Message from Todd Loomis: “Down to the Wire”
For those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to present a brief introduction. My name is Todd Loomis, and although my work with keyboard instruments goes back to 1987/88 with a brief stint in the Boston work shop of Carl Fudge, I didn’t begin in earnest until 2002 when I began training as a piano technician. In this way I could finally work on keyboard instruments and actually make a living doing it! A few years later I decided that I didn’t like playing Froberger on my piano, so I ordered a Hubbard Flemish single kit and spent most of the next couple of years working on it. It started to sound in 2009, and a customer of mine kindly introduced me to Jillon Dupree. As students go I fear I have been less than satisfactory, but Jillon has been kind enough to send all kinds of harpsichord work my way. This is basically how I have ended up as a harpsichord technician as well as a piano technician.
This class, which I have called “Down to the Wire” because of my love of bad puns, is the result of my encounters with harpsichord owners and my wish to rid them of their fear of replacing broken harpsichord strings. It isn’t a horribly difficult skill, but as with anything, it requires practice (just ask Jillon why I don’t play very well…). This is easy for me to say since I have been blessed with the opportunity to completely restring several instruments, but when I did this I had the luxury of a special gig. When in the field I have just used the little hook on my tuning hammer, and since this has happened a finite number of times I am sure that anyone can learn the same technique given a couple of hours of concerted practice. So, that is what I would like to provide. Since I don’t want your time wasted waiting for someone to practice on an appointed harpsichord, I plan to provide a simple model for each participant that they can string, and restring, and restring to their hearts content. I will make the rounds and offer instruction and encouragement. Since one needs wire at home for such repairs I will say a few words about types of wire and where to purchase them. In this way, I hope that everyone will come to accept a broken wire as just a great opportunity to practice a new skill.