Piano Tuning

Had the piano tuned this week – and it is wonderful to have it playable again.  The past few months I would sit down to play and after a few min find something wrong with the tuning, or more often, a mechanical problem with the action. 

Most mechanical problems I can fix myself, and I had the action out of the piano preparing for such a repair.  Unfortunately I left the room and the children entered it.  I came back in to find them playing with it and one of the hammers was broken off it’s flange.  I repaired as best I could, but it was wiggly and would cause the key next to it to play – so the piano was basically un-playable – if you wanted a C5 in the song anyway.

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The piece of wood that part #6 screws into is what was broken.

Enter Mark Dierauf – of NH Pianos. He was able to fix the bad hammer + flange with a new pin – which required having about a dozen different sizes of pins – the tools to get them in and out of little tiny wood pieces – and the knowledge that a new pin would even solve the problem.  In the process he broke and fixed a few other things – and the result was 87 of the 88 keys working enough to be tuned, and the one broken one being the lowest key on the piano so not missed during regular play.

The very kewl part of this visit was the software that Mark uses called TuneLab – which runs on his windows cell phone.  Mark indicated it didn’t run on the iPhone yet because of Apple’s approval process holding up it’s release.  It would, however, run on the little netbook we have. 

The software is currently released as “nag ware” in that it is 100% useable but every once in a while it will freeze up for a couple of min.

So while Mark was tuning I was able to get it running and hopefully getmyself to a point where I can do a maintenance, or “Touch up” tune on the piano if a couple of keys go way out of whack before Mark visits again.

The software costs $340 – and I don’t think I’ll be buying it anytime soon as I’d only be using it to tune my piano.  It did get me thinking about the market for piano tuning software, and I didn’t realize that it’s a semi-popular interview question to ask, “How many piano tuners are there in the world?”  This page claims about 20k.

What caused me to blog about this though is the pleasant feeling I know get when I walk into the room with the piano – compared to the nagging frustration I had when it was broken and out of tune.  It is as if the house is more in harmony with the world then it was before.


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