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Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2645794
05/21/17 04:08 PM
05/21/17 04:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Mexico City
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
I am happy to hear Gadzar describe the pulling on the hammer technique. Many techs incorrectly call this flagpoling and say it is wrong and will damage the pinbock. Flagpoling is a lazy uncontrolled back and forth waggling of the pin. What Gadzar is describing is a controlled single gentle application of force on the pin in one direction in order to drop the pitch into place. The unbending of the pin after this force is removed is what puts tension back into the NSL. It does take experience to know how much force to apply.


Absolutely not. This is not what I was talking about.



Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
I reread Gadzar's description and it appears he does not mean pull as in toward the tuner, but more pull to the left, (he is left handed).


That's right. But not only to the left. In fact I move, push, pull, tap, nudge, whack, etc. to the left, up, down, etc., as needed to achieve stability. I seldom push/pull in the "flagpoling" directions, though sometimes it may be needed.


Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
This may leave the pin twisted counter clockwise (torsionally settled) but may still leave the pin high in the hole if one was to effect that "pull" with the hammer at an angle to the right of 12:00 (upright).



Wrong. My hammer technique leaves the pin firmly locked in its hole in the pinblock: both torsionaly and axially (correctly unflexed and well placed in the hole).



Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
These descriptions are not my opinion. They are fact. This is what is actually happening with the forces, friction, and deformation (which I call The Three F's) of the system.


False. Untwisting, unflexing, etc are facts, yes. But nothing garantees you that when releasing the tuning hammer the pin will be untwisted/unflexed to a stalble position by means of the pull of the string alone. And nothing garantees neither the NSL tension will be adequate. The pull of the string maybe too much or not enough depending on many factors: the tightness of the tuning pin in the pinblock, the springiness of the tuning pin (untwisting/unflexing), the orientation of the tuning hammer lever, the technique you use to move the pin (slow pull, nudging, tapping, etc,), the amount of friction in the bearing points, etc. Most probably the pull of the string won't be adecuate to settle the tuning pin and stabilize the tensions in the differentt segments of the string.

Only an intentionally applied pull of the tuning hammer (counterclockwise and radially, etc.) can stabilize both the pin and the string. An it takes a lot of practice and experience to judge how much force must be applied and how to do it depending on all the factors listed above. There is no short cut.







Last edited by Gadzar; 05/21/17 11:08 PM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

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Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2645828
05/21/17 07:12 PM
05/21/17 07:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,746
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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Yes, practice makes almost perfect.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2645831
05/21/17 07:16 PM
05/21/17 07:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 50
Michigan
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Bill Schneider Offline
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Bill Schneider  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 50
Michigan
Interesting conversation. Beemer, even if your strings are perfectly rendered, and the pins beautifully set, one would still only know the true condition of the tuning, at a reasonably later point in time, by giving each note a hard and rapid double blow. That would rerender the strings and show the true situation. Then look at what pattern emerges. If the detuning of the unisons is pretty random in terms of whether strings on either side of center are sharp or flat, then tuning technique is suspect after all. If the right hand strings of unisons are generally sharp of the center string, and the left hand string is flat, then either the temperature or humidity probably went up and your technique is pretty good. (Or you had perhaps lowered the piano's pitch.) The reverse pitch relation between strings of a unison indicates lower temperature or humidity, or possibly that you had raised the piano's pitch.

About flagpoling the pin: I don't believe anyone really knows whether the distortion we call "flagpoling " really happens in the tuning pin or in the block. In any event, a short tip on your tuning hammer with an angled head to get the handle high enough will reduce flagpoling. When rattling the tuning hammer through its play on the pin, the handle should remain in a plane. If it rises at either end of the play, get a better tip. Normal tuning handle position (on a grand ) is parallel to the string, pointing away from you. (I didn't invent this.) This puts what flagpoling there is at right angles to the string and minimizes it's effect. This would be the position for normal or low rendering friction. At higher rendering frictions the hammer should be placed closer to the 3:00 position, so as to use flagpoling to compensate for string drag by causing more relaxation of NSL tension..

Why the outer strings predictably oscillate in pitch around the center string can be surmised, but I don't know if anyone has gotten to the bottom of it. I would point out that there are pretty random length NSLs due to hitch pin placement behind the bridge, yet the pitch change patterns observed in unison choirs are still quite predictable

Bill Schneider


Piano restoration
Voicing specialist
Pipe organ service and rebuilding
bill.schneider79@gmail.com
Mason & Hamlin CC, Steinway B, Steinway M
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Gadzar] #2645883
05/21/17 11:11 PM
05/21/17 11:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted by Gadzar
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
I am happy to hear Gadzar describe the pulling on the hammer technique. Many techs incorrectly call this flagpoling and say it is wrong and will damage the pinbock. Flagpoling is a lazy uncontrolled back and forth waggling of the pin. What Gadzar is describing is a controlled single gentle application of force on the pin in one direction in order to drop the pitch into place. The unbending of the pin after this force is removed is what puts tension back into the NSL. It does take experience to know how much force to apply.


Absolutely not. This is not what I was talking about.



Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
I reread Gadzar's description and it appears he does not mean pull as in toward the tuner, but more pull to the left, (he is left handed).


That's right. But not only to the left. In fact I move, push, pull, tap, nudge, whack, etc. to the left, up, down, etc., as needed to achieve stability. I seldom push/pull in the "flagpoling" directions, though sometimes it may be needed.


Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
This may leave the pin twisted counter clockwise (torsionally settled) but may still leave the pin high in the hole if one was to effect that "pull" with the hammer at an angle to the right of 12:00 (upright).



Wrong. My hammer technique leaves the pin firmly locked in its hole in the pinblock: both torsionaly and axially (correctly unflexed and well placed in the hole).



Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
These descriptions are not my opinion. They are fact. This is what is actually happening with the forces, friction, and deformation (which I call The Three F's) of the system.


False. Untwisting, unflexing, etc are facts, yes. But nothing garantees you that when releasing the tuning hammer the pin will be untwisted/unflexed to a stalble position by means of the pull of the string alone. And nothing garantees neither the NSL tension will be adequate. The pull of the string maybe too much or not enough depending on many factors: the tightness of the tuning pin in the pinblock, the springiness of the tuning pin (untwisting/unflexing), the orientation of the tuning hammer lever, the technique you use to move the pin (slow pull, nudging, tapping, etc,), the amount of friction in the bearing points, etc. Most probably the pull of the string won't be adecuate to settle the tuning pin and stabilize the tensions in the differentt segments of the string.

Only an intentionally applied pull of the tuning hammer (counterclockwise and radially, etc.) can stabilize both the pin and the string. An it takes a lot of practice and experience to judge how much force must be applied and how to do it depending on all the factors listed above. There is no short cut.








Flattening at 2:00 raises the pin in the hole.

Slow pull sharp on long nsl leaves nsl tension high. Facts. High enough? Too high? Depends.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
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Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2645887
05/21/17 11:30 PM
05/21/17 11:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Gadzar  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Flattening at 2:00 raises the pin in the hole.

Slow pull sharp on long nsl leaves nsl tension high. Facts. High enough? Too high? Depends.


Depends?

That's the key point. You can not be sure if the pull of the string will be enough (or too much) to guarantee a stable tuning.

Add to this that things change from pin to pin! You should verify the tuning is stable on every pin, you can not rely on the pull of the string alone.




Last edited by Gadzar; 05/21/17 11:35 PM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2645888
05/21/17 11:31 PM
05/21/17 11:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,376
Orange County, CA
KawaiDon Offline
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KawaiDon  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,376
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Don, you didn't answer the question? Have you noticed a difference between left and right unison strings on how they de-tune "naturally"?

I did badly misread the original question, I somehow thought it was referring to the low tenor notes.

But I did also mention the reason for the difference between the 3 strings of a unison:
"For the left string changing differently than the right in a 3 string unison, this is related to bridge movement with humidity. The notches are not parallel to the bridge itself, so as the bridge swells and rolls a little as the soundboard moves, the 3 strings don't all change the same."

Very often the right-most string goes out of tune first, and while some of this may have to do with the length of the back scale, the fact that the bridge and strings are not perpendicular to each other is at the heart of it.

One notices that this happens the most in the middle of the piano, less so in the high treble. The unisons are nearly perpendicular to the bridge length in the treble, but at a very oblique angle in the tenor. Hence the bridge growth, plus the slight roll from soundboard movement, affects the 3 strings differently.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Gadzar] #2645936
05/22/17 06:42 AM
05/22/17 06:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
M
Mark Cerisano Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Mark Cerisano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted by Gadzar
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Flattening at 2:00 raises the pin in the hole.

Slow pull sharp on long nsl leaves nsl tension high. Facts. High enough? Too high? Depends.


Depends?

That's the key point. You can not be sure if the pull of the string will be enough (or too much) to guarantee a stable tuning.

Add to this that things change from pin to pin! You should verify the tuning is stable on every pin, you can not rely on the pull of the string alone.


As with everything, experience.
A simple pull to lower NSL tension can produce the same result as a test blow.

Test blows narrow and raise the tension band.
If the NSL tension is near the bottom of the tension band, the NSL tension will end up outside and below the tension band and the string will slip.
If the NSL tension is slightly high of centre, test blows will result in the tension band narrowing and raising, but the NSL tension will remain within the tension band and the string will not slip.

A gentle pull on the pin toward the tuner (upright) will lower nsl tension slightly.
If the NSL tension is near the bottom of the tension band, the NSL tension will go outside the tension band and the string will slip.
If the NSL tension is slightly high of centre, there is room for the NSL tension to lower but not go outside the band and the string will not slip.

Both these techniques confirm stability.

Wiggling, etc, is not needed because the string usually goes flat when unstable, especially on long nsl. A simple, gentle, and appropriate pull to lower NSL tension is all that is needed.

The technique is an acceptable substitute for test blows which damage hearing, joints, and the piano.

The appropriate amount of pull is that which produces bending forces that are less than normal bending forces created perpendicular to the hammer shank when force is applied in the plane of the plate.

(Sorry. Just realized you were meaning pull as in slow pull. Slow pull is even more controlled than lowering NSL tension so I will have to disagree with you and say, on many long NSL, slow pull up to pitch is all that is needed, especially when using the proper hammer angle. I'll leave the description of the Bend Test, as I call it, above, because of its value to understanding stability.)

Last edited by Mark Cerisano; 05/22/17 06:53 AM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2645989
05/22/17 09:47 AM
05/22/17 09:47 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Gadzar  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
One of the very first things I was taught in my tuning course was to set the tuning pins. My teachers, all of them, were telling me that slow pulling up to pitch will leave the tuning pin in an unstable state. I am talking about Randy Potter, Jim Coleman and George Defebaugh,...

You seem to not know the terminology used by piano tuners.

Where did you learn to tune? Who were your teachers?


Reading what you say, the way you speak, the terminology you use, one has the impression that you are trying to discover and solve , unsuccessfully, what was already discovered and solved by others with succes. But every one is free to do things the way he wants.

Beemer has said he will follow your advice and he's going to simply slow pull up to pitch, I hope he will report here his results....

Last edited by Gadzar; 05/22/17 09:51 AM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646103
05/22/17 04:19 PM
05/22/17 04:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,574
Canberra, ACT, Australia
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Chris Leslie Offline
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Canberra, ACT, Australia
I wish the terms "push" and "pull" were not used so freely in reference to pin setting. I find their use ambiguous and sure to cause confusion.


Chris Leslie ARPT
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646222
05/22/17 11:36 PM
05/22/17 11:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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M

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
It's a confusion to me why this is an issue and certain techs like you (you are not the only one) fail to see the scientific reasons why this works.

Those others are right. Slow pull up to pitch leaves the pin twisted clockwise and it will eventually settle. But do you understand at all what I mean when I say Hooke's Law? If you don't, you will never understand why this works.

But don't take my word for it. Do what I've done. Try to duplicate the results of my experiments. That's the scientific method.

Take a piano with very long nsl.
Pull up to pitch, any pitch, and remove the hammer force without any extra wiggle, etc.
Measure pitch.
Play three ffff blows
Remeasure pitch.
You can even turn the pin foot a notch counter click wise and whack it again. It still will be stable.

If you really care about understanding stability better, you will at least try this, if only to post your results that show you couldn't get stability with this method. If you are more interested in being close minded and belittling any possibility of advancing the current understanding of stability, you will just post more empty criticisms.

This challenge is open to all. Post your results including the length of the NSL and the approximate pin tightness, loose/medium/tight. This determines the relative amount of untwisting.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646223
05/22/17 11:45 PM
05/22/17 11:45 PM
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Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Here are my results.
Kawai KG-2
NSL 5 1/2"
Pins medium
Hammer at 9:00 raising pitch
Before test blows: 5.7 cents
After test blows: 5.4 cents
After tiny foot movement CCW and test blows: 5.4 cents.

2nd try
-0.8
-0.6
-1.0

3rd try
10.3
10.3
9.8

Last edited by Mark Cerisano; 05/22/17 11:49 PM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2646254
05/23/17 03:41 AM
05/23/17 03:41 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Gadzar  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Here are my results.
Kawai KG-2
NSL 5 1/2"
Pins medium
Hammer at 9:00 raising pitch
.
.
.
.


LOL. I imagine the picture! A right-handed tuner, seating in front of a grand, holding the hammer at 9:00 with the right hand, right arm at the left over the left arm which is at the right under the right arm, inverted pull/push movements. I mean: normally you push to lower pitch and pull to raise it, but here it is the contrary. And also inverted position of the hammer in the hand, normally your thumb points to the tuning tip, but here your thumb points to the other way around....

Is all this supposed to produce reliable tunings?

IMO this is pure non sense.


I tune pianos every day, even on week ends. I look for the most comfortable position to tune. For grands I seat facing not to the front but to the treble side of the piano. With my left hand I hold the tuning hammer between 11:00 and 1:00. For verticals I stand up facing the treble side again and I put the lever between 11:00 and 1:00 again. After raising above pitch I lower to pitch while setting the pin by pulling counter-clockwise. Same position and same hammer technique for all pianos, all NSLs, all the compass, all tightness of pins, etc... Very consistent and very simple. I have not invented this. I was taught this way by very competent tuners.

Most right-handed tuners I've seen put the hammer at 3:00 for grands and at 12:00 for verticals. Why? Because this is ergonomic. They set the pins with the tuning hammer not by the pull of the strings. In the high treble they can put the hammer around 11:00 for grands standing up by the side of the piano and keeping the same ergonomic position towards the piano and setting the pins with the tuning hammer using exactly the same technique for all the compass of the piano.

Less frequent but I've also seen right-handed tuners seating or standing up facing the bass side of the piano, putting the tuning hammer around 12:00 for both grands and verticals.


Things are simple. Why do you want to make them complicated?

Weren´t you taught this? I guess you have never tried it, have you?


Edit: About understanding Hook's law, your "experiment" and the scientific method:

1. It's very intuitive, almost obvious I would say, for all of us piano tuners, that a longer string will change pitch less than a shorter string for the same amount of slipage. As tuners we experience this every day when tuning the bass and low tenor (long) strings compared to the high treble (short) strings. We all know how the lesser movement of the pin in the high treble produces a drastic change in pitch compared to what happens in the low tenor and bass strings. So you're fooling yourself if you think we do not understand this.

2. The fact that a string with very long NSL holds the pitch in your experiment is of very little (if any) relevance. Not all pianos have very long NSLs, not all strings in a particular piano have very long NSLs. Your "raise to pitch" technique won't work for many strings in many pianos.



Last edited by Gadzar; 05/23/17 04:56 AM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646274
05/23/17 06:37 AM
05/23/17 06:37 AM
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Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 3,087
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I read up to the part where you assume I'm tuning 9:00 with my right hand. I use either hand at will.

You are being very obnoxious and biligerant. I gave you all the description you need to figure this out. You are stuck in your own ways and refuse to have an open mind. There's no point in continuing. According to you, there is nothing else to learn about piano tuning, and for you, that appears to be the case.

I apologize for taking up so much of your time.

Beemer, do you have any questions about the method?

Last edited by Mark Cerisano; 05/23/17 06:38 AM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2646362
05/23/17 11:44 AM
05/23/17 11:44 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Gadzar  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
I read up to the part where you assume I'm tuning 9:00 with my right hand. I use either hand at will.

You are being very obnoxious and biligerant. I gave you all the description you need to figure this out. You are stuck in your own ways and refuse to have an open mind. There's no point in continuing. According to you, there is nothing else to learn about piano tuning, and for you, that appears to be the case.

I apologize for taking up so much of your time.

Beemer, do you have any questions about the method?



Are you offended by what I say? I apologize, I didn´t mean to offend you.

I am not belligerent. I'm telling you that I think your method doesn't work and I am telling you why. I am not stuck in my own ways, what I suggest is not "my" way but the way I was taught by others, it is used by many tuners.

I don't think there is nothing else to learn about piano tuning, I am open to learn new methods, provided they prove to work and to solve present problems! In all my career I have never stopped learning. After my Randy Potter tuning course I have learned a lot about piano tuning from Bill Bremmer, Isaac Oleg, Kent Swafford, Alfredo Capurso, Rick Buttler, Ron Koval, Jeff Deutschle, Bernhard Stopper, Virgil Smith and many others.

For example I've just been trying the tapping technique which B. Bremmer says can be used to tune directly to pitch without having to set the pins/strings. I can report now, after some months of trying it, that this technique has a lot of good points to it. It allows the tuner to make really small changes in pitch avoiding overshooting, it is really nice to tune perfectly clean unisons, it solves some problems posed by jumpy pins, it works wonders with loose pins, it is really comfortable and fatigueless when tuning several pianos in a day and has several other advantages over the other hammer techniques. But, been honest, I still feel the need to set the tuning pin by going above pitch and then down to pitch. I use this tapping technique to make the final movements. IMO it doesn't work strictly as described by Bill, but this is a new valuable technique which has enriched my tuning hammer techniques baggage, I am happy to have learned it, I'm happy to exploite its benefits.




This is the first time I read that you use either hands to tune. Correct me if I'm wrong:

Are you telling that, in order to use your technique, right-handed tuners must learn to tune with the left hand?

I think this is a bad idea. In fact when I was learning to tune I tried to tune grands with the right hand because it seemed to allow a more natural position but soon I abandoned the idea and I found a way to tune them with my left hand as I described above in a previous post. If I tune better with my left hand it doesn't make sense to use my right hand.

You have not given a reason to not use the method I've described. You have not mentioned why you do not use it. I insist: this is not my method, but the method used and teached by many tuners. It seems that you refuse to make things like others do, you refuse to learn the methods and terminology used by piano tuners and you cling to "your" methods even if they prove to be wrong or inadequate.

That's why I ask you:

Where did you learn to tune? Who were your teachers?




Last edited by Gadzar; 05/23/17 11:53 AM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646425
05/23/17 02:17 PM
05/23/17 02:17 PM
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Thanks for the polite response.

I believe we have a miscommunication.

I use the methods you describe in many cases. I use the slow pull up to pitch only on long nsl. On short nsl it doesn't work because the untwisting that occurs right away and over time results in a large drop in nsl tension. That's Hooke's law.

I have learned a lot from the Reblitz book. I volunteered at a rebuilding shop. I took a course with Ted Sambell. I have read a lot of Virgil Smith. I even wanted to go to Chicago to visit him. I mentored with Dave Renaud, president of the Ottawa PTG. I've taken lessons with John Lillico of Toronto. I found that when I started learning about piano tuning my professional background in engineering and music gave me a string foundation. I have also learned a lot from the other members of the Montreal and Ottawa PTG chapters. I've been to five PTG conventions and taught at the national convention in Denver.

II apologize for not answering your specific questions. As for tuning hand, I believe if a tuner can use either hand, it gives them more options, so is preferred if they can manage it.

Last edited by Mark Cerisano; 05/23/17 02:29 PM.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646508
05/23/17 06:31 PM
05/23/17 06:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Gadzar  Offline
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Mexico City
Surprising, I was thinking you had studied by your own.

Anyway, I agree with you that tuning up to pitch doesn't work for strings with short NSL. We do not need to know Hooke's law to see that, I bet most of the tuners don't even know what it is this Hooke's Law, but they know for sure that a small movement in a short string produces a great change in pitch and the same movement in a long string barely change pitch if at all. They know this by experience, they practice that all the time.

I also have a Diplome on Mechanical Engineering, I studied at the University of Reims, France, and contrary to you I think that this doesn´t make me a better tuner. Tuning is developing a set of physicall skills, basically hearing and tuning hammer technique. Understanding what happens when you tune a string is not rocket science: tension rises -> pitch rises, tension lowers -> pitch lowers. Frequencies, logarithms, cents, formulas with beats and cents, partials, iH, all of them are there to help us quantify and program electronic tuning aids, but one can tune without all these physics and mathematics. Practice and experience are much more important when tuning a piano.

That's why when I hear that someone is tuning up to pitch without setting the pin I immediatly know it won't work. Experience tells me that this is not possible. No matter how scientific your arguments may be, experience tells me this is not going to work. I know that in some particular circumstances, for a particular piano and only in some specific strings it may work, but that's an exception not the rule.


Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646589
05/23/17 11:51 PM
05/23/17 11:51 PM
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Yes, having a technical background does not necessarily make one a better tuner. What I said was it gave me good start.

I'm happy to hear you relate your understanding of pitch sensitivity and NSL length. It really is that simple. I can make things more complicated than they need to be but some people like my technical explanations. For them it helps. It's good tuning teachers have different styles; students have different styles too.

I have to disagree with you regarding the number of pianos that respond well to slow pull. I showed you results of an NSL of 5 1/2" that not only was stable after test blows, but also stable after I moved the pin foot CCW and applied test blows. That's because long nsl tension is not sensitive to pin movement.

I would like to do the experiment with shorter NSL and hammer at 3:00.

The reason why I began to look into this is because the standard "raise sharp and wiggle flat" technique didn't work on long NSL - wiggling flat leaves NSL flabby. Untwisting after hammer removal, even at 9:00 upright, wasn't enough to put pitch tension back into the NSL.

No matter what technique you use, the last motion of the hammer is followed by the untwisting and unbending of the pin. That's what fascinates me.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2646655
05/24/17 08:57 AM
05/24/17 08:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Mexico City
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
The reason why I began to look into this is because the standard "raise sharp and wiggle flat" technique didn't work on long NSL - wiggling flat leaves NSL flabby. Untwisting after hammer removal, even at 9:00 upright, wasn't enough to put pitch tension back into the NSL.




You say you have learned from Virgil Smith, though I guess at some point you have disagreed with him about tuning stability. Here is an extract of his book "New Techniques For Superior Aural Tuning"

It is important that the whole tuning pin moves to the new position, and then is relaxed with the fibers of the pin block pushing against it rather than with it.

...the pin must be moved up until the lower part moves, then settled back down until the string is lowered to the right pitch, and the pin is relaxed and set.
The pin is really set if it feels firm and does not easily move with back pressure on the hammer. It is often best to move the pin up until the pitch is a little too high, then ease it back until the pitch is right and the pin is set.



Woww! This is almost exactly what I said to Beemer in my post above:

Originally Posted by Gadzar
I do almost the same than you with a little difference: instead of "gently ease back until I hear no beat" I pull (I am lefthanded) on the tuning hammer until the pin feels firmly locked into the pinblock and the pitch doesn't change any more, no matter if this leaves a beat in the unison in which case I must correct the tuning pin foot position be it sharper or flatter. I retune until I get a clean unison after pulling back on the tuning hammer. I am not an adept of the Cerisano's procedure, IMO a positive pull (push for righthanded) back is mandatory to firmly set the tuning pin in a stable position.


About your objection to "tune above then lower to pitch" I see that you are not willing to accept other than your solution. Have you read Different Strokes by Ken Burton? There he speaks of type C pianos where the friction in the NSL segment of the string is so high that movements of the tuning pin do not produce a change in pitch. The result is that when you finally make the pitch change the NSL tension is either too high or too low depending on the direction you were tuning. Your suggestion is to tune up to pitch and leave it there. Well, according to Ken Burton it will leave the NSL tension too high and it will leave residual torsion on the tuning pin making it unstable. Your theory is that the high tension in the NSL combined with the residual torsion of the pin will be such that the string will be in a stable position. The question is how do you know that for sure? Is the NSL long enough? Is the tuning pin springy enough? Is the position of the tuning hammer adequate for this particular string?

Edit: You pretend to get a stable tuning by leaving the string in an unstable position (too high NSL tension) by compensating it with a residual torsion (tending to lower tension) in the tuning pin which is also left in an unstable state.

Cerisano:

stability = unstability up + unstability down

is that so?





Virgil Smith (and many others, including me):

stability = equilibrium in string tensions + relaxed tuning pin




In his book Burton gives detailed explanations of many hammer techniques to deal with this type C pianos and achieve a stable tuning.


You know? We do not have to discover or invent our own solutions to all the problems we are faced to. Piano was invented 300 years ago and in all these years tuners, techs and scientists have made a lot of discoveries on how to tune them. We must study this knowledge and we must use that knowledge in our benefit. If not we risk to waste our time trying to discover and solve what is already known and solved.


Last edited by Gadzar; 05/24/17 09:39 AM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Gadzar] #2646675
05/24/17 10:20 AM
05/24/17 10:20 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Rafael, aren't you talking about the same sort of risk as Mark is, but on the low tension side? You are concerned about Mark leaving the NSL in a higher than optimal state, and the pin being left in an unknown state and at risk of slipping back. With your approach, if you tune above the note, then come down, the static friction at the bridge would be such that the NSL tension has to be lowered below equal in order to transmit the change to the SL. So it seems that you prefer to leave the NSL slightly slow, whereas Mark likes to leave it slightly high. The only difference being that you like to relax the pin - however, since Marks NSL is already slightly high, have the pin relax a little will only bring the NSL and the SL closer together. I suspect Mark is reasoning that as long as you use a slow pull and leave the NSL a little high, it doesn't matter whether you relax the pin back or not because the NSL being higher will make it resistant to slipping under pitch, As long as there is friction at the bridge, do we not agree that there can never be truly equal tension between the NSL and the SL (even with test blows)? The question is how much differential is too much.

I can see your point in questioning Mark's assumptions about the science, but you haven't provided any more evidence than he has - rather, you are invoking the practice of previous generations of tuners who were good at what they did. But that isn't the same as evidence. It's possible for experts to be in ignorance of some aspects of the theory behind their craft. Who as actually ever really looked into this subject in a controlled study kind of way? As in, same piano, multiple techniques, same humidity/temperature variables, tension measurements, etc.. ? It seems to me that ever since I've been reading on the technician's forum that there are dozens of really great piano tuners who have wildly differing ideas and beliefs about what they do - they all seemingly achieve accurate, stable tunings, and yet they espouse such different theories. It's not logical that they are all correct in their thinking, therefore it leaves open the question of whether the ideas are really as critical as you guys make it seem, or whether there is actually a reasonable margin of error and good tuners fall within that margin and bad tuners fall outside it.

For what it's worth, I have done my last 3 tunings with 3 different methods,( with adjustments made for different NSL lengths)

1- Tuning slightly above, then bringing the pin back - result: tuning was ok, a few sour unisons appearing in the first week.
2- Attempted impact hammer technique - result: terrible! It's clearly a technique you have to master before it's of any use. Inconclusive.
3 - Slow pull up to pitch, no major attempt at pin adjustments, just a very slight backward tap when removing the hammer - result : the best result of the 3. It's been my most stable tuning ever.

Now I realise that one piano is not enough of a data set to constitute evidence, but after spending the last 6 years always diligently trying to make sure I left the pin in an unstressed state, I have now feel that perhaps I was wasting my time. My last tuning hasn't wandered at all in nearly 3 months of solid playing. What should I conclude from this? Is my piano unusually immune to the problems of moving pins? It is a 1965 Yamaha, hardly a tight block. It is likely that I don't appreciate the range of circumstances you guys face - since you have tuned 100s/1000s of pianos and I'm only regularly maintaining 4 pianos! But even so, I'll be trying out method 3 from now on and keep a close eye on things. It certainly is less work!

PS - if I do notice adverse results with this method, I will return to this thread and be honest about it. I certainly don't want to be part of any mythology of my own creation.

Re: Why is the longest NSL the first to detune? [Re: Beemer] #2646805
05/24/17 06:24 PM
05/24/17 06:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
Gadzar Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,758
Mexico City
I have said all I had to say. I have nothing more to add. Have you Ando heared the unisons posted by Cerisano here in PW ? He has been criticized time after time for his "not clean" unisons. This make me suspect he has a stabilty problem with his unisons. Have you heard the unisons of Isaac Oleg? He tunes the most beautiful unisons I have ever heard. Isaac uses the "go above then down to pitch" approach. When going down the foot of the tuning pin is not moved at all, so there is a little torsion left in the tuning pin, Isaac call this to "charge the pin" This will avoid the string to slip down with a fff blow. Also the tuning hammer is not strictly moved down, but it is tweaked, whacked, taped, pushed, etc. to leave the NSL where we want.

Look for his videos in YouTube, it is really amazing to see him tuning.

I insist piano tuning is not a science but a craft. Good hammer technique can not be acquired only by reasoning, you need to put hands on.

Blaise Pascal said once: "Le cœur a des raisons que la raison ne connaît pas".

That said, every one is free to tune the way he wants (including me LOL).


Last edited by Gadzar; 05/24/17 06:29 PM.

Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
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