Tuning a vertical piano with a standard tuning lever requires the technician to strain directly against the pin, often in an uncomfortable
arm and body position adding stress and taking a physical toll over time. The technique relies significantly more on upper body strength for control,
especially when tuning pianos with tight tuning pins. However, impact levers gradually accelerate a moving weight to transfer energy into the
pin, minimizing body strain. If you have neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand problems, impact tuning can be a true relief.
There are four basic parts to the CyberHammer's much-improved impact lever design: the extension assembly, head,
shaft, and weight. The extension assembly, which includes the tuning tip, pivots 45
degrees in the head. The head is connected to the weight by the spine, or shaft.
The impact tuning method uses the forearm muscles to throw a small weight which impacts
the tuning pin and jerks the pin either sharp or flat, thus counteracting the static friction between the tuning
pin and the pinblock. The tuner controls both the length of the throw and the force applied to vary the effect on the tuning pin and string.
This method makes tuning easier to learn for beginners since it minimizes two very nasty effects:
1) Torque on the pin. As a traditional lever slowly moves the pin in the pinblock, torque is applied unevenly along its length. The impact lever predictably moves the whole pin in the pinblock at once in a single jerk motion. The pin is more uniformly "set" in the block.
2) Unpredictably bending the pin (aka "flagpoling"). Since the tuner has very little leverage on the pin,it is difficult to accidentally leave the pin bent in a way which will affect the pitch.
Minimizing these two tuning stability problems enables new tuners to focus on setting the pitch and the string, and they achieve stable, accurate results much more quickly. We have seen many people learn to tune with amazing stability in just a few months. Once new tuners have mastered the basics with impact tuning technique, learning traditional tuning technique on grand pianos is much easier.
Our standard impact lever is designed to work particularly well with vertical pianos. For Grand pianos we recommend our Grand CyberHammer. The Reyburn CyberHammer is 100% made in the USA and equipped with a high quality European Taffijn tuning tip.
Impact tuning is not difficult to master with time and commitment. Most new tuners find impact tuning to be intuitive and easy to learn. However, as it is very different from traditional tuning lever skills, it is common to require time and tunings before becoming comfortable with the new skill.
The amount of impact on the tuning pin may be varied by throwing the weight with more or less
force or by using a portion of the 45 degree arc. Tuning becomes intuitive as you learn to combine
Experienced tuners: Begin by using the impact lever for pitch changes only. Do not try fine tuning for time sensitive customers until you feel completely
comfortable in pitch raises. Many find they are tempted to give up on impact tuning after a few pianos. Steel yourself to stick with it! Once learned, impact
tuning is as fast, accurate, and stable as traditional technique. It takes persistence, determination and time. You will be glad you did in the long run,
and your new skills will preserve your body and your ability to make a living tuning pianos.
Impact tuning technique seems easier to learn for beginners than experienced technicians. Many find they need to pitch raise many pianos
before they feel confident enough to fine tune with it. Learning impact tuning pays off big long term with less stress
on your body! If you persevere, one day after a pitch raise you will find you've forgotten to switch to your traditional lever for the fine
tuning. At this point you have graduated to a full-fledged impact tuner!
For pianos with very tight pinblocks, a weight riser is available to add mass and increase the swing radius. Simply unscrew the weight and
screw the riser on between the weight and the handle.