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#2673580 - 09/07/17 02:15 PM DIY Touch-up Tuning  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Originally I've been strictly against doing this as an amateur due to the fear I would ruin by pin block. But I'm now strongly considering looking into learning to do my remote location and limitation of qualified techs. Here's my situation with tuners over the past couple years.


1st- Staff technician at University 2 hours away- Piano sounded great and no drifting only needed tuning every 4 months or so. No longer willing to take the trip

2nd- Registered tech 1.5 hour away - Great results but a couple notes in the treble (not always the same) started to drift flat 2-3 weeks after tuning. (DC is installed and room controlled within 7%). This has happened 3 times.

3rd. Elderly gentlemen local- Started out with good not great results with never any drifts but last tuning went way south. No drifts but his ears are gone and piano sounded horrible

4th Younger gentlemen with ETD local- Great results but several treble notes drifting flat 2 weeks after tuning.


So I'm thinking of going back to #2 and touching up the unisons in between.

My question is if there are any good Skype courses or should I just approach #2 for help?




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#2673583 - 09/07/17 02:34 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Roger Ransom Offline
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First of all, unless you do something incredibly ham fisted, you will not damage the pin block. Just be gentle.

Many of us do it with excellent results as a recent thread showed.


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#2673593 - 09/07/17 02:57 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Roger Ransom]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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I'm starting to understand this now, for some reason I've had this paranoia. Have a new Bluthner on the way with Delignit block and understand they are pretty durable and nice to work with




#2673597 - 09/07/17 03:17 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Rickster Offline
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I've played a piano tuned by a professional RPT and some unisons had slipped a bit later that evening.

There is no doubt that some piano techs are very good at what they do, and their tunings are rock solid. However, hard playing is rough on the best of tunings. The thing about learning to clean-up the wayward unisons on your own piano is that you can do it day in and day out, all day long, anytime you feel like it, or not.

I'm a stickler for a well tuned piano. Even when you don't play so well to begin with, at least a well tuned piano sounds good regardless of how well you play, or not. smile

The main thing is to make sure you have your tuning lever on the right tuning pin before you start going too sharp. As others have said here, always go flat first and then sharp, to make sure you're on the right pin.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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#2673600 - 09/07/17 03:28 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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terminaldegree Offline
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Pin-setting is a term I often hear to describe the skill that needs to be developed. Some DIYs know how to correct the pitch of a unison that needs it, but don't do so with a technique in terms of striking the note and manipulating the hammer that will leave the string stably at the desired pitch. If you were able to travel and observe tech #1 tune unisons, and then have them coach you a bit in-person, I think you might be happy with the result as you correct unisons that drift between tunings. Unless you're really "sawing away" at it, you're probably not hurting things seriously...


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#2673613 - 09/07/17 05:23 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Rickster another reason why I was hesitant to do it myself. Thinking if a RPT with years of experience can't set all the pins right then how will I be able to do so. But sounds like it's not that unusual


Pin setting is another worry but reading through posts I'm finding two hammers that stand out they may help tremendously . The Levitan C lever and the Grand Cyber hammer which is pretty pricey and probably won't even consider it because of that. I like the idea of reaching out to #1 Thanks




#2673622 - 09/07/17 05:59 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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terminaldegree Offline
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Those fancy levers may work wonderfully (they'd better, given the cost), but the technicians I know who put the most stable tunings on pianos I've played do just fine with much humbler equipment...


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#2673639 - 09/07/17 07:49 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Sam S Offline
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Georgia, USA
Tuning unisons is fun and not that difficult. I can't stand unisons that are out. It makes the piano sound like its out of tune even though its not really that bad. The piano can be flat in the treble, but as long as the unisons are good, I can live with it until I have time to tune the whole thing. You won't hurt the pinblock. Move the pin as little as possible and use some hard blows (on the key, not the tuning hammer!) to settle things. If you can play piano with a delicate touch then you can learn to manipulate a tuning hammer. Tuning unisons is the first thing piano tuners learn. There are a lot more unisons than anything else...

Sam

#2673646 - 09/07/17 09:00 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Rickster Offline
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I had to play the piano for a small graduation ceremony this evening at the community technical college where I work. The piano is a smallish 4'10" Chickering baby grand (made by Baldwin). It was last tuned by an RPT about 6 months ago, when I played it for another program.

I brought my tuning hammer and two rubber mutes to work with me this morning and tweaked the wayward unisons on the piano during my lunch break. It could have used a complete tuning, but cleaning up the unisons made a big difference in the quality of the sound of the piano. There were about 250 or 300 people at the ceremony, and I was as nervous as a cat, but the performance went well. I hate to say this, (and don't mean to sound conceited) but the piano sounded very nice and my playing sounded good to me. smile

I played about 30 minutes while the graduates were getting ready and their family members, faculty and staff were seated in the event center. When it come time to play the "Pomp and circumstance' march song, I didn't miss a beat or a note, (at least my by-ear version of the piece:-).

I said all that to say this... you will enjoy your piano more if it is in good tune. A little twang is okay I guess, but as Sam said, a few wayward unisons can ruin an otherwise good tuning.

Keep in mind, the tuning pin is simply a wood screw with very fine threads held by friction in the pin-block. It doesn't take much movement to raise or lower the pitch a lot. Sometimes, just barely putting a little pressure on the tuning hammer will put the pitch where it needs to be. As terminaldegree said, the skill comes in learning how to set the pin so the tuning holds up well under hard playing and environmental changes/expansion and contraction. That is what causes the wayward unisons.

As far as spending the money for a nice tuning hammer, it will likely be money well spent, if you can afford it, if you do want to start making adjustments to your unisons.

Good luck!

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2673648 - 09/07/17 09:31 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Pianolance Offline
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There are lots of youtube videos to help you. Go slow and you'll be fine. Keep in mind probably only one of the three strings will be out. You need a hammer or tuning wrench and maybe a couple of rubber mutes. You mute the left string and play the note, it it's in tune it's the left string. If it's still out of tune it could be the center or the right string. You move the mute to the right string. If it's still out of tune then it's the center string. You simply tune the "out" string so it sounds like one note. Technicians will say you listen for the "beats" or vibration that the sound makes when two strings are slightly out of tune, but I find that I just tune until the sound is focused. It's not rocket science, but it's not a no brainer either. Educate yourself and you'll be fine. Best of luck to you.


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#2673742 - 09/08/17 09:16 AM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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JohnSprung Online content
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And after a while touching up unisons, the next step is to pop $300 for the TuneLab software. It won't make you an instant concert level tuner, but for a DIY, it'll get you much better tunings much quicker than learning to count beats. It runs on a laptop or an i-whatever....


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#2674483 - 09/11/17 12:57 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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tirta Offline
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or try entropy tuner
http://piano-tuner.org/entropy

it is free.

#2674507 - 09/11/17 02:25 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Thank you everyone for all the good advice , going to order the Levitan Profesional lever .




#2677663 - 09/25/17 04:05 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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twocats Offline
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Miguel, just wanted to say thanks for putting this idea in my head. We've had some extreme weather changes (100F+ summer to cold thunderstorms and now settled into pleasant fall temps) and my piano tone's has gone way off and sounds quite harsh. I asked my tech about teaching me how to touch up the tuning between his visits and he was very encouraging, so next month when he comes I'll be learning how to tune! Not only will my piano sound and feel a lot better (the touch feels looser when it's out of tune), but I'm sure it will go a long way toward keeping his tunings stable.

My tech says: "The biggest part of the learning curve on tuning is not about pitch, it is getting the ear and arm to work together with confidence. So much is stressed about getting the tuning to sound good, understandably. But the real challenge is getting the string to stay where you put it."


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#2677692 - 09/25/17 06:13 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Rickster Offline
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I cleaned up the unisons on my Baldwin R this past weekend. I believe I enjoy tuning almost as much as I enjoy playing (in spite of my serious hearing injury a couple of years ago). For setting the pin and getting a good stable unison, use hard test blows while making the adjustment to the pin, whether just a little or a lot.

With the hard test-blows, and the string very slightly sharp, you can hear it settle in where it needs to be while applying some counter-clockwise pressure on the pin with the tuning hammer. If you go slightly too flat, pull it slightly sharp again, and repeat. Sometimes, if the note is flat, you apply clockwise pressure on the tuning hammer while using the hard test-blows and achieve the same result. When properly set, you can pound on the note hard all day long and it will not move easily.

Nothing sounds a good as a pure, clean unison, except, of course, having the rest of the piano in proper tune. smile

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2677725 - 09/25/17 11:16 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Pianolance]  
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Just remember to use a first grade tuning hammer so that you do not strip the tuning pins.


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
#2677775 - 09/26/17 08:00 AM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Beemer Online content
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Originally Posted by Miguel Rey
I'm starting to understand this now, for some reason I've had this paranoia. Have a new Bluthner on the way with Delignit block and understand they are pretty durable and nice to work with

Miguel,

I started tuning using an etd on my 28 year old utpright. I was nervous at first but with the support of those on the Pianoworld tuner and technicians group my ability gradually improved.

Two year later I bought a new Bl├╝thner Model A and have tuned and regulated it since. My new piano took a year to settle and now after perhaps 15 full tunings many of which were just to give me experience my tuning stability is good.

You should ask questions on the tuner and technician group. Also buy the Arthur Reblitz book:

Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student and the Hobbyist

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Bl├╝thner Model A
#2680398 - 10/07/17 06:31 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Thank you all for the suggestions. My Levitan Professional lever just arrived and I just finished clearing up 5 unisons , took me about a 30 mins but it was much easier then I thought. Not sure how much the lever had to do with it but mentally knowing that you can bend or flagpole without wanting to gave me a lot confidence and very easy to go sharp or flat in tiny increments with complete control.

Almost tempted to download am ETD app and go for a full tune. Thinking about Tunic OnlyPure Piano since it can also help with unisons if I decide to keep with my original plan of touch up tuning.



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#2680436 - 10/07/17 10:13 PM Re: DIY Touch-up Tuning [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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The TuneLab pro comes in a free eval version. There is a nag screen that will appear after you tune several notes and will stay up for a certain amount of time before you can continue to tune. It worked great for my DYI tuning.


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