Pianotech

  • 1.  Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-31-2022 22:02
    I will be repairing a hitch pin “rail” (more akin to a bridge) on a harpsichord that has come unglued in parts from the soundboard. This is the shorter 4’ rank of a single manual Morley keyboard. I will need to loosen the strings and remove from the hitch pins, at least in sections where I will re-attach the hitch pin “rail.” Looking for any advice on keeping the strings on the tuning pins w/o having the wires unravel when I loosen the tension.

    My thought was to use painter’s tape to wrap around the tuning pin to keep the wires in place. Or I am overly worried about this? My stringing experience of harpsichords is rather minimal at this point, in case that’s not clear.


    Joe Wiencek
    NYC


  • 2.  RE: Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-01-2022 06:22
    A Morley harpsichord would probably have zither pins and modern piano wire (thin, but stiff), so your idea of a bit of tape to keep the coil in place will probably reduce the amount of coils springing off the pins.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 3.  RE: Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-01-2022 09:05
    You might be able to use shrink tubing (available at electrical suppliers) heated with a heat gun.  

    Gary Ford



    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone






  • 4.  RE: Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-01-2022 11:59

    The tape sounds like a natural solution.  If you try to use the existing strings, you will also need to secure the other end to the soundboard – might as well use that tape.  Otherwise the strings will end up in a tangled mess.  I've never seen a rail on the top of a soundboard for 4' strings.  All the harpsichords I have worked on, and the 2 I built, had rails glued to the underside of the soundboard and the hitchpins just went into the top of the soundboard.  Sounds like an odd beast.  Good luck!






  • 5.  RE: Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-01-2022 13:00
    Zuckermann's _Modern Harpsichord_ shows a Morley harpsichord with the 4' hitchpin rail on the top of the soundboard. He states that the soundboard is birch plywood with a pine veneer on the top. The bottom of the case is open, and the soundboard is painted white.

    If this is what you have, I begin to have evil thoughts...perhaps it is not necessary to remove the 4' strings. Could it be possible to loosen the strings, leaving them on the hitchpins and somehow pull down the rail to the soundboard...drill through and clamp it down with some temporary bolts, then fill the holes with hardwood dowels?

    Think very carefully before adopting this idea!

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 6.  RE: Keeping strings on harpsichord pins

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-01-2022 14:13
    Ed,
    I like the bent of your machinations! This is precisely what I'm dealing with.  I had planned to put a temporary bolt just as you describe. I may just try out your method, and can resort to pulling the strings off if in the process it feels shaky. 

    Thanks to you and to all!

    Joe