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As for me, checking false beat is the first priority when choosing piano but I found many people even professional pianist doesn't seem to care about that. Is it because they cannot hear it or just ignore?

In my experience, it seems that the smaller the piano size is, the less false beat it has. Regardless of price, I found many small size piano sound is ultimately clean compared to big size grand which has dozens of false beat.
I get the impression that what you are looking after is whether the sound that people like has a correlation with false beats.


But I don't think you are going to get the answer with your question.

Most people may not have a clue what you are talking about.

But they probably do know what kind of piano sound they like.
So I guess you always carry a two mutes or a Papst while visiting piano show rooms?
Ian
yes. exactly
How often do you choose a piano? Have you established a correlation between size and makers of strings, i.e. Paulello or Röslau etc.?
Haven’t you already posted about this before?

Originally Posted by tony3304
In my experience, it seems that the smaller the piano size is, the less false beat it has. Regardless of price, I found many small size piano sound is ultimately clean compared to big size grand which has dozens of false beat.

As a tuner, this has not been my observation in the field, thus far. There’s one particular 45” studio upright model that I’m convinced is a false beat generator...

You either hear it and fixate on it, or you don’t. If a piano sounds good to you, and also even, then it is good.
Generally a note with one false string is not a problem since tuning the choir will usually cover it. Two falsies in one choir is harder to tune clean. Three of course is messy.

Interestingly I have found that many pianists (good ones) are not bothered by mild beating. In fact they can come to like it vs a totally "clean" (translate: "blah") instrument. I'm talking performance here...recording is a different story. It should be as clean as possible because the recording environment does not perceive things the way our ears and our brain do.

Personally, I like a pretty clean instrument, but I'm not bothered by a some mild falsies. I don't like significant falsies. But I have clients that seem to not even hear them. They tend to be classical players vs modern. And a very few who refer to it as "vibrato".

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
Originally Posted by wouter79
I get the impression that what you are looking after is whether the sound that people like has a correlation with false beats.


But I don't think you are going to get the answer with your question.

Most people may not have a clue what you are talking about.

But they probably do know what kind of piano sound they like.

I agree with wouter79 here. Most people/pianists/piano players/pianist-piano player wannabes wouldn't have a clue what a false beat is or is not.

Also, as for checking for false beats, as Beemer mentioned, only a piano technician or tuner can detect a false beat while in the process of tuning the piano. Otherwise, a beating note, as opposed to pure, could be caused from a slightly out of tune unison, to a hammer needing some minor voicing.

And, as wouter79 said, most people know what they like in a piano, false beats or not.

Just my .02, at a discount. smile

Rick
Yeah my ears are not that good so I don’t really hear false beats. Both my last two piano techs have great hearing but do use instruments. Considering a couple of recent posts about certain sounds from their new piano driving them crazy maybe it’s just as well. I run a bit too close to the OCD line for my own good I don’t want to drive a competent tech nuts. Hopefully I’m not one of “those” customers. Oh well, the check’s always good.
It's rare that you notice false beats while playing. False beats are more annoying when tuning the piano than when playing it.
tony3304, did you buy the Yamaha G2 ?
Can't say I've ever heard of this false beat issue.
The Kawai grand I had for many years developed very rusty strings. In the last year (with me) it started to develope "false
beats" I could hear it clearly ,especially if I recorded myself playing.
I do not know if the technician was afraid to tune it properly (because the strings would snap) However he knew I would
not blame him if this happened because the strings would snap at anytime.
The piano needed to be restrung and restored.
False bears means the piano is not properly in tune ,or do I have it wrong. There was a new grand piano I tried out which
seemed to give false beats as well.
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
False bears means the piano is not properly in tune ,or do I have it wrong. There was a new grand piano I tried out which
seemed to give false beats as well.

Lady Bird, a false beat is a defect in the audible sound of a single string on the piano that manifests itself in the tuning of the note. It is an anomaly/abnormality that is not supposed to be present, and cannot be "tuned out" or removed. Sometimes a good piano tech can eliminate or at least subdue false beats to quieten them down a lot. Sometimes replacing the string is the only remedy for a false beat.

As some have mentioned, sometimes a particular false beat may not be objectionable, or even noticed by the pianist. A highly pronounced false beat can cause a particular note on the piano to sound so badly it can ruin the entire piano, if that note is played a lot; especially if the pianists notices it and "fixates" their mind on it, as someone else has mentioned.

Years ago, I was interested in buying a used Baldwin model 6000, 52" upright piano. I PM'd a good piano tech friend here on PW to ask some questions about the Baldwin 6000, and he said he tuned a Baldwin model 6000 52" upright that had lots of false beats. Yet, and still, he said his customer loved the piano and never noticed or complained about the false beats.

So, perhaps only your technician knows for sure... smile

Rick
Yes, I did. It has two false beat key in start of treble section. The one of them is very tiny false beat and the other one is bearable. Overall sound is amazing gorgeous
Yes, there's more to a piano' s sound than a clear unison.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
False bears means the piano is not properly in tune ,or do I have it wrong. There was a new grand piano I tried out which
seemed to give false beats as well.

Lady Bird, a false beat is a defect in the audible sound of a single string on the piano that manifests itself in the tuning of the note. It is an anomaly/abnormality that is not supposed to be present, and cannot be "tuned out" or removed. Sometimes a good piano tech can eliminate or at least subdue false beats to quieten them down a lot. Sometimes replacing the string is the only remedy for a false beat.

As some have mentioned, sometimes a particular false beat may not be objectionable, or even noticed by the pianist. A highly pronounced false beat can cause a particular note on the piano to sound so badly it can ruin the entire piano, if that note is played a lot; especially if the pianists notices it and "fixates" their mind on it, as someone else has mentioned.

Years ago, I was interested in buying a used Baldwin model 6000, 52" upright piano. I PM'd a good piano tech friend here on PW to ask some questions about the Baldwin 6000, and he said he tuned a Baldwin model 6000 52" upright that had lots of false beats. Yet, and still, he said his customer loved the piano and never noticed or complained about the false beats.

So, perhaps only your technician knows for sure... smile

Rick
Rick
I realise false beats are something that should not be there.
As you will see I was talking about a piano that had EXTREMELY RUSTY strings .Strings that would snap every now and then .That piano was SOLD.in 2017
However I am asking whether I actually heard the false beats because yes , it was like a "weird vibrato" on single tones.
Does a piano with extreme rust on the strings give
false beats ?
I am talking about a piano about 53 years old NOT a new piano.
I see you are referring to the new grand piano in a piano store where I thought I heard false beats .Yes that was the case , I do not like that brand of piano. Perhaps that was just the very strident tone (at least to me ) of that piano. Perhaps I misinterpreted that as fase beats. I have also thought I heard false beats in a flute,where the note that was produced by the
player was "slightly "off" .
I do not have "real perfect pitch" ( few people do in fact) so I could be quite wrong .But yes I know vibrato on a flute , but that was not vibrato.
I just ask these questions because obviously I have an
interest in tuning not for any other reason.
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
I see you are referring to the new grand piano in a piano store where I thought I heard false beats .Yes that was the case , I do not like that brand of piano. Perhaps that was just the very strident tone (at least to me ) of that piano. Perhaps I misinterpreted that as fase beats. I have also thought I heard false beats in a flute,where the note that was produced by the
player was "slightly "off" .
I do not have "real perfect pitch" ( few people do in fact) so I could be quite wrong .But yes I know vibrato on a flute , but that was not vibrato.
I just ask these questions because obviously I have an
interest in tuning not for any other reason.

My understanding is that you can't tell if there are any false beats normally because they cannot be distinguished from true beats between the unisons so to distinguish them you need to mute off the unisons so that only a single string is sounding. To my surprise when I tuned my Yamaha I could clearly hear beats from the single string which, presumably, are these 'false' beats. They were actually really quite obvious and my ears are nothing special so if I can hear them anyone can.
Originally Posted by Rickster
As some have mentioned, sometimes a particular false beat may not be objectionable, or even noticed by the pianist. A highly pronounced false beat can cause a particular note on the piano to sound so badly it can ruin the entire piano, if that note is played a lot; especially if the pianists notices it and "fixates" their mind on it, as someone else has mentioned.

I can testify to that. One single string in my 1886 Steinway B just sounds wrong, has a different attack sound and decay and harmonics composition, just plain ugly. One can clearly see that there is a tiny crack at the front bridge pin, so we've tried everything from CA to epoxy, replacing string, tightening/loosening adjacent string - nothing worked.

In November I'll get a full overhaul done on the piano's acoustic assembly, i.e. new strings, pins, boxwood bridge caps, agraffes, capo filing - the works. This single note is so prominent (b above the center c) that it's just a nuisance and has burnt itself into my memory. Since the piano is so beautiful in itself with a completely rebuilt action, it's just worth it to invest into the repair, just to get rid of that annoying sound.

Of course I look forward to the sound of new and cleaner strings and easier tuneability, but the main reason is indeed this one single note.
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
False bears means the piano is not properly in tune ,or do I have it wrong. There was a new grand piano I tried out which
seemed to give false beats as well.

Lady Bird, a false beat is a defect in the audible sound of a single string on the piano that manifests itself in the tuning of the note. It is an anomaly/abnormality that is not supposed to be present, and cannot be "tuned out" or removed. Sometimes a good piano tech can eliminate or at least subdue false beats to quieten them down a lot. Sometimes replacing the string is the only remedy for a false beat.

As some have mentioned, sometimes a particular false beat may not be objectionable, or even noticed by the pianist. A highly pronounced false beat can cause a particular note on the piano to sound so badly it can ruin the entire piano, if that note is played a lot; especially if the pianists notices it and "fixates" their mind on it, as someone else has mentioned.

Years ago, I was interested in buying a used Baldwin model 6000, 52" upright piano. I PM'd a good piano tech friend here on PW to ask some questions about the Baldwin 6000, and he said he tuned a Baldwin model 6000 52" upright that had lots of false beats. Yet, and still, he said his customer loved the piano and never noticed or complained about the false beats.

So, perhaps only your technician knows for sure... smile

Rick
Rick
I realise false beats are something that should not be there.
As you will see I was talking about a piano that had EXTREMELY RUSTY strings .Strings that would snap every now and then .That piano was SOLD.in 2017
However I am asking whether I actually heard the false beats because yes , it was like a "weird vibrato" on single tones.
Does a piano with extreme rust on the strings give
false beats ?
I am talking about a piano about 53 years old NOT a new piano.

Hi Lady Bird,

I too have had a few pianos over the years with some rust on the strings. The rust was not extreme or heavy, but rust nonetheless. I would take some 0000 steel wool and try to clean some of the rust off the strings. In some cases, if the rust was not too bad, the steel wool would remove the rust on the surface of the strings and leave it with a newish looking sheen.

I do not recall the rusty strings having false beats and the pianos tuned up find. I do think heavy rust would cause the string to be more prone to breakage from tuning (or just playing) than non-rusty strings, as you have stated.

If you are asking if the rust alone can cause false beats, I suppose it could. However, I have a couple of older upright pianos now that are over 100 years old with the original strings, and although the wound bass strings are a little dull, the plain steel wire strings still sound as good as my newer pianos, for the most part.

A brand new piano can have false beats on some strings/notes. I think it just comes with the territory...

However, I am not an authority on the subject. Just sharing my own personal experience.

Rick
"False" beats are a very complex subject. All pianos have some. "Good" pianos allow them to be "smoothed" over when tuning unisons so they are not noticeable, even by tuners ears.

I too have noticed that large grands can have more problematic false beats than smaller pianos. But this is not always true.

Not all false beats are caused by loose bridge pins or twisted wire, or poor string spacing. I have discovered that some are caused by longitudinal modes interacting with the transverse modes. Then the false beats become inherent to the construction/design of the piano.

And yes, I do take a mute and listen to the single strings for falseness when evaluating a piano.
I was always under the impression that false beats were principally the result of imperfections in the piano wire itself, such that portions of a single string would beat against other portions of the same string.

Larry.
Originally Posted by iLaw
I was always under the impression that false beats were principally the result of imperfections in the piano wire itself, such that portions of a single string would beat against other portions of the same string.

Larry.

I think the point is that pretty much every sound a piano makes is a combination of many factors adding together and it is essentially impossible for a normal pianist to identify what is responsible for the sounds. All we can realistically do is judge the tone of a piano as a whole and not worry about how it achieves what it achieves - it is the end result that counts.

Now it is probably possible to identify what you think is a false beat when tuning or when isolating strings deliberately but its highly unlikely that there is just one possible cause of those false beats. If you want to identify the actual cause of a false beat and fix it you are probably moving beyond the scope of an average competent technician to that of piano or wire designer (or those here with a special interest :-) Or so it seems to me at any rate. Personally I either like the tone of a piano or not - and if I don't I'm not that interested if the problem is a false beat or something else, choosing a different piano seems a better solution.
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
False bears means the piano is not properly in tune ,or do I have it wrong. There was a new grand piano I tried out which
seemed to give false beats as well.

Lady Bird, a false beat is a defect in the audible sound of a single string on the piano that manifests itself in the tuning of the note. It is an anomaly/abnormality that is not supposed to be present, and cannot be "tuned out" or removed. Sometimes a good piano tech can eliminate or at least subdue false beats to quieten them down a lot. Sometimes replacing the string is the only remedy for a false beat.

As some have mentioned, sometimes a particular false beat may not be objectionable, or even noticed by the pianist. A highly pronounced false beat can cause a particular note on the piano to sound so badly it can ruin the entire piano, if that note is played a lot; especially if the pianists notices it and "fixates" their mind on it, as someone else has mentioned.

Years ago, I was interested in buying a used Baldwin model 6000, 52" upright piano. I PM'd a good piano tech friend here on PW to ask some questions about the Baldwin 6000, and he said he tuned a Baldwin model 6000 52" upright that had lots of false beats. Yet, and still, he said his customer loved the piano and never noticed or complained about the false beats.

So, perhaps only your technician knows for sure... smile

Rick
Rick
I realise false beats are something that should not be there.
As you will see I was talking about a piano that had EXTREMELY RUSTY strings .Strings that would snap every now and then .That piano was SOLD.in 2017
However I am asking whether I actually heard the false beats because yes , it was like a "weird vibrato" on single tones.
Does a piano with extreme rust on the strings give
false beats ?
I am talking about a piano about 53 years old NOT a new piano.

Hi Lady Bird,

I too have had a few pianos over the years with some rust on the strings. The rust was not extreme or heavy, but rust nonetheless. I would take some 0000 steel wool and try to clean some of the rust off the strings. In some cases, if the rust was not too bad, the steel wool would remove the rust on the surface of the strings and leave it with a newish looking sheen.

I do not recall the rusty strings having false beats and the pianos tuned up find. I do think heavy rust would cause the string to be more prone to breakage from tuning (or just playing) than non-rusty strings, as you have stated.

If you are asking if the rust alone can cause false beats, I suppose it could. However, I have a couple of older upright pianos now that are over 100 years old with the original strings, and although the wound bass strings are a little dull, the plain steel wire strings still sound as good as my newer pianos, for the most part.

A brand new piano can have false beats on some strings/notes. I think it just comes with the territory...

However, I am not an authority on the subject. Just sharing my own personal experience.

Rick
The strings on my Kawai 500 (1966) started snapping around 2016 only .We lived in a city with perhaps higher humidty than Miami .The piano was moved to Canada in 2001.
Around 2015 two treble strings snapped totally on thier own .
I would simply have them replaced .More snapped 2016 and 2017.I consulted an excellent technicians. There is no doubt the strings had corroded to the point where where the piano needed to be restrung.This WAS the CONCLUSIONof TWO professional technicians.

I do not understand Rick how you can say that was not the cause of the strings breaking .The technicians could ONLY
remove some of the rust .If anything is under pressure developes and developes such a degree of rust , of course it will break !
Apart from that the two technicians I consulted said quite plainly the piano needed to be restrung. They even gave us quotes ., You did not even see the piano and are saying rust was not the cause of the strings snapping. They would snap in the night , at lessons, when no one was around .Only once did it happen when the technician was tuning the piano. I mean I was there , of course it was rust !



As for new pianos NO I have looked at many new pianos , tried
them and could never hear false beats ., not ever !!!
There was a Hailun grand which I heard someone play in the store with had a strident tone. The salespeople said that piano
had a duplex scale.
At fist I thought that was false beats ?
Rick I may have misinterpreted what you said .If so I am sorry .
Letting go that Kawai grand ( which was so part of my life was quite a big thing for me )
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Rick I may have misinterpreted what you said .If so I am sorry .
Letting go that Kawai grand ( which was so part of my life was quite a big thing for me )

No problem, Lady Bird. We are, and will remain friends, even if there is a misunderstanding. smile

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
I do not understand Rick how you can say that was not the cause of the strings breaking


Perhaps here is the misunderstanding, if there was one... I never said that rust was not the cause of the strings breaking on your Kawai 500. I said that none of the strings broke due to rust on my old upright pianos.

I always take your word at face value, Lady Bird, 100%! smile

Rick
Same here Rick , I know you know a great deal about pianos and tuning , rechnical work on a piano. As you know I tend to get things a bit skewed at times here.
I agree about the false beats perhaps the suggestion by the technician about rust causing false beats was not true or
perhaps it was ? Either I heard it , or perhaps I thought I heard it because he suggested it.
The main problem was that the piano needed to be restrung.
This string has a very noticeable and annoying false beat, because of a loose bridge pin.

When the bridge pin is stabilized by pressing a screwdriver gently against it, the false beats decrease noticeably.

https://youtu.be/zGmuZ772e6Y
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