Archive for March 2018

Piano, Tyres, Moon.   2 comments

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times previously I bought a piano and started to teach myself to play it. It’s a ridiculous statement actually, teaching yourself anything is pretty impossible because if you don’t know how to do something how can you teach yourself? It’s not the first ridiculous statement I’ve ever made and I doubt it will be the last.

What I have really been doing is learning from books, on-line courses and video tutorials available online, that has been fine up to a point but my progress has been quite slow. A few weeks ago by happy accident I was put in touch with a retired piano teacher who had moved here from Istanbul. I started lessons with her and my progress has speeded up a lot, particularly reading music.

However there has been one problem, her piano had a duff key. The “C” key above middle C didn’t work correctly, it’s resting position was lower than the other keys and it needed to be hit much harder than normal to make a sound and it was driving me nuts. Obviously that could not continue so we decided to take the opportunity of a months visit she was making to Istanbul for me to bring the piano to my place to fix it. Actually at my last lesson before taking the piano the “E” key below the already faulty “C” also developed the same fault. I knew nothing about the workings of an electronic piano even though I have one myself so much research online was needed. I found most of the information I needed and set about dismantling the piano to ascertain the cause of the fault.

With all the component parts spread around my kitchen it soon became obvious what the problem was. In an electronic piano with “hammer action” to mimic the feel of a real piano the plastic keys, both white and black, act upon a hammer bar to operate the switches controlling the electronics. On this particular model the hammer bar, made of black anodised steel, is fitted into a white nylon mount  that rotates through a few degrees when the key is pressed and actuates the switches. There are no springs involved which surprised me a bit, the resistance felt when hitting the key is controlled by the length and weight of the hammer arm, the whole action is then returned to it’s normal resting position by gravity, just like a real piano.

In this piano the plastic key has an aperture underneath into which fits a rubber grommet on the end of the hammer arm and the problem was caused by the this grommet having perished and disintegrated leaving the key unsupported when at rest. The can see the aperture on the bit extending below the key in the picture above.

The hammer arms are shown here.

The shape of the grommet can be seen in the photo below. Apologies for blurry pic.

I found that replacement grommets are not available, the whole arm has to be bought at a cost of ten quid each. Highway robbery I thought, eighty eight keys multiplied by ten quid ends up being more than the cost of the complete piano! So I would fix it. I had found a lot about taking the piano to bits but what I didn’t find was an idea of how to fix it so I had to invent something. My first idea was to make a new grommet by cutting up a pencil eraser. I was quite hopeful about this but it didn’t have enough stretch and it split when I tried to slide in onto the hammer arm. The second idea was to make a mould and with the hammer arm positioned in it I would squeeze some silicon sealant into it and wait for it to solidify. This too failed because the mould didn’t allow the silicon to solidify and the second one I tried hadn’t solidified even after thirty six hours. In the end I laid down a layer of the sealant on a piece of metal then rested the hammer arm on it and covered over the top of it with another layer of sealant. This only took a few hours to set and then I cut it to the correct shape with a scalpel.

When I assembled it all and tested it I found it impossible to feel the difference between the repaired keys and the original keys. Very good result and less annoyance during my lessons, they’re hard enough anyway.

Last month my bike went in for a service and I took the opportunity to have some new tyres fitted. I love having new tyres, they make a bike feel so much better.

These tyres are more suitable for road use than the old dual purpose “road / off-road tyres”. Much better road holding on the new tarmac which the local council seem quite keen on laying for us at the moment, and for the dirt roads there won’t really be much difference, I don’t intend to be doing any extreme mud plugging, I’ll only be going onto dirt roads in the dry summer months, the bike is too heavy to get out of difficult places by myself anyway.

I spent some time and effort locating a position from where I could take a photograph of the so-called Blood Moon that we had at the end of January. I was able to include an evening view of Kaş but the camera had to be set with quite a wide aperture because of the lack of light, it was quite a cloudy evening too. Anyway this was the result, I’m quite happy about it even though it didn’t show the moon as red as it really was, all to do with aperture, exposure and available light.

We get some pretty spectacular skies in winter here, here is one from New Year’s Eve last year.

And another from January this year.


Posted March 21, 2018 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized