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Originally Posted by pold
Can you be precise and tell me which digital pianos were non-ET?

No, sorry, I didn't take notes, because I was simply observing, not planning to do anything about it. I basically just walk up to a keyboard / digital piano at any opportunity, e.g. while browsing in a music shop, at a wedding reception or other event, at a church band session, etc., and I listen to progression of RBIs and quality of SBIs (and unisons).


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Originally Posted by pold
I know there are different approaches, but I would say that when a pianist wants his piano being tuned, he expects an equal temperament, not something else. Don't you think?
.

No, the majority of my customers hire me because I tune non-equal temperaments. They didn't know they preferred them until they heard them.

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Consider the following instructions:

Connect the black wire to the black wire (or brass screw) and connect the white wire to the white wire (or the silver screw) and connect the plain wire (or green wire) to ground. A switch interrupts the black wire. At the circuit panel connect the black wire to the breaker and the white and plain to ground.

Now one knows how to wire a house.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Really, you know, the simplest way to start tuning is to pick up an ETD, such as Pianometer, and take it from there. Get a decent lever and watch some videos on how to use it. One soon realises just how much there is to learn.

My first effort was on a piano last tuned by our local tuner a few years ago. Before I started the wound strings were bang on the curve, the middle registers were 16 cents sharp and the treble was all over the place. Even a pitch change was an improvement.


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You cannot make a simplified DIY tuning explanation (as peter illustrates so well, above).

Tuning is inherently a very complex process, both in its theory, and in the actions necessary to carry it out. Any attempt to make a 'simplified' explanation, will result in something that is SIMPLISTIC.

(Simplistic: ADJECTIVE:
treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are).

You can, I suppose, have a simplified DEFINITION of tuning. Here's mine: Part arithmetic and part flower-arranging.

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There is nothing particularly difficult about learning to tune a piano, except for the manipulation of the tuning pin and string. That takes practice. In the time that it takes to get a feel for that, you can learn to listen for the relationships between intervals so you can do tune by ear. It just takes time to get the strings to stay there. I would tell people that I can tell you what to do in an afternoon, and then you just need to go and practice for three or four years.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Consider the following instructions:

Connect the black wire to the black wire (or brass screw) and connect the white wire to the white wire (or the silver screw) and connect the plain wire (or green wire) to ground. A switch interrupts the black wire. At the circuit panel connect the black wire to the breaker and the white and plain to ground.

Now one knows how to wire a house.

'Perfect. My guilty pleasure is going on Yootoob and watching DIY piano tuning vids. Trying to simplify a complex job is a waste of time, but they keep at it. It's hilarious!


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I have a client who is an accomplished brain surgeon. He told me he could tie a knot in a thread with one hand. I said: "get out! I'd like to see that"... he got a thread and with one swift movement of his fingers he tied a knot...I was dumbfounded. Then he did it again, and again. So simple...try it.

To move fast inside somebody's head (or any other part of the body).you better know your stuff.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 09/08/21 09:20 PM.

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I am not talking about the years of practice etc. But I started this thread because after reading and watching everything you can about tuning, you are left more confused. Especially youtubers, even the so called experts, my goodness, they teach you nothing, they make it look as if they studied the book, passed the exam, but they still didn't understand what tuning is about. They don't share any logical practical method. I prefer a youtuber using the iPad, rather than watching an expert confusing your mind.

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Originally Posted by BDB
There is nothing particularly difficult about learning to tune a piano, except for the manipulation of the tuning pin and string. That takes practice. In the time that it takes to get a feel for that, you can learn to listen for the relationships between intervals so you can do tune by ear. It just takes time to get the strings to stay there. I would tell people that I can tell you what to do in an afternoon, and then you just need to go and practice for three or four years.

I agree. Thanks for the honesty. Tuning a piano takes practice and knowledge, but it's not rocket science. And if you are passionate you can learn everything.

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Pold,

To tune analog (aurally) you must understand the harmonic structure of the notes and how they interact to produce the "beats". Then you need to know which interval s are wide and which are narrow, and by how much and why. To do this you need to know the test (reference) intervals fo each of these and what they actualky tell you. Then you need to learn how to comromise all of these things to accommodate anomalies in scaling. AND you need to learn how to manipulate the hammer for consistent stability.

This is NOT easy, and why few put forth the effort to learn it. Instead they pick up an ETD which is programmed by someone who KNOWS all of the above and translated it into machine language.

It is basically the "see and say" method of reading vs phonics.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Pold,

To tune analog (aurally) you must understand the harmonic structure of the notes and how they interact to produce the "beats". Then you need to know which interval s are wide and which are narrow, and by how much and why. To do this you need to know the test (reference) intervals fo each of these and what they actualky tell you. Then you need to learn how to comromise all of these things to accommodate anomalies in scaling. AND you need to learn how to manipulate the hammer for consistent stability.

This is NOT easy, and why few put forth the effort to learn it. Instead they pick up an ETD which is programmed by someone who KNOWS all of the above and translated it into machine language.

It is basically the "see and say" method of reading vs phonics.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Sure, but you have to start somewhere, otherwise if you are too worried about theory you will never start doing it in practice. Another good method is to try all by ear, and then compare it to what the ETD says.
By the way, for the middle octave (F3-F4) do you guys think even a cheap chromatic tuner is fine?

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Pold,

I agree with you there. The potential pitfall (repeat potential) is that when one quickly figures out that they really only need to watch the "lights" and make them stop and they end up with a "pretty good" result, they start reasoning: "Why should I go to all the trouble of learning the ins and outs, the background and theory, and spend countless hours learning to hear those lousy beats (some of which are REALLY difficult to hear)...and taxing my brain burning up thousands of calories, when I can just let the machine do the thinking for me?"

Only a small minority of will take the long hard road to learn true analog tuning. The vast majority will opt for the electronics. Thats just the way it is.

If one can separate from the ETD as a crutch and use it strictly as a TOOL to a specific end, then yes, one can accelerate their analog tuning progress quite a bit I think. This is how it is used in the better schools...as a TOOL to enhance analog learning. TuneLab USED to have a nifty feature of programming a temperament sequence. I thought this was a fantastic learning tool. You could use it to electronically track you progress and tell you in real time how close you were to correct tempering. Unfortunately Robert Scott has deemed it a useless appendage and removed it from the current iteration. I still have it on an old phone. Version 4.0 I think. I wish he would bring it back. (He says no one used it. I wonder why...)

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by pold
By the way, for the middle octave (F3-F4) do you guys think even a cheap chromatic tuner is fine?

It would be more reasonable if you choose an octave around A4. Like D#4 to D#5

F3 would be about 2 cents flat from the chromatic tuner. Whereas D#4 and D#5 should be about 1 cent flat and sharp respectively from the chromatic tuner.

These cheap chromatic tuners are not 1 cent accurate anyway, but if you tune a D#4 to D#5 octave, chances are that it would probably be a starting point for a DIY tuning.

But you have to tune all the remaining notes by ear because the stretch will increase as you expand the octave towards bass and treble.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
But you have to tune all the remaining notes by ear because the stretch will increase as you expand the octave towards bass and treble.


And you will be way off as you tune the octaves by ear, especially as you get toward the far ends of the piano. When you first start learning to tune octaves aurally it is easy to be off by 5 cents in the middle and 30-50 cents off in the high treble and low bass. If you are working on a little or old piano in bad shape, abandon all hope.

In order to know that you have the octaves in tune, you need either a good ETD or a good knowledge of test intervals and an ear and brain that have learned how to hear, isolate, and interpret beats.

However, unless you have learned the tests and trained your ear, or bought a good ETD, you may think the octaves sound fine. That ignorance can help sustain a budding piano tuner when they are learning.


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thanks a lot for the answers.

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And to compound the problem, some intervals have multiple coincident partials and it's not uncommon for the "wrong" partial to sound louder than the "right" partial. Hard for the novice to distinguish the difference, hence the need for thorough understanding of test intervals that isolate the "right" partial.

However, all that being said, once you get the hang of it, it's "a piece of cake". Very closely aligned with learning a new language. (In fact it is a language all its own).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 09/09/21 01:21 PM.

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pold, you seem to b e talking about a different thing from what your question was in your Original Post.

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I used to own a clavichord that I tuned myself by ear. I tuned quarter-comma mean tone, which is significantly easier to tune than equal temperament-- in part because if there is too much drift in the temperament as you move around the circle of fifths, it will only affect unusable keys anyway if the tuning is not a total train wreck. But it also is an easier temperament to set than equal temperament generally.

I was never good at setting equal temperament, and appreciate skilled tuners who do it well. I don't try to tune my piano because even if I'm fortunate enough to avoid breaking a string and fortunate enough not to introduce a tuning stability issue, I'm unlikely to end up with a good temperament. I agree that it is more difficult than just setting notes to an electronic tuner.


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The vast majority of aircraft flight is handled by electronics. You only need a pilot for the minor issues of taking off and landing. 😁

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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