Welcome to the Counting to 100 Pianos series. I am blogging my way through tuning my first 100 pianos. For previous pianos, check out these:
Piano #3 was my church's upright piano, a Baldwin 243 C in case you were wondering. I was really excited that they decided to take advantage of my summer sale and asked me to tune the piano. (I don't like stealing work, but I do like new clients and I have to get them somehow!)
One of the most intimidating parts of tuning, so far, is knowing how to open each piano. I have this nagging fear every time I head out with my kit, that I will get there and not be able to tune the piano, simply because I can't get into it! Most pianos are straightforward: lift the top up (it is on hinges) and lean it against a wall, then pull out the front board that covers the hammers (behind the music rack). However, some need a special key. And on some, like this piano, the entire front and top of the piano are one piece that lifts. I'd found this out from looking at it before, so I wasn't caught off guard, but this time I realized that I didn't know how to prop up the top. I thought about letting it hang on the hinges, but they weren't strong enough to support the entire top. Then I spent time looking for the prop, and thinking about using a hymnal, and considering taking the whole thing off it's hinges in general. Luckily, before I got too far into the last solution, I finally saw the prop, tucked up into the lid. Note to self: there should be a logical way to keep the lid up, you just need to look harder!
Another tricky part, at least for me, is setting the "temperament" of the piano. Technicians tune the middle of the piano first, and then work their way out from there. That first octave and a few notes that they tune is called the temperament. Anyway, setting the temperament is like packing a house: it always gets worse (read: messy) before it gets better. Sometimes this is scary because it makes me wonder, will I ever get it neat (in tune) again? Not to scare you off, I always do it get it tuned to itself in the end, but it is that moment in the chaos where you look around and get a little panicky because your house/room looks like a tornado came through it. Sometimes it isn't so bad, and sometimes everything sounds a little terrible until I get further along... and this piano was a it-kinda-sounds-terrible one.
In the end I got the piano opened, I got the piano tuned, and I got it all put back together again. Piano #3 complete!