tuning

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zappafan
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tuning

Post by zappafan » 02 Mar 2008, 21:09

I have recently bought an old rogers and engbluth piano to strip down and reassemble and to also try my hand/ear at tuning. I did'nt want to practise tuning on my own 'proper' piano, as I have that regularly professionally tuned. Both my proper piano and the R&E are flat to concert pich. proper piano best part of a semitone, and the R&E slightly more. I know the tuners dont always bring older pianos up to A440 but why is this? Is it because the piano is likely to go of tune quicker or is there a danger of something breaking ? Also when tuning the R&E I noticed that sometimes on some of the tuning pins it is impossible to get the pin in the correct position as the pin seems to jerk forward a notch taking the pin beyond the point you are trying to get it to , it does the same as you detune to get the pin back. Other pins move really smoothly. Is this something I am stuck with - is it my beginners technique?

Thanks

Paul

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Re: tuning

Post by PianoGuy » 02 Mar 2008, 21:39

zappafan wrote: Is this something I am stuck with - is it my beginners technique?
Yes.

That's why you take a course in piano tuning!

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Post by mdw » 02 Mar 2008, 22:03

Got a spare 3 years? :lol:

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Post by David B » 04 Mar 2008, 11:21

Typical replies from the smug tuners... 8)

What I want to know is this - your "proper" piano is a semitone flat? How "proper" is that? :shock:

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Post by Brumtuner » 04 Mar 2008, 11:54

"Typical replies from the smug tuners...

What I want to know is this - your "proper" piano is a semitone flat? How "proper" is that?"



I'm smug but not cos I'm a tuner, it's my looks and personality.

Semitone flat pianos are about 1 in 10 on my round.

All the good pianos, I leave a few beats below pitch.

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Post by David B » 04 Mar 2008, 14:25

Brumtuner wrote:All the good pianos, I leave a few beats below pitch.
You leave all the good pianos flat? and tune the rubbish ones up to A440? :shock:

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Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Mar 2008, 16:43

We aren't smug, we're telling 'im straight that it takes a long time and - preferably - lots of supervised practice to be a tuner. It's incredibly hard to teach someone to tune, and it doesn't sound as though his R&E is an ideal beastie to start on.
Paul: You really need someone to hang over your shoulder and give step-by-step guidance, otherwise it's like trying to teach someone to drive via the internet. The clicking comes from the plank being dry, and if you push the tuning pin that bit too far, it's easy to break a string and lay yourself open to expense. It's not just your technique, though I daresay that doesn't help, because you haven't yet developed a technique.
It's so, so hard to learn tuning, and to do it on your own is daunting. And we can't help you via the computer!
Old pianos need to approach concert pitch carefully if they've been flat for a long time. Think of an old elastic band - then think of suddenly stretching it. The resulting snap wouldn't come as a surprise, yet at one time that band would easily have reached beyond the point at which you snapped it. Strings are the same. If you'd stretched that rubber band gently bit by bit, it might well have reached further than when you snapped it. That's why you need to be a bit circumspect with the strings.
Brumtuner - how come you leave gooduns flat? Or are you hoping the badduns'll explode under the strain?:)

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Post by zappafan » 04 Mar 2008, 21:33

Thank you for the reasoned reply, ( and the other ones as well! :lol: )

I should explain i'm doing this purely for the fun and enjoyment of it; not as a desire to take on a new career! I bought the R&E with the view that if I am able to do something with it to improve its current abused and neglected state all well and good, and if I end up busting it ( or attacking it out of frustration !!!) well it will soon be bonfire night !

I just wanted it as a little hobbylet to keep me occupied at the times when i dont feel like playing my other piano over the coming few months.

Cheers
Paul

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Post by Brumtuner » 04 Mar 2008, 22:12

A bit of advice....


Look after the thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, unisons and octaves, and the tenths'll look after themselves.

Also, if in doubt, sharpen it. :wink:

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Post by Tom Tuner » 06 Mar 2008, 18:24

It's not that tuning is so difficult to learn (unless you are a musician who can't get the hang of listening to beats), but the sheer amount of practice required to attain even minimal competence is very tedious, actually pretty boring if your master keeps you hard at it. Having only one piano to practice on is not very helpful either.
The chief reason that a lot of pianos don't get pulled up to concert pitch is because it's hard work, and you have to allow for the fact that the piano is going to drop about half-way bact to its previous pitch and compensate for that. Including being prepared to do it all over. As for string breakage: learn to splice strings and quit worrying about it.

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Post by Openwood » 06 Mar 2008, 20:48

For various reasons I've sometimes had to ask two tuners to work on my piano within a few weeks of each other and I've noticed that tuner A always says the piano has sunk in pitch after tuner B has gone through it, and tuner B always complains that it is sharp after tuner A has visited. They are both aware that the other has worked on the piano.

How can that be? The one who always raises the pitch has an electric tuning device and the other guy doesn't. Surely that shouldn't make a difference?

I don't want the bloody thing going up and down like a yo yo ma.

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 06 Mar 2008, 22:17

Openwood wrote:
How can that be? The one who always raises the pitch has an electric tuning device and the other guy doesn't. Surely that shouldn't make a difference?
The ETD it may not be calibrated correct or the other guys fork is flat not uncommon. I test my fork once a week I also have a ETF (Electronic tuning fork) to set the pitch when I am tuning a piano to organ or if I am doing a pitch abd I test that once a week.

Buy a fork keep it at room temp and tell them to tune it to that please or test the tuning after they have done it :twisted:

I use to do a piano which the owner had a brill ear but the tuner he has from being a kid was losing it in the top treble and bottom base but he did not have the hart to not use him so I use to go once a year to sort out the top and bottom did that for 5 years I am the only one for the last 14 years



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Post by Brumtuner » 06 Mar 2008, 22:47

I used to say "I use to". :wink:

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Post by Gill the Piano » 07 Mar 2008, 18:35

How do the ETF's work? I have to tune a piano to a (flat) church organ, and I resort to holding a note down on the organ with a screwdriver. If the organist ever finds out he'll hunt me down and have me killed. In a very Christian way, of course. So with an ETF I could have a constant pitch going which I could flatten in accordance with the organ, is that right? Who sells them? And roughly how much?

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 07 Mar 2008, 18:53

Gill the Piano wrote:How do the ETF's work? I have to tune a piano to a (flat) church organ, and I resort to holding a note down on the organ with a screwdriver. If the organist ever finds out he'll hunt me down and have me killed. In a very Christian way, of course. So with an ETF I could have a constant pitch going which I could flatten in accordance with the organ, is that right? Who sells them? And roughly how much?

They have 4 notes A A# B C then a slider 50cents +/-

Accu-Fork II paid $100.00 back in the early 90s they are also very good when doing a pitch they sell for $150 in the US

I often get asked to use the clients fork which are never on pitch or some weird pitch from days gone by To keep both hand free I put my fork in my mouth and I just don't fancy putting my clients in my mouth so I tune the ETF to their fork

Quite a few Blind tuners use them as the sliding scale can be fitted with a notched template you have to ask for that when you buy it

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Post by Gill the Piano » 07 Mar 2008, 19:52

Thanks, Barrie; I might look into that, as churches often want pianos tuned to strange pitches of ancient pipe organs.
Pianoguy and Openwood should be along in a minute with a double entendre on you never putting your clients in your mouth. Brace yerself, Barrie...oops, there goes another one...

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Post by Tom Tuner » 10 Mar 2008, 19:16

Rubber wedge bass mutes are more secure and less damaging to organ keys than a screwdriver.

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Post by Gill the Piano » 10 Mar 2008, 20:11

The wedge was a tad too wide, hence (careful!!!) use of screwdriver. As a church organist myself I don't take liberties! :)

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Post by Brumtuner » 10 Mar 2008, 21:34

Gill the Piano wrote:The wedge was a tad too wide, hence (careful!!!) use of screwdriver. As a church organist myself I don't take liberties! :)
Cardboard, as in a folded business card or, indeed, a flattened roach, might go down better if seen by the 'wrong' people'.

It might make the keyboard stink of fish a bit, but hey, 'God' will forgive.

Perhaps a flattened tuna would be more appropriate.

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Post by Openwood » 11 Mar 2008, 12:45

Double entendre? Me? Never!!

Anyway, can't talk now, I've got a client waiting :wink:

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Post by Gill the Piano » 11 Mar 2008, 18:56

I always have the church to myself. Well, me and God, but He won't tell on me because I play the organ for 'Im.
Openwood...I'm disappointed! ;)

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Post by vernon » 12 Mar 2008, 21:17

tuners are reluctant often to raise the pitch on an old joanna for the following reasons;
1) It takes at least 3 tunings with the consequent cost.
2)It may not stand in the long run
3) strings may break
4)The worst case; the frame may crack. It's happened to me twice in 50 years. Very frightening and diplomatically difficult!
vernon loch ness

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