Tuning a Piano with an Impact Tuning Hammer

Tuning a Piano with an Impact Tuning Hammer

Sep 22, 2023

Using An Impact Piano Tuning Hammer (Piano Tuning and Repair)

Welcome to our Series on Piano Tuning and Repair.

Tuning a piano with an Impact Tuning Hammer has a different technique than using a standard piano tuning hammer. In this video, we show how to use the impact tuning lever as well as talk about some of the advantages of this type of tuning hammer over traditional type hammers.

If you want to see more of our Piano Tuning and Repair Series, click here to access the entire playlist.

Video Transcript:


Thanks for joining us here for another video from Howard Piano Industries. Today we're going to be giving a demonstration, a more detailed look at our Keys impact tuning hammer that we sell. It's available, it's a different type of tuning hammer from your traditional tuning lever but I've had some questions about how to use it and the advantages of it and maybe the disadvantages over the standard tuning hammer.

Impact Tuning Hammer Introduction

Now first of all I'd like to say that the impact tuning hammer is primarily used for uprights and vertical pianos. So spinet, console. studio upright pianos. The way that it works it's the head, it doesn't have a traditional head, but it's got this piece right here that actually pivots, if you can see the star tip, I can twist this back and forth. So it's got room to go back and forth like this, and what that does is, that provides an impact to the tuning pin so that it can move in increments rather than a smooth pull, like you'd have on a normal tuning.

Even if you use a traditional tuning hammer at least I do and many piano tuners do often use that impact type of jerking motion for moving the tuning pin because what that does is, that actually moves the pin in the block rather than just twisting the head of the pin and so that you get a little more stable tuning. So basically, the way, and I've got here, I've got in front of me, I've got TuneLab. We're going to be using that to kind of gauge where we're at, and the other function of this Keys impact tuning hammer is that it's got a sliding weight on it, and it's got different spots that it can lock into so that the further out you have it the more weight, or more force that you're going to have on that tuning pin.

So if you've got tighter tuning pins you're going to want the weight further out toward the end of the handle, and if you've got looser tuning pins, in general, you're going to want to have it closer up, because otherwise, your weight is going to be moving the pin too much if the tuning pins are real loose, and this, in this pianos we've got probably medium tight tuning pins.

Impact Tuning Hammer Demonstration

So we're going to start down here with F# and what you're going to do is put the tuning, and I'll talking a little bit about some advantages of this over the traditional tuning hammer, but what you're going to do is you're going to put it on the tuning pin and then, normally on a normal tuning hammer you'd hold it up here and tune it this way, but with the impact tuning hammer you're going to grasp down here and just move it with your wrist, so there's a lot less movement. You don't have to use your muscles and your arm as much because the weight is really doing all the turning of the pin.

So if I play this, you can see, if you're familiar with TuneLab. Here you can see that that's a little bit sharp. Now, so I know I'm going to go to the right with the, I'm sorry, to the left we want to go down in pitch and yet, you can start to get a feel for how much movement or how much force you want to put on that, on the impact especially using it with an electronic tuning device like TuneLab. You can really see how much the amount of force that you put on it actually moves the pitch. So, there I am, I want to go a little bit below pitch now. So I'm, now I'm flat.

Advantages and Disadvantages

If you're a piano tuner and you use a traditional tuning hammer it might take a little bit of getting used to, but honestly to be honest with you, I've never used one of these regularly to tune myself. I know a lot of, some professional tuners, that use them. I can see the advantage of, it's much easier on your body, on your arms and your joints and so forth. So it's, you don't have to work so hard to tune because you're just doing this, rather than actually using your muscles to pull it this way on the other.

The other advantage is that, again, like I mentioned before, it moves the tuning pin in the block so it sets the pin much better than using a traditional tuning hammer. So those are some advantages and some of the basic ways to use the impact tuning hammer. The fairly simple tool to use, and they say actually for beginning tuners it's an easier way to get used to moving the pin and setting it well than using a traditional tuning hammer. So that's what I've heard from other piano tuners.