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Not so much interested in people's preferences, but wondering what knowledge there is on the board of when tuning slides became a standard fitting on new organs - particularly Walker.

 

Also interested in people's views on a new cone-tuned 2' stop being added to an otherwise slide-tuned organ. It seems to me that the more stable it can be made the better, but of course it might get mistreated.

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There's a lot of variance from firm to firm, but I tend to find slides becoming more popular from the 1890's onwards. Certainly JWW were using slides from around then.

 

Given my way, I'd cone tune everything smaller than a 2' pipe if the pipes are made correctly, tuners had all the correct tuning implements and the services of all gorillas were terminated.

 

AJS

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Not so much interested in people's preferences, but wondering what knowledge there is on the board of when tuning slides became a standard fitting on new organs - particularly Walker.

 

Also interested in people's views on a new cone-tuned 2' stop being added to an otherwise slide-tuned organ. It seems to me that the more stable it can be made the better, but of course it might get mistreated.

 

Hi

 

In my (admittedly limited) experience, cone-tuned pipes stay in tune for years on end - and if they do shift, it's usually dirt - a quick clean round the mouth and pitch is restored. However, I would want to know the organ builder's thinking in adding a cone-tuned rank to a chorus of slide-tuned pipes.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

In my (admittedly limited) experience, cone-tuned pipes stay in tune for years on end - and if they do shift, it's usually dirt - a quick clean round the mouth and pitch is restored. However, I would want to know the organ builder's thinking in adding a cone-tuned rank to a chorus of slide-tuned pipes.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

I can think of plenty of slide-tuned flue work that stands in tune from year to year, because the soundboards, wind-system and environment are all just about perfect.

 

If your 2ft is being added to a job with 'robbing' in the soundboard grid, pressure drops from the wind system, a slider that never settles in the same position twice in succession, an upperboard that walks off on its own, then slide tuning might be better employed and will allow a tuner to make adjustments when needed without fear over time of doing damage to the pipework.

 

H

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Not so much interested in people's preferences, but wondering what knowledge there is on the board of when tuning slides became a standard fitting on new organs - particularly Walker.

 

Also interested in people's views on a new cone-tuned 2' stop being added to an otherwise slide-tuned organ. It seems to me that the more stable it can be made the better, but of course it might get mistreated.

 

Reply by PM.

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There's a lot of variance from firm to firm, but I tend to find slides becoming more popular from the 1890's onwards. Certainly JWW were using slides from around then.

 

Given my way, I'd cone tune everything smaller than a 2' pipe if the pipes are made correctly, tuners had all the correct tuning implements and the services of all gorillas were terminated.

 

AJS

 

Coming clean - it's a small but perfectly formed 1903 Walker of 8884/88848/16 which became redundant a few years ago and which we hope to relocate to a new and appreciative home. Because new soundboards are needed (owing to weakening by woodworm attack), the opportunity is being taken to provide a Fifteenth which will be faithfully copied to the minutest detail from a period example by the same builder. Because the Principal chorus is spread over two manuals (8 on the Great and 4 on the Swell), care must be taken to scale it to work cohesively as a fairly bottom-heavy chorus and voice it to work with the rather large Harmonic Flute 4 already on the Great.

 

This clearly indicates new pipework rather than secondhand material.

 

Like Porthead, my preference is for cone-tuned pipework because of stability and aesthetic concerns. The one thing which would put me off is the prospect of pinched tops and use of the wrong tools. But isn't that less of a problem now than it was 20 years ago?

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But isn't that less of a problem now than it was 20 years ago?

You'd certainly hope so. To be accurate I think slides are OK here. If you're having a new soundboard then why not look at the planting to see if you can get a 4' principal on it too. It's perfectly OK in this Walker period to plant off 8' basses completely. It's also not a complete sin to plant off a 4' bottom octave either and if your soundboard is wide enough to plant the 2' in a single row you might do it.

 

Best of luck

 

AJS

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I could perhaps imagine a few problems in adding a cone tuned rank to a chorus of pipework that is slide tuned.

One issue could be the climatic conditions in the building. There is one instrument I look after, less than ten years old, a delightfully constructed and build mechanical instrument, well lit, easy access, all relevant pipework cone tuned or tuning rolls. And it is a nightmare. There is a temperature variation within the building that I have measured at 30oC within the one year. With that sort of difference, even given the Sunday heating in winter the tuning drifts and requires more than the occasional 'touch up'. Having cone tuned pipes is a disadvantage when the pipework will require frequent tuning.

Another disadvantage is that having a cone tuned rank on top of a slide tuned chorus is that it will not move with the chorus. Another instrument I know has a cone tuned mixture to cap a full diapason chorus (to 15th) that has pipe slides. Generally the chorus moves around en masse with the seasons and having the mixture sitting proud and stable does it no favours when it is used.

If the instrument has access that is less than spacious, cone tuning can become a problem when it comes to tuning the pipes. With cone tuning, one is holding the cone in their hand (obviously) and so the tuners body is only an arms length from the pipe and can shade the tuning - especially if the rank is two or three stops into the soundboard. (With some cone tuning hammers this is not so much of a problem.) Whereas using a tuning knife on a pipe slide, a tuner can be an extended arms length + length of tuning knife away from the pipe - so decreasing the chances of shading the pipe while tuning.

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