The Piano Technician's Guide

Piano Technician's Guide

Look at the Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • This is a brief introduction to this manual.

    • Preface
    • In this preface I explain my reasons for writing this manual.

    • Piano History
    • A brief history of the development of the piano.

    • Piano Design
    • This section deals with the design & construction of the various components of the modern piano.

      • The Case
      • The Keyboard
      • The Action
      • The Action Parts
      • The Plate
      • The Soundboard
      • The Bridges
      • The Pin Block
      • The Keybed
      • The Strings
  • Basic
  • The "Basic" division of this manual deals with subject matter suitable for the beginning piano technician or the do-it-yourselfer. The material is essentially the same as in my "How To . . ." series of eBooks. Just click on the "eBooks" tab at the top of this page for a more detailed description of each topic.

    • Tuning - How To Tune Your Own Piano
      • The Tuning Hammer
      • Manipulating The Tuning Hammer
      • Tuning Unison Notes
      • Tuning Octaves
      • The Temperament Octave
      • Temperament Sound Files
      • Setting The Temperament-part 1
      • Setting The Temperament-part 2
      • Tuning The Bass
      • Tuning The Treble
      • Tuning The Tenor
      • Tuning Problems
    • Repair - How To Repair Your Own Piano
      • Piano Repair Tools
      • Glossary of Terms
      • The Keyboard
      • The Action
      • The Dampers
      • The Strings
      • The Soundboard & Bridges
      • The Trapwork
      • Miscellaneous Repairs
    • Rebuilding - How To Rebuild Your Own Piano
      • Take The Cabinet Apart
      • Remove Strings & Tuning Pins
      • Remove Plate
      • Order Strings & Action Parts
      • Repair Soundboard & Bridges
      • Replace Plate & Re-String
      • Repair Keyboard
      • Repair Action
      • Assemble Cabinet
      • Install New Dampers & Hammers
      • Re-felt Keybed & Tune
      • Regulate Action - Upright
      • Regulate Action - Grand
      • Tune Up To Pitch
      • Pin Block Replacement
      • Square Grands
    • Refinishing - How To Refinish Your Own Piano
      • Take The Cabinet Apart
      • Strip The Old Finish
      • Sand & Repair Damage
      • Stain To Desired Color
      • Seal With Shellac
      • Apply Sanding Sealer
      • Apply Finish
      • Hand Rub To Desired Sheen
      • Polish Hardware
      • Assemble Cabinet
  • Advanced
  • This division deals with more advanced techniques as described below . . .

    • Action Repairs
      • Vertical Action Springs
      • There are three different types of springs in a vertical piano: the damper spring, the hammer butt spring and the jack spring. These springs may require replacement if they have become weak, damaged or broken. The procedure for replacing individual springs or whole sets of springs is covered here.

      • Vertical Dampers
      • Damper work in vertical pianos can be very difficult, and at times very frustrating. The following instructions should be able to take a lot of the difficulty out of the job.

      • Vertical Hammers
      • The reasons for filing hammers and the procedure are discussed here. When hammers become excessively worn, no amount of filing, re-shaping or voicing will make much improvement in the tone of the piano. The best solution is to install a set of new hammers. Hammer hanging is described in detail here.

      • Grand Hammers
      • The procedure for filing grand hammers is somewhat different from that for upright hammers which is described here. Hammer hanging for grands is also very different and much more complicated. A detailed outline of all the steps involved are presented in this article.

      • Grand Dampers
      • This section deals with choosing the correct damper felt, re-bushing the damper guide rail, servicing the damper underlever assembly, gluing on the damper felt, damper regulation and correctly bending the damper wires.

      • Action Touchweight
      • There are many different factors that determine the touch of a piano. It is important to investigate all of these factors before attempting any re-weighting of the keys. The touch of a piano is constantly changing with use as the key bushings wear, the flange bushings wear, the hammers wear and loose felt through re-shaping thus changing their weight, climatic changes around the piano, plus other factors which are discussed here.

    • Keys
      • Key Recovering
      • If you choose to do your own key recovering, there have been a variety of approaches to this job. The method that I have found to give the best results is described here.

        Before beginning, it is important to observe a few necessary design considerations. The new plastic keytops will be considerably thicker than the original ivory, therefore, in order to maintain the same key dimensions as the original, it will be necessary to mill down some of the wood from the top of the key before gluing on the new tops.

        If this is not done you will usually have regulation problems. There may not be enough room between the key tops and the nameboard. The sharps will be too low in relation to the white keys. If you raise the sharps to the correct height, then the white keys may hit the front rail punchings under the sharp keys before seating on their own felt punchings.

        Sometimes the key top may not be square with the side of the key. If you mill down the top with the key on its side the tops will not be level in the piano. They will all be slopped to one side. I provide two different options for preparing the key top for the new material. Also included are detailed diagrams for building all the necessary jigs for key recovering.

    • Bridges
      • Repair
      • The condition of the bridges in a piano is critical to the production of good tone and tuning stability. Loose bridge pins, cracks in the bridge and improper notching all have a detrimental effect on the ability of the bridge to transmit the vibrations of the strings to the soundboard. These issues are discussed here.

      • Capping
      • Bridge recapping is an essential skill that the serious piano rebuilder must develop. There will be situations in which merely repairing the bridge, will not restore the piano to optimum condition. Recapping is definitely a major procedure and the steps presented here should be followed closely.

      • Replacement
      • Bridge removal, new bridge design, construction options and bridge installation are covered in detail here.

    • Soundboard
      • Crown
      • The importance of soundboard crown and the various methods used to put crown into the soundboard are the subjects of this section.

      • Downbearing
      • As the strings pass over the bridge they are deflected in a direction down to the soundboard because the bridge surface is higher than the plane of the strings. This causes the string to exert downward pressure on the bridge and soundboard which is essential to the transmission of the string vibrations to the soundboard.

        Ideally, this force should be evenly distributed along the bridges so that each string exerts the same amount of downward pressure as the next string. This section deals with the method of setting the correct downbearing on new bridges.

      • Repair & Shimming
      • Assessing the condition of the soundboard and making any necessary repairs is the subject material here.

      • Installation
      • It is the purpose of the soundboard faithfully to reproduce and amplify the vibrations of the strings that are transmitted to it through the bridges. The design and construction of such a soundboard is discussed here.

    • Pinblock
      • Removal
      • Pinblocks are fastened into piano cases in a variety of ways. Some are simply held in place with screws at each end and are therefore quite easy to remove. Others are also glued in place and require a little extra effort for removal. Still others have dowels at each end going down into the support shelf plus blind dowels joining the pinblock with the stretcher. These present a bigger problem for removal. Various methods of pinblock removal are discussed here.

      • Installation
      • Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether or not to replace the pinblock. How to fit a grand pinblock as well as repairing or replacing an upright pinblock are described here.

      • Drilling
      • The following points are discussed here: drill press set-up, cooling the bit, drill bit size, drill speed, feed rate and drilling accuracy.

    • Plate
      • Repairs
      • Repair or replacement of the agraffes, dressing the capo bar and dealing with cracked plates are discussed here.

      • Installation
      • There are various situations that require the height of the plate to be adjusted. The method of installing the plate with the Baldwin suspension system is described in detail along with instructions for copying this system when installing a plate in a rebuilt piano that was originally set on dowels or shims. Also, setting the plate on dowel supports is presented when such a method is desirable.

  • Resources
    • Business - How To Build Your own Piano Tuning Business
      • Advertise Your Services
      • Your First Customer
      • Keeping Customer Records
      • Your Bookkeeping System
      • Follow Up Your Customers
      • Working For Piano Dealers
      • Contract Work For Institutions
      • Concert Tunings
      • Setting Up A Piano Repair Shop
      • Selling Repair Work
      • Pricing Your Work
      • Keeping Up To Date
    • Scale Design - How To Re-Scale Your Own Piano
      • Introduction
      • Scale Design Considerations
      • Scale Design Formulas
      • Scale Design Work Sheet
      • Sample Work Sheet
      • Overall Calculations
      • String Tension
      • Maximum Safe Tension
      • Hammer/String Contact Time Factor
      • Unison Loudness/Sustaining Factor
      • String Inharmonicity
      • Unwound Lengths of Wound Strings
      • Overall Wound String Diameter
      • Wrap Wire Size
      • String Elongation
      • Hitch Pin to Start of Winding & Winding Length
    • Bench Plans - How To Build Your Own Piano Bench
      • Bill Of Materials
      • The Bench Top
      • The Sides & The Ends
      • The Bench Legs
      • The Bench Bottom
      • Install The Hardware
      • Dovetail Jig Plans
    • Tool Case Plans - How To Build Your Own Piano Tuning Tool Case
      • Bill of Materials
      • Case Sides & Raised Panels
      • Top Tool Tray
      • Middle Tool Tray
      • Bottom Cleats
      • Finishing the Case
    • Tilter Plans
    • Plans for building a great tilter for upright pianos.

  • Links
    • Table of Contents
    • Supplies
    • Links to various suppliers to the piano industry.

      • Affleck Piano Tuning
      • Spurlock Specialty Tools
      • Nick's Piano Page
      • Renner
      • Lee Valley Tools
      • Mohawk Finishing Products
      • MSC Industrial Supply Company

All of this invaluable material is available in eBook format that you download to your computer so that you can have immediate access to all of these detailed articles along with about 200 images, original drawings and diagrams.

This eBook is available as an executable file for Windows PC as well as an application for Mac computers. After you make your purchase you will be able to select which format you require.

Buy Now Here and have immediate access to "The Piano Technician's Guide" and become the Expert people TRUST.


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