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Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

  • 1.  Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-24-2020 20:39
    Greetings Lists,

    A tuning student who is a south-paw has come my way for the first time. If I have ever seen anyone tune a grand piano left-handed, I failed to note the position of their tuning lever. Using the same positions as a righty (12 to 1:30, or around 3:00) doesn't seem to make sense ergonomically for a lefty. Do lefties use similar positions, only on the other side of the "clock face" (10:30 to 12, or around 9)?

    Input from left-handed tuners would be of premium value! The observations of someone who has witnessed a good left-handed tuner in action (tuning, of course) would also be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Alan

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


  • 2.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-24-2020 21:48
    Hi Alan
    I'm a switch-hitter. I tune left handed on grands in the high treble. My hammer is usually between 9-10:30. 
    Hope that helps!

    Debbie Cyr
    Registered Piano Technician 
    508-202-2862 cell
    Schedule Now







  • 3.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-24-2020 22:37
    I would expect that lefty in the 9 - 10:30 position for raising pitch would be very helpful and efficient, as the natural lean of the pin would counteract the twist, so you'd have a good chance of the turning of the pin in the block and movement of the string over the bearing points being in sync. I often use that position (right-handed) it the top treble, standing past the cheek and reaching my hand around (I vary from 12 to 9 depending on friction and torque).

    Lowering pitch, OTOH, would be more challenging, as twist, lean, and friction would be working at odds with one another, so you would want to go to 12 - 1 position ( taking lean mostly out of the picture).

    This is for average torque and friction. As conditions vary, technique needs to vary.

    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda






  • 4.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12-03-2020 11:36
    Thanks, Fred! I do what you do in the high treble of grands.

    Alan

    P. S. Lily Maas is a force of nature, is she not? Small world, eh?

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



  • 5.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12-03-2020 11:33
    Thanks, Debbie! I will pass that on to my student.

    Alan

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



  • 6.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-25-2020 12:31
    Hi Alan,

    Well, you just found an old lefty tuner! As I see it, there is a mechanical advantage for right-handed tuners when tuning grands and lefty's have an advantage when tuning uprights. This is due to the string coil orientation around the pin and direction of the push and pull needed to set the pin. Like Debbie, I switch hit when tuning grands. It is not a problem for me to switch to the right when tuning the bass. For some reason I have not been able to switch when tuning uprights but generally I have no reason to do so. Switching when tuning grands means you do not have to go to the side of the instrument to tune the bass or high treble. That is an advantage if space is tight and, if you have a bad back! :-)

    Due to the mechanical advantage, it took me longer to feel comfortable tuning grands. For a lefty, I believe it takes a bit longer to learn how to set and not flagpole the pin. My lever is usually set anywhere from 9-11:30 for grands. For an upright, anywhere from 11-1 works well which I believe is pretty much the same for right-handed tuners. If I am remembering correctly, the Perkins School used to teach right-handed students to tune uprights left-handed due to the mechanical advantage.

    As you know, having a good tuning lever means everything when learning how to tune. There were not a whole lot of different options way back in the day when I started. Consequently, I went through many levers over the years trying to find the best for me. I certainly learned how to feel the pin over time. When Steve Fujan introduced his lever I tried it and immediately felt I finally found the lever that gives the best feel of the pin. To each his own!

    Best,
    Don

    ------------------------------
    [Don] [McKechnie,] [RPT]
    [Piano Technician]
    [dmckech@ithaca.edu]
    [Home 607.277.7112]
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  • 7.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Posted 11-26-2020 11:56
    From day one, more than 45 years ago, I was taught to tune (and continue to do so to this day) grands with my right hand, and uprights with my left. My own tuning teacher was a graduate of the North Bennet School, where he was taught this approach back in the 1960’s by an old Mason & Hamlin factory tuner by the name of Eddy Coughlin. Since the beginning, I have never felt any discomfort or disadvantage in taking this approach to my work. In fact, I believe there are inherent advantages (ergonomics, increased tuning mobility, and otherwise) to this practice.
    While there is little sense in trying to teach us old dogs new tricks, I would hope that those who do teach tuning might think about whether Eddy’s take on bulk factory tuning might warrant consideration today.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 8.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12-03-2020 12:09
    Paul,

    Your personal testimony is interesting. I am an old dog that likes to try and learn new tricks, but even when my body doesn't want to learn, I still want to keep an open mind for the benefit of my students (who have all been much younger than me).

    Alan


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



  • 9.  RE: Lever positions used by left-handed tuners

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12-03-2020 12:05
    Hi Don,

    Thanks for your response.

    And yes, tuning levers are one of the many things that we have seen improve monumentally over the course of our careers. Every lever I used early on (forty years ago) pales by comparison with the many superb levers available today. Inspired by the collection of levers at NBSS, I have amassed a comparable arsenal. This way, my students can try out different iterations over prolonged periods of time before deciding what to spend their $$$ on. (Like you, my current weapon of choice is the Fujan.)

    Alan

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