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String leveling tool

  • 1.  String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-08-2021 17:17
    I was watching a set of videos on piano voicing and saw them using a string leveling tool I had never seen before. I will try to add a link to the YouTube video. The tool is at 14:50. Does anyone know about this and does anyone know if it may be purchased?

    https://youtu.be/IL0Toxi7tmE

    Please let me know if the link works, I have never tried this before.

    Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    Rex Roseman
    Akron OH
    330-289-2948
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 17:51
    Rex -
    Your time stamp is unclear.  Which tool are you asking about?  I didn't have a chance to watch the entire video yet but it looks like a first rate production, with as up-to-date voicing techniques as I've seen anywhere.  PTG should arrange for translation services and post, unless they're copyrighted.  Short of that, learn Korean.

    ------------------------------
    David Skolnik [RPT]
    Hastings-on-Hudson NY
    917-589-2625
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-08-2021 17:58
    David

    The tool was the one that sat on the strings. 

    If you enable the captions they do a fair job of translating into English. This is a set of three videos done on voicing specifically for techs who are out of work at the moment because of COVID.

    Rex





  • 4.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 18:11
    Comparable tool, though not identical:






  • 5.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 18:34
    Kent -
    can you verify the time location in the video.  I was missing it my skimming.
    That's one of a number that I use, other's being Mother Goose Bubble, and Chris Brown combo String-Height/under-string level.  While I like the idea of the Faulk and would probably learn to be more comfortable with it with use, my reservation is that it depends upon the group of unisons it rests upon to be consistent... not always the case.  Some people have been critical of bubble level, partly for inability to access some notes around plate struts , but I've learned to use it quite consistently as with the understring level.  All of this with the caveat that some among us don't believe in the effectiveness of string leveling, long term at least, which is another issue.

    Rex -
    You're right about the captions, which I stumbled upon.  Yes they can be funny in their fractured English, but we're mostly past that by now.
    What particularly makes them targeted for the unemployed?  Maybe I'll understand after watching them.

    ------------------------------
    David Skolnik [RPT]
    Hastings-on-Hudson NY
    917-589-2625
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-08-2021 18:48
    The time is for the first video in the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZZ_8ugAMUk

    (The link is to the third video)

    ------------------------------
    John Shriver
    Madison AL
    256-617-1179
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-08-2021 19:24
    Thank you John.

    I have never tried to link before and the one I wanted was in the first video. 

    Just to clarify, the tool the caught my attention was the one that sat on the strings as he checked for level. 

    If you watch all three videos, you will notice that what is shown by the person working at the piano is sometimes counter to how the speaker said things should be done. Specifically when it came to seating the strings on the bridge.

    Rex





  • 8.  RE: String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-08-2021 19:28
    David

    If you read the captions in the intro, they stated that the videos were produced because there were tuners who had time because they could not tune, and they thought this would be a good opportunity to use that time for educational advancement.

    Rex





  • 9.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 18:38

    <grin> This got a lot more interesting (if less of an amusing tease) when I realized that closed caption English was on offer.

    Korean sounds more like Japanese than I would have expected.







  • 10.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 18:52
    After the hammer head is shaved, do they add after shave lotion?  :)
    i didn't see the string level tool, but I use the bubble gauge from Mother Goose.



    ------------------------------
    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    St. Augustine, FL 32095
    Tnrwim@aol.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 19:07

    It was a cute video, but I think that the tool you were asking about was in part 1 at 14:50. It looks like something I'd do with a string hook, but not as fiercely. I'll go back and check.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZZ_8ugAMUk






  • 12.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-08-2021 23:23
    I just use the square end of a six inch ruler

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: String leveling tool

    Posted 08-09-2021 13:00
    I use the Mother Goose leveling tool to check string level.  Mother Goose string level

    ------------------------------
    Jeffrey Gegner
    Tipton IN
    765-860-5900
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: String leveling tool

    Posted 08-09-2021 13:41
    Been Mother Goosing all my grands for years (just make sure piano is level first).





  • 15.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-09-2021 13:51
    The primary goal of string "leveling" should be to make strings of a tri-chord planar to each other, so the top of the hammer can be flat (and therefore be equally mated to the strings when using the shift pedal).

    It is an added bonus if the plane of unison strings is also actually "level." And, as Joel points out, that involves first leveling the piano or, more specifically, the keybed. We accomplish this with a 48" carpenter's level on the keybed. We also check if the stretcher is actually parallel to the keybed, and make a note if it is (in which case the action need not be removed for future string leveling sessions).

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-09-2021 20:46
    > ...(and therefore be equally mated to the strings when using the shift pedal).

    Alan --

    Thank you for this aside. For years, RD was adamant on this and I never understood why it was preferable to have the piano itself level in order to level the strings. I was thinking that if the strings mated to the hammer correctly then all was well, even if there was, perhaps, a tiny angle involved. But your mentioning the shift pedal was an Aha! moment for me. If the strings are level with the hammers, but not level with the keybed then using the shift pedal would cause them to no longer level with the hammer anymore. Keybed, hammer surface and strings must all be of the same level. Thank You!


    ------------------------------
    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-09-2021 21:27
    Geoff,

    Love those "a-ha" moments! (Live for 'em, in fact ;-).

    IDEALLY, keybed, hammer crown, and strings of a unison would all be level. However, that is not always possible where the strings are concerned, depending on variables such as the drilling of the agraffes, the machining of the plate, etc.

    HOWEVER, if the strings of a tri-chord are planar, then the crown of the hammer could also be flat (though tilted at the same angle as the strings), which would still accommodate good mating when using the shift pedal.

    Alan 







  • 18.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-11-2021 08:17
    It doesn't sound as though anyone has done what I did years ago: mount a dial indicator in a machinist vice to see how string heights measured across the strings (L to R) varied as you moved away from the actual strike point. A revelation. Based on this, the only string level reading I use is RIGHT AT the strike point. Anything done from the top, without removing the damper, will be good for that spot, but has nothing to do with the strike point's string level.

    Another revelation: I could hear an out-of-level string at as little of 5 mills. Yes, folks, that's the thickness of a piece of plain paper.

    ------------------------------
    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2021 00:30
    William,

    So if you come to an instrument you know you'll be doing the string leveling and damper work on, do you have a protocol for how you do string leveling?  Say if the damper wires need to be polished/holes reamed, you'll level the strings while you have the dampers out?

    Nick

    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Litterski, RPT
    Austin TX
    512-573-8920
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: String leveling tool

    Posted 08-12-2021 01:47
    Easy to get to the strike point from underneath. I demonstrate this tool in this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Vp46K9Aio

    ------------------------------
    Chernobieff Piano Restorations
    "Where Tone is Key"
    chernobieffpiano.com
    grandpianoman@protonmail.com
    Lenoir City, TN
    865-986-7720
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: String leveling tool

    Member
    Posted 08-12-2021 10:02
    Bill< Another revelation: I could hear an out-of-level string at as little of 5 mills. Yes, folks, that's the thickness of a piece of plain paper

    Yet another piece of evidence that I am living in a different universe and reality than other techs...maybe I'm even a cyborg.

     I no longer bother even checking string level, and frankly don't even mate hammers. I am routinely producing the the most outstanding sounding pianos of my career. Maybe its because I use Bacons, and the bandwidth of functionality of a lighter (not ridiculously light, but light to medium on Stanwoods chart, just for comparison), softer hammer, with improved terminations, and not particularly stiff old or original boards. But fact is, if I spend this time leveling, it is not time well spent.. Not only can't I hear a difference, it actually degrades the tone.

    Bill's comment about actually measuring the orientation of the string plane relative to "level", whatever the devil "level" is in a nonlinear, structure with multiple termination planes, is right on the money, in my experience. The assumptions made as to string plane, relative to the techniques used to "perfect" that string plane, simply do not take geometric reality into account.

    I do lightly form the catenary bend into a slightly straighter line, but that's about all.

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2021 13:20
    Jim went:
    "I no longer bother even checking string level, and frankly don't even mate hammers. I am routinely producing the the most outstanding sounding pianos of my career. Maybe its because I use Bacons, and the bandwidth of functionality of a lighter (not ridiculously light, but light to medium on Stanwoods chart, just for comparison), softer hammer, with improved terminations, and not particularly stiff old or original boards."

    You probably wouldn't need to with softer hammers. The harder the hammer, the more critical it is.

    He also went:
    "Bill's comment about actually measuring the orientation of the string plane relative to "level", whatever the devil "level" is in a nonlinear, structure with multiple termination planes, is right on the money, in my experience."

    My own understanding of the situation is that it's one of "note-by-note", and specifically, on any note, 1.) a straight line of height across the 3 strings on the note, 2.) a square, straight-line across that hammer's strike point, and (here's the money shot) 3.) that these two lines are parallel. That's all that counts for me. no larger topography need apply.

    Nicholas went:
    "So if you come to an instrument you know you'll be doing the string leveling and damper work on, do you have a protocol for how you do string leveling? Say if the damper wires need to be polished/holes reamed, you'll level the strings while you have the dampers out?"

    This has nothing to do with dampers be off/on, out/in. My reading of "string level" is taken, from underneath, where the hammer hits the string. Have a real close let-off, lift the hammer to the string by the jack, and pluck the strings.

    Where do I set my "level"? At the hammer crown. My final reshaping (@ ~600 grit) is done with a straight-edge sitting on the hammer rail, and looking over the top of it to see that the hammer's strike point is level with that. File to correct. That's my assumed straight edge. Then, plucking strings with the hammer in contact with them, I get the 2 or 3 strings on that note (whether bichord or tri-), to make even contact (based on the pluck sound).

    The real kicker is, after you've mated the hammer and strings for the standard position, check it out in the UC position. Even if your UC clears the LH string, the C&R strings should still match. If not, one of those two lines aren't straight. You then have to go back to that first straight line, the hammer crown. If that's "eye-ball" straight, then the out-of-mate is the string. I wrote about this in the PTJ, what, `30 years ago.

    ------------------------------
    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2021 21:23

    Surprising. String leveling and hammer mating are critical IMO. I suppose if the hammer is mushy enough it might matter less but I'm not even convinced of that. I use Ronsen bacon felt and am fastidious about string leveling and hammer mating. I think you should be too. "String leveling" is a bit of a misnomer because the important thing is that they are on the same plane, not necessarily level to some point of reference. But it's not less important.  


    I understand that there's a trend to reject all traditional protocols. I think it's reached toxic proportions, honestly.  Some protocols have less of a foundation than others and are more habits than necessities. But many have a real basis and while it's good to question the basis, throwing everything out for its own sake is a mistake. 



    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-12-2021 22:29
    David Love went:

    "Surprising. String leveling and hammer mating are critical IMO. I suppose if the hammer is mushy enough it might matter less but I'm not even convinced of that."

    It's about how close to simultaneously in time, the 3 strings hit. If they don't hit simultaneously, then the last to get hit gets the least power. A tone is solid when the hammer delivers it force simultaneously to all three strings.

    Imagine you're the LH string and high in relationship to the C & L strings (whether or not the hammer hits them simultaneously or not). The hammer hits the C/L strings first with it power being split between these 2 strings. A couple if milliseconds later the hammer hits you, but with much less force. (The C/L/ strings may have been hit "ff" but you're hit with a "mp". As three strings combine, your string really only adds a whine to the deep resonance of the other two.)

    Yes, a LH string is being fed by activity on the bridge. This can be observed by 1.) spacing the hammer to miss the LH string with the UC shift, 2.) hit the note with the usual strength, and 3.)  immediately damp the C/R strings, keeping your finger tip there. What remains is the extent to which the mechanical energy in the bridge has fed the LH string. It's small in comparison to the LH string's normal sound when being the distant last of 3 strings to get hit by the hammer.

    David also totally went:
    "'String leveling'" is a bit of a misnomer because the important thing is that they are on the same plane, not necessarily level to some point of reference. But it's not less important."

    It's "string mating" only to the extent that the hammer crown is assumed to be square across, and hammer/string mating is more accurate. But for me it's about making sure that the hammer's force is equally divided between 3 strings of a tri-chord. And the way to do that is to make sure that each string is right in lace to get its full share of that force. Synchonicity

    ------------------------------
    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: String leveling tool

    Posted 08-12-2021 22:55
    Hi, Bill,

    You wrote:

    "It's "string mating" only to the extent that the hammer crown is
    assumed to be square across, and hammer/string mating is more accurate.
    But for me it's about making sure that the hammer's force is equally
    divided between 3 strings of a tri-chord. And the way to do that is to
    make sure that each string is right in lace to get its full share of
    that force. Synchronicity."

    I'm not sure that Jung would agree with this use of the term. His most
    thorough treatment of this subject is in Vol. 8 of the Collected Works,
    Bollingen Series XX:) The same explication is in the separately published:

    Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,
    Routledge and Kegan Paul (published 1972). ISBN 978-0-7100-7397-6.

    In that volume, I think you'll find Jung's most concise description of
    synchronicity on or around p.44 or so.

    If you don't want to wade through Jung's own discussion, there's
    another, more accessible discussion in:

    Tarnas, Richard (2006) Cosmos and Psyche
    New York: Penguin Group ISBN 978-0-670-03292-1.

    The relevant parts in that reference (which is otherwise highly
    recommended) is on/around page 50.

    If you mean something like "simultaneity", then the description makes
    more sense.

    Kind regards.

    Horace

    On 8/12/2021 7:29 PM, William Ballard via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > David Love went:??
    >
    > "Surprising. String leveling and hammer mating are critical IMO. I suppose if the hammer is mushy enough it might matter less but I'm not even convinced of that."
    >
    > It's about how close to simultaneously in time, the 3 strings hit. If they don't hit simultaneously, then the last to get hit gets the least power. A tone is solid when the hammer delivers it force simultaneously to all three strings.
    >
    > Imagine you're the LH string and high in relationship to the C & L strings (whether or not the hammer hits them simultaneously or not). The hammer hits the C/L strings first with it power being split between these 2 strings. A couple if milliseconds later the hammer hits you, but with much less force. (The C/L/ strings may have been hit "ff" but you're hit with a "mp". As three strings combine, your string really only adds a whine to the deep resonance of the other two.)
    >
    > Yes, a LH string is being fed by activity on the bridge. This can be observed by 1.) spacing the hammer to miss the LH string with the UC shift, 2.) hit the note with the usual strength, and 3.)?? immediately damp the C/R strings, keeping your finger tip there. What remains is the extent to which the mechanical energy in the bridge has fed the LH string. It's small in comparison to the LH string's normal sound when being the distant last of 3 strings to get hit by the hammer.
    >
    > David also totally went:
    > "'String leveling'" is a bit of a misnomer because the important thing is that they are on the same plane, not necessarily level to some point of reference. But it's not less important."
    >
    > It's "string mating" only to the extent that the hammer crown is assumed to be square across, and hammer/string mating is more accurate. But for me it's about making sure that the hammer's force is equally divided between 3 strings of a tri-chord. And the way to do that is to make sure that each string is right in lace to get its full share of that force. Synchonicity
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > William Ballard RPT
    > WBPS
    > Saxtons River VT
    > 802-869-9107
    >
    > "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    > and dies if one be gone
    > Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    > should keep in tune so long."
    > ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    > +++++++++++++++++++++
    > ------------------------------
    >


  • 26.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-13-2021 00:29
    Now this is the sort of stuff that warrents the attention of list moderators.  I always suspected Horace was dangeerous, but never realized just how much so.  Seems like Jim Iallegio dodged a bullet on this one.

    ------------------------------
    David Skolnik [RPT]
    Hastings-on-Hudson NY
    917-589-2625
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-13-2021 07:59
    Yeah, the ones who put a smile on your face and make you smile are the most subversive.

    I was so much older then, but I am Jung-er than that now.

    ------------------------------
    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-13-2021 09:02
    Horace Greeley went:
    "If you mean something like "simultaneity", then the description makes
    more sense."

    Let's see what a dictionary says:
    "syn·chro·nic·i·ty
    /ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/
    noun
    1. 1.
      the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
      "such synchronicity is quite staggering"
    Definitions from Oxford Languages"

    You're right: 1.) Jung originated the term, and 2.) there is a discernible causal connection (… they are both part of a mechanical system and they are both waiting, patiently, to be hit by a hammer)

    My point would have been better made with the past participle "synchronized". (From the same dictionary: "cause to occur or operate at the same time or rate. e.g. "soldiers used watches to synchronize movements"

    Horace, does this work for you? I do like the mention of "cause to occur or operate at the same time" because that's exactly what fitting the hammers and strings together is.


    ------------------------------
    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-13-2021 17:26
    Greetings, Horace

    You went:
    "I'm not sure that Jung would agree with this use of the term. His most thorough treatment of this subject is in Vol. 8 of the Collected Works, Bollingen Series XX:) "

    In fact, I just heard from the lawyer of his estate, who informed me that I was about to be charged with off-label use of a word he created. The Estate would refrain from suing me if I paid the royalties for my having used the word. They don't make words like they used to.

    ------------------------------
    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: String leveling tool

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 08-13-2021 22:10
    Oh no, another trademark infringement case!

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------