Category Archives: Technical

Short articles on various aspects of repair, maintenance, tuning, voicing, etc.

1848 Pleyel


This ca. 1848 Pleyel needed some serious rescuing of its tuning pins. Once we were sure it could hold pitch at 430 Hertz (common for this period), I could get on with putting it back together – rubbing down the … Continue reading

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Bechstein String Tangle


The lid on my 19 guage steel wire tin failed. As I was drawing out a length for this model L Bechstein, the lid suddenly jumped off – and I got THE WHOLE LENGTH…in one big tangled mess! That’s 500g … Continue reading

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Sticky Spider Keys


This lovely Bizzi 2-manual (2x 8′, 1x 4′) harpsichord, which I have serviced before, had some sticking keys. The reason was a surprise: a spider’s nest! Upon removal of the keyboard and keys in the treble area, the wee web … Continue reading

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Concert in Conca


The pianist Heidrun Bergander decided to fly me over to Catalunya to prepare her Tuinman fortepiano for a concert in Conca de Barbera. Early instruments have much lighter stringing than modern pianos – and so are much less stable in … Continue reading

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For Sale: Chappell Baby Grand – SOLD


Reconditioned by me – that means it’s beautifully voiced and sounds very even and open; easy to play. I’m quite enjoying playing it myself! New strings (and bass strings) and tuning pins throughout. Action is thoroughly serviced, with a light … Continue reading

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Key Spacing – Sharps


Once re-bushed, all keys (naturals & sharps) may need some fine spacing. This is best done prior to key levelling. The sharps are classically spaced very slightly towards the centre of the keyboard, bearing in mind that the movement of … Continue reading

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Hammer Felt Trimming


When hammer heads are angled on their shanks, they can sometimes require trimming (bevelling) to give clearance. I’ve posted on this previously (Hammer Cutting) but these pics show more clearly how to select the required angle (the amount) of bevelling: … Continue reading

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Upright Damper Regulation – Hoffmann


First, all damper felts need to be trimmed and/or cleaned. I clean the felts using compressed air – it’s a delicate operation, but well worth the careful effort. Trimming damper felts requires a perfect pair of scissors. Previous posts have … Continue reading

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Damper Wobble Noise


Sometimes dampers wobble as the key is pressed, especially on a hard blow, and can actually produce an audible vibration (a strange and annoying sound). Dampers with extended wires (usually at tenor/bass breaks) are particularly prone to this. There are … Continue reading

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Dome Screw Adjustment


Many quality keyframes have Dome Screws to adjust how the frame rests on the keybed. Most dome screws are adjusted using a tuning hammer or special key. Many Piano People do this on the work bench, using a straight-edge; some … Continue reading

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