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famous piano tuner

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by pianolady, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I just came home from a Steinway piano store where I heard a talk given by Franz Mohr. He is a very famous piano technician. He is a cute, German man (one month shy of his 80th birthday) and he tours the world for Steinway and talks about some incredible experiences he has had. He was Horowitz's personal tuner for 25 years, (developed a deep friendship with him) also Rubenstein, Van Cliburn, Gould, Pollini, and the stories he has! And of course he said how wonderful Steinways are and all that. I probably should not have gone there today, because just the other day, I said to my husband that I am thinking about trading in my piano for a new Steinway. Surprisingly, he didn't keel over, but he was very quiet for awhile after that (probably wondering how he was going to pay for that, now!) Anyway, I bought Mr. Mohr's book too. He's very interesting, so if you get a chance, go see him. He travels everywhere.
     
  2. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    That's cool you got to meet him; sounds fascinating!

    But before you get a new Steinway shop around; I played quite a few recently and they definitely aren't what they used to be or crack themselves up to be; try an older rebuilt (by a good rebuilder of course) Steinway, OR Mason & Hamlin; they don't maake instruments to last like that anymore. Estonia makes a fine piano as does Kawai (Kawai's upscale line Shigeru Kawai is more expensive but these are incredible pianos) and Yamaha (though I don't care for yammies much) and they are infinitely cheaper than a new Steinway. Rebuilt Steinways are cheaper, too.

    Not trying to tell you what to like, but check your options; I recently got to play 9 brand new Steinways and was only impressed by one of them, a new model "O". The others just weren't worth the $60,000 + price tag. Shop around, shop around... :wink:
     
  3. mary

    mary New Member

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    I think it's wise to look at a lot of pianos. I never intended to get a Yamaha, but ended up buying one years ago-it was an older piano--probably now about 25 years old, but is glorious. Remember too, that voicing can be very important. and a great technician/tuner will get the very best sound from your instrument.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Interesting about Steinways not being what they used to be. That piano technician repeated several times how they are hand-made with the most carefully chosen wood (grown in only two places in the world just for their pianos) etc... And that you cannot compare factory-built piano manufacturers (Yamaha) to the hand-made Steinways. Of course, he works for Steinway. My piano is a Yamaha C2 grand and my piano tuner raves about how well the Yamahas hold together, easy to tune, etc...
    I've wondered about the Shigeru Kawai, but have never tried one. Maybe I'll go piano shopping again one of these days. (don't tell my husband :lol: )

    As to voicing, you are right. I bought my piano brand new and in the piano store were a dozen grand pianos in a row. Six or seven of them were the exact model but sounded much different from each other. I picked out the one that fit my ears best, and that's how I ended up with a Yamaha. But just three weeks ago, I noticed that some keys were sounding more harsh or maybe the word is 'bright'. It was getting on my nerves so I asked my tuner to fix them. Argh, can't think of the word for this one either, but now I know what it means to have some hammers 'adjusted'? or maybe it is 'voiced'? Anyway, he had a metal pointed rod that he used to gently scrape the felt on the hammers, so as to soften them and make the tone not sound harsh. I think I will try to do that myself next time I notice a bad tone, as it didn't look hard to do.
     
  5. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    :shock: Yes it is ! The exact place on the hammer head where to act is of great importance and it depends on the result that is loooked for. Actually voicing is more difficult than tuning.
     
  6. johnmar78

    johnmar78 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    voicing

    Monica,

    becarfeful waht you are doing....according to my old tunner78 in australia. He use a fine needle to lossen up the felt........to get a soft sound. I hope you have not had done already with your metal tools..
     
  7. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Use a very fine needle, a lancet works well, just don't overdo scraping or poking; once the hammer is softened, it takes a very long time to re-harden, so do any correction very gradually. Also be careful not to rip off the hammers when moving the action.

    There are a couple hammers on my piano that need some softening every year or two. I make a series of shallow pin-pricks with a superfine insulin needle along the grooves in each offending hammer. However, I strongly suggest you get professional advice first. From what my technician tells me, it's easy to do some damage.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm a tiny bit afraid to do it, now, but it really did look like it was easy to do. I'll just go grab a screw driver, or wrench, or that squeezy thing with the long pokey nose that I use to take fish off a fishing hook. :lol:

    Seriously - yes, little tiny pokes with something very sharp and thin is the way to go.

    That does scare me!
     
  9. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Insulin needles work very well.
     

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