Piano Tuning - Tools of the Trade

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Some Piano Tuning Tools I Use Frequently and Why I Use Them?

The following information contains a list and brief, general descriptions of the tools I carry in my Piano Tuning Kit.

The Tuning Hammer

The Piano Tuning Hammer or Wrench is one of the most well recognized piano service tools. I use it to apply torque to the individual tuning pins. Tuning pins are the “metal pegs” that are jammed into the piano through the cast iron plate and the maple plywood plank or “pin bloc”. In order for the piano to be tunable, each and every tuning pin has to have a resistance to the constant pull of the strings of no less than 35-40 lbs of torque. If tuning pins do not offer enough resistance, the piano cannot be reliably tuned.

Mutes and Temperament Strip

The next tool that I use are rubber mutes and a temperament strip. The purposes of these are to enable me to eliminate extra vibrations from strings so that I can hear and compare only 2 particular strings at any give time. Are there any Piano Tuning Pin Vibrations? The answer to that is no. All sound and vibration in a piano come from the string, soundboard and slightly from the rim and overall tension resonant structure. Tuning Pins only serve to mechanically anchor and rotate the strings into the structure.

In order to tune the 230 plus strings per piano you should understand that it is only possible to tune one string at any given time and that one string can only be compared to another single pitch or string at any given moment in time. Rubber Mutes come in a variety of triangular shapes facilitating insertion into the narrow spaces between the strings.

String Lifter Tool

The string lifter tool is a hooked device that gives the piano tuner a way to pull against, lift and exert force on a string when it is already in the piano under tension so that it can be moved, aligned or bent. The Papst Mute

The Papst Mute is a special type of mute that I use. It looks like long tweezers and it has a spring at the end of it keeping open. The mute is usually used up in the high treble and enables the tuner to stick it between two of the three vibrating strings of a unison.

Screw Driver Extensions and Tips

The Spoon Regulation Tool for Upright Pianos enables me to bend a little prong at the end of the Whippen backward or forward. Being that it is hard to reach the spoon while the action is in the piano, this tool makes it possible achieve adjustment by feel. The position of this spoon in relation to the damper lever determines the Timing of the release of the damper felt to and from the strings. Varying types and thickness screw driver tips and extensions that enable me to get in between the action parts such as butt flanges, hammer shanks, dampers, damper levers, etc.

Front Rail Key Pin Adjusting Tool

Piano Keys on either Upright or Grand Pianos have two pins that serve to guide the movement and alignment of the keys in relation to each other. The middle one called the “Balance Rail Pin” guides the key at it’s fulcrum and affects the squareness or horizontal alignment of the key to the piano. The “front rail pin” affects the vertical of alignment of the keys to each other.

Repetition Spring Regulation Tool

I use this tool to adjust the repetition spring of the grand whippen which are the core or engine of the grand action. This tool enable me to adjust or bend the spring without kinking it.

Manual Screw Starter

This is a basic tool I originally received as part of my Damp Chaser Installation Kit. It does what is in its name.

Mini Vice Grips

These very narrow set of grips enable me to clamp down on very small screws, hardware and wooden parts.

Let off Button Regulation Tool for Adjustment While Action In Piano (Grand)

This tool is used to adjust the let off screws while the grand action is place in the piano. The let off screw trips the jack which is part of the action. Without lettoff, the hammer would hit the string and jam against, block and not release from the strings.

Square Capstan Regulation Wrench

Capstan screws allow vertical adjustment to me made between the key (bottom action) and the whippen (top action). Most modern, high end pianos have capstan pins with holes. This type of capstan is much easier to adjust with the proper tool than a square capstan (style) wrench.

Butt Spring Reinsertion Tool

Butt springs assist the return of vertical butt flanges. In the grand action, hammers, shanks & flanges, whippens all return to their original starting point with 100% use of their weight and gravity. In uprights, only a fraction of the total weight of the action parts factor into return due to the fact that the hammer travels along a horizontal arc.

 
Eben Goresko, Registered Piano Technician
 

 


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