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getting back to my roots


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Tonight's meeting of the Boston Chapter of the Piano Technician's Guild was held at Aadvark Piano, about a mile from home. It was my first PTG meeting in well over thirty years. It was a great hang. I got a warm welcome, a good feed, and a pint of tuning fluid too. One guy I remember well from the old days and a few more I sort of knew. I didn't know George (Aadvark), but he used to work with the guy who bought my Blüthner. It's a small world. There were about twenty in attendance.



NY and Hamburg Steinways in various stages of rebuilding. And a Bechstein.



A nicely done model O.




A lovely model B.




A few more pianos.



The belly press, where the ribs are glued to the soundboard. This shop uses the same jig for gluing the bridges to the board.




Instead of a featured presentation, tonight was bring your favorite tool night. In the picture of that model O above you can see one guy's piano lifter for removing and working on legs. It's a hydraulic office chair with the seat ripped off. About half in attendance showed off their favorite homemade stuff. All great stuff, but the baddest tool maker of them all was Chris Brown.


Below right is the nicest letoff rack I've ever seen. It's used for setting the hammer line, letoff, drop, and such. Nice contrast between the dark blue plastic and the LED lit white plastic. Below the letoff rack is his hammer travel jig for getting perfectly perpendicular travel and a nice square hit. It works in conjunction with the jig on the left. For hanging hammers as well as regulation.




Just before he gave his presentation, Chris asked me if I still had my 9' Henry F Miller. I thought to myself, how (tf) would this guy know that I had a 9' Miller?


I used to be his piano tuner! :laugh:



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Very cool ! Brings back memories of a similar, though slightly smaller space I frequented awhile ago in Chicago's north suburbs. Bought my Kawai KG2 there - a piano I owned for too short a time. It's fun checking out restored pianos, and seeing ones in process. The technician who owned the shop worked on Steinway and Mason & Hamlin pianos, for the most part. There was a particular Mason 'BB' that was difficult to leave; that was the piano I would have loved to had purchased..

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.


We need a barfing cat emoticon!








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What fun! I'd like to go. For some reason, they have the PTG meeting here on Saturdays. OTOH, I'm not sure I want to get caught up in that. :laugh:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck


"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I'm not planning on going back into the business, but this a great way to shop for a piano. It's good to know who's in the business, who the good tuners and rebuilders are these days, and so on. That's at least 5000 square feet of great shop space shared among a few piano guys. Dynamic shop space is a problem I've been trying unsuccessfully to solve for myself for quite some time. Renting a little space and tool usage, or perhaps trading some labor for use of a little space on occasion would solve a lot of problems for me.


Running into Chris was amazing on several counts. Back in the day he shared a huge four bedroom apartment with another regular customer and two other musicians. That's two old customers in one apartment who took up piano technology. I remember Joe Mulholland well because he was a long time regular before taking up tuning himself. He mastered it quickly. Rock solid concert quality tunings in about twenty minutes. He did a lot of work for me too. Amazing player as well. He's currently chairman of the harmony department at Berklee.


But I had to struggle to remember Chris at all. He gave me the rundown on me tuning his piano, moving it, and even helping him rebuild it. Apparently, I did the pin block for him. And I barely remember any of that. :facepalm:


It's good to hook up with an old friend, even if I don't remember so well. :D


A fun night for a hard core piano junkie. I came home and played some on my new Casio PX-5S and even newer Kurzweil PC3K8 after playing the O and the B. I was sort of expecting to be disappointed and I wasn't. Bobby is totally correct about us being spoiled rotten these days with relatively inexpensive, compact, light weight keyboards.



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Brings back memories, alright. By the time I was 18, I'd taken off to Toronto with a band. We lived on the margins of downtown and many days I'd walk down Yonge Street to the lake and back, ending up at the Heintzman building to play their grands overlooking Yonge from an upper floor.


One of the salesmen got to know me a bit, and one day took me to another floor where they were actually doing the manufacturing, which I got to see, hear, and smell for the first time. I'll never forget the experience!


Your pictures remind me again that this is why no one can get a digital to replicate the real thing in a room.


Thanks for posting!




victoria bc

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Your pictures remind me again that this is why no one can get a digital to replicate the real thing in a room.




This reminds me of my Steinway experience earlier this year when I played the 9-foot concert grand in Lancaster, PA.



When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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