Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
What's Hot!!
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Piano Tuning
How to Tune Pianos
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
(ad)
4th Finger Enigma Resolved!
Schumann's 4th Finger Enigma Resolved!
Who's Online Now
67 registered members (ascc, Agent88, augustm, andyhuang, AprilE, ando, 16 invisible), 1,793 guests, and 2 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#2223407 - 01/31/14 01:12 AM Short pianos are unstable?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 292
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member
PianistOne111  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 292
Utah
I haven't gotten a tuner to tune a piano in years, since I tune my own and most pianos I perform on, if necessary. So I got a tuner to tune a really short Story and Clark piano (not sure what model but probably around 5 feet long) that I'm performing on tomorrow.

After he finished he asked me to check it so I checked it just like how I check my own tunings: some fifths, major triads, octaves, double octaves, triple octaves just for the lulz. I noticed some unisons beat maybe once every second or two. I sure don't leave unisons like that. And this isn't even in the 7th octave or something; this was like 4th octave. After that I pounded every key at fortissimo and just played single keys in the treble and many notes moved.

After he saw me do that (I didn't say anything) he said he wanted to correct a few things. So I left and he appeared to correct some unisons. After he finished, he told me I can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy. Although I'm a n00b when it comes to tuning, this goes against my experience. Things don't just keep moving as you play. There has to be some point where things settle down and don't move anymore. And AFAIK tuners need to produce tunings that will survive fortissimo because pianists will play fortissimo, so I guess my question is...

Is this guy for real or just making excuses?

Last edited by PianistOne111; 01/31/14 01:13 AM.

One111
(ad 800)
PTG Journal
PTG Journal
#2223417 - 01/31/14 01:47 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
beethoven986  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
It's possible that pianos with compromised scale design could have inferior long term tuning instability. Difficult to tune pianos (i.e. low pin torque w/ high bearing friction or high pin torque with too-low bearing friction) could also have inferior stability.

Aside from that, things like stage lighting, sunlight, HVAC drafts, significant pitch raises/lowering all affect stability.

You have to keep in mind that if you strike the key hard enough, any unison will become fuzzy. A good test of immediate tuning stability is to depress the sustain pedal and use your forearm to smash up and down the keyboard, or play double octaves up and down the keyboard at fortissimo. Anything that moves should be corrected, particularly if it is a critical tuning application.

But to directly answer your question, his explanation is highly suspect, IMO.

#2223445 - 01/31/14 03:19 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,490
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,490
Reseda, California
Though I can't see any explanation for it in the physics, of the pianos I've owned, the longer ones have stayed in tune better. It may be correlated with quality and cost more than length....

If things do just keep moving as you play, perhaps the piano needs a CA treatment, or larger pins (given that it's a few strings here and there that go way off). It might not be the tuner's fault, if the venue management won't pay to fix what needs fixing. Beethoven986 is right that his explanation is dubious.


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2223473 - 01/31/14 07:29 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Short pianos tend to have short upper segments. Short upper segments and tight pin locks, IME, are difficult to get stability on because the pin bends and twists so much more during tuning, and the short segment means the unbending and untrusting that occurs after tuning, is transferred right away to the upper segment, causing a higher change in upper segment tension which causes the string to slip across the v-bar; instability.

Forte playing should not cause any unison to become fuzzy, no matter how loud or on any piano. That is a professional tuning.

For a video explanation of the affect of upper segment length, sometimes called non-speaking length, watch my video at

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P7NFEFBaVvY&feature=c4-feed-u

Last edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT; 01/31/14 02:18 PM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2223798 - 01/31/14 07:42 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Jon Page Offline
Full Member
Jon Page  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
There are a few reasons for tuning instability. The tuner's hammer technique is one. Then, if there were a pitch correction and the back scale did not come up to tension because of friction at the bridge pins, a hard blow will leak that lower tension thru. A steep counter bearing angle causes excess friction in the front segment and this speaks to technique as well and is difficult to control.

Believe it or not, following another's tuning. Few tuners have the same technique and I've noticed that the piano behaves better under my hand after the second tuning. That's why it's good to have the same tuner especially in a commercial or institutional gig. And the most frustrating aspect is following a pin bender, especially amateurs which poor or no hammer technique; these pianos take longer to tune and can be more subject to instability until a few proper tuning are placed on the piano.

Last edited by Jon Page; 01/31/14 07:45 PM.

Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
#2223941 - 02/01/14 01:34 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Tunewerk Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tunewerk  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Boston, MA
Shorter pianos, in general, are less stable than larger ones.

Tuning pins are of uniform standardized diameters. A shorter string length undergoes greater change in frequency for the same arc rotation of the pin. Smaller scales are made more poorly; the plate/block interface is often less stable; the pinblock is often of lower quality.

Add all this up, and it's almost a joke that some of those small pianos out there are considered tunable. A breath on the pin will knock them out, even with the best pin setting techniques.

Sounds like you don't have a great tuner there, though.


www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.
#2223942 - 02/01/14 01:38 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Del  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Olympia, Washington
All things being equal, I can't think of any reason why a short piano should be any more or less unstable than a longer piano. If anything I'd think they should be more stable since everything is shorter and there should be less flexing of the string frame.

ddf


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

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2223947 - 02/01/14 01:50 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Del,

My experience is that tight pin blocks and short upper segments are harder to tune. But I think I understand what you are saying; given that the pin and string in equalized, there should be no other reason why the pitch would drift, other than the usual. In fact, the larger soundboards should be more unstable when humidity changes, no?

But I find that the tight pin blocks and small pianos (short upper segments) are the most challenging.

Cheers,


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2223948 - 02/01/14 01:52 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 208
anrpiano Offline
Full Member
anrpiano  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 208
Chicago
Originally Posted by PianistOne111
I haven't gotten a tuner to tune a piano in years, since I tune my own and most pianos I perform on, if necessary. So I got a tuner to tune a really short Story and Clark piano (not sure what model but probably around 5 feet long) that I'm performing on tomorrow.

After he finished he asked me to check it so I checked it just like how I check my own tunings: some fifths, major triads, octaves, double octaves, triple octaves just for the lulz. I noticed some unisons beat maybe once every second or two. I sure don't leave unisons like that. And this isn't even in the 7th octave or something; this was like 4th octave. After that I pounded every key at fortissimo and just played single keys in the treble and many notes moved.

After he saw me do that (I didn't say anything) he said he wanted to correct a few things. So I left and he appeared to correct some unisons. After he finished, he told me I can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy. Although I'm a n00b when it comes to tuning, this goes against my experience. Things don't just keep moving as you play. There has to be some point where things settle down and don't move anymore. And AFAIK tuners need to produce tunings that will survive fortissimo because pianists will play fortissimo, so I guess my question is...

Is this guy for real or just making excuses?


I would never expect a tuning to survive, intact, for more than an hour of hard playing, let alone a day or two, regardless of the size of the instrument. That is why you can see a tech come out and touch up a tuning mid-concert or why you need a tuner available for recording sessions. I have left every piano I have performed upon a little wobbly when I was done.

That said, my experience has been with the larger pianos they can more difficult to stabilize after doing a significant pitch adjustment. Also their scales are usually much less compromised so they almost demand a more precise tuning to sound "in tune".

Just my 2 cents.


Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515
#2223951 - 02/01/14 02:02 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Del  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Del,

My experience is that tight pin blocks and short upper segments are harder to tune. But I think I understand what you are saying; given that the pin and string in equalized, there should be no other reason why the pitch would drift, other than the usual. In fact, the larger soundboards should be more unstable when humidity changes, no?

But I find that the tight pin blocks and small pianos (short upper segments) are the most challenging.

There are obviously a lot of variables involved; that's why I said "all things being equal." The precision of drilling, the quality of stringing, string deflection angles, the radius of the V-bar, etc. All of these, and more, are factors that affect ease of tuning and tuning stability. But they are not restricted to short pianos. One might add to the list long pianos with erratic pin torque, without tuning pin bushings and with tuning pin heights that vary all over the map.

Still, the professional piano tuner learns to cope with all of these and will leave the piano nicely balanced and in possession of clean and stable intervals, octaves and unisons. I find the comment, "[You] can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy." to be ridiculous and more than a little disingenuous.

ddf

Last edited by Del; 02/01/14 02:12 AM.

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

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2224052 - 02/01/14 09:36 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]  
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 Del
without tuning pin bushings


Del,

I've been working this question on my own rebuilds...and not sure right now what I think about the question of tuning pin bushings or no bushings...large or small grands.

Like most techs, I see many difficult to tune pianos. Aggressive to very aggressive termination angles, too much front segment under-string felt,etc, etc. I have noticed however that I seem to prefer the pianos with no tuning pin bushings, as its easier to gently coax and equalize the front segment if the pin is allowed to flex some on that 1/4-3/8" plate thickness segment of the pin.

I seem to be finding...but not ready to go the mat on this...that the non-bushed pin pianos, at least the way I tune, end up being the more stable pianos. One caveat to that statement is that the non-bushed pianos all have long front segments, which helps greatly with the stability. I can't actually think, right now, of a non-bushed piano I service with short front segments, so that may be coloring my observation here.

That said, though, I do find it somewhat frustrating with bushed tuning pins, that I really can't gently use the lever to equalize, and must do all the equalizing mostly with reasonably rapid mf key strikes.

Any comments on this...Del and others?

Jim Ialeggio


Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2224085 - 02/01/14 10:43 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: jim ialeggio]  
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Tunewerk Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tunewerk  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Boston, MA
That's funny, Jim. Just goes to show how one opinion is as valid as another.

I just tuned a non-bushed Steinway B last night and was wondering why the thing felt so unstable.. then I looked down. Granted, this was also combined with a pin height on the proud side of 7/8", which added to the problem.

To me, bushings are important and make a big difference.

I use very little pin flexing in my technique for grands, so it's important to me that the pins flex as little as possible.


www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.
#2224089 - 02/01/14 10:51 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Silverwood Pianos  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Smaller mass will readily accept temperature and humidity changes more quickly than a larger mass. A smaller instrument will have its stability displaced more quickly by changes than a larger instrument.

Because Q=mcDT, if Q and m are both the same and the DT is smaller then c (specific heat) must be bigger……

Concep test Chabot College


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#2224109 - 02/01/14 11:27 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Tunewerk]  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 208
anrpiano Offline
Full Member
anrpiano  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 208
Chicago
Originally Posted by Tunewerk
That's funny, Jim. Just goes to show how one opinion is as valid as another.

I just tuned a non-bushed Steinway B last night and was wondering why the thing felt so unstable.. then I looked down. Granted, this was also combined with a pin height on the proud side of 7/8", which added to the problem.

To me, bushings are important and make a big difference.

I use very little pin flexing in my technique for grands, so it's important to me that the pins flex as little as possible.


I don't recall ever seeing bushing in a S&S piano. I could be wrong, I just don't remember. Most likely the tuning pins standing a little ahem, tall, is a more likely cause of your instability.


Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515
#2224113 - 02/01/14 11:35 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
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
Tunewerk,

Interesting...as I think about it, I didn't have this preference for non-bushed pins until I started using the Levitan C lever which cuts a huge amount of the standard lever flag-poling out of the picture.

I wish I had more non-bushed pianos to compare and suss-out this question, but I only have S&S's and a few rebuilder's instruments, including a couple of my own earlier non-bushed insturments.

Like I said...not ready to go the mat on this...might even be all wet smile

Jim Ialeggio


Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2224135 - 02/01/14 12:32 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Seattle, WA USA
I find pianos with bushed tuning pins slower to stabilize while tuning. They tend more to creep sharp over a longer period during the tuning than a non-bushed plate. I can simply feel all the torsional and longitudinal bending that is occurring when I turn a tuning pin with un-bushed hole faster. But since I have spent about half my career tuning Steinways, that may be what I am accustomed to most.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
#2224173 - 02/01/14 01:33 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: jim ialeggio]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Del  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,523
Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
Originally Posted by Del
without tuning pin bushings
I've been working this question on my own rebuilds...and not sure right now what I think about the question of tuning pin bushings or no bushings...large or small grands.

Like most techs, I see many difficult to tune pianos. Aggressive to very aggressive termination angles, too much front segment under-string felt,etc, etc. I have noticed however that I seem to prefer the pianos with no tuning pin bushings, as its easier to gently coax and equalize the front segment if the pin is allowed to flex some on that 1/4-3/8" plate thickness segment of the pin.

I seem to be finding...but not ready to go the mat on this...that the non-bushed pin pianos, at least the way I tune, end up being the more stable pianos. One caveat to that statement is that the non-bushed pianos all have long front segments, which helps greatly with the stability. I can't actually think, right now, of a non-bushed piano I service with short front segments, so that may be coloring my observation here.

That said, though, I do find it somewhat frustrating with bushed tuning pins, that I really can't gently use the lever to equalize, and must do all the equalizing mostly with reasonably rapid mf key strikes.

I don't find pianos lacking bushings "harder" to tune, just different. The competent piano tuner/technician has to be able to do both with equal competence.

The other issues you mention—string termination angles, the drag of the string across felt (especially when combined with aggressive string termination angles), etc.—are all more significant issues.

I’m not a particular fan of bushings—especially when they are forced to take the whole load of the forward pressure as when there is a deliberate gap between the pinblock and the lower flange. Nor am I a particular fan of the technique of drilling a relatively small vertical hole in the tuning pin panel and installing the pins at a back angle significant enough that the pin rests against the bottom of that hole. But both work and have worked for well over a hundred years. (My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)

My point through all of this, though, is not to claim the inherent superiority for any particular type of pinblock installation; it is simply point out that a professional piano tuner needs to be familiar with, and the master of, all of them. There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.

ddf


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

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2224185 - 02/01/14 02:19 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]  
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Tunewerk Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tunewerk  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 585
Boston, MA
Originally Posted by Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted by Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.


www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.
#2224202 - 02/01/14 02:58 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Tunewerk]  
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,233
prout Offline
3000 Post Club Member
prout  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,233
Southwestern Ontario
Originally Posted by Tunewerk
Originally Posted by Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted by Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.

I don't want to start an argument here but, isn't the scale of most pianos about the same from roughly C4 up? I can understand that below the scale change a shorter string length will be more susceptible to minute changes in tension.

#2224214 - 02/01/14 03:22 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]  
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 Del
My point through all of this, though, is not to claim the inherent superiority for any particular type of pinblock installation; it is simply point out that a professional piano tuner needs to be familiar with, and the master of, all of them.


Right, agreed.

My interest as a rebuilder coming to a particular rebuild, having tuned new, old and recently rebuilt pianos, short as well as long, is that many of them are harder to tune than needs be. I'm determined to make my rebuilds easy and pleasant to service...something for a tech to look forward to. So, for me, right now, the front segment, terminations angles, counter bearing setups and materials, pin torque,and other pin block conditions, etc are up front and center as far as design priorities.

The nicer I am to the tech, the better my work will be allowed to sound...make the tech's life hard, and the piano's possibilities will languish.

...Ed's observation that the bushed variety tend to creep up to pitch slower during the tuning, is similar to what I have observed. The bushed variety seem to require more activity in the playing hand. Different, as you said...but given the choice, I wonder what others would prefer?

Jim Ialeggio


Last edited by jim ialeggio; 02/01/14 03:22 PM.

Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA
#2224221 - 02/01/14 03:51 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: prout]  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,406
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
BDB  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,406
Oakland
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Tunewerk
Originally Posted by Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted by Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.

I don't want to start an argument here but, isn't the scale of most pianos about the same from roughly C4 up? I can understand that below the scale change a shorter string length will be more susceptible to minute changes in tension.


That is true, and the smaller soundboard is less liable to changes due to humidity.


Semipro Tech
#2224427 - 02/02/14 12:03 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: prout]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Seattle, WA USA
Prout,
The middle portion of the piano scale is the region that moves the most regarding pitch. Shorter string scales, (low break-point), will change pitch more per change in elongation than a longer scale.

Often in smaller pianos the first plain wire notes above the wound strings are at a very low break point. So they are harder to tune, move pitch more with any humidity change, and if not tuned carefully, will slip out of tune more than a longer scale.

The unfortunate truth about piano tuning stability is that the part of the compass used most is what goes out of tune the easiest.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
#2224505 - 02/02/14 08:29 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,233
prout Offline
3000 Post Club Member
prout  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,233
Southwestern Ontario
Thanks BDB and Ed. I always learn so much here.

#2224514 - 02/02/14 09:15 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 419
Goof Offline
Full Member
Goof  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 419
UK
Ed I watched your video but there is a word which you use a couple of times which I cannot quite hear: to quote " depending on wether or not you moved the ???? " it sounds like FLYT?
y In particular y,ou use it just before then end and it seems it is essential to the meaning of the explanation.

#2224527 - 02/02/14 10:05 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
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
It depends upon the design and quality of the piano.

I can think of a few "short" uprights that are much more stable than the taller - even by the same maker using quality materials. It's the design that's makes the difference. One example is the old Baldwin Acrosonic vs the old Baldwin 6000, both of similar age, condition and environment. With respect to achieving and maintaining reasonable tuning stability, the "shorter" Acro wins hands down.

On the other hand, a cheaply made piano will not stabilize no matter what you do. Sadly, the examples of these are too many to recount here.

Last edited by bkw58; 02/02/14 11:13 AM. Reason: clarity

Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2224969 - 02/03/14 03:31 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,521
rXd Online happy
2000 Post Club Member
rXd  Online Happy
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,521
There are two basic definitions of stability as it applies to pianos. One is within the control of the tuner and concerns how well the tuning has been set in place to withstand the heaviest playing. This is independent of the size of the piano. Although I have known unisons that are very slightly put go back in tune by themselves, unisons that have failed need the attention of a tuner to correct them.

The other concerns how well the general structure of the piano withstands the many changes of atmosphere between tunings and is not within the control of the tuner.

Some pianos, well tuned, can stay in tune for years on end. Another piano of the same make and model may not fare so well, even in the same room. This ability to stay in tune is independant of the size of the piano. A piano can go out of tune in this manner and still have the unisons intact and come back into tune again later as though nothing had happened.




Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


#2225270 - 02/03/14 04:33 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 292
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member
PianistOne111  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 292
Utah
Thanks for the replies. It seems I won't be calling him again.

My performance was...ehh; I don't think the piano affected it. The unisons weren't too clean but since the piano was voiced darker, the faster-beating high partials aren't as audible.

Yes, the kind of stability I'm talking about is the ability to stay in tune under heavy playing.


One111
#2225412 - 02/03/14 10:00 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,131
SMHaley Offline
1000 Post Club Member
SMHaley  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,131
Seattle
Originally Posted by PianistOne111
Thanks for the replies. It seems I won't be calling him again.

My performance was...ehh; I don't think the piano affected it. The unisons weren't too clean but since the piano was voiced darker, the faster-beating high partials aren't as audible.

Yes, the kind of stability I'm talking about is the ability to stay in tune under heavy playing.


Even the finest concert grands in the most ideal conditions will have some degree of tuning shift under heavy (abusive) playing conditions.

Last edited by SMHaley; 02/03/14 10:01 PM.

PTG Associate
AIO Regular Member
ASCAP
Pipe Organ Builder
Chief Instrument Technician, Director, Chancel Arts
Church Music Professional
AA Music Arts 2001, BM Organ, Choral 2005


Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single
#2225458 - 02/03/14 11:11 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,356
Seattle, WA USA
The tuning slippage you experienced could be because the piano was horribly out to begin with and there was insufficient time to stabilize it.

Many performance venues also can have issues with lights heating the strings too much when the lid is open. Stage doors being left open to facilitate moving in other instruments, props and A/V equipment. All these things can send the temperament and octaves adrift. Wild unisons are most probably tuner error. Although if time is short the top treble often gets short shrift so a wild unison may be present there already and not get attended to.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
#2225505 - 02/04/14 12:47 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 526
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member
Jbyron  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 526
USA
One of the most stable pianos I've ever found are the Baldwin Acrosonic spinets, one of the shortest pianos ever made.


Tuner-Technician



Moderated by  Piano World 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World)
our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, Digital Piano Dolly, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping* on Jansen Artist Piano Benches, Cocoweb Piano Lamps, Hidrau Hydraulic Piano Benches
(*free shipping within contiguous U.S. only)
(ad)
Pearl River & Ritmuller
Ritmuller Pianos
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq 6 Out now
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


New Topics - Multiple Forums
Delete Account
by Cobrun Sells. 10/17/17 02:13 AM
Two Masters!
by DavidWB. 10/17/17 01:10 AM
LA area tech for digital Kawai?
by Joe Garfield. 10/17/17 12:19 AM
New Baldwin Pianos
by Mickey24. 10/16/17 07:24 PM
Time signature Question
by NuggetSC. 10/16/17 06:58 PM
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics182,334
Posts2,665,091
Members88,982
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Click Here to
Explore The Rest of Piano World!!
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0