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Pitch Raising 100 cents #2951951 02/26/20 07:07 PM
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Steve Freides Offline OP
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As I've mentioned here before, I'm an occasional piano tuner - probably tune about one piano a month, but I have three or four waiting for me, and in particular, I've got one that's basically a half-step flat, a console.

I've never pitch raised that much - appreciate suggestions as to whether to attempt it in a single pass, e.g., starting maybe 10 cents high and hoping I'm near A=440 at the end of the pitch raise. Or perhaps a couple of quick passes would be better, one to aim maybe 50 or 25 cents flat, another to get to A=440, and then a tuning.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

-S-

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Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2951955 02/26/20 07:44 PM
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My belief is that you raise the pitch to approximately where you want it. That may take more than one pass. Then you tune it.


Semipro Tech
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: BDB] #2951986 02/26/20 09:54 PM
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Steve Freides Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
My belief is that you raise the pitch to approximately where you want it. That may take more than one pass. Then you tune it.

So you're saying that if I normally do a pitch raise by aiming 10 cents sharp to start, I should just do that, and see where it ends up?

-S-

Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952004 02/26/20 10:55 PM
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You can find the answers here.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1650126/Aural%20pitch%20raises%20(with%20over-.html

Last edited by TimM_980; 02/26/20 10:57 PM.
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952114 02/27/20 08:46 AM
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Greetings,
I tend to follow the built in calculator for determining the amount of over-pull in raising to a specific pitch. The modern ETD's are better than my ear for judging this amount, so it usually is 25% of the amount flat. However, I wouldn't want to pull strings up 25 cents sharp of 440 on an unknown and neglected piano, so I would suggest you keep run through it in a 20 minute pitch raise that begins 10 cents sharp. By the time you are finished, it will probably still be flat, but within a full correction distance. I once had an emergency tuning called for, for a performance on a piano that 20 cents flat. I had 60 minutes. Using the Accu-tuner in correction mode, I had it at 440 in 15 minutes,(averaged pitch, some strings were well sharp or flat of that), and managed to speed through it in 45. It met all expectations and the recording sounded good. I could not have done that aurally.
If you only take it to the final pitch each pass, theoretically, it will never reach it.
Regards,

Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: TimM_980] #2952125 02/27/20 09:08 AM
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Steve Freides Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
You can find the answers here.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1650126/Aural%20pitch%20raises%20(with%20over-.html


A good read, thanks for that.

FWIW, I have in the past done my first pass where, once I get a sense of about how far I need to turn each pin, turning each pin by about that much without listening. For one piano that was about 50 cents flat, it worked out OK for me, and given that tomorrow morning's tuning was anywhere from 80 to 120 cents out when I spot checked, I think that may be my first, quick pass, followed by a second, more traditional pitch raise, and then finally a fine tuning, "fine" being the operative word meaning to the best of my ability. smile

-S-

-S-

Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952126 02/27/20 09:15 AM
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Just go 10 cents sharp the first time. It will drop back flat in the process so just do it again about 5 cents sharp. Then tune it. Then come back in a month and tune it again. Then come back in two months and tune it again. Then come back in 6 months and tune it again.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952127 02/27/20 09:17 AM
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A rough but helpful guideline when pitch raising (at least aurally) is that to get the string to settle at your target pitch, take the amount the string is flat and pull it over pitch by about 40% of that. So, if it's 10c flat, pull it about 4c sharp. There are of course other considerations (you don't need to pull bass strings as much as plain wire, and you generally want to increase the overpull amounts in the treble sections). Modern ETDs are excellent at calculating the amount of overpull needed to have the piano very close to pitch after one pass. That said, when you're doing a piano that is 100c flat or more, pulling it above pitch by 40c or more can bump up against the limits of elasticity depending on the condition of the wire. In those cases, I will often do a very quick first pass where I pull the strings slightly sharp (10-20c) and then do a second pass using the ETD in normal pitch raise mode, so now the calculated pitch raise is occurring on strings that are 20-40c flat instead of 100c or more.

Oh, and always start pitch raises with a quick downward motion on the pin to break tension before bringing it up. smile


Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: P W Grey] #2952205 02/27/20 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Just go 10 cents sharp the first time. It will drop back flat in the process so just do it again about 5 cents sharp. Then tune it. Then come back in a month and tune it again. Then come back in two months and tune it again. Then come back in 6 months and tune it again.

Pwg


100 cent drop from my limited experience in my area is usually a piano that hasn’t been tuned in decades. I get one a week this bad. A lot of these customers do not have trained ears or much money, so I don’t anticipate tuning their pianos again for at least 240 months.

I have tried to tell them it needs to be tuned again in a month but they look at me suspiciously and confused. So I don’t even bother anymore. I send them the link for piano care on the PTG website, but doubt they ever take time to read it.

Last edited by TimM_980; 02/27/20 12:00 PM.
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: TimM_980] #2952289 02/27/20 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Just go 10 cents sharp the first time. It will drop back flat in the process so just do it again about 5 cents sharp. Then tune it. Then come back in a month and tune it again. Then come back in two months and tune it again. Then come back in 6 months and tune it again.

Pwg


100 cent drop from my limited experience in my area is usually a piano that hasn’t been tuned in decades. I get one a week this bad. A lot of these customers do not have trained ears or much money, so I don’t anticipate tuning their pianos again for at least 240 months.

I have tried to tell them it needs to be tuned again in a month but they look at me suspiciously and confused. So I don’t even bother anymore. I send them the link for piano care on the PTG website, but doubt they ever take time to read it.


Sometimes people don't grasp the concept but I find that most often they do. I explain it in terms of things they (probably) know and factors affecting how long pianos will stay in tune. Something like the following...

"OK, so you probably have noticed that every time someone plays a stringed instrument that they tune it. All string instruments like guitars, violins, harps, banjos, etc will go out of tune over a few hours or days - and even during playing.
[customer may agree that they know this or accepts it as true]
"But one way that pianos are different from all other stringed instruments is that even they have hundreds of strings -- instead of a half dozen or so -- they will stay in tune a really long time... up to several months!

"But there is a way that pianos are like other string instruments, too: When they get way out of tune and are brought to correct pitch they go out of tune immediately because of the increased string tension. The same is true of pianos.
"Did you know that there is close to 40 tons of string tension when the piano is at correct pitch? When I raise the pitch ½ step (from B to C demonstrated) I'll be adding 2 or 3 thousand pounds of tension to the framework. Flex and settling will occur. It's just like putting a compact car on a piece of furniture. There will be flex and strain.

So, when I finish today, the piano will be out of tune at the correct pitch level. I can come back in two weeks after it has stabilized to put it in tune so that the notes agree with themselves.

****

I also explain that there can be two meanings to "out of tune"
1) Notes don't agree with each other
2) Notes may or may not agree with each other but in addition are not close to the correct pitch level "It's not fair to your child taking lessons that when they press C they are automatically playing the wrong note and hearing B", I'll say.

****
Additionally, many customers are already feeling "guilty" and acknowledge that they had "been forgetting" to "call someone".

***

Also, this is an issue that should have been dealt with -- at least in part -- at the phone call setting the appointment.
Certainly you inquire when the piano was last tuned?
I also ask what usage the piano (does or will) receive. Someone taking lessons? Holiday party once a year? University music major practicing 4 hrs a day? Recommended service level flows from that.
When asked for pricing, I'll quote for a "regularly maintained instrument". If the instrument has been "neglected" then there will likely be additional work which I'll quote when I see the piano.
I usually give an example of likely scenarios and their cost, though -- such as for pitch raise and minor regulation. If the customer balks at the price ranges mentioned, then I don't schedule a visit. It's going to be a lose-lose situation that's best avoided.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: kpembrook] #2952366 02/27/20 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kpembrook


Certainly you inquire when the piano was last tuned?


Thanks Keith for the tips.

I kept having uncomfortable situations when I would show up and the piano would need a large pitch raise after being told the piano was tuned a year ago so I stopped asking when the last time the piano was tuned over the phone. I tell people my range of pricing for tuning and tell them the only way I can provide a quote ahead of time is if they send me a short video/audio recording playing each A on the keyboard from lowest to highest. I have received many hundreds of these recordings for quotes when I started asking for them a year ago. If it needs a pitch raise I give the price based on severity and send them to a link on my web page explaining the extra cost and time involved. I include a link to PTG pitch raise article on the webpage. 95% of people will agree to the quote and hire me.




Last edited by TimM_980; 02/27/20 09:06 PM.
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: TimM_980] #2952416 02/28/20 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
Originally Posted by kpembrook


Certainly you inquire when the piano was last tuned?


Thanks Keith for the tips.

I kept having uncomfortable situations when I would show up and the piano would need a large pitch raise after being told the piano was tuned a year ago so I stopped asking when the last time the piano was tuned over the phone. I tell people my range of pricing for tuning and tell them the only way I can provide a quote ahead of time is if they send me a short video/audio recording playing each A on the keyboard from lowest to highest. I have received many hundreds of these recordings for quotes when I started asking for them a year ago. If it needs a pitch raise I give the price based on severity and send them to a link on my web page explaining the extra cost and time involved. I include a link to PTG pitch raise article on the webpage. 95% of people will agree to the quote and hire me.


Brilliant!


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: TimM_980] #2952467 02/28/20 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Just go 10 cents sharp the first time. It will drop back flat in the process so just do it again about 5 cents sharp. Then tune it. Then come back in a month and tune it again. Then come back in two months and tune it again. Then come back in 6 months and tune it again.

Pwg


100 cent drop from my limited experience in my area is usually a piano that hasn’t been tuned in decades. I get one a week this bad. A lot of these customers do not have trained ears or much money, so I don’t anticipate tuning their pianos again for at least 240 months.

I have tried to tell them it needs to be tuned again in a month but they look at me suspiciously and confused. So I don’t even bother anymore. I send them the link for piano care on the PTG website, but doubt they ever take time to read it.


The difference in my situation is that many of these pianos belong to the parents of my students, or in the case of adults, my students. I make most of my living giving private music lessons. In this way, I suppose you could say they're at least somewhat more of a "captive audience" in that I have an ongoing relationship with them.

The rest are usually people I know, or friends of friends. Many of my tunings are in my town, and usually within walking distance (which I'd put at about half hour or 45 minute walk one-way).

Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952475 02/28/20 09:20 AM
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In addition to all of Keith's reasonings (all if which I use), occasionally a parent will question the need for such regular service saying that "they" can't tell the difference from in to out of tune. I suggest that they can...however how would they react if they paid good money to go to a symphony orchestra concert and nobody bothered to tune any of their instruments? They would probably walk out in disgust over the matter...even more important for a youngster in the learning stages to LEARN what is in tune from what is not. They usually get it.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Pitch Raising 100 cents [Re: Steve Freides] #2952546 02/28/20 12:22 PM
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You really have to adjust your technique based on the piano. If it's an old upright I go very conservative with overpulling: maybe 10 cents (or a couple of beats) because I worry about string breakage. It's also a good idea to lubricate bearing points. I use Protek Prolube for this.

Yesterday I had a 1960s Wurlitzer spinet that was about 100 cents flat. I started out 6 beats sharp on A4. The piano ended up about 2 beats flat at the end of the first quick pass.

When a piano is this flat, it is actually pretty quick to not use mutes but just try to listen to one string as you pull the octaves, and make the octave quite wide. then bring up the other two strings. This is all ultra-quick ball park tuning and so I'm unconcerned about any sort of fine accuracy.

It took three passes to get the piano nicely in tune.
In between passes I quickly shaped and ironed the hammers and fit them to the strings.
I enjoy making before and after recordings for the client.
Before service: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_e6L9tyNf9kl1sNYKe8KwqWFydL74YM7/view?usp=sharing
After service: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_eMFAmmcYEziWiSajy_ghXiRGLjvCd87/view?usp=sharing

We sell these types of appointments as "extended service appointments" and I try to be in and out of the home in about 3 hours.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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