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#654215 - 11/18/08 10:22 AM Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
JDelmore Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 634
With the marathon ETD thread still in progress, it's appropriate to note the passing of Dr. Albert Sanderson, who peacefully stilled the flashing lights yesterday, surrounded by his family.

Love the ETDs or hate them, he advanced the craft.

May he rest in peace.
PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)

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#654216 - 11/18/08 10:41 AM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Piano World Offline

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 6095
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Thanks for the notice JDelmore.

Rest in Peace Dr. Sanderson.
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#654217 - 11/18/08 11:12 AM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3164
Loc: Olympia, WA
Dr. Sanderson's work is what made the modern tuning exam possible.

My first mentor, Mitch Kiel, learned aural tuning from former University of Washington technician Steve Brady. In 1992 Mitch bought an Accu-tuner II and fell in love :3hearts: with it. It was a really valuable tool for learning how to tune and verifying what we were hearing. PTG has truly lost one of its greatest minds.

Bio from a California State PTG Conference:

Dr. Sanderson holds a Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from Harvard. He applied his knowledge of physics to pianos and tuning. He made many discoveries about piano tuning enabling him to patent the procedure of measuring inharmonicity and create a piano tuning. In 1982, the "Sanderson Accu-Tuner" was designed and has been manufactured by Inventronics ever since. Al has received many PTG awards including Member of Note, Hall of Fame, and the Golden Hammer.
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#654218 - 11/18/08 11:30 AM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5485
so sorry to learn of this. i had the great honor of meeting dr. sanderson last june at the national ptg convention. a very kind man, who could not have been more gracious in the way he let me know i'd gotten his son's name wrong in my book! (it has been corrected for the upcoming paperback).

we had a lively conversation about the accu-tuner and recording tunings, and i am so sorry to learn that we won't be continuing that discussion.

condolences to all his family and his many friends.

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#654219 - 11/18/08 04:04 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Sorry to hear of Dr Sanderson's passing. He will be remembered a one of the "greats" in the field of Piano Technology.
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

#654220 - 11/18/08 04:49 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3164
Loc: Olympia, WA
Here is another update from the PTG home office:

Albert E. Sanderson III

SANDERSON, Albert E. III Of Carlisle, Nov. 16. Husband of Mary L. (McGettigan) Sanderson. Father of David and his wife Karin of Concord, Linda Sanderson Dwyer and her husband William of Hadley, Kathryn Fox and her husband John of Upton and Paul Sanderson and his wife Wendy of Westford. Brother of Robert of Texas and Richard of New Hampshire. Also survived by eleven grandchildren. Funeral service at the Bedford Funeral Home, 167 Great Rd., BEDFORD, Fri. at 10 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the funeral home on Thurs. From 3-7 p.m. Interment will be in Green Cemetery in Carlisle. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#654221 - 11/18/08 06:17 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Jeff A. Smith, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Angola, Indiana USA
I had the honor of meeting Dr. Sanderson last year in Pennsylvania, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. Knowing he would be there teaching, with son Paul, was one reason I decided to attend that event. I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet him and ask him some questions that possibly only he could answer.

The Accu-Tuner and its predecessors were truly groundbreaking achievements that are even now unsurpassed in some of their abilities.

He was a very nice man, and his wife Mary is a nice person also. I've had a number of complicated discussions with Paul about the SAT III and its operations. My regards to the entire family.

Jeff S.
Jeff A. Smith
Registered Piano Technician
Indiana, USA

#654222 - 11/18/08 08:37 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3845
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I too, was saddened and shocked at the news. There was an e-mail from the ETSC chairman from which I first learned the news this evening.

I had many a discussion with Dr. Sanderson over the years. He truly can be considered both the father of the modern ETD and the PTG Tuning Exam. It's safe to say that without Dr. Sanderson's work, the other ETD's and software we have available today probably would not exist.

It should be mentioned that Dr. Sanderson's interest in piano tuning began with a failed appointment from a local tuner. Dr. Sanderson thought it would be a simple task to tune the piano with scientific means and accuracy. The results were not pleasing to the ear. He consulted with another PTG great, Boston's North Bennett School of Piano Technology and later Steinway Education Department guru, Bill Garlick RPT.

The complicated problem of inharmonicity was revealed. It took Dr. Sanderson's mind to produce the first calculation that could deal with the problem.

Dr. Sanderson also tested a large number of tuners across the country to establish the first parameters for the electronically scored tuning exam.

Also to his credit, Dr. Sanderson learned all of the skills necessary to become an RPT. He respected the knowledge and opinions of other PTG greats such as Owen Jorgensen RPT and Jim Coleman, Sr. RPT who contributed to the capabilities his device and all other devices and software have today.

Thank you, Dr. Sanderson for all you have contributed to PTG and the piano tuning profession as a whole. We would not be where we are today had it not been for your contributions. You shall be remembered always.
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA

#654223 - 11/18/08 09:43 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Gadzar Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 2615
Loc: Mexico City
I'am sad too, to know about passing of Dr. Sanderson.

I have to thank him for a lot of things I've learned of tuning pianos, but one in particular: his Double Octave A2-A4 sequence, which I use to tune aurally.

Rest in peace.
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.


#654224 - 11/18/08 11:03 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 221
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
I had the privilege of sitting in on one of his PTG classes on pitch raises many years ago. Amazing teacher and mentor. He will be missed.
piano tuner/technician

#654225 - 11/20/08 04:45 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
ptuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Modesto,Calif.
very sad indeed.
i hope the Accutuner keeps evolving.
wonderful tool.
Modesto, Calif.

..."pret' near, but not plum"

#654226 - 11/22/08 05:29 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1479
Loc: CT
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT

#654227 - 11/22/08 09:34 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
Jeff A. Smith, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Angola, Indiana USA
Good story Rich, thanks.

I had no idea he was working on a vehicle engine that could get 100mpg. Let's hope it's far enough along to be put into production!

Jeff A. Smith
Registered Piano Technician
Indiana, USA

#654228 - 11/25/08 05:03 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
VGrantano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 771
Loc: New Jersey
I too knew and admired Dr. Sanderson. I first met him years ago when he was doing some work for Young Chang. Wonderful man, wonderful teacher. All best wishes and prayers to his loved ones.

#654229 - 11/26/08 12:17 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 796
Loc: Massachusetts
I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sanderson, but my heartfelt condolences go out to his son David, from whom I purchased my piano, and the rest of his family. He sounds like he was a remarkable individual.
If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

#1195853 - 05/08/09 07:49 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008 [Re: rustyfingers]
PLBNJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/04/09
Posts: 3
In 1974 I was living in Lincoln MA and owned an 1887 Chickering concert grand. I needed a tuning done one Saturday and called a few tuners at random from the Yellow Pages, reaching Allyn Winslow on the third try. He came over, saw the piano, and immediately asked if his friend could come by and have a look with him. The friend turned out to be Al Sanderson, who was hoping to write a book on tuning that would include examples of historic pianos and their characteristic inharmonicity (?) profiles. The two of them spent at least 2 hours in a 2-or 3-phase tuning process with his then-new Sight-O-Tuner, tuning the entire scale in the first phase, running the numbers through an HP pocket calculator, then retuning with the optimal stretches calculated by his formulas.

When they invited me back in to play I was stunned by the change in the entire physical character of the instrument and its connection to me -- as if the piano was playing me as much as I it.

Of course that quality didn't last more than a couple of hours after the two men left, and I didn't get a copy of the tuning profile, and I no longer have the Chickering grand, but the memory of the experience is indelible.

#1198678 - 05/13/09 06:01 PM Re: Dr. Sanderson 1928-2008 [Re: PLBNJ]
Hammer Jammer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 2
A truly great man with a wonderful tuning instrument.


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