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Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
#2860240 06/18/19 10:43 PM
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My big old Steinway says A 435 in several places, just so you get the idea from the rebuilder. So I tuned it to A 435 two days ago, and now it's in tune but at A 437. Is it trying to climb up to 440, all by itself? How is this possible? It's not noticeably warmer or more humid in my Music Room.

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Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860248 06/18/19 11:36 PM
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My experience is that pianos have their own personality. Sometimes inexplicably.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860318 06/19/19 06:57 AM
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Do you mean you have a hygrometer and it's reading has remained constant? Humidity would certainly do it.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860338 06/19/19 08:23 AM
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I'm not sure of your location, but where I am, pianos going sharp this time of year is pretty much the norm.

Last edited by Loren D; 06/19/19 08:24 AM. Reason: typs

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Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860348 06/19/19 08:46 AM
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What was the pitch before you put it at 435?


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Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860352 06/19/19 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by edferris
So I tuned it to A 435 two days ago, and now it's in tune but at A 437. Is it trying to climb up to 440, all by itself? How is this possible?

it's very intresting. Is it possible so to a pitch rising after 2 days more?

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860356 06/19/19 09:06 AM
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Try it again and see what happens. I'm not all that surprised.

I assume you overshot your target pitch by at least 20%, right? If not, there's your problem.

Pwg


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Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860385 06/19/19 10:45 AM
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I'm an amateur at tuning. I bring the pitch (of each string) slightly sharp and then down to consonance (with the Korg tuner or the temperament octave).
What puzzles me is how the tension is increasing. My hygrometer readings are higher than earlier this year, but have been constant over the past couple of weeks.
The piano store tuner said it was at A 448 in their shop, and had been tuned twice in twenty years. I never heard it that sharp, and did not have to lower the pitch much.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860523 06/19/19 04:19 PM
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Did you check the pitch level after you were done tuning to make sure it really was where you thought you left it after tuning?
What was the general pitch before tuning using the Korg?

Tough to know about the humidity variations without a data logger in place, but during a phase of rising humidity, the piano's pitch shift can lag behind a bit. So if it was less humid a week before tuning, then the humidity went up a few days before tuning and stayed high, the pitch can continue to rise as the wood changes... That's my guess, barring an unsuccessful pitch lowering procedure.

Oh, and if you are using a Korg (or other basic tuning device) to set the temperament, it works better creating a temperament octave where A4 is in the middle - say Eb-Eb or D-D. That part of the tuning usually doesn't shift as much as A3-A4 due to the stretch needed to make the tuning work. Give it a try!
Ron Koval

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860536 06/19/19 04:52 PM
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So if you're at 437-438hz now a d you want to get to 435 you'll need to go to 433 or so quickly and then reset at 435. It will come back up in the process of taking it down, essentially the opposite of raising the pitch where we overshoot quickly by 25% or so and by the time we're done we can TUNE at the pitch we want.

No piano is stable with a pitch change like that. It will require multiple tunings to reset at the different pitch.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860571 06/19/19 06:12 PM
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So this is a pitch change and I need to do it in two steps.
I was setting F4-F5 (above Middle C) by the Korg tuner and working from there.
Thanks for the advice.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860591 06/19/19 07:36 PM
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What was the average pitch before you tuned??

Ron Koval

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860594 06/19/19 07:44 PM
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[Linked Image]

If you look at a railsback-type curve of piano tuning, you can see how when the temperament is expanded out to the ends of the piano, adjustments are made from the basic electronic tuning found in a Korg tuner (red line) That little flat section that sits right on the red line is where you want to set your temperament... The blue line will change in response to all the random factors between pianos

(Thanks to pianocheck.com, where I found the image via google)

Ron Koval

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860642 06/19/19 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by edferris
So this is a pitch change and I need to do it in two steps.
I was setting F4-F5 (above Middle C) by the Korg tuner and working from there.
Thanks for the advice.


Yes, this is a pitch change. All the normal rules apply. 😁

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
RonTuner #2860819 06/20/19 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the graph, Ron. I know to stretch the octaves, but the figures of -10 cents bass and up to +30 treble is more specific. It's difficult to get a pitch out of "plink" and "thunk", though.
Still, even I can hear that the growling bass and ringing treble are better than any other piano I've owned.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860820 06/20/19 10:53 AM
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Oh, and according the Korg, the pitch was A 442 just after they delivered the piano, seven months ago.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860838 06/20/19 12:02 PM
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I'm curious as to why you are lowering the pitch?


Eric Gloo
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Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860920 06/20/19 02:53 PM
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Because it says A 435 and it was originally built to that pitch, I assume. Even after it settled in to my house, I was getting bad unisons around Middle C -- the middle of the trichords would go slightly flat -- so it obviously was not comfortable at A 442 or above.
Why don't I hire a pro to tune it? Because the only tuner in town has stopped answering phone calls, and I made an enemy of the only other nearby one over the Aeolian Knabe I had to return. I've tried to get somebody up from Cinci, but they don't show.

Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860958 06/20/19 04:02 PM
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Do I have it correct that this is a rebuilt Steinway? Meaning that it was strung with modern wire, etc.?

If so, you have nothing to worry about tension wise. The cast iron frame is way overbuilt and can sustain far more tension than you will ever put on it. In fact, if the above is correct, then by lowering the pitch you are taking the majority of the wire further away from the "goldilocks" zone of breaking %, which will not (probably) enhance the sound.

If though it has original wire, that's a different story altogether.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Piano goes sharp -- how is this possible?
edferris #2860961 06/20/19 04:07 PM
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I don’t think having it at A442 would be the reason it was unstable with tuning. Pianos are different and some pianos seem to take a while to settle and others settle really quickly. You say it settled into your house, how do you know?

One piano which I tuned regularly (usually with weekly touchups) I installed a dampp chaser on. It got worse and would go out of tune rapidly. I endured and then suddenly about 6 months after that it started staying magically in tune. The environment didn’t change and it’s been over 10 years now and it behaves exactly the same. Since then I tune it once or twice a year and touch up unisons every few weeks, and it rarely has even an objectionable unison.

It’s my opinion that best thing you can do for the piano’s stability and acclimation to a new environment is have it tuned regularly for a while. How long? Until it can be determined what its natural stability is. Then adjust the tuning frequency according to what you’ve learned.

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