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Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? #2837192
04/09/19 09:59 AM
04/09/19 09:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 1
P
Pete87 Offline OP
Junior Member
Pete87  Offline OP
Junior Member
P

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 1
Hello all! I tune pianos as a hobby and have only ever tuned uprights. Its difficult to describe exactly what the behavior is that I'm seeing so here goes!

The tuning pins are tight, they do stay where they are put and they are hard to turn, but I always tend to flatten a note slightly first before sharpening to ensure I've got the correct pin and to 'break' any bond between the string and the pressure bar. But with this grand it's as if the tension isn't being applied or released nice and evenly to the speaking length as I move the pin. I have to flatten so much (release tension) before the string 'creaks' and the tone changes. The same with sharpening, it feels like I'm putting lots of tension on, then I hear the string 'creak' and the tone changes (usually by too much). I find doing lots of test blows as if I'm setting the pin does help. I was thinking that the string could be sticking where it passes through the agraffe? All.of the notes seem to be affected in this way.

Maybe I just need to be a little braver with turning the tuning pins, it could just be that I'm not used to working with the tuning hammer horizontally as I've only ever worked on uprights! Just seems harder to set the tone accuratley than I have found with uprights.

If anybody has any suggestions or has found that brands are a little different to uprights in terms of string tension / behaviour when apply or releasing tension? I'd appreciate it :-)

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Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2837213
04/09/19 11:00 AM
04/09/19 11:00 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,947
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline
5000 Post Club Member
UnrightTooner  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,947
Bradford County, PA
Sounds like you have a great deal of "rendering friction" in addition to tight tuning pins. Ya gotta get past just what you feel and hear and somehow imagine what is happening besides that. Especially important is imagining what the tension in the non-speaking length is, and also what residual twist is left in the pin. Ya gotta find a balance so you leave the string in a stable condition. No silver bullet.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2837237
04/09/19 11:43 AM
04/09/19 11:43 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,456
Richfield Springs, New York
E
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Eric Gloo  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,456
Richfield Springs, New York
What brand is the grand piano you're working on? Some can be quite temperamental.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2837246
04/09/19 11:55 AM
04/09/19 11:55 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,190
New Hampshire
P
P W Grey Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P W Grey  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,190
New Hampshire
There are effective ways of lubricating the bearing and counter bearing surfaces because of this very issue. However, it would be unwise for us to discuss this publicly since if someone does it incorrectly and creates collateral damage, they may say: "I read it on PW, It must be okay". Not so. A doctor is not going to tell you every solution in the book for your ailment...he/she might apply it but not tell you everything...you might misuse it as so many do.

As in so many things there are do's and don'ts.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 04/09/19 11:57 AM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2837260
04/09/19 12:38 PM
04/09/19 12:38 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 106
UK
J
Jt2nd Offline
Full Member
Jt2nd  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 106
UK
Pete87 .I imagine you could discover the difference between an awkward , tight pin and one that tunes very sweetly by relaxing two sample strings in the same section of the piano . Relax a "good " pin and measure the turning resistance without the string being involved. Then compare that with any very tight pins. You could use a torque wrench with a tuning socket if there is a practical way to marry the two together .
I may not be allowed to mention how to convert one tight pin into a sweet one . But if you have a numerical comparison you have something to think about . Get a spare block of wood and drill a hole . Fit a spare pin into it and measure that . Then try to convert tight into sweet. All in your back yard and well away from a piano . And do it horizontally too .
Surely tuners have cracked this problem with utter certainty by now. It all sounds like lots of people guessing all the time .

Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2837272
04/09/19 01:04 PM
04/09/19 01:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 484
Maine, USA
R
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member
Rick_Parks  Offline
Full Member
R

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 484
Maine, USA
Sounds like you are running into problems resulting from any of several possibilities:

Either, inexperience is causing you to not use a proper technique- you might either be flag-polling, bending, twisting, and yet not turning-- while thinking that all that motion is you "turning the pin, and turning the pin, and nothing happening".

Or, you are not confident enough to attack the pin enough to be breaking the tension in bringing it back sharp, in order to truly be tuning it. Timid = over careful, which can translate into not enough torque applied.
Have you considered impact method? Tends to work a lot better than slow-pull/push in situations with fussy pins.

Or, you have excessive friction at pressure points (as Peter says)- agraffes and friction points can be lubed with a special lube for the purpose (or so it has become an acceptable practice in recent years). I personally try to avoid this (lube attracts grime and dust to the string's friction points in the end).

Or, (less likely than the above) you are faced here with a bad re-pin job (or bad mfg pin job) that you are up against, and the pins are skipping- which you just have to overcome through your own stubborn stick-to-it-ness.

Without being there it is hard to judge what's happening.


Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com
Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2838530
04/12/19 08:23 PM
04/12/19 08:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 106
UK
J
Jt2nd Offline
Full Member
Jt2nd  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 106
UK
I bought a small plasic bottle of fine graphite powder which I tried on a stubborn door lock. Before it needed a good bang to close the door. After rubbing the graphite on the lock it`s very smooth and quiet and no dust is attracted to it . But getting that under a tight string is the tricky bit .Try it on one bad case to see how it may work . On an upright I get as far as I can with one (first) unison string. Then swop to the other (third) unison . Sometimed going to and fro a few times can get you near the result you want .Even plucking the strings can stop you tuning in the wrong direction .
My naughty experiment was to slacken a string by half a turn and then rotate it back and forth by 180 degrees. For a slight improvement in stiffness I found 30 turns worked well .If it makes a squealing sound it`s still too tight . That`s a useful guide .Nothing too rapid . Just a steady pull and keep a record of the number of the turns .Looped strings go out of tune together so they need to be retuned together . Bluthners used to fit each string separately .

Re: Grand piano tuning issue - or is it just me? [Re: Pete87] #2838592
04/13/19 03:25 AM
04/13/19 03:25 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,820
Scotland
D
David Boyce Online content
Gold Subscriber
David Boyce  Online Content
Gold Subscriber
D

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,820
Scotland
I'm not quite sure where you are applying this graphite powder - is it a string rendering points, such as bearing bars, agraffes, under-string felt? Graphite is not normally used for this. There are other options.


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