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MMD > Archives > October 1996 > 1996.10.06 > 03Prev  Next

Re: Electronic Tuning Aids
By Richard Moody

I agree with Doug Rhodes opinions of electronic tuning aids. However I think the subject of tuning machines has a special consideration in this Mechanical Music Digest. I am a little rusty on the tuning requirements of such instruments as the Mills Violano, and say Seaburg Nicholodians, (and spelling as well) I have seen MMI (Mechanical Musical Instruments) (utilizing hammer struck strings) where the longest bass string was in the center, and the shortest strings were at both ends. So how to tune these since no key board is involved? Obviously some one did it by ear since these MMI's were manufactured long before electronic tuners.

Take barrel pianos, the ones with big wooden cylinders with pins that flick the hammers to the strings. I watched as an apprentice, but have forgotten how the tuning was done execpt that he did it by ear and a tuning fork. The man I trained under was (also) apprenticed to a technician who servciced ball room band organs from Belguim to Berlin (they did barrel pianos if time permitted) . There were still many in those days (1930's) but very few are left now. So the knowledge of servicing these instruments is dying out, unless it gets written down. If the skill of tuning these instruments is lost due to scarcity, this is where electronic tuning devices can come to the rescue. (As long as the scale does not get lost).

And I would LIKE TO ADD here the value of computers and the Internet in preserving information that is in danger of becoming LOST. Get to these old timers, interview them and get their comments into this digest.

Ever try to tune reed organ reeds? Boil them in vinegar and water first, then see if they need tuning. Here an electronic tuner would suffice and save time perhaps. And accordian reeds, how to those by ear? But HOW do you tune music box tines. There are people who know, but I would like to ask them, can they do it wo eta's (electronic tuning aids)

Finally I forgot what SAT means other than what you need to get into college?

Richard Moody piano tuner technician

[ Editor's Note:
[ W/R/T music box tines, Nancy Fratti has just joined the group.
[ Perhaps she'd like to comment on tuning music box tines. I've
[ been briefed on this subject before. Its fascinating. I'll
[ bet money that if we get an article on this subject, that the
[ "don't do this at home" will be included as a caveat!
[ SAT -> Scholastic Aptitude Test
[ Jody

(Message sent Sun 6 Oct 1996, 03:38:08 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aids, Electronic, Tuning

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