuning pin. You will see that the top wire (from the becket) moves away from the bottom wire, by maybe 3/8" (depending how tight the hole is) before the bottom wire moves. You will also see that when you release the hammer, the wire ends "magically" go right back into line with one another. No lag in time. No need to "set the pin" to make it happen. Flex is smaller than twist, so harder to measure, but it behaves precisely the same.

    Yes, you can bend a pin, meaning that you apply so much force that it yields and is permanently deformed. That takes a lot of force. It really isn't an issue for anyone using any delicacy at all in the process of tuning.

    The problem of creating a stable tuning comes down to allowing for twist, flex, and friction, and developing the ability to make extraordinarily minute rotational adjustments to the tuning pin. This is the actual skill of tuning. Unless you develop it, all the high-falutin tests and beat rates and magical tuning styles mean absolutely nothing. Friction is the real culprit when it comes to instability: you can get the impression the string is in tune, because it stays for the time being. It can even stay following hard blows and not actually be stable. So how are you to know when a string/tuning pin is in a stable state?

    That much is a teaser. Back in 2014, there was a long discussion on tuning hammer technique, in which David Love and I were the principal participants. I decided to gather it together in a blog, which you can read here. It is long, involved, and probably confusing, but I think if you can read it and digest it, it may be helpful in answering that very basic question, which should be worded "How do I achieve a stable tuning?"

    ------------------------------
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    http://www.artoftuning.com
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2017 22:02
    I totally concur with what Fred has described here. But I would like to add just one little teeny tiny detail. With practice, over time, you will eventually learn to feel how that pin is twisting vs how much it has moved in the pinblock vs how much a change in pitch you have made with that movement. Stability is achieved when you can feel that you have removed the twist in the pin, and equalized the tension between the speaking and non-speaking lengths of the string. You can hear when the pitch is correct, but you have to learn to feel when all the various twists and tensions have been equalized. Stability comes with getting them both right. And there's no way to understand and master that without experience. Keep practicing and doing your best. Try new methods when the old ones don't work. Eventually you will develop the touch that will make it all correct. And you will know it when it happens.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 14.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2017 00:44
    I think Geoff said it exactly right.  When you strip away all of the "rules" of stabile tuning, it become a feel.. Dan Levitan calls it "The wisdom of the hand".

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    Carl Lieberman
    RPT
    Venice CA
    310-392-2771
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  • 15.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-14-2017 11:06

    Stability is achieved when you can feel that you have removed the twist in the pin, and equalized the tension between the speaking and non-speaking lengths of the string.
    Geoff Sykes,  08-11-2017 22:01
    Geoff,
    I am going to quarrel with part of your statement: twist does not need to be removed from the pin. That happens instantly. The pin is acting like a spring, and immediately returns to its "rest state" when you stop applying force with the tuning hammer. When you "reverse the twist," what you are actually doing is creating a twist in the other direction (momentarily), so as to try to get the wire to move back over the bearing points, overcoming the friction that was keeping it somewhat sharp (assuming you were raising the pitch).

    The pin does not need to be "set" nor does "twist need to be removed." Those concepts are contrary to the physical facts of the case. Acting as if you are doing those things may help you accomplish a stable tuning, but they are purely imaginary concepts.

    OTOH, the other part of your statement is spot on: the tension does need to be equalized as much as possible between speaking and non-speaking lengths. The most difficult part of tuning is knowing when that has occurred, having a strategy to be as certain as possible where you are in the path toward achieving it, along with being able to make minute adjustments in the tuning pin.

    Can you take a unison that has a bit of WAW in it and make it clear and clean, and do that so that the result is stable? Once you can do that, then you can worry about achieving the octaves and beat rates you want, in the same stable condition.

    An ETD is an essential tool in learning this, IMO, as it bypasses our tendency to denial, to forgive ourselves for not quite getting it right ("It sounded perfect when I left it, must have been some problem with the piano, or the environment, or . . .") Play the note several times, fairly loudly (a pianist's forte, not a brutal blow) and see whether the pitch begins to drift a bit. When it doesn't move at all, you know you have actually accomplished stability (probably - alas, there are no guarantees, and the most certain knowledge about stability comes from knowing exactly how you got to where you are).

    Another essential is getting the opportunity to follow yourself, very quickly (next day, for instance, or after a couple hours in a recording situation). For most of us, most of our work is followed after months have passed, and we may have no idea how stable/instable our work really is. It isn't that easy to find opportunities to follow yourself in a home service practice.

    ------------------------------
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    http://www.artoftuning.com
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 13:15
    Fred --

     The pin is acting like a spring, and immediately returns to its "rest state" when you stop applying force with the tuning hammer.

    Um, yes and no. My fantasy is that the twist in the pin extends from one end to the other, half of which is buried in the pinblock. While the twist in the pin outside the pinblock probably does instantly return to its rest state, I'm thinking that the twist in the pin inside the pinblock probably does not. I'm not arguing. The point that you, me, Carl, etc., are making is that with practice, we eventually learn to recognize what it feels like when the twist is neutralized, the tensions are equalized and stability has been achieved, regardless of what we may be thinking about what we have technically accomplished.  


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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 17.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 14:26
    Easy to test if I had pinblock scrap (which I don't). Drill a second becket hole in the bottom of a pin. Drive through the block. Place L shaped wires in each hole, align the ends. Twist the pin in the block, release tension and see if they still align.

    ------------------------------
    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 19:57
    I believe Richard Davenport actually did that experiment. A long time ago. This subject came up at a PTG meeting years ago and he told us that to test the theory of pin twist he attached a piece of wire as a needle/pointer to the bottom of a tuning pin sticking out the bottom of a test piece of pinblock material. He then proceeded to turn the pin. He said the pin at the hammer end turned a remarkable amount before the needle/pointer at the bottom moved at all. When it did move it did so as a jump. I don't remember, however, if he aligned the pointer parallel with the hammer to test if the hammer would move back into a position parallel with the pointer again when it was released. Time for another experiment.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 19.  RE: Setting the pin

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-15-2017 20:09
    It would be a more realistic experiment if some kind of system were set up so that a string at tension could be held by the sample pin.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------