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#2675045 - 09/13/17 03:52 PM Irma and Tuning  
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 405
cmb13 Online content
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cmb13  Online Content
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 405
Boca Raton, FL
Well, she came in like a tempest and left some devastation in her wake. For the most part, though, we were very lucky in Palm Beach County, with only tree damage and power loss. Schools will be out for over a week, and the economic loss will be tremendous with loss of business in addition to the repairs. I personally had several limbs down and we lost our basketball backboard and pole, in addition to a lot of refrigerated food that just couldn't take it for 3 days. All in all, I consider myself lucky.

My Boston Upright, however, does not sound good. It did not like Irma. We had no power for three days, and the temperature rose to the mid to upper 80's with significant humidity. So the question is, is that long enough to mess up the tune? I would not have expected that three days was long enough to make a difference, but it really sounds different, and not in a good way. Power was restored last night, so hopefully with humidity control we'll be back to normal soon, but I suspect I'll need to have it retuned. I imagine I should wait a week or two though.


Boston 118 PE
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#2675046 - 09/13/17 03:58 PM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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BDB Offline
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One day is enough to mess up the tuning. It will take longer to stabilize.


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#2675080 - 09/13/17 05:44 PM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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Atlanta, GA
With your home back to normal indoor climate, the piano will settle, but not return to "in-tune". I'd wait two weeks and ask the tech to look it over for any signs of lasting stress. It will probably be fine, but it may take 2 tunings to become stable again.


Sam Bennett
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#2675110 - 09/13/17 08:36 PM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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Bob Offline
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Florida
Yes, I've been rescheduling clients who lost power for 2 weeks down the road. Loss of A/C will de tune a piano. I'm going to the University tomorrow to check the pianos there. They have their own power station, so I'm hoping the A/C stayed on. The pianos will tell me.

Your Boston upright will return to a state of better tune in a few days, but it won't be perfect. The humidity will have taken it sharp from C 3 to C 4 in the middle of the piano.

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#2675187 - 09/14/17 09:22 AM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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cmb13 Online content
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cmb13  Online Content
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Boca Raton, FL
Interesting, Bob - for edification purposes, why sharp, and why mainly in the middle? I am surprised that just three days, or even one day as BDB suggests, is enough to throw it off.

PianoWorksATL, you think it may take two tunes to get it right? I noticed you said it would Probably be fine, as if there is a chance it wouldn't?


Boston 118 PE
YouTube Channel
Currently Working On
Arpeggios in Maj, Min, Dim
Debussy Prelude VIIII (La fille aux cheveux de lin)
All The Thing You Are
#2675198 - 09/14/17 10:11 AM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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Corvus Offline
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I believe increased humidity causes the soundboard to expand, increasing the tension on the strings and causing them to go Sharp.

#2675204 - 09/14/17 10:32 AM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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twocats Offline
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Portland, OR
My tech says that a piano can start to go out even before he's left if it hasn't been stable! He did two tunings to pull my piano up from A440 to A442 and said it had already started to drift after the first tuning. They are very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. I'm glad to hear that Irma did not have a huge impact on you. How scary and tragic for those who lost their homes and possessions.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2675206 - 09/14/17 10:34 AM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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S. Phillips Offline
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S. Phillips  Offline
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Posts: 536
Columbus, GA
Pianos always go sharp in increased humidity. The reason it goes sharp is that the soundboard and bridges swell very quickly. This pushes the soundboard up increasing the tension on the strings, thus making them go sharp. Every piano in my town went sharp on Monday when the storm came through here. This happens very quickly as wood takes on moisture much more rapidly than it releases it. This means your piano will be unstable for quite a while until the humidity gets back to normal and it settles back down to where it was before this happened. Turn your air conditioner down to a lower temperature than usual to dry it out faster.

One of my concert grands in my clientele was in a building that lost power for over 24 hours and it was up around 446 this morning when I got to it.


Sally Phillips
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#2675226 - 09/14/17 11:44 AM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
Joined: May 2013
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cmb13 Online content
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cmb13  Online Content
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Joined: May 2013
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Boca Raton, FL
Thanks for all the info. I guess I would have expected the piano tuning to be flat, but clearly I would have guessed wrong!

All of us in FL and GA can add piano tuning to our list of expenses attributable to the hurricane. As above, however, most of us are very lucky; my heart goes out to those in The Keys and others that suffered greater damage.


Boston 118 PE
YouTube Channel
Currently Working On
Arpeggios in Maj, Min, Dim
Debussy Prelude VIIII (La fille aux cheveux de lin)
All The Thing You Are
#2675241 - 09/14/17 12:22 PM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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High humidity = wood swelling/expanding = pitch going sharp. Low humidity = wood contracting = pitch going flat. Stable humidity = tuning stability. Wide humidity swings = unstable tuning stability. Or something like that... smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2675254 - 09/14/17 01:11 PM Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13]  
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When we lived in a small condo, an afternoon of good steamy cooking was enough to throw the tuning out of whack!


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