Frequencies

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

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PianoMike
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Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 16 Aug 2016, 12:32

Hello

I had my piano tuned a week ago. My piano is only a year old and this is the 3rd tuning. I have a few issues with the piano and I think it might not have been regulated at the shop.
Anyway, aside from double strikes, I have two problem notes, which remain problems through tune ups. E flat 3 sounds harsh. It's odd to explain but it seems to always stand out too much. C sharp 4 always has that out of tune wining noise.
I downloaded cleartune just to make sure these notes were technically in tune. What I noticed were that all the notes were out from 0 by anything up to +20.
Is that right? I'm aware that A4 should be 440 but the electric tuner had it at 445.
Lastly, should people ever try to touch up unisons themselves? There are lots of youtube videos that give us non experts confidence in trying but there are sometimes comments advising people not to try as they will ruin their piano. They never say how people will ruin theie pianos.They also say simply self tuning all notes to 0 won' t always give a good sound or one that a tuner can provide. Again, they don't say why. Many thanks

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NewAge
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Re: Frequencies

Post by NewAge » 16 Aug 2016, 19:57

Three tunings in the first year with a new piano is nothing to worry about.
I experienced the same with my Sauter when it was brand new. The second year I expected it to remain stable after the 2nd tuning that particular year, but it also needed a third before I began to be happy (total 6 tunings in 2 years). What wouldn't have helped is the fact that we have underfloor heating (on from Oct to late March). To assist further I then had a Dampp-Chaser installed, which I've never regretted. (It's thirstier than an Irish navvy during the heating months). Now I still have 2 tunings a year, but one would really be sufficient as I don't play every day, and to my ears always sounds superb.
I found the tuner affiliated to the dealer I purchased from, ok for the 2 'free' in-home tunings, but didn't have a clue when it came to regulation - refused to do anything saying it wasn't required with a new piano for at least 5 years. I knew that to be untrue, even with a high-end piano. That was when I looked around for an excellent tech/tuner, and found one, who performed some minor, albeit necessary 'tweeks'. I seriously suggest you do the same.
As stated in a previous post, your Yamaha B1 needs some tlc. Get someone competent to do it. And at this early stage don't even think about touching up unisons yourself, or of doing any other work, as if things turned sour, the dealer could say you only have yourself to blame, and walk away from any come-back.
Please keep us informed of developements.
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Re: Frequencies

Post by vernon » 16 Aug 2016, 21:45

You can't do any lasting harm touching up unisons, providing you have a proper lever and not a socket set.. However, don't fiddle with regulation. This is a complete trade that must be done in strict sequence otherwise each adjustment will adversely affect the previous one and you will rapidly send yourself crackers.
Get a competent tech to fix the B1 like it should have been done when you bought it.
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Re: Frequencies

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Aug 2016, 00:06

All the above mentioned I agree 100%

Regarding the pitch.... yes, this is perfectly normal for a new piano to drop off the production line, and tuned purposefully sharp - done for a good reason. (Whatever you do, don't try to get it back to A440). When new strings are fitted, they actually can take up to two years to fully settle.... your piano hasn't finished its "settling" yet. Often through negligence/ forgetting or delay to rebook/ the pitch will gradually be dropping as we speak.... eventually, the whole piano will start to drop slightly in pitch. Eventually, the pitch will drop to near A440.

Regarding the pitch of the other notes.... the Cleartune app only shows 'real' pitch (like a guitar tuner) - they are not for tuning pianos except A440 or C523.3Hz only, and not equal temperament scale. When a piano is tuned to ET, except for either A440 or C523.3Hz (the starting note for a tuner), all other notes are purposefully tuned flat very slightly. If every note was tuned to your app (so the green light came on zero), most of the 12 major & minor chords would not sound right, and various intervals between notes would give off what is known as a "wolf" interval (yes, they howl at you!).

If you use the app, they are handy for checking the general stability of the pitch only - and Middle C can be checked by muting 2 of the 3 strings, and the digital read-out should be 261.6 or very near that. Next time, ask you tuner which note they start the tuning with.... A or C?

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Re: Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 17 Aug 2016, 07:26

Hello

Many thanks all.

I've decided after reading this that I won't touch the piano myself. The last post in particular suggests my idea of trying to set them all at 0 is going to make things worse, although I would say a few of my intervals are like harsh screams as it is. My F sharp 3 to middle C, makes me sick.
I'm going to contact another with no relationship to the dealer.

Many thanks

Mike

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Re: Frequencies

Post by Gill the Piano » 17 Aug 2016, 17:05

F# to C is a tritone ; three tones' interval was known as the Devil's Chord or 'diabolus in musica', and hardly any composer used it in harmony in classical music until the 20th century BECAUSE it is an unpleasant interval to listen to. I think it was even banned in early church music...perhaps you're a reincarnated chorister!
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Re: Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 17 Aug 2016, 18:19

Gill

Thanks for that info. I'm currently playing Field's nocturne no 10 and there are a few of these intervals from F# to C.
The more I read the more it appears that some of my issues, are not actual issues. It certainly does need the regulation though. I've left a voicemail for a tech to get back to me.
A year on, will he be able to confirm the poor regulation was in situ when I purchased the piano? I don't know whether or not to go through the dealer, incase there much heel dragging and waiting forever.
The problems I've identified are double striking hammers and a bunch of notes in the lower mid range aren't as responsive as the notes in the middle and upper- my finger seems to travel into the keys more before contact. This causes issues with my soft play. If I were to pay for this, how long and how much will it cost?

Very helpful forum

Thanks

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Re: Frequencies

Post by vernon » 17 Aug 2016, 22:58

sounds to e as though the regulation was duff when you got it. Double-blow is generally a symptom of shallow touch so after a year the touch should be deeper with use. Also, less responsive notes as you describe could be lost motion that WILL naturaly increase with use.
You need a tech to put it in order.
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Re: Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 18 Aug 2016, 09:51

Lastly,

Why does my yamaha serial number not check on any of the check websites.

I was told the piano was new and I was hoping to check that. Would Milton Keynes know?

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Re: Frequencies

Post by Barrie Heaton » 19 Aug 2016, 19:24

PianoMike wrote:Lastly,

Why does my yamaha serial number not check on any of the check websites.

I was told the piano was new and I was hoping to check that. Would Milton Keynes know?
Yamaha UK did publish up to date numbers, However, some retailers had pianos on the shop floor for 2 years or more and still do. So clients were complaining it was not New which is stupid a piano that has been on the shop floor will be well prepared. by the sound of your piano, it's looking like it was shipped direct from the factory to you without anuy prep work


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Re: Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 31 Oct 2016, 20:04

I've tried my first unison touch up and wish I hadn't.

I decided to have a go on one particular note that seemed to have a wavering pitch.

My piano tuner had tuned A4 to 443. I used tuner pro app, which after selecting the stretch tuning option, gave me all the note frequencies for A4 at 443. I was astonished how accurate my tuner had been in doing this by his ear, as all of the notes were bang on the right frequency, even the one that sounded wrong.
I messed about with mutes and determined that all the three strings on c sharp 5 were correctly at 558. They only varied in cents - would that really cause the wavering sound?
Maybe I'm looking for a perfection that doesn't exist.
I stupidly decided to try the tuning hammer and quickly realised a technique is required. I wasn't aware that the arm, neck and face would ache as it did. I also didn't realise this would require an element of force. I was sweating.
Anyway, it took me 45 mins to get all 3 strings back to 558 and it now sounds more zingy than it did before.
I won't try this again. I'm baffled as to how tuners get perfection in no time at all.

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Re: Frequencies

Post by vernon » 31 Oct 2016, 22:29

It's because we have been doing it for years and are almost unconciously able to filter out all the weird overtones,false notes and extraneous noises that inhabit all pianos of all qualities.Some people are plagued with overbearing noises that only they can hear.The tuner "hears" through all of these but often has to compromise with really intrusive rascals.
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

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Re: Frequencies

Post by vernon » 31 Oct 2016, 22:39

It's because we do it all the time. We unconsciously disregard all the weird noises,overtones,buzzes etc that plague most pianos of all sorts and qualities.Some people are beset by noises that only they can hear. The tuner "hears" through all of these and often has to compromise with some of the more outrageous rascals
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: Frequencies

Post by Colin Nicholson » 01 Nov 2016, 02:10

PianoMike,

I noticed you said you tried tuning with a tuning "hammer"? .... is this the T - shaped tool, handle at each end/ steel tipped and a star socket? If so, you are best buying a tuning LEVER ( L shaped).... much less effort required, but still a good technique required to keep the strings in tune.
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Re: Frequencies

Post by PianoMike » 01 Nov 2016, 08:01

It was an L shaped lever with a star shaped head. Perhaps I made hard work of it due to having inhibitions about breaking strings, but it was all a bit too physical.

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Re: Frequencies

Post by Colin Nicholson » 01 Nov 2016, 09:40

I occasionally use my app just to check Middle C/ odd notes, and for new customers, they lean over my shoulder in hope of the green light! I would never reply on an app to tune a unison, or octaves, unless the string was dodgy.

My best friend of course is the humble tuning fork C523.3Hz. This is the note I start with, and the octave below (Middle C). My customers can then refer to the pitch visually with the app, but more importantly they can hear the pitch for themselves. To tune with one, strike it on your knee (ouch!) - then put the 'handle' of the fork between your teeth, one hand tuning lever, other hand playing the note.... bit of a circus act! :)
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Re: Frequencies

Post by Gill the Piano » 01 Nov 2016, 16:57

Colin Nicholson wrote: To tune with one, strike it on your knee (ouch!) - then put the 'handle' of the fork between your teeth
....and after 30 years you'll have a corner worn off your front tooth! :mrgreen:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Frequencies

Post by Barrie Heaton » 01 Nov 2016, 20:53

Gill the Piano wrote:
Colin Nicholson wrote: To tune with one, strike it on your knee (ouch!) - then put the 'handle' of the fork between your teeth
....and after 30 years you'll have a corner worn off your front tooth! :mrgreen:
:mrgreen:

I use the chrome fork. but I do have an digital fork as I have some teacher who want me to use there manky fork so I tune the digital one to it as they are never on pitch

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Re: Frequencies

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Nov 2016, 00:33

at college, we used to use about 3 tuning forks between 6 of us.... had to wrap handle in masking tape, so we didn't catch their disease
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Re: Frequencies

Post by Barrie Heaton » 02 Nov 2016, 19:32

Colin Nicholson wrote:at college, we used to use about 3 tuning forks between 6 of us.... had to wrap handle in masking tape, so we didn't catch their disease

yuck not good at least we got our own T hammer, Lever, wedge and fork form day one

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