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MMD > Archives > October 1998 > 1998.10.24 > 10Prev  Next

Installing Heater Bar in Upright Player Piano
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Most tuners and rebuilders agree that any effort made to
control the ambient temperature inside a piano that 'lives' in a
moist environment will improve tuning stability and help prevent

In an upright player piano, installing a heater rod is, unfortunately,
a bit of a double-edged sword.  For while it will improve the tuning
stability and help prevent a sluggish action, it will also prematurely
dry out the bellows cloth and rubber or neoprene tubing.  Also, there
really isn't any place to affix the heater rod where it can effectively
warm the entire piano AND be far enough from any bellows to NOT cause
harm AND not be in the way of the tuner (or be easily removed from the
piano during tuning).

Faced with all these considerations, I took a heater rod and started
looking for the most advantageous location.  In my opinion, that
position is midway between the spoolbox and the piano action,
approximately three inches below the top of the spoolbox and about
an inch above the hammers.

On the web page at  I have
placed diagrams and some text to explain how this job can be easily
accomplished without fabricating any elaborate brackets.  I do realize
that there are heater rods which are designed to 'fit' between the two
inner sides of a piano, but the approach I'm suggesting utilizes the
more common 15-25 watt, three foot long rod.

Also, the technique I describe only requires that the top of the
piano be opened.  No other parts of the piano have to be removed.
So....  anyone can do it and you don't even need a screwdriver.

After viewing the page, if you have any suggestions, please write
to me.  I can easily add another diagram or more text if doing so
will make the whole job easier.


John A. Tuttle (

Key Words in Subject:  Bar, Heater, Installing, Piano, Player, Upright

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