Tuning old Chickerings and tuning technique

Ronald R Shiflet ron_and_lorene@juno.com
Fri, 14 Jun 1996 00:08:54 -0800 (PST)

Dear list,
      The question of tuning an old Chickering has turned into an
interesting discussion on tuning technique.  Some like to 'jerk', others
drag.  I'd like to throw in yet another viewpoint slightly changing the
      In regards to tuning technique, I tend to use different
techniques on different pianos.  We all know what a Steinway feels like.
We all know  what a Baldwin feels like.   Most technicians should be able
to tell these two brands of pianos apart just by the difference of feel
during a tuning.  Both are difficult to tune unless you're using the
'jerk' method but each uses a different 'jerk'.  The Steinway 'jerk' is
usually so soft, that it is more of a bump of the hammer than a 'jerk".
If you tried that on a Baldwin you'd never get the pins to move.  Going
on,  you might say that Asian pianos have yet another feel.  Kawai and
Yamaha feel similar to each other when compared to American pianos yet
they definitely feel different from each other.
      Out here in dry Arizona, we seem to have a lot of loose tuning
pins.  I tend to be a drag tuner on these.  On new pianos, I pretty well
have to 'jerk' them in order to achieve a solid tuning.  My point is that
the use of one 'universal  technique'  is questionable.
      So where do I sit on a Chickering?  (The bench of course !!! ).
No actually, I feel that old uprights usually have yet another feel
      Many thanks to Jim Coleman Sr. for his excellent input regarding
tuning technique.

Ron Shiflet, RPT
Phoenix Chapter

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