Unusual Tuning Pins

I had a wonderful opportunity to tune this Mason & Hamlin Upright with some VERY unusual tuning pins! First thing you notice on this piano is all that metal up front! Anyway, I was pleased to find the tuning lever was hiding on the inside to the left of the hammers with some notes on how tuning this piano is slightly different than most.

After experimenting with those instructions to make sure the tuning is stable I found that, unlike most modern pianos, you need to bring the pitch down below your target tone and then slowly come back up until you’re perfectly in tune. If you over-shoot the pitch, you have to start over on that note, go flat and then bring it back up again. Just to give context, it’s almost the opposite technique when tuning with modern tuning pins in wooden pin blogs. What was also amazing to me was how well designed this seemed to be! The resulting tuning was very stable and the stretch of the octaves was pretty much the same as any other large upright.

Tuning this piano was such an enjoyable and different experience. I have tuned literally thousands of pianos and so much is now muscle memory that I don‘t really have to think about the fundamentals anymore, but with this piano, it turned everything on it‘s head and made it fresh again! Such a pleasure! I look forward to having to opportunity again to tune this amazing, beautiful and unique piano again!

— Piano Technician Jacob Putnam