Piano Tuning Pins
Piano tuning pins are sized using the following numbers:
1/0 - These are the smallest diameter tuning pins measuring .276" diameter. They are commonly found in some European pianos. A tuning hammer with a #1 star tip fits these pins the best.
2/0 - These pins are the next largest in diameter measuring .282". This size is standard on all pianos made in North America and most imported pianos from Japan or Korea. This is the most common size pin in most pianos that you will encounter. A #2 star tip is best with these pins.
3/0 - Some new pianos may have these larger diameter pins, .286", but usually this size, as well as sizes 4/0, 5/0, 6/0 or 7/0, are only found in pianos that have been re-strung with new tuning pins. The original pins had become loose & were replaced with oversize pins so that they would hold the string in tune without slipping. Star tips #3 or #4 are best with these oversize pins.
There always has been a difference of opinion as to which are better, blued tuning pins or nickel plated. One consideration that is not in doubt is that the threaded part of the tuning pin should be blued. Some manufacturers made piano tuning pins that were all nickel plated. These proved to be a very unwise design because the nickel plating came off the pins in the pin block and made them difficult to tune. The tuning pins would slip or be jumpy.
Click here for a complete list of Piano Tuning Pins & Bushings
Basically the only real benefit to having piano tuning pins nickel plated on the exposed end is aesthetic. Some people claim that they prevent rust on the tuning pins. That of course is true but if the piano is in an environment where there is a danger of rust forming on the tuning pins, then many other parts of the piano will be adversely affected by the high humidity. It would be best to de-humidify the room that the piano is in or install a de-humidifier in the piano itself.
In any case, rust on the tuning pins is not the real problem. It is rust on the strings themselves which cannot be prevented in a humid environment by having nickel plated tuning pins. So, my advise is, make sure that the piano is in a controlled environment as much as is possible, about 42% relative humidity, and use whichever piano tuning pins look best to you.
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