I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

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661-Pete
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I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 25 Oct 2013, 18:43

Hello, I'm new to this forum and recently retired from work, so I have time on my hands and looking for new hobbies. I have an ancient Viennese upright (dated from about 1895 I believe) with a very nice tone, last had a tuner in many years ago (I'm too embarrassed to say how long!). I've been told it's of little value and I ought to get a new piano.

Well, I came round to thinking, why not learn how to tune it myself? And more than that - it's currently about 75 cents flat of concert pitch A440, can it take the pitch raise? Remember: I'm a purely DIY person, time is not a problem for me. I'm not asking for someone to talk me through this process, merely that I thought I'd like to share my experiences, what went well, what went wrong, etc. etc.

If people like me are regarded as a pain by professional tuners, then so be it. It's my piano and only I play it.

Well I bought the essentials (Korg CA40, good quality lever, temperament strip and mutes), did a fair bit of background reading, and plunged in.

It was with a fair bit of hubris that I chose to raise pitch by 75 cents on the first go, but it's not going too badly at the moment. I didn't bother with any overstretch, simply put in the temperament strip and brought the middle strings of the central octave up to A440 equal temperament. It was surprisingly easy to get the pins to budge, I've been going very carefully with the lever, gentle hand movements only. I then switched off the Korg and tried to get the unisons up to pitch by listening for the beats. This is tricky and needs a lot of concentration, also the room must be absolutely quiet. But I think I can now hear the beats pretty clearly, it's hearing when they've stopped that's not easy!

So, I got the middle octave (C4 to C5) into a reasonable state and tried playing scales on it. They sounded quite sweet to my ears. I left the piano overnight and of course the notes have slipped back - about 20 cents - and some of the unisons are now beating, but C-major and C-minor scales are still playable. I'm learning all the time and reasonably satisfied with what I've managed so far.

It's when I start breaking strings that the fun will start!

Any comments. Tell me if you think I'm nuts.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by NewAge » 25 Oct 2013, 19:42

No, I wouldn't say you're nuts, but you need to be aware of some of the dangers.
As you said, you bought the essentials - good quality lever, temperament strip and mutes, but no mention of any eye protection! :o
I'd say that should be one of the essentials, especially on an old piano, not tuned in years on which you are doing a pitch raise in one go. It's not so much the fun which may start if & when strings start breaking, rather the fear of injury/loss of an eye etc.
Too late to say, "Oh what if", after an unfortunate event.
Good luck nevertheless.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 25 Oct 2013, 22:35

Welcome to the forum.....

Sounds like you're having fun ! and well done for getting a reasonable sound.
Now then.... when you start to pitch raise the treble/ top treble - then the fun will start.

This sounds like a "detwil" online "how to tune a piano"? yeh....?
I would be very careful about using on-line tutorials - dont take them literally - and this video I saw of tuning a spinet, well.... he was stood up, and his lever technique was ALL WRONG! .... and it says that pitch raising goes beyond that tutorial.... wonder why? .... partly due to many problems that can occur.

You might find that all your previous nuturing of the scale will be done in vain.... and in a breath, the piano will be back to square one - ish!

Couple of tips...... first of all, to reduce the risk of any strings breaking - dab on the string coils & tuning pins (not near the wrest plank)/ top pressure bar points/ top bridge pin contact points/ agraffes etc with a brush some silicone oil - VERY LIGHTLY.... you can get this at any RC nitro car shop (for filling shock absorbers) - order online if needed.
This will help to reduce any friction between downbearing/ points/ rust or corrosion.

Here is an example of some shock oil >>>

http://www.modelsport.co.uk/hpi-baja-5b ... ucts/32189

Next, when pitch raising - don't spend too long in one area (although it may be a novelty to you?) .... try and whizz up & down the piano VERY quickly - this will help to equalise the tension,



When you said it was easy to turn the pins.... well.... they should be very tight! ... and in some cases, old pianos rarely see concert pitch again. If your piano has a 3/4 frame & fully exposed wrest plank.... good luck.. and may God be with you my friend.
:)

Sorry to disappoint you (slightly), but your 'essential' Korg tuner will not tune an equal temperament scale - not for that price! (if you get to fine tuning chords etc)... its only for "spot tuning" various notes. The proper electronic tuning ET kits cost well in excess of £800.... (I use my ears!) however, you'll be able to do a rough pitch raise with one. If you attempt to tune every note so that the needle is spot on zero each time - by the time you reach (say) B flat major - it will almost sound like a "flat C major" ....

Have a read up on "Equal Temperament" .... this is the true art of tuning.

Pitch raising methods/ tutorials are not available on this forum (for safety reasons), but you may find a piano tuner who is willing to show you, for the right price.

Hope that helps....

Colin
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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 26 Oct 2013, 09:53

Newage - good point! I wear glasses anyway (with non-breakable lenses) and, in my most comfortable position for tuning, with my head a bit above the level of the pins (it's an upright BTW), I think it's unlikely a string would whip around and hit my face.

Colin, many thanks for the excellent advice - I know we amateurs and hobbyists can be a PITA to professionals!

I knew already that the Korg is of only limited use, mainly to get the temperament of the middle octave. I imagine it won't handle the 'tuning curve' which I know about, many people just assume that a piano must be precisely tuned to equal temperament throughout. I realise that this is not the case. I've started tuning in the octaves by listening for beats, I hope to find it easier as I get some practice! But, although I have a reasonably musical ear (I wouldn't even try this, otherwise), I don't have sufficient skill to tune-in equal temperament intervals other than an octave. Hence the Korg.

Another useful function for the Korg, if I keep notes of what I've done at the time of tuning, it tells me by exactly how much the strings have slipped back.

When I said the pins were 'easy', sorry I may have given a misleading impression! They are indeed very firmly fixed in the plank (which is fully covered anyway). I have fairly strong fingers and wrists, and the 'easy' bit refers to my having found the knack of continually and carefully increasing pressure on the lever until it 'gives', but not too much! But it does need a fair bit of pressure. At the same time I'm being very careful not to put any sideways force on the pins - I know well that can totally wreck a piano!

How this all started: well my sister and bro-in-law, both accomplished players (woodwind and sax), paid us a visit recently, and I rather unwisely played an octave or two. They both winced. Listening more carefully, I could understand why! She said, I'd be best scrapping the piano and start over with a new one. After they'd gone, I thought to myself, my retirement's coming up, why not give it a go? I've had that piano for many many years, I like the feel of it. Not a particularly significant or high-value brand (Gustav Stingl, Wien, c. 1895).

I don't know what you mean by "3/4 frame" but this piano has a fully iron frame throughout. And I can see no evidence of strings or pins having been replaced in the past: all are about the same level of discoloration. The extreme bass strings are rather dirty. I may as well try the oil method you suggest, thanks for the tip!

As regards tutorials - well I wasn't looking for a tutorial to follow blindly step-by-step (yes I did look at the Detwiler site, how did you guess?!). But learning about the obvious DON'Ts has been very revealing!

Thanks.
Pete.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 26 Oct 2013, 15:51

Woodwind players would be justifiably hedgehoggy if a pianist passed judgement on a woodwind instrument. So...! Please be careful tuning the bass strings...if I were tuning it I would take it up a little to start with and then sneak up on it over subsequent tunings. A new bass string will set you back at least 20 quid and you need to know what you're doing when fitting a new one! Another point is that your piano wasn't built to tolerate A440 concert pitch; the Germans were flat to A 440 until 1933 when concert pitch was standardised.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 26 Oct 2013, 17:06

Pete, you don't need to spend a fortune to get a very good ETD. If you have a PDA with a touch screen [mine cost me £50] you can download the free full trial version of Tunelab, which see. This will give you full stretch/over-pull/ET or lots of UT's, customised to your piano.

I've found the results obtained are equal to most paid tuners, better than some, but not up to concert standard. [I am a bit picky, apparently].

Give it a try.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 26 Oct 2013, 21:10

Well it looks like my idea to go to 440 was a mistake - the part of the piano which I've had a go at, so far, seems to have settled down at round about 435 or 436. Now, I've looked up in Wiki (who wouldn't?) and learn that 435 has been used for donkey's years and goes by the name of 'French pitch' which was used right across Europe. A strong possibility that my piano started life at that pitch, then. And - it may be purely my imagination, but it seems to me that the strings and pins have a 'sweet spot' just there.

So A=435 it is, for now.

I got up as far as D6 where I run out of dampers. Without dampers, tuning in by means of octaves gets more difficult unless I mute everything (I haven't got enough mutes for that), and furthermore I can't hear the beats so well - I think it's something to do with age-related hearing loss. I'm 63; I've still got a good ear, but evidently not so good at high frequency!

So I left that for the time being and started going down. Immediately I ran into problems. I thought I'd tuned in B3 by using the octave from B4, but it sounded nowhere near: I resorted to the Korg, and the interval from B3 to C4 still sounds nothing like a semitone! Ah well, that's a problem for another day. I'm sure I'll find out where I've gone wrong! I need to give it a rest now: my concentration is going!

At least, I've raised the major part of the right-hand section of the (overstrung) piano, so the additional strain on that part of the frame should be well spread.

All in all, that Tunelab app sounds interesting, though the paid-for version is pricey - over my budget at present! I'll read the bumph on it anyway. I presume it'll run on a laptop: I haven't got a smartphone or similar. And I'll need to get a suitable mike - any suggestions? Evidently the mike built-in to the Korg is nothing fancy....

Pete.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 27 Oct 2013, 09:55

Pete.

The Tunelab trial version is full function - it just stops for two minutes now and then to encourage you to buy a licence. There is also a version for Laptop. That's free too. You can't get much cheaper than that.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 30 Oct 2013, 20:58

the one for the iphone is £199.00


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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 04 Nov 2013, 19:46

Just started off playing with Tunelab on my laptop - spent some time chasing around for a suitable mic, my laptop doesn't have one built in.

Well, first problem: trying to measure inharmonicity on the bass notes (according to the instructions this is the first thing to do after calibration), can't see any fundamental, the first partial shown on C1 is the 4th. And the distribution of partial amplitudes above that is pretty messy, not a neat exponential tail-off. Similar results on C2. Admittedly the bass strings are rather dirty.

Is this perhaps because my mic doesn't have a low enough frequency response, do I need a better mic? Or a better sound card? Or can I continue setting up the tuning curve based on these upper partials only?
Pete

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by vernon » 04 Nov 2013, 20:18

Old fogey speaking.
one must realise that an acoustic piano is a box of bits of unstable string,felt,wire,wood etc-- all very scientifically unmeasurable materials.
Given the box,the tuner is then instructed to put the resulting instrument nicely out of tune(equal temperament.)so that it sounds ok to normal humans.
If you set the upper octaves to your new fangled electric gadget it SOUNDS flat so the tuner extends the octaves to sound delightful.
On the way there appear,even in the most expensive pianos, false notes that sing away beating to their own rythmnnnnn that have to be reconciled ,often, with two adjacent strings similarly off with the fairies. Electronic tuners often cannot cope with anything so illogical and may have a nervous breakdown(Look what happened to HAL in Space Oddysey 2000)
Until there is a real digital piano played on the concert stage, with built in functions that replicate the human earhole then the poor old tuner will still be in business.

Rumplestiltskin aged 104
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 04 Nov 2013, 20:56

661-Pete wrote:
Is this perhaps because my mic doesn't have a low enough frequency response, do I need a better mic? Or a better sound card? Or can I continue setting up the tuning curve based on these upper partials only?
No your problem will be "an ancient Viennese upright (dated from about 1895 )" ETD don't cope very well with good Bass strings that have been scaled well with a piano that age you may have to use your ears down there and more than likely in the top treble.


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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 04 Nov 2013, 21:54

Pete,

You may be right about the mic, or the old strings, maybe soft hammers. Try plucking the string near the termination point. You may generate better partials that way. If the problem is a bad string, try adjacent strings to see if they are any better.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Nov 2013, 00:14

vernon wrote:Old fogey speaking.
one must realise that an acoustic piano is a box of bits of unstable string,felt,wire,wood etc-- all very scientifically unmeasurable materials.
Given the box,the tuner is then instructed to put the resulting instrument nicely out of tune(equal temperament.)so that it sounds ok to normal humans.
If you set the upper octaves to your new fangled electric gadget it SOUNDS flat so the tuner extends the octaves to sound delightful.
On the way there appear,even in the most expensive pianos, false notes that sing away beating to their own rythmnnnnn that have to be reconciled ,often, with two adjacent strings similarly off with the fairies. Electronic tuners often cannot cope with anything so illogical and may have a nervous breakdown(Look what happened to HAL in Space Oddysey 2000)
Until there is a real digital piano played on the concert stage, with built in functions that replicate the human earhole then the poor old tuner will still be in business.

Rumplestiltskin aged 104

Vernon.... that would make a wonderful bedtime story.
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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 10 Nov 2013, 19:12

Update: well I'm beginning to come round to thinking (as you guys warned me) that the ETD, like a rogue London cabbie, is taking me all over the place except where I want to be! Perhaps it's time to trust my own (imperfect) ears and try to get the bass at least sounding right.

But to persevere with Tunelab for a while: I have found myself a slightly better mic - curiously, it's a really old one (about 50 years+) salvaged off an old reel-to-reel tape recorder that I used to have when I was a kid. They don't make stuff like they used to! This mic appears to have a reponse down to about 50Hz, which means that (looking at the Fourier transform display) I can see the fundamental (albeit weakly) on A1 (55 Hz).

Thing is, this TuneLab program automatically selects to tune in the bass using upper partials, even going as high as the 6th, unless you tell it otherwise. Would I get a better sound - to my ears at least - if I configured it to use fundamentals as low as possible? Not all the way down to A1, but A2 perhaps? After all, TuneLab has already calculated a Railsback curve for my piano (although I'm going to re-do it). It can't do any harm to try, I suppose. Which partials do aural tuners listen to when going down the bass? Or is asking this opening a can of worms?

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 10 Nov 2013, 19:47

Was that English? :shock:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 10 Nov 2013, 20:17

661-Pete wrote:
Thing is, this TuneLab program automatically selects to tune in the bass using upper partials, even going as high as the 6th, unless you tell it otherwise. Would I get a better sound - to my ears at least - if I configured it to use fundamentals as low as possible? Not all the way down to A1, but A2 perhaps? After all, TuneLab has already calculated a Railsback curve for my piano (although I'm going to re-do it). It can't do any harm to try, I suppose. Which partials do aural tuners listen to when going down the bass? Or is asking this opening a can of worms?

Pete.
Second and first in the base and first Second in treble as a octave, unions the first this is what we use as that is you you hear when playing I would give it a try but.. listen as well as you may have a better mic but if TuneLab is more happy with the 6th! then you may get a bang Then you will have to upskill on how to replace strings

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 10 Nov 2013, 21:07

Barrie Heaton wrote:then you may get a bang Then you will have to upskill on how to replace strings

Barrie
I've been lucky so far! :roll: Going very slowly and carefully. I had a scary moment when I started turning the wrong pin on one of the bass strings, by the time I realised my mistake I was more than a semitone sharp! But it didn't pop.
Pete

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Tuneless » 10 Nov 2013, 22:01

"silicone oil" ??

Colin, I have been reading the "Tuning and Piano Repair" forum on Piano World in the US and researching piano repair for some time now and the warnings I have seen many times are,

1. Never bring silicone anywhere near a piano due to its permanent nature.

2. Oil migrates and should never be used any where near the wrest plank/pin block or tuning pins.

If the silicone oil is used as you suggest "dab on the string coils & tuning pins (not near the wrest plank)". and it migrates to the pin block, the piano will be ruined. You may be careful enough to prevent this, but a beginner may not.

Just thought I would balance your suggestion.

Cynthia
Conover upright, 1888-9
Non-professional
Last edited by Tuneless on 11 Nov 2013, 00:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 11 Nov 2013, 00:10

661-Pete wrote:
Barrie Heaton wrote:then you may get a bang Then you will have to upskill on how to replace strings

Barrie
I've been lucky so far! :roll: Going very slowly and carefully. I had a scary moment when I started turning the wrong pin on one of the bass strings, by the time I realised my mistake I was more than a semitone sharp! But it didn't pop.
That was lucky. We all do that some times but are not so lucky most of the time bang... oh !*^%.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 11 Nov 2013, 02:38

Tuneless wrote:"silicone oil" ??

Colin, I have been reading the "Tuning and Piano Repair" forum on Piano World in the US and researching piano repair for some time now and the warnings I have seen many times are,

1. Never bring silicone anywhere near a piano due to its permanent nature.

2. Oil migrates and should never be used any where near the wrest plank/pin block or tuning pins..
Are you a qualified piano tuner just out of interest?

There are many dos & donts in books, but realistically, if a piano is about 100 years old, a last resort is to reduce the risk of breaking bass strings. In most cases, on old pianos, the 7 degree upward angle is lost, and if you are careful, there is no risk of damage to the wrest plank if applied lightly. I think my instructions were fairly clear - and of course, if someone decides to do their own DIY.... its an their own risk entirely.... but of course, I agree with what you say about possible wrest plank damage - but I've never seen a wrest plank with "Protek damage" ??.... however, I've seen plenty WD40 damage to DIYers attempting to free up tight or seized up mechanism centre pins & bushings.... rebushed some grand jack flanges recently. Customer admitted to it!!

There are various silicone-based products (Protek spray) on the trade market for areas of high friction, such as string downbearing areas, metal pedal hinges with pivot screws & locking nuts, keyboard centre rail pins..., and other metal to metal contacts (applied as a very light film) .... see image & explanation at footer.

Here is something to consider in a customer's home.... (over 120 miles away!) ....

I once prepared a piano for tuning (new customer) .... it was a 1991 Weinbach upright.... and I noticed a bass bi chord was missing (coiled up neatly in the bottom of the piano).... the strings were steered at an acute angle around the upper bridge pins.... this is common on small pianos (hence small left hand key block).... so I warned the customer there may be further breakages because of the previous breakage, and slight corrosion on the strings. The customer ignored my request to add some silicone oil - just around the pins (not the coils) - and even when I was very careful, another string broke. Customer was then quoted a price for a new bass single.... and in the end, she agreed to my method.... and the piano was tuned successfully without any further breakages. Any silicone was soaked in, and to be on the safe side - I dried any residue with a cloth.

If you are a tuner, you will know the score.... especially if you are doing a remote tuning route 126 miles away from your home town..... and the logistics were difficult under the circumstances, and although the customer was warned, they learnt the hard way.... the extra visit cost them over £150. Even pianos less than 20 years old, those with steep angled turns around the upper bridge pins - if corrosion catches on them, the string just breaks.

Let me know if you have had any experience in this.... would be interested to hear your story?

There is a big difference between reading/researching a subject, and actually being there in the 'flesh' and confronted with a customer and making a decision there and then.... in my 18 years of experience, I know the implications, risks etc.... and knowing that this piano had not been tuned for 10 years.... it's easy for a customer to shift the blame. As I said.... very lightly dab some silicone oil around the coils or upper bridge pins/ agraffes/ pressure bar areas.... NOT near the wrest plank (that is of course if the piano has an exposed wrest plank) ....

You might also need to research your statement No 1 a bit more. We often use Protek silicon-based prolube spray - during keyboard restorations - for the centre rail pins (if rusty/corroded).... this is perfectly fine to use as recommended by leading piano technicians/ piano parts companies, and sprayed onto a cloth to reduce any risks of getting on the key frame centre rail. Hence.....
protek.JPG
Protek Prolube spray products
protek.JPG (72.78 KiB) Viewed 8719 times


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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Tuneless » 11 Nov 2013, 17:50

Colin, I have the codes set to print my signature line, but it is not working yet, maybe because I am on probation until I have participated more. My signature line is

Cynthia
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Non-professional

I made the post because the biggest worry for DIYers is that they will ruin the piano out of ignorance of a few 'dos and don'ts', like the WD40 on the centers. Religiously keeping lubricants away from the wrest plank is another. Personally, I can not see how lubing the coils is going to make anything easier to for tuning. The physics just doesn't support a need for that. Certainly, given the proximity to the wrest plank, it seems you would need a very good reason for using it there. I have never read anywhere where anyone had suggested a need for lube on the coils.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Withindale » 11 Nov 2013, 19:22

Barrie Heaton wrote:
661-Pete wrote:
Thing is, this TuneLab program automatically selects to tune in the bass using upper partials, even going as high as the 6th, unless you tell it otherwise. Would I get a better sound - to my ears at least - if I configured it to use fundamentals as low as possible? Not all the way down to A1, but A2 perhaps? After all, TuneLab has already calculated a Railsback curve for my piano (although I'm going to re-do it). It can't do any harm to try, I suppose. Which partials do aural tuners listen to when going down the bass? Or is asking this opening a can of worms?

Pete.
Second and first in the base and first Second in treble as a octave, unions the first this is what we use as that is you you hear when playing I would give it a try but.. listen as well as you may have a better mic but if TuneLab is more happy with the 6th! then you may get a bang Then you will have to upskill on how to replace strings

Barrie
Am I getting the wrong end of the stick here? The Railsback curve shows bass notes being flattened. When using the 6th partial won't they be flattened more (i.e. lower tension) than when using the 2nd?

See Ron Koval's chart on this page for some numbers: http://daffy.uah.edu/piano/page4/page6/index.html.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 12 Nov 2013, 00:15

Am I getting the wrong end of the stick here? The Railsback curve shows bass notes being flattened. When using the 6th partial won't they be flattened more (i.e. lower tension) than when using the 2nd?

That is using an ETD which has to stretch from the theoretical to make it sound in tune the ear will do this on its own as I said we use the 1st and second to the correct pitch no reduction in tension ETDs need to use higher harmonics to give it a chance

The way we tune the intervals get wider in the treble and narrow in the bass we uses higher Harmonics with interval checks on octaves like 10ths

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Withindale » 12 Nov 2013, 00:42

Barrie Heaton wrote:That is using an ETD which has to stretch from the theoretical to make it sound in tune the ear will do this on its own as I said we use the 1st and second to the correct pitch no reduction in tension ETDs need to use higher harmonics to give it a chance.
I think you have answered the OPs question about tuning the bass notes to the fundamental, Barrie. They might sound out of tune.

Also that the ETD is responsible for the apparent notion that stretch is something to choose and dial in.

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by 661-Pete » 23 Aug 2014, 19:33

Bumped up this thread after a long interval (in time, not in music)!

Well, I sort of lost confidence in tuning up my old Gustav Stingl, because it was getting tedious, going round in circles all the time, besides it was giving me a backache and a headache. The backache was from having my laptop on too low a table, so I was constantly bending down to look at it, since resolved. Headache probably from concentrating too hard trying to hear beats. My hearing's not what it used to be. I don't think I can do much about the headache.

So I abandoned the piano for a while in a totally unplayable condition :( - other things to do etc. etc.

Finally (with a bit of prodding) I got back to it and have finally completed the pitch raise! :D I tried rattling off a bit of Beethoven's Pathetique on it and it sounds - well - recognisable. Even the slow introduction which would sound horrible if it were really out of tune.

Whether the piano will stay where I put it, is another matter.

I raised it to A-440 in the end. This was mainly because I'd forgotten that I was going to set a lower pitch, and therefore didn't set up Tunelab as per. But it's got to concert pitch with only one string broken. That string (Eflat3) is one of the lower tricords, I lashed up the two remaining strings so as to get a reasonable note out of it.

What I had found (and this was after my first attempt to go to A-440) was that the notes were slipping back some 10 to 20 cents. So on the final pass I tried a bit of overpull. I didn't want to trust TunelabPro's in-built feature on this, mainly because I couldn't figure it out, so I simply set all the notes about 5 cents sharp. I'll see how things stand after a week or two.

I think I've got the feel of when I'm turning a pin and when I'm merely flexing it, I can feel the 'give' when the pin moves. But at each 'give' the pitch changes about ten or twenty cents. I wonder do I have to fine-tune my lever-handling technique?

Having said that, this post is not a plea for help or even seeking advice, although any answers welcome of course! More my sort of 'blog' on having finally completed a job that I thought would take a lifetime...

Complete, that is, unless the piano's back where I started in a week or so. Then time to dig into my pension pot for a new piano.... :? :roll:
Pete

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Re: I'm pitch raising & tuning my own piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 Aug 2014, 01:10

before I was a tuner, I paid 2 shillings & sixpence for a tuner to put things right, then I gloated and just tweaked the odd unison for ages until it started to sound bad.... try it!
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