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Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

  • 1.  Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 08:49
    Looking to buy the Magnetic Mini Bubble Level for string leveling.  I've looked everywhere for these.
    Does anyone know where to get them?

    Dave Foster, RPT

    ------------------------------
    Dave Foster, RPT
    Waterford MI
    248-431-8804
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 09:25
    Dave,

    If you are referring to the one that was made by Richard Davenport, RPT, several years ago, they are no longer in production or commercially available.

    Alan

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



  • 3.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 09:42
    Alan -
    Do you know who might have the item or a picture?

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



  • 4.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 09:30
    Can you supply an image or some other reference to this item.  Is it something other than the one at Amazon
    https://www.amazon.com/Greenlee-L77-Magnetic-Bubble-Level/dp/B002SYO1N8

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



  • 5.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 10:22
    Magnetic string bubble level
    Alan, yes.  The one from Richard Davenport.  He doesn't have an email listed, that I can see.
    It looks fairly easy to make, but I wanted to patronize the tech who makes them.

    Dave


    ------------------------------
    Dave Foster, RPT
    Waterford MI
    248-431-8804
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 10:26
    Mario Igrec also mentions one in his book, Piano Inside Out.  Page 206.
    It just seems like a popular tool to have, yet I've been unsuccessful finding on.


    ------------------------------
    Dave Foster, RPT
    Waterford MI
    248-431-8804
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 12:35
    I love magnets, but I'm not sure how much they add to this version of the Mother Goose string level (though in fact, I don't know which came first, the Davenport or the Goose),  The downsides that people have noted, with regard to clearance between dampers and plate, along with limitations in locating device at strike point seem pretty much the same.  Two other concerns I would have (concerns, as in, I'm not sure how valid they actually are) would be the potential of both the magnet and the tool weight itself to introduce distortions in the string level.  I modified one of my Goss bubble gauges by drilling it full of holes (missed the level by THAT much) to reduce the weight, significantly.



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



  • 8.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-06-2021 06:24
    I have both but Joe's non-magnetized version is my go-to tool, as the magnet does seem to influence the results. I use it on the undersides of the unisons adjacent to the plate struts to level the outer two strings, then use Joe's sideways on top if possible for the center string.

    ------------------------------
    Mark Dierauf
    Concord NH
    603-225-4652
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 12:36
    http://mothergoosetools.org/product/brass-string-level/


    ------------------------------
    David C. Brown RPT
    Garland TX
    tunermandb88.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 13:45
    Thats it.  Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Dave Foster, RPT
    Waterford MI
    248-431-8804
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-05-2021 16:47
    I haven't had luck trying to reach Joe via his email. You might try giving him a phone call.

    ------------------------------
    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-06-2021 10:35
    Patrick -
    Joe had periodic issues with 'modren' technology, both email and with his website.  The 'imatunr@gmail.com' seemed to work ok a month or two ago, but yes, phone works too.

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



  • 13.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-06-2021 08:46
    Mr. Foster,
    just FWIW you may want to look at the tool Charles Faulk makes. It's not a bubble level but I find it to be as good a string leveling device as any I've tried.

    ------------------------------
    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-06-2021 13:27
    Mr. Karl,
    Being mindful of my earlier disclaimer regarding 'concerns' (post #7) I'd share these observations/fantasies with regard to the Faulk level:
    It's a little like the duality in 'squaring'​ a key to a crowned vs. uncrowned key level.  The discrepancy is easy to observe, either visually or by employing a strip of feeler stock.
    - The Faulk tool invokes a 'correct' string level based upon the string plane, which can diverge to a greater or lesser degree from the horizontal established by the keybed and action.  This could induce a (subtle) difference in string heights of a unison.
    - Any inconsistency in agraffe height of the strings upon which gauge sits could distort the horizontal orientation  (check for rocking).  For fun, (indeed!) I've played with using the Goose mounted on the Faulk, to check on the orientation of the latter.
    - The cautions/compensations when using these tools with dampers installed were previously mentioned.  In that case especially, I find the Grandworks String Height Gauge, which measures from keybed to underside of string easier and more consistent, https://grandwork.tools/collections/string-height-guages
    It's also also depressingly expensive (even the unit without the rail) so try to find as many additional 'multi' uses as possible... for example, sliding from one measured unison to the next can reveal sometime significant variations in heights.  The 'offset' of string height from one end of a section to another is not necessarily linear.  Another might be mounting a straight wire to top of one of the aluminum inserts to transfer hammer flange center pin height.

    If I'm feeling 'in the zone', I'll go back and forth between  tools I.e.measuring from top AND bottom, to see if input produces consistent conclusions.   My most consistent conclusion is that, if measurements are inconsistent, the 'zone' quickly loses its sustain.

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



  • 15.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Member
    Posted 03-06-2021 20:53
    A couple of years ago, I designed a tool for leveling, after being frustrated by the inaccuracy, and wishful thinking of all the aforementioned tools. I designed a tool, which I was getting ready to sell. Only thing was, that as I used the tool, it revealed to me, what I suspected all along...that is, that string level is a physical fiction, in this system. I ditched my plans to market the tool, and now do not bother, at all, with string leveling...I think string level is a physical impossibility, in this system. Level, or the appearance of level, is only made possible, by tools which present ambiguous results. The ambiguous results allow one to skew the results to suit the outcome one desires.

    I don't level and I am consistently creating the nicest sounding pianos of my career. I do shape catenary curves at the front bridge pin and front termination.

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



  • 16.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-06-2021 23:28
    Oh my!  Is this a product of an exceedingly good day or something else?  I don't recall perceiving any of your prior contributions as gratuitously inflammatory.  Let's just enumerate the sub-topics you've injected and then figure out how many new threads we'll need:
    - photos and/or drawings of designed tool.  Even in its failure, it would be fascinating to examine
    - why is string level a "physical fiction"?
    - when you say that "you don't bother with string leveling",  are you implying that you are comfortable dealing with strings that are not level, or that, by your other steps, they end up level anyway?
    - and so on.

    Jim, please take the time to clarify.
    Also, what became of any prototypes?

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



  • 17.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Member
    Posted 03-07-2021 00:08
    Not gratuitously inflammatory. Its just that the weight of conventional wisdom is so heavy. Despite all commentaries to the contrary, in fact, in my experience, the Emperor has no clothes. Calling out the fact that the Emperor has no clothes always appears inflammatory, ie, challenging beliefs always is experienced as a gratuitous attack. My comment is neither an attack, or gratuitous. I have spent many many hours leveling. In every case, I found it utterly ineffectual, unto tone killing. It took time from other activities that would have got me closer to my tonal goals than leveling, which has achieved nothing for me.

    I assumed it was the lack of an adequate tool. But, in my own experience, it was not the tool. It was the notion that strings could be leveled for a period longer than 5 minutes (level meaning put in a single plane within each unison. Not a single plane compass wide, a condition which would be impossible to verify... I know Chris' tool works off a single index on the keybed, but working from below, deflection of the unison becomes an issue.)

    I have talked at length about this with some other top notch rebuilders who have said, regarding leveling, "I do it but I don't know why", in the ineffectual department.

    The string takes somewhat of a catenary curve over the front termination. We can smooth the curve somewhat, but there remains some curve no matter how we abuse the string. Level the string. Then correct the tuning. As you pull or lower the string tension the curve moves, and angle that the string takes off the termination changes, and the projected line of the string changes, changing level.

    When I was using my tool, which indexes off the plane defined by a unison's adjacent unisons, despite the tool's stability, as indexed off the adjacent unisons, when the adjacent unisons were tuned after leveling, the plane of the tuned unisons changed, every time. As did the reading of "level" on the target string. All of the leveling tools out there, especially the Goss tool, and the pocket ruler tool, allow you the opportunity to get the tool to give you the answer you want. They hardly present an objective reading, despite one's best efforts. And further, their weight, and on some, especially the magnetic ones, actively deflect the system while being read. I saw this every time I attempted to level, and thought it must just be my technique. I don't think that any more. I think we are working to a level of wished-for perfection, that exceeds the limits that the materials and terminations impose. We are also working with tools that are incapable of objectively reporting on the actual condition we are measuring.

    Proof of the pudding is that my instruments sound better than at any other time in my career. Eliminating the leveling step has had no deleterious effect on my results. And, the unachorda, which I use often for various reasons, is an attractive sound, rather than the "weird" sound that "un-leveled" stings are purported to produce. Now....maybe that's because I don't use heavy dense hammers, and my systems are more forgiving because of that...I can't speak to how heavy hammers challenge the bandwidth of acceptable results, because I have no experience with heavy dense hammers, other than to remove them.

    Prototypes are sitting on a shelf in my shop...quite cute, but useless.










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



  • 18.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-07-2021 10:11
    Though I am not one of the 'elite' - those I read, watch, and respect - I have been doing this full-time for 40+ years and had some good training and a small rebuilding shop, university and private work.

    My experience mirrors that of Jim Laleggio.

    I get better results from mating hammers to strings, rather than strings to hammers.

    Nancy Salmon
    LaVale, MD





  • 19.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-07-2021 11:49
    Nancy ---
    I was busy trying to compose a witty reply to Jim but your response reminds me how quickly these conversations can get out of control.
    Please don't misconstrue my tone... something easy to do with this medium.  I'm not being (or at least intending to be) mean, when I mildly chastise your use of the term 'elite', with half quotes.  First, I think any of us, including Jim, would chafe under that garment (remember, the king has no clothes), but placing the word in ' - ' possibly suggests some degree of derision, which I doubt you intended.  Anyone doing this work for that long has experience worthy of a measure of respect.

    Jim -
    First, thanks for not being offended by my mischaracterization of your inflammation as 'gratuitous'.  Clearly it was intentional, in the best of ways.  Nancy's response illustrates how important it is to get on this early, before the myriad details get subsumed by personal defensiveness, like what I'm capable of.  The reason I framed it as 'gratuitous' was that you didn't initially seem inclined to stick around long enough to explain the absence of your critique royal attire.  Your second post resolved that concern, but hopefully, you'll stay with it for a bit longer.

    You often speak in poetry:
    utterly ineffectual, unto tone killing

    not that there's anything wrong with that
    but so much remains tauntingly hidden.

    I love 'utterly ineffectual' for what it doesn't specifically say.  Later on, you do elaborate, but you leave vague the extent of discrepancy of your final product.  Your explanation of why you are able  to dismiss this particular parameter in your own work is clear and interesting, but it ends up serving as a bit of a 'deus ex machina'  :  what about the poor schlubs that do use heavier, denser hammers?

    Maybe you could describe your method in a little more detail.  I remember that you seemed to embrace the approach of controlling the orientation of the natural wire bend when  doing your stringing.  (Forgive me for forgetting the name of the technician from LSU who introduced that thread.  While many of his claims were not well received, you seemed to favor this technique.)   If this is part of your current approach, how exactly do you deal with the catenary curve at the terminations?

    We're caught up in 'arguing' two questions at once .  1) does string level consistency matter, and, if so, to what extent? 2)  what, if any, tool can be employed to measure it?   Of course, each has it's sub-questions:  how much inconsistency does your method tolerate?  What ARE the inherent sources and extent of inaccuracy of the various  measuring devices... either the tools themselves or how skillfully they're used?

    You imply or state that strings don't retain corrective manipulation, and that we're aiming for a level of precision that our tools and materials don't allow, but you know plenty of people who have the obsessiveness and persistence to pursue any of these types of challenges.  You are one.

    How much to rent or buy "...quite cute but useless"?


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



  • 20.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Member
    Posted 03-07-2021 18:41
    Nancy...glad to hear I'm not the only one.

    ps  The appearance that there is an "Elite" is an illusion which the internet creates when folks like me blab a lot.  I, for one, would love to hear your opinions on this and other rebuilding threads, adding your personal "blab" to the "blab" of other highly skilled equals!

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



  • 21.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Member
    Posted 03-07-2021 19:36

    David <utterly ineffectual, unto tone killing

    I meant, that literally the time spent achieved zero improvement towards the tone I am looking for. Pretty straight forward.  I will engage my OCD only for practical result, as, at 67, I have no patience for spinning my wheels at the behest of the aforementioned Emperor.

    What is the treble tone I personally am looking for?

    Instantaneous development of organized pitch at the fundamental level...that is, a crisp non- abrasive attack, followed by the actual fundamental being present and sustaining at least a couple of seconds, hopefully more.  Just a couple of seconds though can really be a big plus for treble tone. Most of the time, challenged treble tone (first capo) has almost  no fundamental presence at all, and what fundamental appears, lasts a fraction of a second...that is, the fundamental lasts not much past the piercing, explosive attack phase of the tone.

    So, with leveling, as one of the mating processes, in theory, I am talking about trying to maximize treble tone, as described above.  Utterly ineffectual, means the theory did not match the reality.  Leveling achieved no change that I could discern. When theory and reality don't agree,  I question why.  When I leveled strings, there was no significant increase in fundamental sustain, or there was so little improvement, that one could not tell if one was fooling one's self, or whether some tiny, tiny, tiny improvement happened.  In any case, come back the next day and listen to it, and there will still be an unsatisfactory tone.

    My complaint is one of degree.

    When folks talk about improving treble tone,  and when I listen to these processes demonstrated in a class or in person, performed by someone else, I may hear tiny incremental, improvements. However, when treble tone is challenged with explosive attack and lack of fundamental , which is a major flaw in my aesthetic, I'm not looking for incremental . I'm looking for major improvement, as in order of magnitude improvement, not tiny incremental improvement.  I simply never get a major, order of magnitude improvement from leveling.  I get it from remedial board work, mass loading, from mating sometimes, and from hammer work. In fact, the older I get, and the better the pianos sound, hammer work and the hammers themselves continue to reveal how important they are.     

    < what about the poor schlubs that do use heavier, denser hammers?  

    I don't know. I made my decision to target the hammer densities and weights I use based on my own practical results and data sets, and tonal aesthetic. It could be these folks are targeting a tone different from the tone I am targeting. As such they need to develop their own data set.  The trick there is, if using a denser/heavier hammer/lower AR system , to question all conventional wisdom regarding what those hammers are or are not actually providing in reality, as opposed what conventional wisdom says they will provide.  My data comes from reasonably light (but still modern weights, in the normal/ light end of hammer weight spectrum).  Maybe folks who claim leveling works wonders need it to tame the high partial heavy effects of heavy dense hammers, which seems to be an aesthetic that many techs chase...I do not know, so I made the qualification.  My data is based only on my personal experience, and on achieving what I consider my ideal tone, as described above.



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



  • 22.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-08-2021 06:18
    Hi,
    I concur with Jim completely (except maybe about the emperor's new clothes).  I've been doing this work more than 40 years and find my fingers work best to see/feel string height and I realize that there is memory in wire and unless the wire is freshly strung you can't change much unless  you are about to file the capo bar which is often the problem.  Pulling up at an agraffe hole can cause other problems and I've seen too many kinks in wires from people using wire hooks. In general string leveling is an obscure, unmeasurable temporary condition (especially in a highly  variable climate).  What affect does a rising and lowering (from RH% changes) Soundboard/bridge system have on string leveling?  Spend your time doing measurable work; Meaning, what you can hear by working on the hammer surface and what we have control over and you'll have spent your time well.

    ------------------------------
    Jessica Masse RPT
    Western Michigan University
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Posted 03-07-2021 10:45
    It's my thinking that string leveling is for the shift pedal. If the hammer never moves out of the grooves you could just mate the hammer to the strings.
    The hammer is plumbed and centered under the unison. The tip is flat sanded square to the plumb line with the tails on a voicing block. Now to achieve even voicing movement as the shift is used as a half pedal for color, the wires should be as close to the level of the keybed as possible.
    So I level the strings to the keybed.

    ------------------------------
    Keith Roberts
    owner
    Hathaway Pines CA
    209-770-4312
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Posted 03-06-2021 12:42
    The Mother Goose leveling tool is nice.  Not magnetic but works great. http://mothergoosetools.org/

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



  • 25.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Posted 03-07-2021 19:58
    I seem to be needing to level strings a lot less than i did before. I made a vertical music wire dispenser that allows me to keep the natural curve of the wire the same, throughout the stringing process. Later, i will put my Key pounder on for about an hour or two. After that i will focus on mating the hammers.  If the hammers are doing an angle thing, then i will pull out my under the string level jig.

    -chris

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



  • 26.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-08-2021 11:14
    Chris -
    On my phone so I'll be mercifully brief:
    Any pictures of vertical wire set up?  Are you saying that, prior to adopting this approach, you had to do more leveling than now?  Do you think that the pounding addresses any, or at least the front catenary curves that Jim spoke of?

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



  • 27.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Posted 03-08-2021 11:57
    I made a quick albeit poorly edited video of it, probably could have been shorter too.  I think watching and keeping the curvature of the wire the same from pin to pin helps. I got the idea of a vertical dispenser from Bill McCaig, but made it better with the brakes.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u_eHZrqOlo&t=29s

    -chris

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



  • 28.  RE: Magnetic Mini Bubble Level. Where to buy?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-08-2021 15:08
    The upside of posting from my phone is, as mentioned, a systemic predisposition towards brevity.  The downside is the equivalent tendency to lose a post just before I hit 'send', as happened as I tried to summarize the by now familiar pitfalls I'm perceiving in this thread...  We're talking past one another, or about too many things at once.   I understand if Jim (Nancy, Jessica and others) find contemplating the measurement and effect of string leveling an unproductive self-indulgence (time/return),  but the question wasn't "should we (or I) do this", but whether a measurement can be captured, even if it is a mutable;  is one tool or method more or less accurate or susceptible to design or user error?
    Questions of tonal effect are secondary as well as bifurcated, as in 1) effect of deficient hammer/string mating, 2) elimination of catenary curves.
    I would echo one of Jim's statements/verses:
    My complaint is one of degree
    (I left off the period to allow it to more easily pass as poetry)
    I feel similarly, even if we might disagree on the degree of 'what'.

    While Jim did not, as yet, address my question about wire orientation when stringing, Chris C's post suggested the potential salubrious effect of controlling this parameter.  I appreciated his video of the jig he made but remain unclear as to how the orientation of winding the tuning pin coils is imposed in a direction perpendicular to the natural curve.  I'm relatively sure I'm missing something.

    Would still relish a play-session with "cute & useless".

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