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Tuning durable. #2742347
06/05/18 04:03 PM
06/05/18 04:03 PM
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Automata Offline OP
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Hi

How to use the piano tunning hammer so that the tuning is durable?



Thank you.

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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742362
06/05/18 05:08 PM
06/05/18 05:08 PM
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BDB Offline
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Practice. You have to develop a feel for it.

You need to feel when the tuning pin has moved, when the string has moved, and how the string will move when you relax the tension.

There is no easy way to do this. You need experience, and that comes with practice.


Semipro Tech
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742371
06/05/18 05:43 PM
06/05/18 05:43 PM
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Scotland
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David Boyce Offline
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Agreed.

There is not a set procedure for applying force to a tuning lever that will guarantee stable results for all users.

There are many different approaches, used by different and all excellent tuners, who get stable results. There are 'slow pull' tuners and 'quick jerks" tuners, Levitan C levers, carbon fiber levers etc etc. But it's all about whether the person using the lever and the techniques, has got the "feel" for those things that BDB describes.

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742381
06/05/18 06:34 PM
06/05/18 06:34 PM
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I'm just an amateur who tunes my own pianos, but I've learned that hard test blows along with good hammer technique, along with good humidity control can go a long way in having good tuning stability. A good concert tech friend and mentor showed me that. I've read that some tuners say they can get good tuning stability with soft and easy test blows, but I can't. The firm test blows helps to set the string firmly on the bearing points. It's going to drift out of tune eventually, but good tuning stability is good for the pin-block. :-)

Rick


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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742398
06/05/18 09:27 PM
06/05/18 09:27 PM
Joined: May 2003
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Tennessee
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Ed Foote Offline
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Greetings,
Tuning stability is difficult to describe, and we often resort to simply saying experience is the only way to get there, but I submit that more is required than simply time. Experience has many different qualities, and I have known some mediocre techs that have had their first five years of experience over and over again for their entire career, so mindless repetition doesn't qualify as more experience. I think there are some fundamental concepts the new tuner has to master if their time with hammer in hand is to produce the optimum education for time spent. These concepts can be envisioned well enough to provide a background for what happening. between their wrist and their ear.

Stability depends on the relationship of the tension between the tuning pin and agraffe and the tension between the agraffe and bridge pin. The top-string and speaking length, respectively. The friction at the bearing point separating these two sections is the major player in establishing the relationship. Close behind is the ability of the pin to move in sufficiently small increments so that the tuner can create an appropriate amount of tension in the top string without disturbing the speaking length.

So, to anchor the speaking length at any given pitch, the top string must be left at a higher tension, but not so much higher that the difference can overcome the friction at the bearing point. If the pin is rotated flat, it twists, so there will be a residual amount of tension stored in the pin. If the pitch is lowered from sharp to perfect, and then the hammer is released, the pin will increase the top-string tension as it relaxes, or , "unwinds". However, one cannot simply push the pin down until the pitch is reached and then let go. Too much unwinding and the speaking length will go sharp. This will happen in virtually any piano with tuning torque over 125 ft/lbs. there is more tension stored in the pin than the friction can resist, so the pitch has to be taken lower before releasing the pin. How much lower? It depends on the friction and the torque, and this is where experience will teach those that are mindful. A looser pin will allow the string to move with much less residual tension in the pin, so there is no "built-in" anchoring, which often requires a careful tightening of the top-string by moving the in clockwise, but not so much that it raises the speaking length, or gets too close to the friction limit of the agraffe. Tighter pins put a lot more residual twist in the pin, so the release pitch has to be lower to accommodate the greater tension as the pin "unwinds". When bumping back and forth, it is easy to lose track of whether the pitch was arrived at from below or above.

The art of stability is to learn how to manipulate the pin/agraffe combination so the string is left at pitch with a higher top-string tension. And ETD will tell when the string moves before the ear can detect it, so it can be a very valuable tool in learning stability. Watching what happens to the speaking length as we make our arcane moves can be a learning experience. When a string is solidly anchored, the amount of rotational pressure, (without moving the pin), on the hammer to make it move sharp is far less than the amount of pressure to make it go flat.

Regards,

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Ed Foote] #2742410
06/05/18 11:08 PM
06/05/18 11:08 PM
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Melbourne, Australia
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ando Online content
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That was an excellent summary, Ed!

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742441
06/06/18 04:12 AM
06/06/18 04:12 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,634
Scotland
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David Boyce Offline
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Indeed a beautiful summary of vital concepts concerning string tension, agraffes, speaking and non-speaking length tensions, and pin movements. BUT:
Quote
as we make our arcane moves


The moves are admitted to be arcane!

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742592
06/06/18 02:39 PM
06/06/18 02:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 253
Upper Middle Tennessee
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Not only are their different tools and techniques, there are differences in pianos.

I've been able to navigate quite a few of them well, even had a few compliments from a PTG tuning examiner. But still, I will gladly turn down a tuning of a Steinway upright. They've been the most problematic tunings I've ever done and mostly, I just won't subject myself to that level of torture. Perhaps some years and models are better than others, it's been a while.

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742633
06/06/18 04:43 PM
06/06/18 04:43 PM
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Automata Offline OP
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thanks everyone for the answers

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742724
06/07/18 12:39 AM
06/07/18 12:39 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
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Melbourne, Australia
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Hemloch Offline
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Yes, thanks Ed, a really good essay in the arcane art of tuning stability.

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742790
06/07/18 09:55 AM
06/07/18 09:55 AM
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Old Hangtown California
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Anyone care to comment about tuning stability for in the typical home as opposed to on the concert stage?
Any difference?


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Gene Nelson] #2742796
06/07/18 10:38 AM
06/07/18 10:38 AM
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Oakland
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Anyone care to comment about tuning stability for in the typical home as opposed to on the concert stage?
Any difference?


If there is a difference, you need to work on that. You can never tell who is going to play in either situation.


Semipro Tech
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742800
06/07/18 10:48 AM
06/07/18 10:48 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,766
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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There is no difference. Octave stretching might be a little different by stability is stability. Same technique applied whether a D or a spinet.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742820
06/07/18 11:45 AM
06/07/18 11:45 AM
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Upper Middle Tennessee
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I've found the environment to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Doesn't really matter whether it's a home, a church, a school, or a concert hall. A big humidity swing that's sustained (such as a seasonal change) will kill even the best and most stable tuning. Few places I've been to actually have the environment controlled to the point where tunings are rock solid through the seasons. (I've seen a couple. they're rare. But they're a pleasure to work with when they happen. Going to tune and finding maybe a half dozen unisons to barely touch up and A at 440.0, after 6 months? Probably a tuners delight.)

Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Bellyman] #2742826
06/07/18 12:11 PM
06/07/18 12:11 PM
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Around here, it could be 6 years, not 6 months.


Semipro Tech
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742847
06/07/18 01:46 PM
06/07/18 01:46 PM
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New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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Of course, the effect of humidity is totally separate from the mechanical (and/or artistic) procedure that results in a pin/string assembly that will hold up to reasonably vigorous playing (until the humidity changes).

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742861
06/07/18 03:15 PM
06/07/18 03:15 PM
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Old Hangtown California
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Gene Nelson Offline
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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???

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 06/07/18 03:17 PM.

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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Automata] #2742878
06/07/18 05:15 PM
06/07/18 05:15 PM
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daniokeeper Offline
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Just to add my $0.02

Once you've set the pin, be careful not to disturb it as you remove the tuning hammer.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
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Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Gene Nelson] #2742900
06/07/18 07:31 PM
06/07/18 07:31 PM
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Oakland
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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???


Because that is what they pay us to do!

If there is a critical performance on a piano, we may get called to tune it no matter whether it is on stage or in someone's home. I have had at least one person ask me to tune their home piano because an important pianist was going to play it. Sometimes I do not know ahead of time.


Semipro Tech
Re: Tuning durable. [Re: Gene Nelson] #2742983
06/08/18 07:45 AM
06/08/18 07:45 AM
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Wisconsin, USA
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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???


Some pianos drift more than others. My tech has told me many venues don't take care of their pianos well. For example, they have drifted while he is tuning it (!!) when a big door is opened and a lot of humidity comes in all at once. In the winter they get very very dry and the venue does nothing about it. At a concert intermission one time I saw the stage hands move a Steinway concert grand in place but weren't paying attention. They were looking at the markings on the floor and weren't watching where they were going and ended up crashing into the conductor's podium. They also used the wrong holder thing for the hood prop. Thankfully the artist noticed it, motioned to the conductor and fixed that problem herself. There are tons of idiots out there.

Some artists travel with their own piano and technician. Vladimir Horowitz did this. Bösendorfer stores pianos for artists and arranges transport to concert venues. When I was there I saw about six all wrapped up and they said they were owned by artists and then explained this service to me. Must be nice!

Steve

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 06/08/18 07:49 AM.

Bösendorfer 170
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