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How do you tune the first few notes.... #2155791
09/22/13 08:46 PM
09/22/13 08:46 PM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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How do you tune the first few notes....and the last few notes also....do you just guess....what's the secret because nothing picks up the notes....

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Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2155805
09/22/13 09:16 PM
09/22/13 09:16 PM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Quote
nothing picks up the notes....

Your ears do!

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2155819
09/22/13 09:30 PM
09/22/13 09:30 PM
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Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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'Carefully.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: David Jenson] #2155829
09/22/13 09:48 PM
09/22/13 09:48 PM
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Boone, Iowa, USA
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E Offline
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Hi Duane - I assume you're referring to the first few notes in the bass, and the last few notes in the treble - and furthermore that you are using an electronic tuner which is not registering those notes. Is that correct, or are you speaking of something else? Chuck


Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke
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Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Chuck Behm, CPT-E] #2155980
09/23/13 05:02 AM
09/23/13 05:02 AM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Chuck Behm
Hi Duane - I assume you're referring to the first few notes in the bass, and the last few notes in the treble - and furthermore that you are using an electronic tuner which is not registering those notes. Is that correct, or are you speaking of something else? Chuck


You're right, Chuck, trying to learn some basics and well my ear is pretty good but at this point I don't rely heavily on the electronic dev. I do some of course. Tuning these low bass and high treble notes is almost impossible....I need to know the clue so I can practice it.....tks, Duane.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156009
09/23/13 06:59 AM
09/23/13 06:59 AM
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Chicagoland
RonTuner Offline
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What device are you currently using? There are some that do better than others - sometimes using an external mic helps...

Ron Koval

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156031
09/23/13 07:45 AM
09/23/13 07:45 AM
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shirley, MA
jim ialeggio Offline
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Though I use Stopper's program in a hybrid sort of aural/visual tuning, I never use any machine in the low bass, ie monochords and some of the low bichords depending on the instrument.

Tune down from the temperament last.

For the monochords,and depending on the piano some of the lowest bichords, first get the single octave reasonably close to quiet, then with the dampers up, roll a 4 or 5 octave octave and fifth arpeggio (no 3rds only octave and fifths). With that argeggio kicking the whole belly into motion, sustaining and coupling with the tuned treble, as you tune the each monochord, find the place where full sustained resonance of the instrument musically sounds best. Musically, this place becomes obvious when you hit it.

When you find this place, especially in a small instrument, but some larger instruments as well, if you roll only octaves and fifths, when the tuned note comes into its proper place, the 3rd (or some octave transposition of the 3rd) with become musically audible. It will sound as if you were actually striking some 3rd..but you didn't strike any 3rds, its coupling the 3rds)

I never listen for beats here, as the very low bass is such a complex sound. The "perfection" needed and musically required is musically audible. I stress the word musically audible as listening to beats will favor 1 partial match over a complex host of possible choices...partial matching here becomes for me a mind game, rather than a musical exercise.

Jim Ialeggio


Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: RonTuner] #2156046
09/23/13 08:19 AM
09/23/13 08:19 AM
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E Offline
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Duane - Ron is exactly right. Not all electronic tuners are created equal. Some will help you do a great job, even without the use of aural checks, some are just passable, and some are essentially worthless. I'm assuming you didn't purchase a top of the line tuner (earlier threads which you originated alluded to this decision) and now you're beginning to understand some of its limitations.

If you're just tuning your own piano at this point, it's not a big deal, but if you're beginning to charge for your tunings, it is. If your aural abilities are still at an uncertain certain stage (and if you're guessing as to where a note should be set, as you mentioned in your original post, you're still very uncertain), then you really need a top quality tuning device if you want to have satisfied customers.

Just to illustrate what a quality tuner will do for you, I went out to my shop this morning to check on the tuning of one of the pianos just recently restrung. Here's the reading I got on my tuner for low A:

[img:center][Linked Image][/img]

As you can see, low A is 1.7 cents flat. This reading, by the way, is rock solid and comes in without a bit of hesitation. Checking high C, this is the reading I get:

[img:center]http://[Linked Image][/img]

C8 is showing at 12 cents flat, which is normal in that the strings are still stretching a bit. The reading on this end of the scale can be a bit on the wavering side (as indicated by the movement of the needle), but it always come in.

The point is that with a quality tuner, such as my Verituner, you can zero in on exactly where all the notes of the piano should be set (including those on either end) while you are working on your aural skills. No need for guesswork.

Other guys will comment on how you can learn to do all of this on your own with out an electronic tuner, but if you're anything like me, you know that your hearing has its limits. I certainly am not ashamed of the fact that at age 63 I don't hear (and never will) like I once did. My Verituner, however, is as accurate as ever. Plus it customizes each tuning to the piano at hand.

As far as the cost, look at it this way. Since I bought my Verituner, I've done just under 5000 tunings on it, at around $100 a pop. Not once in all those tunings have I had a complaint on my tuning - quite the contrary. I continually get referrals from customers whom I have tuned for and who love the way their piano sounds. I paid around $1800 for the tuner, and if my math is right my profit on that investment is around 270 fold. (I wish my other investments did that well!)

With a cheap tuner, or inexperienced ears, you'll be hard pressed to build a profitable business. Since I've started my business 40 years ago, I've always purchased the tools and supplies I felt I needed to do the job right. A good quality tuner is one tool I wouldn't dream of being without.

If you can't afford a good tuner at this point, at least start setting aside a portion of each tuning check for purchasing one down the road.

Anyway, that's my take on your situation - I'm sure others will chime in shortly to prove how misguided I am in my thinking. Be that as it may. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best in getting your business off the ground. Chuck



Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: RonTuner] #2156098
09/23/13 10:21 AM
09/23/13 10:21 AM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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Originally Posted by RonTuner
What device are you currently using? There are some that do better than others - sometimes using an external mic helps...

Ron Koval


I just bought a Korg OT-120 for around $92 by the time it gets to me and I am disappointed in it as it won't register anything in the bass until C2 and treble no needle movement until E6 probably D6 is more accurate....needless to say I am disappointed in that acquisition. I use my Seiko ST-747 (older than the hills at around #30-$35 new??? I use it for my guitar and mandolin tuner) at it goes quite low (lower than the Korg) but still not good and in the treble it does not move until about the same as the Korg???? any suggestions as to an electronic dev......I really can't afford to buy a good dedicated piano tuner right now but I may have to....also I downloaded Tune Lab 97 and it won't register either....I want to get going and tune some pianos to be learning this trade faster but.....any advice.....Duane.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156099
09/23/13 10:22 AM
09/23/13 10:22 AM
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Middle Tennessee
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When tuning the low bass notes, there is a basal beat that I listen for. If I can hear that basal beat I can tune the note. If I can't hear that basal beat I hit the note an octave higher. The basal beat comes out clearly and I can tune that low note. I usually end up tuning the low notes that way within the lowest octave. And of course the octave sounds better when I stretch the octave, or I set it just to the flat side of no beats.
As for the high notes, I listen for a certain ring to the note and no beats. This comes from years of experience.
I tune aurally when I start tuning the octaves, after I have set the temperament. If I have to, because of background noise or such, I can tune totally aural. Again this comes from years of experience.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Chuck Behm, CPT-E] #2156106
09/23/13 10:30 AM
09/23/13 10:30 AM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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Chuck...thank you for some great advice there...I'm home at lunch and have not had time to read it all but these are some great points you bring up....things I am wondering about as I do not have access to a top device....and I am only tuning and checking methods on my own piano at this point but by the first of the year I would think I will have gained enough understanding to branch out a little....time will tell....but, anyway, thank you, Duane.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156151
09/23/13 11:28 AM
09/23/13 11:28 AM
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South Jersey
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Originally Posted by Duane Graves
also I downloaded Tune Lab 97 and it won't register either...


Tunelab is definitely your best bet for having something workable to practice with. I'm assuming you mean it didn't pick up any sound; is that across the piano or just in the high and low registers?

Tunelab goes down to A0 and up to C8 with quite good accuracy, but I have found that an external microphone helps. I have also found that my Android tablet does a better job than my PC. There are iPhone/iPad and Android apps for Tunelab available on their website (not available from the general app store though I don't think). I'd suggest trying one of those if you have a tablet or smartphone.


Ben Patterson, RPT
South Jersey Piano Service, LLC
www.sjpianoservice.com
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156181
09/23/13 12:20 PM
09/23/13 12:20 PM
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Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
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Jon Page Offline
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Last I checked, the Verituner app for an iPhone was $600. Plus, on the VT Forum, there are numerous custom stretches.


Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156345
09/23/13 05:07 PM
09/23/13 05:07 PM
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London, England
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Phil D Offline
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Duane, I'd recommend rather than looking to spend money on tuning devices, I'd first spend money on a book about tuning.

Upright & Grand Piano Tuning by CArl-Johan Forss would be a good one to start with. Reblitz is terribly out of date. The new book by Mario Igrec, Pianos Inside Out, is definitely worth purchasing as well.

You need to understand the principles at work here, and it is obvious that you really don't. Start from the beginning.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Phil D] #2156354
09/23/13 05:24 PM
09/23/13 05:24 PM
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Quote
"Duane, I'd recommend rather than looking to spend money on tuning devices, I'd first spend money on a book about tuning.

Upright & Grand Piano Tuning by CArl-Johan Forss would be a good one to start with. Reblitz is terribly out of date. The new book by Mario Igrec, Pianos Inside Out, is definitely worth purchasing as well.

You need to understand the principles at work here, and it is obvious that you really don't. Start from the beginning." - Phil D.


Duane - I believe this is excellent advice, whether or not you eventually become a dyed-in-the-wool aural tuner. If for no other reason, doing your research will help you understand the suggestions people have been giving you. Chuck Behm


Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156365
09/23/13 05:44 PM
09/23/13 05:44 PM
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Chicagoland
RonTuner Offline
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Originally Posted by Duane Graves
I do not have access to a top device.


Ok, you might do better with software instead of a dedicated device. Was it a laptop that you used to download Tunelab? Do you have an iphone/ipod touch, or other smartphone? (Blackberry doesn't have anything that you can use for pianos)

Tunelab should be much better than the other options you mentioned - might take some troubleshooting to make sure the mic is working and set right...

Ron Koval

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: RonTuner] #2156441
09/23/13 08:02 PM
09/23/13 08:02 PM
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Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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Originally Posted by Duane Graves
I do not have access to a top device.


You do, You just aren't using it. It sits on your shoulders. It has two superb microphones and marvelous audio computing functions.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: David Jenson] #2156460
09/23/13 08:23 PM
09/23/13 08:23 PM
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shirley, MA
jim ialeggio Offline
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Originally Posted by David Jenson
You do, You just aren't using it. It sits on your shoulders. It has two superb microphones and marvelous audio computing functions.

thumb

I use a machine as an aid...but the final arbiter is the musical sense which comes from your ear.

When I first started tuning, of coarse struggling with the lever, I tuned an aural bass by ear, by the seat of my pants, without thinking about what I was doing... I just followed what I wanted, as a pianist, to hear in the coupled sounds. 1st timer luck..it sounded great. Then I tried to figure out what the devil I had done in that seat of the pants tuning. In the process of over-thinking it, for the next 6 months, I tuned still-born, life-less basses...'till I started thinking like a musician again.

While you are following all the excellent software advice above, don't forget to include your musician's ear in the mix.

Jim Ialeggio





Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: jim ialeggio] #2156593
09/24/13 12:24 AM
09/24/13 12:24 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
Originally Posted by David Jenson
You do, You just aren't using it. It sits on your shoulders. It has two superb microphones and marvelous audio computing functions.

thumb

I use a machine as an aid...but the final arbiter is the musical sense which comes from your ear.

When I first started tuning, of coarse struggling with the lever, I tuned an aural bass by ear, by the seat of my pants, without thinking about what I was doing... I just followed what I wanted, as a pianist, to hear in the coupled sounds. 1st timer luck..it sounded great. Then I tried to figure out what the devil I had done in that seat of the pants tuning. In the process of over-thinking it, for the next 6 months, I tuned still-born, life-less basses...'till I started thinking like a musician again.

While you are following all the excellent software advice above, don't forget to include your musician's ear in the mix.

Jim Ialeggio





Hey, I said that in the very first reply! I guess not being a tech, it wasn't true til one of you guys said it. wink

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Phil D] #2156660
09/24/13 04:50 AM
09/24/13 04:50 AM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Phil D
Duane, I'd recommend rather than looking to spend money on tuning devices, I'd first spend money on a book about tuning.


I am taking a tuning & technician course now although I have just started it. I realize that when you ask greenhorn questions you are going to get kicked around a bit but in the midst of the fury you get some real helpful answers. Take this thread for instance, out of the 20 or so hits I am able to learn about a dozen new things. I'm jumping the gun a little bit and my questions but I have always thought that if you don't know something and you want to know ask someone who does know and most times you will find some people who are willing to give you the answer you want and more....I am thankful to those who sincerely want to help.

Last edited by Duane Graves; 09/24/13 05:09 AM.
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156674
09/24/13 05:54 AM
09/24/13 05:54 AM
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Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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There is something to be said for not worrying about the extreme bass and treble in the initial learning process. Once you get the basics down and learn what to listen for the rest will be easier and make more sense.

(I still run into occasional tunings where the bass and treble are ignored, and the guy got paid!) crazy


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156675
09/24/13 06:02 AM
09/24/13 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Duane Graves
Originally Posted by Phil D
Duane, I'd recommend rather than looking to spend money on tuning devices, I'd first spend money on a book about tuning.


I am taking a tuning & technician course now although I have just started it. I realize that when you ask greenhorn questions you are going to get kicked around a bit but in the midst of the fury you get some real helpful answers. Take this thread for instance, out of the 20 or so hits I am able to learn about a dozen new things. I'm jumping the gun a little bit and my questions but I have always thought that if you don't know something and you want to know ask someone who does know and most times you will find some people who are willing to give you the answer you want and more....I am thankful to those who sincerely want to help.


Until you do not have basics on how intervals are managed, temperament build, you cannot understand how those low and high notes are tuned.

they have to be in agreement with much of the rest of the piano, and a tuning follow a sort of curve, beat wise.

Nothing what you write tells me you have the slightest idea on what mean tuning a piano, but may be you are just silent, it is difficult to write you answers without being sure you can understand them. At that point I am just unsure.

COurage


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156703
09/24/13 07:44 AM
09/24/13 07:44 AM
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Hi, Duane --

I think it would be easier to help you if we had any sense that you were listening to and trying out the things suggested. In my case, I wrote to you privately several times, and I said that the Korg tuner was not appropriate for piano work and that I usually started tuning in the middle of the keyboard, in the temperament octave F3-F4, as I was taught. The next thing I know, you are writing on the Tech board that you are disappointed that your Korg tuner is not adequate on "the first few notes," meaning A0, A#0, and up -- which are usually not the first notes of a tuning. I gathered from that that my advice was either unread or unhelpful, so it was hard to know how to proceed.

Several people have expressed concern about the adequacy of your course, and I know you've told me that you bought Reblitz. What does Reblitz suggest about how to begin a tuning? Have you tried the tuning sequence that he recommends? If so, how did that work for you? Have you considered buying any other books and studying them? What do they say about tuning patterns?

Have you been reading about how piano strings vibrate, the definition and significance of partials, what is meant by "stretch"? What specific questions do you have about what you have read?

You mention that you want to do home service. Are you planning to learn how to replace a string? the many things which cause a key to stick (not move freely)? what to do when you are faced with a spinet with crumbling plastic elbows? I had to learn all those things and more before I went to people's house, and learning them took a long time.

Many people are giving you good suggestions here. What happens when you experiment with them? Just saying, "Thank you for your good suggestions, which I will think about," doesn't give anyone much direction for further help. And, truly, it worries me that you believe you will be able to tune other people's pianos by January. At my school, as I have also told you, we were examined on unisons and the temperament octave just before Christmas, and not everyone passed those exams, even working at tuning five half-days a week for more than three months.

I wish you well, and I hope you are able to realize that piano work involves a lot more than moving a string so that the sound agrees with a signal on an inexpensive computer. This work is a lot of fun and a wonderful challenge, and it deserves to be taken seriously. I do not wish to be offensive but to open for you the doors of intellectual possibility.
With best wishes, Dorrie Bell


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2156713
09/24/13 08:04 AM
09/24/13 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Duane Graves
Chuck...thank you for some great advice there...I'm home at lunch and have not had time to read it all but these are some great points you bring up....things I am wondering about as I do not have access to a top device....and I am only tuning and checking methods on my own piano at this point but by the first of the year I would think I will have gained enough understanding to branch out a little....time will tell....but, anyway, thank you, Duane.


You are right it is important for tuners to eat correctly;)


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Olek] #2156720
09/24/13 08:08 AM
09/24/13 08:08 AM
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Boone, Iowa, USA
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E Offline
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 849
Boone, Iowa, USA

Quote
"You are right it is important for tuners to eat correctly" - Olek


Finally! (Thank God) A statement on this forum that everyone will agree on! In fact, I think I'll go eat some more right now! Chuck



Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
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"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2157067
09/24/13 07:21 PM
09/24/13 07:21 PM
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Duane Graves Offline OP
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Duane Graves  Offline OP
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Dorrie....REALLY....all this drama....wow!!!!...it was just an innocent question....get a grip....anyway, thanks to some of you who sincerely try and do help others get up to speed you know who you are and you are appreciated sincerely.....cheers, Duane.

Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2157103
09/24/13 08:32 PM
09/24/13 08:32 PM
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Posts: 849
Boone, Iowa, USA
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E Offline
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Chuck Behm, CPT-E  Offline
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Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote
"Dorrie....REALLY....all this drama....wow!!!!...it was just an innocent question....get a grip..." - Duane


Duane - I think what Dorrie is expressing is more along the lines of frustration and concern. Those of us who have been in the business for a while (I'm in my 40th year, I'm sure Dorrie is very experienced as well) have seen far too many well-meaning people attempt to get into the business, only to fizzle out before they really got things off the ground. Usually, it's those people who aren't willing or able to put any skin into the game that end up stocking shelves at Walmart or doing some other job which doesn't require any significant commitment of time and finances (which the tuning / repair business does).

Imagine if someone looking to get into the auto body paint shop went to his local hardware store and purchased a few cans of Rust-Oleum and hung up his shingle. Would you imagine that they would be in business for very long? Well, that's the approach and attitude you seem to be exhibiting.

Anyway, I think Dorrie does very much have a grip on things. She's being realistic. Best wishes, Chuck


Last edited by Chuck Behm; 09/24/13 08:33 PM.

Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2157125
09/24/13 09:25 PM
09/24/13 09:25 PM
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Posts: 2,598
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Offline
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David Jenson  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,598
Strong, Maine
Hmmm. I think I'll go get a grip on a sandwich.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2157179
09/24/13 11:16 PM
09/24/13 11:16 PM
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Posts: 3,192
Olympia, WA
rysowers Online content
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rysowers  Online Content
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Olympia, WA
I thought Dorrie's post was great!


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: How do you tune the first few notes.... [Re: Duane Graves] #2157241
09/25/13 03:32 AM
09/25/13 03:32 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
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Numbered Offline
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Numbered  Offline
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Dorrie, your post is spot on!



Numbered
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