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#2159304 - 09/28/13 06:10 PM Piano not holding tune  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
terry3615 Offline
Junior Member
terry3615  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
Hi,

I've had a 1982 Yamaha C7 for 10 months now, which won't stay in tune. It's been tuned 3 times since it arrived, the most recent one a week ago. On the second tuning the tuner said it was going sharp as the room was too cold at night- and I should use a heater to heat the room during winter. The original pitch of the piano was A442 but it was lowered to 440. The room isn't air conditioned and the temperature fluctuates quite a bit as the room is heated by direct sun in the afternoon- I've bought an awning/kept blinds down to try to prevent that though.

I'm just curious if anyone knows the most likely cause- and if a humidity control system is likely to help the problem at all. Thanks.

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#2159349 - 09/28/13 07:40 PM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: terry3615]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,604
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bob  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,604
Florida
It would be helpful to know what part of the country you are in. Humidity changes will change the pitch and tuning of the piano - high RH usually takes the piano sharp...low RH Usually takes the piano flat. Temperature changes have a lesser, but measureable effect on tuning as well. Your piano may have been neglected, and never tuned. Piano strings stretch and need about 7 tunings to become stable. Your strings may still be stretching.

It sounds like you need to control the temperature and humidity in the room, and perhaps install a Damppchaser unit, and add a piano cover and maybe undercover to create a micro environment. Once that's done, a couple of tunings be a good tech will stabilize the piano, assuming pins are tight, and no other issues exist.

#2159367 - 09/28/13 08:17 PM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: Bob]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
terry3615 Offline
Junior Member
terry3615  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
Sorry I should have said, I'm about 150km North of Sydney in Australia. Both an independent tuner and the tuner from the dealer I bought the piano seemed to think the good piano was in good condition. I had a smaller upright in my room before which stayed in tune for a year, and this is already going out of tune after a week... I was going to try the damp-chaser first as that's cheaper than air con- just trying to figure out if the problem is the piano or my room. Thanks for your help.

#2159515 - 09/29/13 06:48 AM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: terry3615]  
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Hedahl Offline
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Hedahl  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Are the unisons going out of tune or is mainly the octaves going out of tune? Is it going out of tune in the bass to tenor area break?


Piano Technician
www.LoneStarPianoTuning.com
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#2159517 - 09/29/13 06:59 AM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: terry3615]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014
bkw58  Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
Conway, AR USA
You mention that the pitch was changed from A442 to A440. Presumably the technician is responsible for this and not changing RH? If the former, then what Bob mentions above will be the case. It may take a few more tunings for the instrument to stabilize. If it does not respond favorably, then a humidity control system could be the answer. However, since the piano is in the same locale as your former upright that did not have the problem, RH should not be a factor in this, that is provided no changes have been effected in your home air systems. You might acquire a digital hygrometer and record daily RH in the room before going that route.

Also, sometimes an older C7 may require a special tuning technique* to compensate for rendering. You might ask the tech about this as well.


*Without which the piano tuning will not be stable.

Last edited by bkw58; 09/29/13 07:28 AM. Reason: *addition

Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2159524 - 09/29/13 07:15 AM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: terry3615]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Withindale  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Suffolk, England
Originally Posted by terry_ljh
I had a smaller upright in my room before which stayed in tune for a year, and this is already going out of tune after a week...

Was the same tuner responsible for tuning both pianos?


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#2159525 - 09/29/13 07:18 AM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: Hedahl]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member
jim ialeggio  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 944
shirley, MA
Originally Posted by Hedahl
Are the unisons going out of tune or is mainly the octaves going out of tune? Is it going out of tune in the bass to tenor area break?


I second this question. More specifics reagarding the "out-ot-tune-ness" are necessary.

Jim Ialeggio


Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2159550 - 09/29/13 08:08 AM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: Hedahl]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
terry3615 Offline
Junior Member
terry3615  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3
I'm not sure how to tell, I think it is the octaves- playing a melody doubled in octaves is when it sounds most painful- individual notes don't sound too bad. The worst notes are in the octave above middle C- the octave below is also bad. Each time it is tuned I always notice the B and G naturals above/below middle C go out quickly. Lower bass notes and higher treble don't sound as bad- but this might just be because my ear can't detect it as easily.

Bkw- Yeah the technician lowered it to A440. I hope it stabilizes, the tuner said that bigger pianos were much more sensitive to conditions- I'm just surprised how sensitive. I'll ask him about it but I'm not really sure how it works.

Withindale- Yeah the same tuner tuned both pianos.

Thanks for the tips.

#2159679 - 09/29/13 01:22 PM Re: Piano not holding tune [Re: terry3615]  
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
Olek Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Olek  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
lowering induce instability way more than raising.

ANd if the piano was always tuned to 442 I would have left it at that pitch.

Strange choice from the tuner.

Yes direct sun is a definitive no, as too large fluctuations, but a piano installed in its "long term stability" may accept all kind of conditions assuming you are not expecting a concert tuning at every hour of the day.

I tune a piano in a veranda : glasses all around and above.

There are curtains but the heat raise to the point some white keys have slipped while the pianist played (the key top moved 1- 2 mmm ) due to the glue softening.

Despite that the piano is staying in a playeable condition, I tune it every 6 months, sometime more, without huge problems.
It is a small grand 1.80 from Shimmel.

At some point the metal of the wire simply do not move anymore unless brutalized, it change tension due to soundboard motion with moisture, and change pitch with heat, but come back to prior situation usually.
Of course , large changes create more trouble and the best thing is to avoid them, but scales are computed to keep the tuning despite heat change.

Lowering the pitch also move a small part of the wire that is more fragile because turned around the pin, and is put in the active system, possibly creating more instability.

Often the pitch is written somewhere on the keys or in a visible place on the piano so the tune knows where he need to tune it.

Once the piano "learned" that pitch, the best thing is to keep it, or consider any change as a repair.


May not change "quickly" after being tuned anyway. Or the tuner is not experienced with pitch lowering techniques. ( and is not sensitive enough, as we perceive, feel, when a string/tuning pin, is in a stable condition)

Last edited by Olek; 09/29/13 01:27 PM.

Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!

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