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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Gene Nelson] #2742991
06/08/18 08:13 AM
06/08/18 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
If there is no difference between in home and stage performance tunings, why do we tune on stage for every performance?? Even be required to standby through soundcheck for possible touch up??
While in home sometimes we tune one to 3 or 4 times annually???


My tech is a local concert technician. The last time he tuned, he was talking about his concert-level tunings. I asked him if he would do the same on my piano, and he told me that he tunes every piano with the same concert-level technique. So isn't the reason for tuning just prior to performances and being on stand-by simply because the piano is expected to be "perfect" for the event? In my home, I don't need my piano's tuning to be "perfect" every day, but if it were in a recording studio that would be a different story. I've seen recording sessions held up and a tuner called b/c the something on the piano drifted out.

A friend of mine (a technician in Tennessee) knows the technician who takes care of the sanctuary piano at a large mega-church in Nashville. The church does a lot to control the humidity and temperature in their sanctuary, but they still have their piano tuned weekly just before the Sunday services. Why? Because there are many performing artists, producers, and music industry professionals who attend services there. Most of their instrumentalists and vocalists also work in the industry. The expectations on the quality of music is just much higher at that church than it is at the average church around the country.

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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743019
06/08/18 10:05 AM
06/08/18 10:05 AM
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Performers want that perfect tuning and they want it to last through the performance.
For the perfect tuning for the average in home piano, I suppose people tend to be more tolerant of how long it lasts? and or cannot afford to keep it in perfect tune.
But who really hears the perfect tuning, or should I say who hears that perfect tuning drift out of tune?
Unisons are most noticeable and I have experienced very few that hear the intervals drift.
Stage lights come on and the lid is open so where the heat from the light hits strings they relax a bit and drift flat.
Some stage managers are starting to use LED's and it makes a difference.
Some want the lid off.
Then others will mic the piano and Im not certain if anyone can hear much of any out of tune-ness then.
The hall fills with 1500 people - thats 1500 98.6 degree heaters. It has an impact.
Many artists come to a performance on the defensive. Its easy to tell by the prerequisites - like: stay to touch up after rehearsal, allow time to meet and consult with artist, stay through intermission incase touch up is needed. Suprised when no touch up is necessary.
Humidity control systems are just about impossible, stage hands as noted above, can be clueless about pianos and keeping a system plugged in is above and beyond the call.
Most homes tend to be a more stable environment in many ways.
But how long does a perfect tuning really last? Not very long. You can leave a piano untouched and within 24 hours or less find slight changes.
I have been required to tune the performance piano in the piano storage room - its always 8 degrees warmer than on stage. Management knows that the tuning will drift slightly when brought on stage but its the only way that tuning can happen in regard to access times.
So I agree, stage performance and in home tunings are or should be the same.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743020
06/08/18 10:15 AM
06/08/18 10:15 AM
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GC13, if that piano in the mega-church in Nashville is a decent piano, that's a sweet gig for your tuner friend-of-a-friend. If he's good at setting pins, I seriously doubt if he's adjusting every tuning pin every week.

Now, if it's a crappy piano that won't stay put no matter how careful you are, it would be somewhat of a pain.

Even individual pianos can be different. 20 years ago, I helped to maintain a fleet of Baldwin studio uprights that were rentals. For the most part, any of them did pretty well. But there was one that was exceptional. It sure looked like all the rest of them, even sounded pretty close. But it was just rock solid. I remember one time they asked me to tune it for a gig across town but before it was moved across town. We loaded it up in the back of a moving truck and bounced across numerous city streets. And I took my tuning kit along to touch it up when we got there. Put it in it's spot and went up and down that keyboard a dozen times. There was just nothing to tune. That was a sweet piano. Kinda wish I could quantify why, and why THAT one.

To be fair, tuning level technique does matter. Where you leave the tension on the non-speaking parts of the strings is important, and I'm not sure how easy that is to teach. I remember of following around a tuner who slapped on those 45 minute tunings that wouldn't hold past the two week "warranty" that the store provided. Then again, I'm a slowpoke who generally tunes, beats the daylights out of the thing while I'm sitting there, and then touches up anything that seems to need it. I'm sure all have their methods. I do what works for me. Takes me a couple of hours. But when I leave, I'd like to think it's a dang good tuning that should last as well as any.

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743024
06/08/18 10:28 AM
06/08/18 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bellyman
Then again, I'm a slowpoke who generally tunes, beats the daylights out of the thing while I'm sitting there, and then touches up anything that seems to need it. I'm sure all have their methods. I do what works for me. Takes me a couple of hours. But when I leave, I'd like to think it's a dang good tuning that should last as well as any.

That describes my tuning technique to the tee, Bellyman! smile

And, my tunings hold pretty good, in my view. I used to grab the tuning hammer every time I heard the least little inkling of a wayward unison, but I've progressed beyond that. Now, that little twang don't hurt a thang, till I'm ready to tune and bang. smile

Hey, one could dance a gig to that rhyme... smile

Rick


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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743032
06/08/18 11:20 AM
06/08/18 11:20 AM
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Bellyman, it is a very nice Yamaha C7. I am also acquainted with the pianist / musical director at the church. They really baby their piano. It's probably one of the best-cared-for pianos in a church.

There are so many factors and skills that have to come together for tuning stability. Those who master the art have my utmost respect and admiration!

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743076
06/08/18 02:48 PM
06/08/18 02:48 PM
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Whether you tune one string or 230 does not really matter. If you've been hired to prepare it, have done what needs to be done, are willing to stand behind it as being in tune and concert ready, you have earned your fee. If it takes 10 minutes or two hours and holds up, you're golden. If it takes 10 minutes or two hours and DOESN'T hold up...you're in trouble and correcting it is on you.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743140
06/08/18 10:17 PM
06/08/18 10:17 PM
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A concert tuning is knowing which strings need tuning and leaving the rest alone. After all, if a string is in tune, and it made it though rehearsal, why mess with it? If you are tuning every string, it's not a concert tuning - it's the tuning before the concert tuning.

It's not how hard you hit the key, it's how you hit the key.

Tuning takes as long as it takes. I had a Yamaha GH 1 and a Chinese Story and Clark each take 90 minutes due to pins that jumped 20 cents. Neither were pitch raises - it just took forever to set each string and pin. A Baldwin Classic took 75 minutes due to 200 inch pound torque.

On the other hand, I tuned my Dad's Steinway O today in 45 minutes. The rebuilder took care to make sure the tuning pins turn smoothly, at about 130 inch pounds. Very easy to tune, that piano. Each piano is different and experience makes the difference.

Beginning tuners should take as much time to set each pin and string as they need. Use and electronic tuner, tune the string, hit the key hard a dozen times. If the pitch changes, something wasn't set. Realize that raising a string more than 5 cents requires compensation (overpull), or the unison will be flat. It's rare for me to tune in the home without pitch raising or overpull. Realize that a pitch raise or overpull tuning will settle, and a follow up tuning is needed. Some pianos handle pitch raises better than others.

Make sure your tuning hammer tip fits the pins. I have size 1, 2, and 3 tips installed on extensions for my Schaff lever. To change tip size, I simply slip in a different extension. For tight pins, I leave it extended. For normal pins, it's shorter. For a slow pull, I use a tight fitting tip. For a ratchet type technique, I'll use a looser fitting tip.

Lube the capo, bearings, and understring felt whenever strings hang up. Why struggle when a bit of lube helps?

And as mentioned above, practice. It's 1000 pianos if tuning by ETD, 10,000 pianos if tuning by ear before concert level is reached.




Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743203
06/09/18 09:37 AM
06/09/18 09:37 AM
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Bellyman, you observe
Quote
Where you leave the tension on the non-speaking parts of the strings is important, and I'm not sure how easy that is to teach.


Indeed. The original post asks "How to using the tuning hammer so that the tuning is durable".

This thread now has lots of excellent comments about tension in speaking and non-speaking lengths, setting the pin, etc.

But no-one has described how to use the tuning lever, in terms of the physical movements involved. It probably isn't possible to do so.

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743220
06/09/18 11:10 AM
06/09/18 11:10 AM
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For the beginner:

For the sake of discussion lets assume that a tuning pin and string that has been sitting untouched for a week or so and played regularly is now in a state of stability where it is not going to move either direction no matter how hard it is played. This is the condition YOU want to achieve when you take your tuning hammer off the pin.

In order to do this, from the moment you put your hammer on the pin, you need to mentally and physically remember EVERYTHING you do to it, while you are doing it, because you will need to reverse ALL of it in order to achieve stability. Your brain and body needs to register all this information continually. This takes concentration and practice. This is why it takes 10,000 pianos to truly master the process.

Have you ever watched a rock climber scale a vertical rock face using only the tips of their fingers and their toes? Do you think that kind of physical prowess happened in a few weeks or months? It takes years to develop this nearly (seemingly) impossible ability. Yet, it can be done with lots of practice and concentration.

Can you imagine memorizing EVERY street (repeat EVERY STREET) in the city of London, which ones are one way, what is the fastest way to get from any point to any other point in the city, and recall it instantly? Yet this is exactly what a London cab driver must do in order to qualify as a cabby in that city. They have to pass a test proving that they can do it without a mistake. Impossible you say? Not impossible, but it takes practice and concentration, just like learning to used a tuning hammer properly.

There is also a mind set for all of these activities, which takes time to develop. It will not happen unless you are determined to make it happen. You learn what works and what doesnt work by doing, making mistakes and learning from them. There is no shortcut.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743224
06/09/18 11:46 AM
06/09/18 11:46 AM
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Scotland
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David Boyce Online content
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Beautifully put, Peter.

The test which London cabbies must pass, over several sessions, to get a license, is called "The Knowledge".

The area of the brain that is altered is the hippocampus. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/677048.stm

Fascinatingly, oh but fascinatingly, aural piano tuning has also been shown to enlarge the hippocampus.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-art...iano-tuning-changes-brain-structure-Teki

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743228
06/09/18 12:26 PM
06/09/18 12:26 PM
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Old Hangtown California
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Well, there is actually a very effective short cut - even more than one:
Its called the PTG and the many people who contribute to Journal articles as well as their printed literature and conventions.
And then there is the very personal coaching and mentoring. It usually developes based on relationships that happen at the chapter level.
I had the good fortune of being mentored at a university with a multitude of practice room pianos as well as several performance pianos as well as the challenge of a few difficult professors of music.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743248
06/09/18 03:33 PM
06/09/18 03:33 PM
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David,

I remember reading that article, or a reference to it in the PTJournal. I wonder though if the same changes take place for those dependent on an electronic device. I somehow think not.

It boggles my mind that anyone can master "The Knowledge", but they do!

Amazing!

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 06/09/18 03:34 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743279
06/09/18 05:58 PM
06/09/18 05:58 PM
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Yes, I think the study was specific to aural tuners. Richard Roberts was part of it and I recall him saying so in response to a question somewhere in his blog. You can see a fascinating short film about Richard's interesting lifestyle experiment, a third of the way down this page http://www.piano-tuning.co.uk/blog/
Richard got fed up with the cost of accommodation in London, and decided to live with no fixed abode, sleeping outdoors. His blog, copiously illustrated with photos makes very interesting reading and I think it should be published as a book, but RIchard isn't interested to pursue that.

Last edited by David Boyce; 06/09/18 06:05 PM.
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: David Boyce] #2743930
06/12/18 03:00 PM
06/12/18 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Bellyman, you observe
Quote
Where you leave the tension on the non-speaking parts of the strings is important, and I'm not sure how easy that is to teach.


Indeed. The original post asks "How to using the tuning hammer so that the tuning is durable".

This thread now has lots of excellent comments about tension in speaking and non-speaking lengths, setting the pin, etc.

But no-one has described how to use the tuning lever, in terms of the physical movements involved. It probably isn't possible to do so.


Although the answers are very useful, my question was how to use the hammer because I had read that after tuning a string you have to make a torsion movement of to fix the position of the pin

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743955
06/12/18 04:35 PM
06/12/18 04:35 PM
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What I do for every string after moving the pin foot to the new position, and getting the right pitch by hammer movements, is to gently push or bump on the lever gently clockwise and anticlockwise while repeatedly playing on the note. If the string renders well you should get the pitch to moan slightly sharp or flat and then spring back when you release the pressure. If the string does not render well the pitch may remain stable but be able to hold with the changes of pressure. The aim of doing this is to ensure that the string sections are not so out of equilibrium that a sudden change is likely. If the pitch moves permanently with these movements then the pin foot needs to be repositioned to a more balanced position an tuned again.

An example of a bad string/pin setting I had the other day was a string that changed immediately when I placed the lever on the pin. In this case there was a large difference between speaking length and non-speaking length tension and so the string easily slipped across the pressure bar. If you tune a string by simply pulling to pitch and then removing the lever you are likely to create a situation like this. Most beginners probably tune most strings like this and that is why their tunings are unstable.


Chris Leslie ARPT
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2743966
06/12/18 06:10 PM
06/12/18 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
An example of a bad string/pin setting I had the other day was a string that changed immediately when I placed the lever on the pin. In this case there was a large difference between speaking length and non-speaking length tension and so the string easily slipped across the pressure bar. If you tune a string by simply pulling to pitch and then removing the lever you are likely to create a situation like this. Most beginners probably tune most strings like this and that is why their tunings are unstable.

Chris, I don't mean to come into this discussion here with a bad attitude, but I played a piano not too long ago that had been tuned just a few hours earlier, by an RPT with 30 years of experience, and there were some unisons already slightly out of tune. So, it is not just beginners that this can happen to. I don't hold it against the guy or think less of him, but he was a professional who was paid the going rate to tune the piano for a program that evening where I was going to play the piano as part of the program. In fact, I requested that the custodians of the piano call the local RPT and have the piano tuned for that particular performance.

Of course, I know from experience that it is not an easy job to tune with good tuning stability, but I'm just saying...

Just my .02.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2744002
06/12/18 09:04 PM
06/12/18 09:04 PM
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There are some pianos that are simply virtually impossible to tune stable due to their design. I just had one of these yesterday (Story & Clark grand). Drove me nuts! Move the pin...move the pin...move the pin...nothing happens...then tiny little move and pow!...the stupid string moves a mile. Sorry, but this is a pain in the butt and things were not PERFECT when done. I am not going to kill myself trying to wrestle with bad design. I'll do the best I can, and adapt my technique to do my best...but it ain't going to be ideal.

Sometimes it's like that.

Sometimes he/she is having a bad day. Sometimes he/she just had fight with a spouse. Sometimes he/she has some other "problem"...

Yes, probably should have mentioned it to them so as to have opportunity to fix it. Might not be a bad idea.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2744431
06/14/18 01:48 PM
06/14/18 01:48 PM
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Mr.GREY, it happens the same with my barock dx 800......no way to gain stability where it occurs.

What do you mean by bad design?the gauge of the pins, the pressure bar, the v bar?

Sorry for question, i'm a beginner and i'd like to learn....


where there is a will, there is a path
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2744448
06/14/18 03:03 PM
06/14/18 03:03 PM
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Too much friction due to angle of wire coming from agraffes up to string rest...then on to tuning pins. Also at capo bar.

Perhaps when brand new it wasn't too bad, but as things become set it is horrible to tune. My education helps a little, but does not solve the problem.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: P W Grey] #2744757
06/15/18 08:06 PM
06/15/18 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
There are some pianos that are simply virtually impossible to tune stable due to their design. I just had one of these yesterday (Story & Clark grand). Drove me nuts! Move the pin...move the pin...move the pin...nothing happens...then tiny little move and pow!...the stupid string moves a mile. Sorry, but this is a pain in the butt and things were not PERFECT when done. I am not going to kill myself trying to wrestle with bad design. I'll do the best I can, and adapt my technique to do my best...but it ain't going to be ideal.

Sometimes it's like that.

Sometimes he/she is having a bad day. Sometimes he/she just had fight with a spouse. Sometimes he/she has some other "problem"...

Yes, probably should have mentioned it to them so as to have opportunity to fix it. Might not be a bad idea.

Pwg


On those Dongbei Stencils, lubricate the bearings and felt with CLP, then turn the pin back and forth a few times before going for the set. They get better after 6-12 tunings. The steel strings look like they are coated with something, and I think that causes them to hang up. Initial tunings on some of those took me more than 90 minutes. Each tuning gets a bit quicker and more stable.




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