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Irma and Tuning #2675045
09/13/17 04:52 PM
09/13/17 04:52 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
cmb13 Offline OP
Silver Level
cmb13  Offline OP
Silver Level
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
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

Working On
Debussy - La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach - Adagio 974
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Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675046
09/13/17 04:58 PM
09/13/17 04:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,152
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,152
Oakland
One day is enough to mess up the tuning. It will take longer to stabilize.


Semipro Tech
Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675080
09/13/17 06:44 PM
09/13/17 06:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,538
Atlanta, GA
PianoWorksATL Offline
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PianoWorksATL  Offline
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Posts: 3,538
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
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675110
09/13/17 09:36 PM
09/13/17 09:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,704
Florida
B
Bob Offline
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Bob  Offline
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B
Joined: Jun 2001
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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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Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675187
09/14/17 10:22 AM
09/14/17 10:22 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
cmb13 Offline OP
Silver Level
cmb13  Offline OP
Silver Level
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
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

Working On
Debussy - La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach - Adagio 974
Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675198
09/14/17 11:11 AM
09/14/17 11:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 235
C
Corvus Offline
Full Member
Corvus  Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 235
I believe increased humidity causes the soundboard to expand, increasing the tension on the strings and causing them to go Sharp.

Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675204
09/14/17 11:32 AM
09/14/17 11:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
Portland, OR
T
twocats Offline
500 Post Club Member
twocats  Offline
500 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
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!) 🐱
Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675206
09/14/17 11:34 AM
09/14/17 11:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 555
Columbus, GA
S
S. Phillips Offline
500 Post Club Member
S. Phillips  Offline
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S
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 555
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
Owner/ Technician
Piano Perfect, LLC
Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
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Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675226
09/14/17 12:44 PM
09/14/17 12:44 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
cmb13 Offline OP
Silver Level
cmb13  Offline OP
Silver Level
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,056
Florida
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

Working On
Debussy - La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach - Adagio 974
Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675241
09/14/17 01:22 PM
09/14/17 01:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,878
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
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
Re: Irma and Tuning [Re: cmb13] #2675254
09/14/17 02:11 PM
09/14/17 02:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,680
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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Posts: 4,680
*sigh* Salt Lake City
When we lived in a small condo, an afternoon of good steamy cooking was enough to throw the tuning out of whack!


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl


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