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Piano Tuning #615293
03/09/08 09:58 AM
03/09/08 09:58 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 7
Pittsburgh PA
J. Francis Offline OP
Junior Member
J. Francis  Offline OP
Junior Member
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 7
Pittsburgh PA
About 1 year ago we purchsed a new 5'-6" BG Hallet Davis. The dealer had it tuned after it was set up in our house. It has gone through one summer-winter cycle here in Western Pennsylvania.

My wife plays well and we both have a good appreciation for tone. Now the piano sounds clinky from about 1 octave above middle C to the top and quite apparently needs tuning. However, we have neither the perception or the stamina to undertake the odyssey that Perri Knize did to get Marlene tuned. That said perhaps some one can guide us on WHO to tune and HOW.

Basically we want a solid concert sound (if possible from a 5'-6") with strong bass and solid tenor section (eliminate the clinks). WHAT DO WE TELL THE TUNER TO DO? Also please advise what a Shubert Concert Tuning is.

We also notice that keys in about the same upper end have a lighter touch than from middle C down. Can this touch be firmed up to match the low end.

We will also post this in the Adult Beginner's Forum.

Thanks
J. Francis


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Re: Piano Tuning #615294
03/09/08 11:54 AM
03/09/08 11:54 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,015
Murphys, Ca
K
Keith Roberts Offline
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Keith Roberts  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,015
Murphys, Ca
The reason the touch gets lighter is because tha hammers get lighter. The action already has been compromised to achieve the balance it has now. To compromise it more to achieve even touch weight means something else must be taken beyond it's extremes.

If you want a concert sound, you must have a concert piano. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Unisons should be clean whether it is a concert tuning or not.

You should have had the piano tuned at least 1 or 2 more times by now and the regulation needs to be gone over.

Go to ptg.org to find an RPT near you or look in the yellow pages. You should find many in Pittsburgh.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
Re: Piano Tuning #615295
03/09/08 12:38 PM
03/09/08 12:38 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ron Alexander  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Find a competent tuner and he/she will know what to do. Just explain your concerns.

But as Keith states, you are way over due to have it tuned, and your expectations need to be within reason for this piano.

While these Hallet & Davis grands are fairly good pianos for the money, they do not produce the sound, nor have the touch of a fine quality, high priced grand piano. That being said, they can be tuned and regulated to give a pleasing result which is satisfactory to most pianist.

I encourage you to follow Keith's advice and visit the ptg.org site. Also recommend a little patience with this piano. New pianos should be tuned and tweeked a minimum of 3 to 4 times during their first year. You may face a slight pitch raise, and tuning instability due to this lack of routine service.


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
Re: Piano Tuning #615296
03/09/08 12:40 PM
03/09/08 12:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,173
Old Hangtown California
G
Gene Nelson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Gene Nelson  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,173
Old Hangtown California
Possibly a Shubert Concert tuning could mean that the technician used a non-equal temperament that was of the time period and key of the music being performed?
It is a good thing to have an idea of the tone that you want - but as every piano is different it is better to focus on getting the best out of what you have - it could spare you the obsessive behavior.
Have the tech voice the piano after tuning and regulation.


RPT
PTG Member
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Re: Piano Tuning #615297
03/09/08 01:36 PM
03/09/08 01:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,376
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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Oakland
Quote
WHAT DO WE TELL THE TUNER TO DO?
I recommend getting a tuner who knows what to do.


Semipro Tech
Re: Piano Tuning #615298
03/09/08 02:46 PM
03/09/08 02:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Supply  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Quote
Originally posted by J. Francis:
About 1 year ago we purchsed a new 5'-6" BG Hallet Davis. ....
As mentioned, it should have been serviced four times by now. It is the responsibility fof the owner to ensure that this happens
Quote
My wife plays well and we both have a good appreciation for tone. Now the piano sounds clinky from about 1 octave above middle C to the top and quite apparently needs tuning.
No doubt it needs tuning - see above. But what is clinky? As in wine glasses clinking? Can you, with your good appreciation of tone, describe the problem in a way that is understandable?
Quote
Basically we want a solid concert sound (if possible from a 5'-6") with strong bass and solid tenor section (eliminate the clinks). WHAT DO WE TELL THE TUNER TO DO? Also please advise what a Shubert Concert Tuning is.
With your piano purchase you have bought the sound your piano will produce. Tuning will not be able to create a strong concert sound or this or that, if it is not in the piano already.

Tell the tuner to tune the piano properly. As to the Schubert Concert Tuning, perhaps you can tell US what that means - where did you hear of that, in what context?

Quote
We will also post this in the Adult Beginner's Forum.
Not sure how many piano experts hang out there...

Good Luck.

Re: Piano Tuning #615299
03/09/08 05:28 PM
03/09/08 05:28 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 7
Pittsburgh PA
J. Francis Offline OP
Junior Member
J. Francis  Offline OP
Junior Member
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 7
Pittsburgh PA
Thanks for some good responses.

Agree we should have had it tuned couple times by now but were unaware of the deterioration rate. Rate is subtle until one day "clink" is pronounced. Clink is like tapping a good crystal goblet with a spoon, versus cheep glass. Not hard to tell.

One response said to get a tuner that knows what he is doing."Interesting!" In my opinion there can be good car mechanics and bad ones but it is often difficult to tell the difference until they mess things up. Is there such a thing as an association that certifies tuners?

Re question "what is a Schubert Concert tuning?". I don't know either: just read it in Perri's book. In any case doubt it will improve our playing; just inquisitive.

Spell check does not seem to be active. Any suggestions?

J. Francis


j. Francis Valvo
Re: Piano Tuning #615300
03/09/08 05:48 PM
03/09/08 05:48 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 40
North-Central West Virginia
ellykay Offline
Full Member
ellykay  Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 40
North-Central West Virginia
The Pittsburgh chapter of the PTG has a web site with a link to tuners/technicians in your area. Go to www.pittsburghptg.org and click on the link for "PTG local members". Good luck!


EllyKay
Re: Piano Tuning #615301
03/09/08 07:20 PM
03/09/08 07:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Supply  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
J. Francis - a few quick comments:
- Re: spell check; it doesn't work on this site. Use an alternate spell check if needed.

- Re: "Schubert tuning": Maybe ask Perri about that. She is on the Piano Forum (and sometimes here). It is not a term used by piano tuners and technicians.

- Re: "deterioration rate": it is not deterioration as much as settling in of the string wire, action felts etc. which is most pronounced in the first two years of piano use.

- Re: finding a good tuner/tech: go to the Piano Tuner Technician's FAQ Forum. There is a thread on how to find a good technician.

Re: Piano Tuning #615302
03/09/08 08:38 PM
03/09/08 08:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Toronto, ON
Anne Francis Offline
500 Post Club Member
Anne Francis  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Toronto, ON
FYI The "Schubert concert tuning" is from Perri Knize's (aka Pique) book Grand Obsession. It's a term used by Marc Wienert, who tuned and voiced Perri's piano, in the process recovering its magnificent tone, which had vanished when the piano was delivered. On page 259 Wienert describes it as a "less stretched" tuning--but says it's not just about the octaves, it's about getting the fifths a certain way. It may, as someone suggested above, be a type of historical tuning.

As much as she has learned about piano technology, Perri is not a tech--and I found her reporting of Wienert's theories (and I've heard him described by other techs as a very gifted tuner and voicer) somewhat frustrating. I'd like to understand this stuff myself, but I'm afraid I'm no further ahead.

However, all that's pretty much academic in this case, as has already been made clear to the original poster!


Anne Francis
Piano Tuner-Technician

Check out my blog! www.annefrancis.ca/blog

1906 Heintzman upright (rebuilt)
Re: Piano Tuning #615303
03/10/08 10:39 AM
03/10/08 10:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,010
Chicagoland
RonTuner Offline
2000 Post Club Member
RonTuner  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,010
Chicagoland
The Schubert Tuning:

Equal Tempered, slightly contracted in the middle to slow down the thirds and fourths. Stretched a bit more higher and lower to make up for the tightness in the middle.

For the techs out there -

A3-A4 temperament octave is set between a 4:2 and a 2:1 octave; favoring the 4:2. (Verituner folks, that translates to 4:2 77% / 2:1 23%)

Going down into the bass start transitioning so that by C#3, the split is 4:2 70% /2:1 30%, and by A2 the octave width is a pure 6:3 octave

Transition over the next octave so that A1 is set to a split between a 4:1 double octave (80%) and a 6:3 single octave (20%)

By A0, the tuning should reflect a split between a 12:6 (75%) and a 6:3 (25%)

Going up from the temperament, transition so that by A5 it is a perfect 4:2 octave

By A6 favor the 4:1 double (63%) over the 4:2 octave (37%)

Finish by transitioning to a pure 4:1 double octave by C8

(This was worked out by setting the tuning on the same model Grotrian and analyzing via the Verituner)

A safer version that might be a better version for most grands and larger uprights:

Same as above for temperament going down into the bass - just the final octave transition so that A0 ends up as a split between an 8:4 (65%) and 6:3 octave (35%)

Going up from the temperament, transition so that by C#6, the tuning is balanced between a 4:2 (90%) and 4:1 double octave (10%)

Then transition by A6 to match a 4:2 (37%) and a 4:1 double octave (63%)

By C8 the tuning should almost all 4:1 (90%) slightly balanced with 2:1 (10%) to keep it from going too high.

For smaller pianos, you will need to watch the stretch in octave 5 and keep it from getting the single octaves beating...

Re: Piano Tuning #615304
03/10/08 01:30 PM
03/10/08 01:30 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,173
Old Hangtown California
G
Gene Nelson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Gene Nelson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,173
Old Hangtown California
Ron,
Thank you for the explaination.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Piano Tuning #615305
03/11/08 08:30 AM
03/11/08 08:30 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 839
North-East US
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member
UprightTooner  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 839
North-East US
Ron:

Great Post! smile I like how you put the tuning into simple terms first, then more complex, and finally an alternate method. I’m not going to worry so much if my stretch isn’t linear anymore.

I wondered about the tuning that this piano had, and had thought about buying the book to find out. I still may buy the book to learn about how the voicing was done. Does anyone know if there is technical voicing information in the book?

This makes me think of another “obsession” book: Moby Dick. I was told that it was used in the whaling days to learn how whales were harvested.


Part-time tuner
Re: Piano Tuning #615306
03/14/08 09:13 PM
03/14/08 09:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,013
Madison, WI USA
B
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Bill Bremmer RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,013
Madison, WI USA
Ron, thanks for your explanation. It sounds like a very conservative approach if you ask me. Also, I usually associate "tight" with a very expanded central octave, all the 3rds & 6ths beating so fast that the whole thing seems about to burst, certainly not a compromise between a 2:1 and 4:2 octave. To me, that would not be "tight" but "contracted". Not to say I am right and you are wrong, just to note a difference in perception.

I generally use 6:1 octaves from F6-C8 for ideal stretch, otherwise the whole high treble sounds flat to me. Bernard Stopper's popular idea uses "pure" 12th's which would require a far greater central octave width than is hinted at by the "Schumann concert tuning". I prefer to mix the octave stretching in the central octaves as I have done for some 20 years now but no ETD program can do it as far as I know.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Piano Tuning #615307
03/14/08 11:31 PM
03/14/08 11:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 31
Boston, MA
Salllowpad Offline
Full Member
Salllowpad  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 31
Boston, MA
My guesses offhand for why the action is lighter:

Friction getting lower because of felt wear and break-in.
Repetition springs need adjusting.

I'd really look at voicing, though, especially with the "clinking" tone. That could just be partly because it's out of tune, but when a hammer wears (over a year), it exposes new, hard felt, which yields a "brighter" tone. Combined with a flatter striking surface, this might produce the tone you describe.

Believe it or not, voicing affects perceived touch weight as well. A pianist will find himself working much harder to get a mellow or muffled hammer to sound at the volume he wants.

A 5'6" piano isn't going to give you the full "concert" sound. A solid tuning, regulation, and voicing will bring the most out, though. Generally for a concert instrument, the octaves in a tuning are "stretched" or widened as far as possible, and the hammers are voiced very brightly, allowing the piano brilliance to project throughout the hall or stand out from the other concert instruments.

This might not be the best sounding solution for a small grand, though. See how a conservatively stretched tuning sounds, and ask your technician to voice it to your tastes and the acoustics of the room, then form preferences with the instrument.


Piano technician, Hammersmith

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