Embarrasing mistake

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Jonathan the 2nd
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Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 07 Mar 2012, 02:32

Have the tuners here ever made a gaff in their tuning? I am new to learning so I don`t go far up the keyboard yet. I had the piano tuned in January . But I have just noticed the note counting up from middle C , 3 octaves is not a C at all. That note comes up on the B note. A good solid in tune octave with C . Whoops.

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Colin Nicholson » 07 Mar 2012, 10:02

Best you contact your tuner then and get him to correct his mistakes..... and how much did he charge you again...... over 100 ???
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Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 07 Mar 2012, 13:48

Yes because it was all raised a semitone plus the Kirnberger. This morning I checked to see how that had a knockon effect and the lowest is A6 flat compared to A5. I only used one octave comparisons . I think I could hear how the stretch worked between the notes . The pairs of notes sounded in tune as octaves though . The other combinations with A5 ( either side of A6flat ) sound very out of tune. So it`s a total of 16 of the highest notes that are a semitone sharp. I can get a nice top C major scale as long as I use all the black notes.
I can see how it happened though. He was using an electronic gadget with the temperament setting. The sequence can run from one end to the other instead of lots of cross checking chords. I thought the stretch tuning was a bit overdone. Even so the octaves are not hard to check right at the end as a final nail in the coffin.

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by dancarney » 07 Mar 2012, 15:08

Unacceptable. Call him back out to fix the 16 problem notes.
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Colin Nicholson » 07 Mar 2012, 15:50

After any pitch raise of a semi tone or more, no matter how good the tuning is that follows it, the piano will always drift out of tune at this stage of its infancy upset.... its not the fault of the tuning, nor the piano. However, a pitch raise is what it says on the tin - a 'pitch raise' - and should be done in two visits - never one complete pitch change & tuning combined.
After a pitch change - the piano should be tuned as best it can to ET or other scale, then a following appointment should be made about 2-3 weeks later for the fine tuning.
After the pitch change, the tuner should have told you this - and also warned you that a few octaves/ unisons and that the pitch will drop slightly, even after the pitch raise.

After the 2nd visit - the tuning should be more stable, however depending on the condition of the strings & pins - even a 3rd visit may be needed. Then, each following visit will just involve smaller and smaller adjustments each time.

I also inform customers prior to a pitch raise not to make any special occasions/ recitals etc for the piano until the fine tuning has been made. When I restored a grand piano & re-strung it, after the initial few tunings (and chipping up etc) - the customer then started to arrange for students to practise on his piano prior to a piano competition!!!! - after being told that it may take up to beyond 12 months to fully settle down.

The tuner therefore has simply done the 'requested service' met by the customer - and not advised that a following visit should be made in a couple of weeks or so.

Your piano will be 'all over the place' - not just the 16 notes you mention, but also the knock-on effect of the pitch raise will now be taking its toll.... especially in this colder weather aswell.

As often is the case, its not the piano that needs tuning - its the customer!! - they need to learn & be taught the correct procedure, how long it will take, how many visits are involved, and the costs involved.

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by dancarney » 07 Mar 2012, 18:05

A semitone sharp seems to be a bit too much, even in the circumstances described.

Are you sure that the section you're comparing the said 16 with aren't a semitone flat?!
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Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 07 Mar 2012, 18:12

Thanks Colin .I am more in tune with you on this one . I knew it had drifted low after my daughter was not using it. I may be hearing the octaves wrong with the stretch tuning.
In the top end , should there be a sharpness in the higher note when comparing octaves ? I was fully expecting some complications after the first tuning. It does not disturb the key range I am using at the moment.

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Colin Nicholson » 07 Mar 2012, 20:05

It is likely the higher notes will appear to sound sharper than the lower octave notes - however after a pitch raise, the lower notes will have dropped slightly (not the upper notes becoming sharp).... difficult to put into words. Firstly - the starting point is Middle C; this must be checked with a tuning fork first (C523.3Hz) - then with the octave higher C. Once middle C is put back into tune, and the 'scale' tuned to the required temperament, then the higher C's will either be back in tune, or still fractionally flat.... and more likely to be a bit of both. Also after a pitch change - so much happens to the stresses of the soundboard & bridges, so each individual string from a tri-chord could also vary...... you need to therefore get the WHOLE piano tuned again - some slight pitch changing will be required again, but not to the same level as the first visit. As your tuner puts in the octaves - he will need to regularly go back and check the previous notes just been tuned. During a pitch change - these notes change pitch almost immediately after JUST being tuned! .... so your tuner is constantly back & forth. This is why is fruitless doing a fine concert tuning at these early stages - it wont last more than a few days.
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 08 Mar 2012, 02:07

The note that first drew my attention was the C 6 that sounded sharp. The note below ,which should be a B sounded just right as the octave of C5. If you play octave note should you hear them as sharp?

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Colin Nicholson » 08 Mar 2012, 09:48

Who knows how 'sharp is sharp' ???? - you need a tuning fork to find out, and compare it to C40 (middle C).
Even if you have one, not many customers know if the actual note is flat or sharp according to the fork. How do you know that C6 is sharp?.... how have you tested it?

Think I have explained everything - you need to rebook another tuning - perfectly normal procedure, no fault of the tuner. Also depends on your room temperature? Central heating? (or lack of it) .... can't blame it on one thing - but after a pitch raise of a semitone, its impossible to describe in words the effect & turning point the tuning has taken. Talking about it on here wont put the piano back in tune.... nor any detailed analysis of the changes between octaves after a few weeks. For now, I would recommend another tuning, tuned to ET for now - get the piano stable & back on-track first - then book another one in 3 months time for the first 12 months, then 6 monthly should be OK after that.

If you think the tuner should have told you all this, and he didn't, or maybe he did - but you thought differently. The tuner should have clearly labelled the procedures - taking 2 visits...... did he state this ?
No attempts whatsoever can be made to analyse the pitch & fine tuning of octaves etc after a pitch raise - impossible. However, if your tuner did warn you, and the following finer tuning has not been booked yet, just pick up the phone and book him again.
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Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 08 Mar 2012, 13:51

Thanks Colin. I saw a video that compared the sounds between a single octave and a double octave where you start to hear some beats on the double.That fills in my doubts about what stretched tuning should sound like. (On a good day ). Plenty to chew on in your post. The tuner did let me know the drawbacks possible and assessed that it was not an old beat up piano . He took a minute or two to make the decision. He is looking after me. But it`s an interesting case . At present the notes don`t impinge on my practise . All good stuff for your other readers to digest .

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 09 Mar 2012, 13:59

I was in two minds on the second day of this topic to add a question mark in the title. I may still try that. By coincidence I landed on the other piano forum and looked up advice about whether a trill should be a tone or semitone interval and whether there was a rule about trills I found myself reading about pianos that needed a semitone pitch raise and how long it would stay in tune before needing urgent attention. Something like 3 weeks cropped up mostly. I am not alone.

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 15 Mar 2012, 02:16

The question of notes drifting out of tune soon after a large ( semitone overall ) rise in pitch was explored on another forum. They dissaproved of amateur attempts to clean up some unisons, and one contributor suggested damping down (not with water ) the twangyest strings before the tuner arrived with the cavalry.How would a tuner on a desert island do that if he lost his tuning lever? You can`t fit bucketfulls of rubber mutes all over the place, ( can you? ). Or was it an in joke between the tuners that was meant to confuse me ?

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Gill the Piano » 15 Mar 2012, 18:40

You can cut a pencil rubber to form a rubber wedge or a little fold of felt. But as with most dangerous pursuits, it's best left to a highly trained professional...
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Barrie Heaton » 16 Mar 2012, 20:05

Jonathan the 2nd wrote:The question of notes drifting out of tune soon after a large ( semitone overall ) rise in pitch was explored on another forum. They dissaproved of amateur attempts to clean up some unisons, and one contributor suggested damping down (not with water ) the twangyest strings before the tuner arrived with the cavalry.How would a tuner on a desert island do that if he lost his tuning lever? You can`t fit bucketfulls of rubber mutes all over the place, ( can you? ). Or was it an in joke between the tuners that was meant to confuse me ?
I take that was US forum
the UK take on it the DIY piano tuner not for Grannys ears

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Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Embarrasing mistake

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 17 Mar 2012, 02:13

I enjoyed that . TV presenters should be like that. There `s far too much smiling going on these days. Who do they think they are? It`s almost as good as the Lego Star Wars video { Death Star Canteen }. In the Tuning Lego World a tuner would be Darth Vader. Any bad forum question would receive the same reply. " I could kill you with a tray!!"

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