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High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

  • 1.  High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-04-2021 12:45
    Subject piano: S&S "B" -- and quite a nice one at that.  Has somebody's signature on the plate. SN 533886. Last tuned 3 months prior. "Newer" customer acquired summer 2020.

    Situation: Customer complained of "buzzing".  I determined that a likely cause was the fact that the strings were not level -- probably hadn't been touched since the factory.

    Action taken: So, I leveled the strings throughout the entire piano. The high treble section wasn't bad but I decided to carry on up through that area just to be thorough and as long as I was in that mode. I also used the tool now available from Piano88 to clarify the bend of the wire around the forward bridge pin.

    Result: In all except high treble there was a notable improvement in what I call "solid piano tone" and the "buzzing" was gone. However...

    Problem: The tuning in the high treble was unstable.  Not just the normal pitch being off which is why string leveling is done before tuning rather than after. No... this was wild, kittywompus, out-of-this-world unstable. I went through the high treble about five times and it was still moving when I left.  I arranged to return a few days later (yesterday) and refined the tuning through the rest of the piano and did probably another 10 passes through the high treble section (maybe 20 -- I wasn't  counting). By then, both I and my customer had to move on to other things but the treble was still unstable although the unisons were more-or-less where they were supposed to be. But still, strings were creeping either sharp or flat for no obvious cause.

    Comment: I've only been tuning for 55 years so I'm still learning but I don't think the issue is with tuning technique. I've never had this result from doing string leveling or refining the bend at the forward bridge pin.  The only similar experience I've had is in the high treble section of a Baldwin SD-10 where several adjacent notes on either side of a broken string will go wildly out of tune and will require multiple passes to tame after a new string is installed (or a splice is done).

    Any suggestions -- either by way of analysis or, more worthwhile, a solution?




    ------------------------------
    Keith Akins
    Akins Pianocraft
    Menominee MI
    715-775-0022
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-04-2021 13:00
    Hi Keith,
     
    I'd want to check the tightness of the bell bolt, and the rim bolts in that area. May have nthing to do with it, but that's where I'd start.
     
    Teri
     
     
    Subject piano: S&S "B" -- and quite a nice one at that.  Has somebody's signature on the plate. SN 533886. Last tuned 3 months prior. "Newer"...
    Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.

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    High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling
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    Keith Akins
    Feb 4, 2021 12:45 PM
    Keith Akins
    Subject piano: S&S "B" -- and quite a nice one at that.  Has somebody's signature on the plate. SN 533886. Last tuned 3 months prior. "Newer" customer acquired summer 2020.

    Situation: Customer complained of "buzzing".  I determined that a likely cause was the fact that the strings were not level -- probably hadn't been touched since the factory.

    Action taken: So, I leveled the strings throughout the entire piano. The high treble section wasn't bad but I decided to carry on up through that area just to be thorough and as long as I was in that mode. I also used the tool now available from Piano88 to clarify the bend of the wire around the forward bridge pin. 

    Result: In all except high treble there was a notable improvement in what I call "solid piano tone" and the "buzzing" was gone. However...

    Problem: The tuning in the high treble was unstable.  Not just the normal pitch being off which is why string leveling is done before tuning rather than after. No... this was wild, kittywompus, out-of-this-world unstable. I went through the high treble about five times and it was still moving when I left.  I arranged to return a few days later (yesterday) and refined the tuning through the rest of the piano and did probably another 10 passes through the high treble section (maybe 20 -- I wasn't  counting). By then, both I and my customer had to move on to other things but the treble was still unstable although the unisons were more-or-less where they were supposed to be. But still, strings were creeping either sharp or flat for no obvious cause.

    Comment: I've only been tuning for 55 years so I'm still learning but I don't think the issue is with tuning technique. I've never had this result from doing string leveling or refining the bend at the forward bridge pin.  The only similar experience I've had is in the high treble section of a Baldwin SD-10 where several adjacent notes on either side of a broken string will go wildly out of tune and will require multiple passes to tame after a new string is installed (or a splice is done).

    Any suggestions -- either by way of analysis or, more worthwhile, a solution?




    ------------------------------
    Keith Akins
    Akins Pianocraft
    Menominee MI
    715-775-0022
    ------------------------------
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  • 3.  RE: High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-04-2021 17:08
    Keith, Wow this IS crazy. (This question is of course after checking the bell, rim bolts, etc Merideth suggests) Did you get the "feel" or sense that there are grooves in the V-bar in those top two sections would be enough to cause at least part of this issue?? I wouldn't think so, but...hmm....perhaps a contributing factor?

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Fortenberry
    Registered Piano Technician
    Temple, Texas
    806-778-3962
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 02-04-2021 19:54
    One more thought:  I remember preparing a new piano one time, and just not being able to get it stabilized, especially the treble. Lo and behold, there was a small crack in one of the plate struts in the treble area. Couldn't really see it unless you looked hard. Apparently the piano had been dropped.
     
    Teri Meredyth
     
     
    Subject piano: S&S "B" -- and quite a nice one at that.  Has somebody's signature on the plate. SN 533886. Last tuned 3 months prior. "Newer"...
    Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.

    CAUT

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    High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling
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    Keith Akins
    Feb 4, 2021 12:45 PM
    Keith Akins
    Subject piano: S&S "B" -- and quite a nice one at that.  Has somebody's signature on the plate. SN 533886. Last tuned 3 months prior. "Newer" customer acquired summer 2020.

    Situation: Customer complained of "buzzing".  I determined that a likely cause was the fact that the strings were not level -- probably hadn't been touched since the factory.

    Action taken: So, I leveled the strings throughout the entire piano. The high treble section wasn't bad but I decided to carry on up through that area just to be thorough and as long as I was in that mode. I also used the tool now available from Piano88 to clarify the bend of the wire around the forward bridge pin. 

    Result: In all except high treble there was a notable improvement in what I call "solid piano tone" and the "buzzing" was gone. However...

    Problem: The tuning in the high treble was unstable.  Not just the normal pitch being off which is why string leveling is done before tuning rather than after. No... this was wild, kittywompus, out-of-this-world unstable. I went through the high treble about five times and it was still moving when I left.  I arranged to return a few days later (yesterday) and refined the tuning through the rest of the piano and did probably another 10 passes through the high treble section (maybe 20 -- I wasn't  counting). By then, both I and my customer had to move on to other things but the treble was still unstable although the unisons were more-or-less where they were supposed to be. But still, strings were creeping either sharp or flat for no obvious cause.

    Comment: I've only been tuning for 55 years so I'm still learning but I don't think the issue is with tuning technique. I've never had this result from doing string leveling or refining the bend at the forward bridge pin.  The only similar experience I've had is in the high treble section of a Baldwin SD-10 where several adjacent notes on either side of a broken string will go wildly out of tune and will require multiple passes to tame after a new string is installed (or a splice is done).

    Any suggestions -- either by way of analysis or, more worthwhile, a solution?




    ------------------------------
    Keith Akins
    Akins Pianocraft
    Menominee MI
    715-775-0022
    ------------------------------
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  • 5.  RE: High-Treble Instability -- from string leveling

    Member
    Posted 02-04-2021 23:10
    I would inspect the plate in the top area for a crack or cracks especially where the struts cross each other. I had a piano here that had a strut crack and it was impossible to get notes to hold. The other issue could be the vbar material and cuts in the metal . I think there has been several recent posts on Pianotek about this issue Maybe it was dropped during its last move. If it was I would thing the last tuner had to have had the same problem BTW I just bought that new tool from PIANO 88. Hot did you like it ?

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------