“Fantastic job. Very well thought out.”
Pianos Inside Out: A Comprehensive Guide
On May 10, Mario Igrec presented at AC Pianocraft in Long Island City an all-day class on Practical Touch™, his new 5-minute, non-invasive grand touch evaluation method. The event was sponsored by the NYC chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild and was attended by approx. 35 technicians. Special thanks to Zeno Wood, Dan Levitan, and Alexander Kostakis who made this class possible.
Practical Touch is a 4-step method that allows analyzing any grand action within minutes without even removing the fallboard. Attendees learned how touch analysis has developed over the last three decades, they experienced the technique hands on, learned how to use and interpret the Practical Touch calculator spreadsheet, and discussed ways of addressing common touch problems. Prototype kits were quickly sold out. For more on Practical Touch, including the free handout and calculator downloads, see the Bonus page.
Europiano Magazine calls Pianos Inside Out "a monumental work, . . . an excellent book, . . . the book to own and use as a reference."
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Pianos Inside Out is a comprehensive guide that takes an in-depth look at the history, design, and maintenance of the piano, and provides practical guidance to anyone who wants to learn how to tune, repair, regulate, voice, rebuild, or improve the action performance of pianos. You will discover how to evaluate the piano, assess what is needed, and develop a rebuilding plan. You will learn how to restore a keyboard and action, how to select and install new hammers, rebuild dampers, restring the piano, replace its pinblock, repair the soundboard, regild the plate, and refinish the case.
Covering a wide range of concepts, from introductory to advanced, Pianos Inside Out puts between two covers all the advancements and understanding gained by the piano industry over the last 30 years. It provides a coherent, in-depth view of that much-needed information, including the topics such as:
- Wave impedance and soundboard performance
- Coincident partial tuning
- Interval inharmonicity
- Touchweight analysis
- String leveling
- Modern lubricants
Pianos Inside Out is written for hobbyists, students, and piano technicians, but it will also help pianists and owners of pianos to better understand their instruments and to communicate more effectively with their technicians. The book is full of clear, concise, step-by-step instructions, and more than 700 illustrations and diagrams. Featuring “Myth/Truth” boxes, and enhanced by multiple sidebars, tables, worksheets, and troubleshooters, the book is “very articulate, yet has a casual readability and isn’t off-puttingly wordy or overly complicated or presumptuously definitive” (Allen Wright, RPT, consulting technician and restorer for Steinway & Sons London, John Broadwood & Sons, and Period Piano Company).
Many books in this genre present a simplistic view of piano work, encouraging a casual and sometimes careless do-it-yourself attitude. Pianos Inside Out presents more accurate descriptions of—and warnings about—the complexities and pitfalls one is likely to encounter in this work, providing an “introduction to the profession and the scope of work involved that might encourage some people to become techs and others to forget about it” (Laurence Libin, Editor-in-Chief, Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments).
Pianos Inside Out isn’t merely a book of recipes that regurgitates instructions from service manuals—rather, it shows how to create one’s own recipes. In addition to suggesting methods and specifications, the book discusses the reasons for and the dependencies among various aspects of design, regulation, tuning, and voicing, thus enabling the reader to draw his or her own conclusions while gaining a deep understanding of this complex subject.
Mario Igrec, a native of Croatia, taught piano technology and served as piano technician during his eight-year tenure at Louisiana State University. As an independent concert technician and master rebuilder, he has serviced and rebuilt many pianos in southern Louisiana, and has worked for Richard Goode, Jon Kimura Parker, Garrick Ohlsson, and other renowned pianists. Himself an award-winning pianist, with a Master of Music degree from SUNY Stony Brook, Mario has a rare combination of skills that give him a unique and pragmatic perspective on piano technology. He is a software architect and CTO at Selltis LLC, a CRM company that he co-founded in 2000. See more about the author.
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