SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER

October Meeting: (2nd Monday)
Date: Monday, October 10, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Jim Connolly’s Piano Kitchen
430 Rose Ave., Santa Barbara
Phone: 805-570-3341

The Santa Barbara Chapter was excited to have new Associate member Aaron Stireman join us in September, so we went around the room and introduced ourselves for his benefit. The exercise highlighted the diverse ways in which people find their way into the piano technology business.

Our technical session generated much discussion of false beats and the challenges of communicating with customers:

Charlie encountered a Knabe console with lots of false beats. The customer was particularly bothered by A3, and she told him it was perfect when it was actually sharp. There was some disagreement between the customer and her husband, which put the technician in the middle. Jim suggested a mismatch between the customer's expectations of the instrument and what that particular piano is actually capable of.

Dennis noted a general increase in false beats across many pianos he services, including a few instances of one half of a length of wire giving false beats while the other half sounds fine. We seemed to agree that after many years of drought, some re-seating of wire to bridges may be in order.

Charlie also encountered a job in which a piano was damaged by movers. The insurance company, in trying to keep this customer happy, said they would pay him for tuning and a bunch of other work. In the end, they would issue the check only to the customer, who then threatened to withhold it pending more/better work.

Jim brought up a case where he'd described a particular process to a client months earlier. By the time they were ready to invest in the job, their understanding of the process he'd described had mutated terribly. For him, this makes the argument for giving customers minimal details about processes that we can generalize as, say, "regulation", so as not to overwhelm or confuse.

Aimed at our new member, Jim recommended spending the money on good tools, and on a good tuning lever specifically.

Dennis described how, when tuning unisons straight through (left string, middle, string, right string, not muting off and making several passes) that tuning the left-hand string seems to bring the middle string very close, and that after tuning the middle string, the right-hand string needs no adjustment at all.

For our program, we started to watch the PTG Foundation's DVD on Claude Montal, but we didn't budget enough time to view very much of it at all.

At our October meeting we will be playing around with Scott Jones' PitchLock string couplers to see what we make of them, particularly to address false beats.

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