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#1585508 - 12/28/10 05:00 AM tune your piano by yourself!  
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offnote Offline
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Quote
Clear explanations of piano tuning for the beginner are hard to find. When I wanted to learn how to tune my piano, most sources insisted that I should not try, or hid the basics in a mountain of detail, or insisted I buy a book. So I taught myself instead. After research and trying it, I developed the simplified method on this site which uses three tools: mutes, electronic tuner and a tuning lever.


here is how

p.s.
what one men did other can do as well.

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#1585531 - 12/28/10 06:56 AM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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itsfreakingmeout Offline
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i think i speak for most of the people here when I say that we do hold our piano's as 'precious' and would not attempt such a thing. shameless plug?

#1585538 - 12/28/10 07:08 AM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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offnote Offline
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Originally Posted by itsfreakingmeout
i think i speak for most of the people here when I say that we do hold our piano's as 'precious' and would not attempt such a thing. shameless plug?


if your instrument is so 'precious' to you wouldn't you like to
pamper it by yourself??? give it your own final touch...


p.s.
what plug? crazy have not affiliation with this site.


#1585540 - 12/28/10 07:15 AM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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ando Offline
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Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted by itsfreakingmeout
i think i speak for most of the people here when I say that we do hold our piano's as 'precious' and would not attempt such a thing. shameless plug?


You certainly don't speak for me. I would, and have attempted such a thing and I used some of the ideas presented on that site as part of my resources (I also visited several other sites). I guess it is a plug, but there's nothing shameless about it. Lot's of people have promoted themselves on PW.

There is no reason why each and every pianist here shouldn't be familiar with tuning techniques. Even if you never tune your whole piano, occasionally you can have one or two notes that are out which you could tune yourself until your regular professional tuning appointment.

I just thought that was a tad harsh.

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#1585630 - 12/28/10 10:23 AM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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These instructions aren't bad. The writer doesn't make the most common mistake of suggesting that you use a simple guitar tuner for the whole piano, and he also gives some other basic warnings, such as how to prevent rounding off the pin by not having the socket seated.

Any skill can be learned (some of us are better at some things than others), and we definitely need more piano technicians. Just use your common sense about risk-taking, like you would if you were working on your car, plumbing, or house wiring, and know when to call the experts.

I teach many of my customers how to touch up unisons between tunings (make two or three strings on one note sound the same).

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#1585673 - 12/28/10 11:52 AM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Rickster Offline
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Hi Offnote, (good forum name for talking about tuning pianos, by-the-way)

I applaud you for your gesture of good will and your effort to want to be helpful to other piano owners here, but you have opened a huge can of worms and an ongoing controversy when you mention tuning your own piano here on these forums. Granted, there are many members here who do exactly that (and do a competent job, by-the-way), but they usually keep fairly quite about it for various reasons.

I, for one, understand your sentiments and your thoughts here, and I agree to an extent, but topics like “tune your piano by yourself” will only garner contention, harsh comments (like the one from itsfreakingmeout) and nasty arguments here. There are lots of professionals in all aspects of the piano business who are members of this forum, and they don’t take kindly to threads like yours who encourage piano owners to tune their own piano for lots of reasons.

Cy’s comments above are about as peaceful and civil as it gets… He’s a great guy and a great piano tech, and has helped me with technical information on several occasions.

As valuable and interesting as this topic is, it is probably better left taboo on these forums for the sake of peace and civility.

Take care,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1585681 - 12/28/10 12:02 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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The Heart of Screenland
Rick,

Respectfully I disagree. All on-topic posts are welcome. I, for one, welcome healthy discourse on the advantages and disadvantages or trying to learn to tune your own piano. The overly sensitive and the overly critical can bugger off.

Kurt



**********************************************************************************************************
Co-owner (by marriage) and part time customer service rep at an electronic musical equipment repair shop.
#1585699 - 12/28/10 12:34 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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rysowers Offline
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I am in Cy's camp! I have purchased professional tuning levers for clients who are interested in tuning. I have a link to places to buy tools, and acquire tuning software on my website. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone who wants to try their hand at tuning a piano! Even if it doesn't work out, they will gain a deeper appreciation to the craft, and their piano. So what if a string breaks? It happens to all of us! As a professional in the service industry I feel it is NOT professional to make a client feel embarrassed or ashamed if they attempted a repair themselves. Sometimes they do surprisingly well. Other times.... wink



Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#1585708 - 12/28/10 12:46 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I'm with Kurt.

I agree that this board sees contentious, nasty, argumentative responses frequently, but I think it's very unfortunate. The contentious and nasty should be what is taboo around here rather than someone posting a link to a site (s)he found informative and wanted to share.

I'm never going to try to tune or "touch up" my piano -- I find it hard enough to tune my guitar! But I do love learning about how a pianos are made, how the should be cared for, how they work, and what techs do. I think pianists should learn as much about their instrument, how it works and how it is maintained as they can.

Thanks Offnote!



Yamaha GC1
#1585709 - 12/28/10 12:48 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by rysowers
I am in Cy's camp! I have purchased professional tuning levers for clients who are interested in tuning. I have a link to places to buy tools, and acquire tuning software on my website. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone who wants to try their hand at tuning a piano! Even if it doesn't work out, they will gain a deeper appreciation to the craft, and their piano. So what if a string breaks? It happens to all of us! As a professional in the service industry I feel it is NOT professional to make a client feel embarrassed or ashamed if they attempted a repair themselves. Sometimes they do surprisingly well. Other times....

Wow, have attitudes here changed or what? What happened to the quote “only a fool would represent him/herself in court and only a fool would attempt to tune their own piano”? I’ve been made to feel like a fool all this time, but a fool whose piano is in tune. thumb

Maybe attitudes here have changed… are the PW forums evolving?

Let the good times roll……. grin

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1585724 - 12/28/10 01:04 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I sort of agree with Rickster, however, I would say that this thread would be ripped to shreds on the Technicians forum, but treated a little more respectful on this forum. I learned to tune my own piano and have always been glad that I did. I still call a professional at times, but I have saved myself $1000's of dollars over the last 20 years, and in todays economy who couldn't use that kind of savings. One thing that came in handy and was sort of a suprise, I got a speeding ticket this summer and the judge sentanced me to 8 hours of community service. I contacted a couple of local small churches and offered to tune their pianos. They were thrilled to get their pianos tuned for free and I felt like I contributed to the success of several Christmas programs around our city. I also got to know several music ministers. Overall, it was a great experience.


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
#1585740 - 12/28/10 01:34 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I think it's probably a matter of time.. the right people just have not seen it yet!! laugh

Regardless, though, contentious, nasty, argumentative responses do not belong here.


Ken

Hammond Organ Technician
http://www.tonewheeltech.com
Vice President - MITA, International
http://www.mitatechs.org
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#1585744 - 12/28/10 01:48 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I certainly have nothing against people trying to learn technical work on a piano, but I also warn people about the pitfalls. I have a friend who works with vision-impaired people, and he once asked me about it for one of his charges. I invited them to my club for dinner, and explained the good and the bad of the business. Afterwards, my friend said he could not decide whether I had been encouraging or discouraging. I took that as a compliment.

I tell people I can teach them to tune a piano in a day, and after that, it just takes four years of practice to become good at it. It takes even longer to become truly excellent. If you think the first piano tuning you do sounds wonderful, you probably have very little aptitude for piano tuning.


Semipro Tech
#1585751 - 12/28/10 01:59 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: BDB]  
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Del Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
If you think the first piano tuning you do sounds wonderful, you probably have very little aptitude for piano tuning.

This is one of the most insightful comments I’ve seen on this subject to date.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
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(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1585754 - 12/28/10 02:06 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Aliwally Offline
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The internet has everything on it. I am quite sure it is something out there about "Building Your Own Grand Piano".

Tuning is an art, Respect it and go to school if you really want to learn.


Yamaha P-120, Feurich 122

Always look ahead, but never look back. - Miles Davis
#1585757 - 12/28/10 02:14 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: Aliwally]  
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Originally Posted by Aliwally

Tuning is an art, Respect it and go to school if you really want to learn.


oh please, cooking can be an art too but somehow we cook ourselves with great results almost everyday. Why we assume art cannot be part of our everyday's life???


Besides good musicians should be able to tune his/her instrument wether it is flute , guitar or piano.

#1585758 - 12/28/10 02:15 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]  
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Bob Offline
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Originally Posted by Cy Shuster
and we definitely need more piano technicians.

--Cy--


Yes, someone will have to tune all those digital pianos they sell......... laugh

#1585768 - 12/28/10 02:34 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Aliwally Offline
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Originally Posted by offnote
Originally Posted by Aliwally

Tuning is an art, Respect it and go to school if you really want to learn.


oh please, cooking can be an art too but somehow we cook ourselves with great results almost everyday. Why we assume art cannot be part of our everyday's life???


Besides good musicians should be able to tune his/her instrument wether it is flute , guitar or piano.




Yeah, but some cooks make six figure salaries as well as some Concert Tuners, they did not get there by cooking at home. So go ahead and read your Tuning Made Easy. I have tuned drums for a living before, and just about every drummer can tune his own drums but not all can tune to make a living.

The piano is just one instrument that is so complex, how many instruments can you name that have over 10,000 parts. How many spices can you name off the top of your head, and mix those spices to achieve a certain taste. Art and being an artist are two different things. Tuning Made Easy For Piano...sorry, it's a Joke.


Yamaha P-120, Feurich 122

Always look ahead, but never look back. - Miles Davis
#1585808 - 12/28/10 03:14 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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AJB Offline
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I think the 10,000 parts argument is a red herring.

There are very few parts that need to be touched, merely to perform a tuning.

All string players treat continuos tuning adjustments as an everyday basic skill. Clearly, tuning a piano is a bit more involved, but some degree of basic adjustment (of unisons for example) is not all that difficult. My tuner showed me how to do it years ago and he did not treat it as a black art. He knew perfectly well he was much more skilled than me - and was happy to share some of it.

A really good tuner can deliver superlative results. I prefer to use my good tuner every three months. But I see no reason why anyone who fancies it cannot learn to tune their piano to their own satisfaction.

Incidentally, I got the impression, perhaps wrongly, that the OP was not promoting himself, as has been suggested here. He had just come across a web site to which he is drawing our attention - as a good citizen of Piano World.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
#1585821 - 12/28/10 03:40 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Don't mean to sound harsh. Somethings will drive you crazy, and I think this is one of them. Spend that time practicing. My piano tech friend who works in New York just gave me one word advice to piano tuning when I get a real piano. If the tuner is not striking those strings loud, "Get Rid Of Him". He told me it should get on my nerves because when I go to play if no vibrations was made when tuning, it will go out of tune with the vibrations I will make playing. Can't exactly explain like he did but I know what he was saying. He also told me to ask how many cents out of tune it was, I have it written down somewhere to know how many cents for a pitch raise but no piano should get that bad before it needs tuning. That was it...so I will remember that. I asked though, "Can I tune the piano myself?"..he just laughed... and said yeah, If you have a couple of years to learn.


Yamaha P-120, Feurich 122

Always look ahead, but never look back. - Miles Davis
#1585852 - 12/28/10 04:30 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: ando]  
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by itsfreakingmeout
i think i speak for most of the people here when I say that we do hold our piano's as 'precious' and would not attempt such a thing. shameless plug?


You certainly don't speak for me. I would, and have attempted such a thing and I used some of the ideas presented on that site as part of my resources (I also visited several other sites). I guess it is a plug, but there's nothing shameless about it. Lot's of people have promoted themselves on PW.

There is no reason why each and every pianist here shouldn't be familiar with tuning techniques. Even if you never tune your whole piano, occasionally you can have one or two notes that are out which you could tune yourself until your regular professional tuning appointment.

I just thought that was a tad harsh.



oh please

#1585860 - 12/28/10 04:42 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Well, I think that musicians should know what tuning is. However, you are not going to learn that from an electronic tuner. Electronic tuners do not tune, they only set frequencies.


Semipro Tech
#1585911 - 12/28/10 06:47 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I'm not mechanically inclined and don't think that my ear would be good enough to tune even with much practice. From the little I've read about it it seems very complex(although I was a math teacher before retiring). I've read somewhere that it takes 1000 tunings to become reasonably good, so even if I had more mechanical/aural skills I would never consider tuning my piano.

#1585917 - 12/28/10 07:00 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Yep, it's incredibly complex. You get this wrench. You plonk it on the pin, and you give it a bit of a twist.

You also get to shove some rubber between some strings.

You do this really badly 999 times and then "POW" it's there.

Come on. You have managed to do nearly 12,000 posts here. You are apparently a retired maths teacher. You can risk a little twist on a tuning pin one day.

Live a little. Stretch a bit of wire.







Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
#1585934 - 12/28/10 07:21 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: Aliwally]  
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Steve Jackson Offline
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Originally Posted by Aliwally
My piano tech friend who works in New York just gave me one word advice to piano tuning when I get a real piano. If the tuner is not striking those strings loud, "Get Rid Of Him".


Hi:

I disagree with this. Depends on the tuner and their technique.
You can do a solid tuning with no pounding, or an unstable tuning with a lot of pounding.

There are those who have two ways of doing a job. Their way, or the wrong way. There are others who can see many ways of achieving a goal.

Take care,

Steve

#1585935 - 12/28/10 07:23 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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There must be a secret here somewhere! My self tuned unisons last about the same length of time as it took to get the three strings into unison in the first place!

#1585945 - 12/28/10 07:46 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: AJB]  
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Originally Posted by AJB
Yep, it's incredibly complex. You get this wrench. You plonk it on the pin, and you give it a bit of a twist.

You also get to shove some rubber between some strings.

You do this really badly 999 times and then "POW" it's there.

Come on. You have managed to do nearly 12,000 posts here. You are apparently a retired maths teacher. You can risk a little twist on a tuning pin one day.

Live a little. Stretch a bit of wire.
If it's so easy why does it take 1000 tunings or four years?

#1585951 - 12/28/10 07:57 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If it's so easy why does it take 1000 tunings or four years?


it doesn't, it is just another myth. You know, people love myths because they are lazy. It is so easy and convinient to say: "it can't be done, you have to be trained professional etc etc" yawn

#1585964 - 12/28/10 08:14 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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I would never attempt to replicate or replace what my tuner does, but I wouldn't mind learning a bit of touch-up. Seems like there are always those one or two notes that go noticeably sour before the tuner's next servicing.

But better safe than sorry. Unless my tuner agrees and shows me how, don't think I'll bother.


Shigeru Kawai SK6
#1585980 - 12/28/10 08:39 PM Re: tune your piano by yourself! [Re: offnote]  
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Well, I see this thread is not done yet… in fact, it is just getting started. Who knows where it will end, or how many feathers will be ruffled in the process.

I will say, however, that I have enjoyed learning to tune and service my pianos as much as I’ve enjoyed learning to play. Fact is, I own two tuning hammers!

To me, the most difficult part is learning to tune the unisons to sound pure. The ETD can help you set the temperament and the pitch of a certain note. However, getting the unisons right and stable is the real challenge. Heck, it’s all a challenge!

Tuning is actually the easiest part (once you learn proper tuning hammer technique). Regulating and voicing is a whole new ballgame. One thing is for sure, you tend to develop an appreciation for the real piano techs when you try it yourself. My hat is off to the fine piano techs here on this forum, and else ware, that are good at their craft; there is no substitute for years of training and experience.

And, to BDB… no, the first time I tuned my piano, it didn’t sound great, but it sounded a heck of lot better than it did when it was way out of tune! laugh

Happy Holidays!

Rick




Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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Do technicians play the piano or just work on them?
by Lakeviewsteve. 09/19/17 08:24 PM
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