Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Unstrung, Day Two

Shortly after 10 this morning I made my way into the Performance Studio, where Piano Technician Allan Day was already getting started with his second day of work rewiring VPR's Yamaha C7 piano.

One of the things we couldn't have known before all the wires inside the piano were removed yesterday was that the tuning pins were bent, and needed to be replaced.

<---(note the bend in the head of the tuning pin. It's subtle, but it's there. And it's enough to wreak havoc with a piano's tuning if it's not fixed.)

This can happen for a number of reasons, the biggest one being the fact that our piano is forty years old - that's four decades of hard work, on each of the piano's 88 keys. There are up to 250 lbs. of tension on each piano wire, and it's the pin's job to hold the wire solidly in place as the instrument is being played. That's a lot of years without a day off.

Among other benefits, replacing the pins will help to ensure that future piano tunings last a little longer before needing another tweak. For the second day of work on the piano Allan is removing the bushings (they're made of maple wood) that hold the pins in place, replacing them, continuing his deep cleaning of the instrument, and beginning to replace the pins themselves. The old pins were stock parts made of Japanese steel. They came with the piano when it was made in 1970. The new pins Allan has selected are made of German steel and are a little thicker, so they should hold up very well for another four decades of fabulous performances in the studio.

Here's the conversation Allan and I had this morning about yesterday's discovery - and yes, there are more power tools at play today!

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