First attempt at tuning a piano

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First attempt at tuning a piano

Post by tonyo » 06 Sep 2012, 22:50

Hi guys, I've recently purchased a second-hand piano and am attempting to tune it myself. It was VERY badly out of tune when it arrived but it seems to have settled a bit over the last six weeks and now is only badly out of tune.

I've been looking at the tuners on these sites, and Can you recommend either?
I can't find any examples of how to actually use the software in either case.

Anyway, using 'seventhstring', when I hit my middle C, a B registered on the screen. The C one octave down also registered a B on my screen. In fact every note I hit seemed to be approx a half tone down. The software was defaulting to 440 by the way.

I compared with my electric piano and this was confirmed. Would this piano have been last tuned a half tone down from 440 on purpose? If so, why? and should I leave it a half tone down from 440 and just tune it to that?

thankyou in advance


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Colin Nicholson
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Re: First attempt at tuning a piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 07 Sep 2012, 17:35

I cant really comment on the software, its to whoever uses it.... however, the piano will not have been tuned for many years to be a semitone down - and won't have happened "on purpose".... this is what happens to the pitch if not tuned regularly to A440 Hz.... (or C523). I tune many pianos "at the pitch where it has settled" - often a tone or more down.... purely down to neglect.

In order to get it back to concert pitch, you will need to stretch every string back up their correct pitch - starting by raising it sharp. Not really a job for an amateur - and depending on the condition of the strings - some may break during the ordeal. Some very old pianos are best left where they are.

If there are any numbers showing in Hz (Hertz - cycles per second) - Middle C should be 261Hz.... however, I would raise it gradually over 2 sessions, start with maybe 257 - 259Hz.
This is the art of "pitch raising" .... some old pianos take 2 or more tunings to settle at concert pitch.... and some dont settle at all.

Hope that helps.
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Re: First attempt at tuning a piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 07 Sep 2012, 22:57

I suggest you go to the Tunelab website. The full function trial program is free. The manuals are comprehensive. The best bit - the progam produces a very good tuning. As long as you are able to use a tuning lever, of course.

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