Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Just back from the US of A. Went to studio B at  RCA Victor, in Nashville:


The Steinway grand was put in there around 1961. It was used on all the Elvis records after that and also many others, e.g. Roy Orbison. The guide asked for a volunteer to play it. Lesley pushed me up although I emphasised that I make them sound beautiful not by playing them, but by tuning them. The guide said it was great but he may have just been generous. At the end he asked me about tuning and I gave a mini lecture about the duplex stringing in the piano.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

30th August 2012.

Now here is a "waterfall" keyboard! This is the keyboard of a John Broadwood piano fom the early 1960s. It is in a school in Kidderminister and I have just tuned it. Waterfall keys are common on Hammond organs. The classic B and C models have them. Hammond also make some modern organs with them. The purpose on the Hammond is to be able to "palmslide"  for effect, without stabbing yourself. In the older Hammonds the term refers not only to the shape of the end of the key, but also the arrangment of the keyboards, or manuals one on top of another.  Later spinet organs have the keys of the upper keyboard sticking out over the lower manual to save space. These are called "diving board" keys.

The purpose of the shape in this case is to make the key covering in a single piece and without a lip which might get caught by the player's nails. There are 2 rivets in the front and one at the back. This is so that if the piano ends up in a hot and humid climate, the old fashioned animal glue might soften without the covering dropping off!  This sort of construction is referred to as "tropicalisation" in the trade. Every piano has a story!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Haynes Piano Manual - now also in Japanese

The Haynes Piano Manual has now been published in Japan by Yamaha, manufacturer of superb pianos. It looks remarkably like the UK edition and even has its main title in English, but thereafter we can't read a word of it. At least Graham and I now know what our names look like in Japanese. Given Yamaha's endorsement of the manual, we're less bothered by the defamatory sniping from some quarters that we have to put up with on Amazon.

(It's been pointed out to us that one of our critics sells rebuilt pianos, some of them at prices that readers of our buying advice might decide not to pay. We wonder if this is the real reason that some in the piano trade don't want anyone to read the Haynes manual?)

And my offer to anyone to use this website to point out any inaccuracies in the manual is still wide open. A virtual cup of tea and a bun awaits all contributors, friendly or otherwise.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Apologies to all our readers

A corrected diagram for page 37 of the Manual

A String
B Hammer
C Rear end of key
D Whippen
E Jack
F Notch (A leather covering over a small felt pad. Behind the jack is a small felt cushion.)
G Set-off button
H Balance hammer
I Backcheck
J Flanges. (These are screwed on to the wooden rail running through the middle of the action.)
K Coil spring. (This pushes the jack under the notch when the key is released.)

View a printable page

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Haynes Piano Manual

W've had many good reviews and much positive feedback about the manual, but some professionals seem to question its technical accuracy. We are confident that what we've published stands up, but I'm happy to consider criticism and put something right if it's wrong.

However, I can't do anything in the absence of information. So if you're a pianist, piano tuner, piano technician or whatever, this discussion forum is your opportunity to provide specific details of where you think we've got it wrong, or where you'd do things differently, or where more clarity or extra information would help. If we incorporate your suggestions in later editions, we'll make sure you get acknowledged for it.

Some professionals may be uneasy about the amount of technical information the manual has now put in the public domain. I suggest we get grown-up about this. How many garages have car workshop manuals put out of business? The likelihood is that the Haynes Piano Manual will make piano owners more aware of the need to maintain and repair their pianos, and thus more likely to use professional services. Let's face it - providing information is not the same as providing skills. Here is the Sunday Times view of Amazon reviews: Culture, 12th December 2010.