I had two tunings scheduled for this afternoon. The first was to tune the Yamaha G1 (grand) on stage in the auditorium at the high school. There are several performances coming up, the first on Wednesday night. I thought that the Yamaha would be it's usual breeze. It always really needs tuning after it's summer neglect, but generally it's not a disaster.
First, since it was to be a focal instrument in part of Wednesday night's concert, I decided to give it a little spiff-up. It was thick with dust on the pedal lyre and the legs. The main body of the piano remains covered with a fitted quilt when the piano is not in use, so that was okay. As I was dusting off the back leg, I was dismayed to also notice an abundance of mildew growing on the beams and the belly rail (these are structural supports under the piano). Evidence of that much moisture is not a good thing. I opened the lid to it's highest to have a look inside. I expected to see rust forming. Fortunately there was none.
Unfortunately, there was a large, previously migratory stain on the soundboard traveling down the length of the treble bridge and pooling at the tail end of the piano. Ooooh, how on earth had liquid accumulated in there? I pointed it out to the woman in charge. She shared my dismay and remarked that the roof had been leaking, a portion of the stage had flooded during the summer, and no one had been around to notice. That didn't explain the inside stain, but certainly the exterior mildew.
Well, still no rust, so I felt they had been quite lucky. I sat down to begin tuning. What a mess! The entire midrange had become incredibly too sharp and I had to lower pitch on the majority of the piano. Only the high treble and low bass were near correct pitch. So, extra work, extra time and at a low pay rate. I had gotten this piano to be a nice stable instrument requiring only ordinary maintenance tuning even through seasonal humidity and temperature changes. A summer semi-flooded stage had been too much for it!
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Okay, back to piano number two for today. The piano is an old upright that I've tuned once before. I thought it was to be just a straightforward tuning. When I arrived the owner pointed out a 'broken' sharp (black key). Well, it wasn't actually broken as one would define a break. It was a wood (under) sharp that had a plastic 'cap' adhered to it. The plastic had bowed and delaminated from the sides of the sharp and it was catching the adjacent keys. I removed the key and glued (instant type) and held it clamped tight with a sanding stick that I had in my tool kit. I counted to 30 and let the stick loosen from the side of the sharp. It held! With the key back in place in the piano, I got ready to tune...just as the customer said he would be working outside.
Splitting firewood with a gasoline powered hydraulic log splitter.
Don't worry, I can tune over all that noise! (truly, it wasn't a problem). The problem was that I had to use my elongated tuning tip because the lid of the piano overhung the tuning pin area too much. The first time I tuned this piano I had tried to remove the lid. Looked simple. Five screws and it should have come off. Should have. I tried again today. I removed the screws and tried to budge the lid. Nope. Won't lift, won't slide left. Won't slide right, backwards or forward. I hate tuning with that long tip, but it's done.