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July meeting July 9, 2010

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The July Meeting of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild will be held this coming Tuesday, July 13th, at

Dale Fox’s Shop
7101 34th Street
North Highlands

Business meeting 6:30 PM

Technical Program at 7:00 PM

Tuesday’s Technical Program:

“Show And Tell”

Everybody bring your one or two favorite tools,
and tell what they are, how you use them,
and how you like them!!!

See you there!


June meeting May 31, 2010

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Dale Fox’s
7101 34th Street
North Highlands, CA 95660

Business Meeting will start at 6:30 PM.
Tonight’s Technical:

This class will present a method of repairing and or installing a standard Y shaped piano truck. Enabling a single individual, using simple and common tools to complete the job without assistance. Included will be a list of tools needed, discussion of procedure and a short power point presentation of jpgs on a recent truck/piano repair. Total presentation could be as short as 20 minutes or can be drug out to an hour.

See you all there!


Harley-Davidson piano May 31, 2010

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Harley-Davidson piano

Sexy rebuilder’s shop May 22, 2010

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The cover story for this month’s Keyboard magazine is about Alicia Keys. The photos are quite sexy — so distracting, in fact, that I didn’t realize at first that she was posing in a piano rebuilding shop!

May meeting May 3, 2010

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The May Meeting of the Sacramento Valley PTG Chapter is Tuesday, May 11, at
Sherman Clay Piano
771 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Suite 150
Roseville, CA
(Next to Nugget Market)
The Business Meeting will begin at 6:30.  Gene Nelson Will put on this Month’s Technical Program, entitled:
And Other Piano Related Noises
How to track them down, and hopefully
Eliminate them
Sherman Clay is providing refreshments, so please RSVP to Dan at dpshans@aol.com no later than this Friday, May 7th.

April meeting April 9, 2010

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Greetings, all,
The April Meeting of the Sacramento Valley PTG Chapter will be held
Tuesday, April 13,
Dale Fox’s Shop,
7101 34th Street,
North Highlands, CA.
In addition to our technical program, this meeting will feature a Silent Auction.  A local family has inherited a piano technicians supply of parts and tools, and wants to see it put to good use.
Silent auction opens at 5:30 PM.
Business Meeting 6:30 PM,
Technical program  @ 7:00.
Tuesday’s technical program:
Tuning Stability, with Gene Nelson.
People will be able to test their pin-setting, and pitch stability on an actual piano.
See you there!!!

All-day seminar with Del Fandrich March 4, 2010

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Just a reminder to mark your calendars for March 20th.  The Sacramento Valley PTG Chapter will be hosting an all-day seminar with Del Fandrich, at the home/shop of Dale Fox.  This is the second Sacramento seminar with Del, and promises to be just as entertaining, informative, fascinating, and fun as the last one.  Lunch, of course, is included.

Strings, Scales, and Bearings

The morning session will introduce the basic concepts of how sound is created in the piano. What is it about the string scale and the soundboard that makes the timbre of a piano bright and hard or warm and rich? To answer these questions we will discuss and demonstrate some of the principles of vibrating strings and stinging scales. Using a new dual mono-chord string test fixture we will compare different string configurations and hear how changes in string lengths, tensions, bridge configurations and backscales as well as hammer strike points affect the sound of the piano. We will also be able to study the basic concepts of string downbearing and how different amounts of string bearing can affect how a soundboard works. Finally, we will discuss some guidelines to help technicians and rebuilders determine if an under-performing soundboard can be repaired or must be replaced.

What’s Wrong with the Killer Octave (and other soundboard maladies) — 3 hours

The afternoon session will continue where the morning session leaves off. We will start with a brief introduction to how the soundboard works. Then we will identify and analyze different tone problems that are caused or created by the soundboard or rim. Many, if not most, of these problems are usually blamed on the hammers–but voicing the hammers will not solve them. Particular attention will be paid to the so-called “killer octave” and the bass-to-tenor break. We will discuss the technical reasons for the tone problems in these areas and describe solutions that can be applied without significantly altering the structure of the piano.

Bio: Delwin D Fandrich

Del began rebuilding pianos at the age of seventeen and, with the exception of three and a half years spent working on various electronics devices while serving in the US Air Force, he has been involved with the inner workings of pianos ever since. While most of his early piano work involved rebuilding or remanufacturing, he also built up a clientele of tuning customers that included the Portland Civic Auditorium and the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. He served as the Piano Service Manager for the Portland, Oregon Steinway dealership for several years which brought him in contact with many of the worldís greatest pianists. It was also a time of increasing frustration with the performance of the modern piano.

Long an experimenter, Del became a serious student of piano design. His studies include a wide variety of subjects ranging from basic engineering and physics to piano soundboard acoustics and vibration analysis. He began experimenting with specific pianos purchased for the purpose. In 1985, after working independently for several years he was offered the position of Director of Research and Development at the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company. Returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1990 he designed the new Walter 190 cm (6í3î) grand piano and built the first prototypes of that instrument. Subsequently he has been involved in a variety of different piano design and building projects.

Be sure to sign up today, by logging on to www.sacptg.org, or for more information, give Gene Nelson a call at (530) 306-2942

March meeting March 4, 2010

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Don’t forget:  the March Meeting of the Sacramento Valley PTG Chapter is next Tuesday, March 9th, at The Music Exchange, on Arden Way in Sacramento.
Business meeting starts at 6:30, and the technical presentation starts around 7:00.
This Month Dale Fox will continue his “Back To Basics”  series, and talk about many aspects of the piano key, including leveling, easing, etc.
Everyone is sure to learn something new, or at least re-remember something that will prove useful.
See you there!

February meeting January 29, 2010

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The February Meeting of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild will take place

Tuesday, February 9
At Dale Fox’s shop
Business Meeting at 6:30.
Technical Presentation:  7:00 PM
Dale will present a program on methods for accurately traveling hammer shanks.  There’s more to it than meets the eye!
See you there.

Description of a concert of ruined pianos December 14, 2009

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Hobart Bond Store, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery

5 April 2009

Ten Days on the Island Festival Of Timbre and Taxonomy

Ross Bolleter. Avant garde composer, archaeologist, social historian and Romantic. The audience is transfixed and transported as he conjures noises, alien and familiar, that stir our imagination. He tells stories that flood our hearts and our memories. Only a labour of love can unearth this kind of magic. Young and old, piano or no piano in our separate worlds, we are connected by a shared history and an extraordinary music.

In the Hobart Bond Store in the bowels of the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery stand the many ruined, rescued pianos from Ross Bolleter’s Tasmanian travels. In his Taxonomy of Ruin, he has set up a classification system for us: neglected (including verandah pianos); abandoned (including shed pianos), weathered; decayed; ruined; devastated; decomposed; annihilated. Hundreds of people are being turned away from this popular, free event. The audience is over capacity. Our curiosity builds.

Over two months, with the help of Teresa Beck-Swindale from Tasmanian Regional Arts, Bolleter located ruined pianos from the furthest parts of Tasmania. As he stands before us, his eyes twinkling-a humble and jolly man-he welcomes us to this leg of his Tasmanian journey. He begins by telling us that he was sorry to tell people that their pianos were “just not ruined enough”. He reckons the Bond Store is a fitting venue for this performance, as the entry point to Tasmania for many of these pianos would have been the docks that lie behind these walls, across Davey Street. He tells us of a bygone era when the piano was the “bearer of European culture”, and delights us with stories about the hardships born by the lovers of these non-portable instruments.

And the pianos. They look decayed and precarious, these uprights with soundboards exposed-one, found at Scamander rubbish tip, lies on the the ground in the far right corner, chopped up and dismembered. Bolleter introduces each one as he plays them, their original owners, and how each was found from in far reaches of Tasmania. Their provenance lay as

far as Paris, London, Berlin, and America. One woman from Beauty Point rescued a piano just as it was about to be burned, carrying it away in a horsefloat so it could continue a more stately demise buried beneath books in her shed. Many pianos became habitat for animals, insects and birds. Ross recounts a story of how upon playing one, white ants poured out and began dancing for him in concentric circles on the casing.

Ross Bolleter treats each piano with the love and dignity it must have enjoyed in its prime. Each piano is reborn in a clamorous reverie. The timbre is strange and beautiful as he improvises with experience and virtuosity. He plays them on his knees and sitting upright. He plays sitting below the keyboard on a cushion and with his elbows. Felt hammers knock and clap with no strings left to reach. Some ivories ping, some keys tinkle, some make no sound at all. Soundboard strings twang and resonate as he reaches underneath. Now and then he incorporates recognisable melodies.

Ross improvises for us a finale that incorporates all of the pianos, playing fragments of The Road to Gundagai. These pianos are now endeared to a loving audience, for a moment restored to their former cultural glory and to the centre of our consciousness.

Sara Wright is an artist based in Hobart, Tasmania

Visit the World Association for Ruined Piano Studies website