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Posted By: David Boyce Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 10:34 AM
What are your tips for doing a speedy and effective 'first pass' in a two-pass pitch raise, for a piano around 25-30 cents low?
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 10:47 AM
I would lube the bearing points and tune about 12 cents sharp first pass, have a cup of tea, then go for pitch 2nd pass.

Nowadays though, I would use the pitch raise on Tunelab. It produces such an amazingly accurate tuning in one pass that I suspect black magic is at work. The second pass is just tuning to my preferences then.
Nick
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 11:24 AM
Quote
I would lube the bearing points and tune about 12 cents sharp first pass, have a cup of tea, then go for pitch 2nd pass.

That's exactly what I do. I judge whether to go 8, 10 or 12 cents sharp based on the feel of the piano and experience. I usually get it right, in terms of dropping back to the right place.

How clean do you make unisons on first pass?

I should make more of an effort with Tunelab or PianoMeter - I haven't really tried them properly for pitch raises.
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 11:41 AM
The beauty of tunelab pitch raise (and I only measure 4 notes per octave) is that I can start at A0 and work up. I think this applies the tension very evenly. I tune the unisons by ear as I go. But I'm not really trying hard. The program saves your ears for the proper tuning later, which is also much easier as the first pass is so accurate. It brings to mind what my old teacher told me "you can't really tune a piano unless it's already in tune". So the second pass becomes a good tuning.
I haven't tried any other tuning programs than tunelab, which I bought many years ago in order to measure what I was doing by ear. It was very interesting to see just what stretches I had applied to which pianos. For two or three years I measured everything after I'd finished tuning by ear. Eventually, tunelab became like having an esteemed tuner friend sitting next to me. We don't always agree, but I value his opinion highly.
Nick
Posted By: Ed Foote Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 12:00 PM
Greetings,
I use a SAT, which has an over-pull calculator. I take readings as I go beginning at A0 with the first reading taken from A1. I re-calibrate the calculator on every C# and A as I go up the piano, but avoid doing that on the first note of the tenor, which is often much farther off pitch than, say, a note 5 notes above it. It takes about 4 seconds to re-calibrate, so the added time is inconsequential. I also only move a pin once after the initial downward "bump" to break any metal to metal bonding that may have been formed. I then pull the string up to perhaps 5 cents sharp of the calculated pitch and let it drop to stop the lights, (or nearly so). And, if I land a little sharp or flat, I make up for it on the next string. I don't even consider them to be unisons, just close enough on either side to average the expected tension.

It takes about 20 minutes to get the tension installed at pitch, this way. Then a normal tuning is possible. I warn customers that have had large changes in their piano's pitch that the wooden structure is going to slowly change to accommodate the new tension, and that the tuning will not be the most durable one. I haven't lubed strings in decades, and don't remember the last time I broke one doing this.
Posted By: jeffcat Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 02:33 PM
I went from 80 cent flat.

Tuned to 40cent flat, then to 10 cent sharp,

Then a fine tune, then a another fine tune a week later, then minor adjustments after another week.

Total 4 and a half tuning. Overall, the tuning has been rather simple, the action for the languished instrument needs a whole lot more work to feel nice/ even. It played fine even without regulation, but post regulation and tips from the experienced folks here, even-ness was much improved.
Posted By: TBell Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 02:48 PM
Originally Posted by N W
I would lube the bearing points and tune about 12 cents sharp first pass, have a cup of tea, then go for pitch 2nd pass.

What bearing points are lubed? What do you use for lubricant?
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 03:11 PM
I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 04:02 PM
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.
This.
Or spray the whole piano inside and out, especially around the tuning pins with WD40!

(just a joke, for goodness sake...)
Nick
Posted By: terminaldegree Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 06:09 PM
I just use the pitch raise with overpull function on Verituner, and cycle the % of overpull based on whether I'm on the wound strings, in the middle of the piano, or in the high treble (less/more/most). Don't obsess over absolute perfection (particularly with the unisons), because you're going to make another pass anyway. It takes me about 35 minutes if I don't stop and stay focused, and I'm not a particularly fast tuner at all. I'm sure the folks that are tuning 4 pianos a day are doing this first pass pitch raise in 20-25 minutes. If I see corrosion or am doing a particularly large pitch raise, I lower the string ever so slightly before raising it.

That first pass typically gets me within 2 cents of the target pitch for the second pass, over nearly the whole piano...and a satisfactory result.
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/22/20 07:46 PM
Originally Posted by N W
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.
This.
Or spray the whole piano inside and out, especially around the tuning pins with WD40!

(just a joke, for goodness sake...)
Nick

Shudder.....
Posted By: joggerjazz Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 01:26 PM
Originally Posted by David Boyce
Originally Posted by N W
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.
This.
Or spray the whole piano inside and out, especially around the tuning pins with WD40!

(just a joke, for goodness sake...)
Nick

Shudder.....

STP more mileage­čśť
Posted By: jeffcat Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 02:23 PM
Originally Posted by joggerjazz
Originally Posted by David Boyce
Originally Posted by N W
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.
This.
Or spray the whole piano inside and out, especially around the tuning pins with WD40!

(just a joke, for goodness sake...)
Nick

Shudder.....

STP more mileage­čśť

I basically krytoxed everything that moves / slides. But I used the 205 grease so it's tact and won't run.
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 02:54 PM
Originally Posted by jeffcat
Originally Posted by joggerjazz
Originally Posted by David Boyce
[quote=N W][quote=David Boyce]I use Protek Prolube applied carefully with a small brush (an artists' brush) to where strings pass under pressure bar and over V bar, and at agraffes.


STP more mileage­čśť

I basically krytoxed everything that moves / slides. But I used the 205 grease so it's tact and won't run.
I'm rather upset, I tried STP to cover some scratches on the lid of a Bosie I'm rebuilding and it didn't work out so now I've had to sandpaper off a patch. I'll give krytox a go but the colour has already changed and I think I'm going to have to paint the top. Matching the curly walnut isn't going to be easy.....
Posted By: UnrightTooner Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 03:12 PM
Originally Posted by David Boyce
What are your tips for doing a speedy and effective 'first pass' in a two-pass pitch raise, for a piano around 25-30 cents low?
I tune aurally. That said, first I may not bring a piano up to pitch if it is the dry time of year, but only halfway. Listening to how flat the low tenor is compared to the rest of the piano will reveal much. The lower it is, the more a change in humidity is the reason for the low pitch. The upper treble will also tell you how long it's been since being tuned last. The lower, the longer.

Next is how much to overshoot. 50% overshoot works for me, but from the treble break up, it always seems to need more. So as I go, I give it more. First tuning one string per unison, then going back for the rest. And if it seems I might not have raised enough, I'll give the 3rd string a bit more.

Finally, there are times I have underestimated how much to overshoot, sometimes just the treble, and pulling things up during the fine tuning can throw the rest out of whack. But that problem doesn't seem to present itself if I overestimate the overshoot. So when in doubt, I give extra overshoot wherever needed.

But with a piano only 25-30 cents flat, and I am pressed for time, I might give it a "blind" pitch raise, and maybe just on one or two strings per unison.

Just another perspective.
Posted By: Beemer Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 04:02 PM
Originally Posted by N W
I would lube the bearing points and tune about 12 cents sharp first pass, have a cup of tea, then go for pitch 2nd pass.

Nowadays though, I would use the pitch raise on Tunelab. It produces such an amazingly accurate tuning in one pass that I suspect black magic is at work. The second pass is just tuning to my preferences then.
Nick
Forgive me as a six year tuner of my own pianos. I'm of the opinion that lubricating the bearing points loses the advantage of stiction that acts in conjunction with the pin stiction to do two things:
Firstly to use the NSL as a buffer against SL tension change during playing. Secondly to allow stability testing by using hammer push/pull (up/down) direction whilst monitoring the final tuning. If no change then there is more chance of good stability. If lubrication is used then using a push/pull test would increase the chance of equalisation of NSL and SL and hence a reduction of in tune margin with heavy playing.
Of course I don't have a tuning time restraint, the need to use overpull, nor do I have RPT issues with dealing with difficult to tune pianos. I might have missed other reasons for such lubrication and would be interested to hear of them.
Ian
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 06:21 PM
I lubricate the bearing points on a pitch raising job because it eliminates breaking strings. Remember, on such a task you are trying to move alot of wire ( relatively, compared to normal tuning) through the agraffe/ pressure bar. The highest tension of the wire is the part wound around the tuning pin. The next highest is from pin to agraffe. So to move the speaking length (increase that tension) you are asking alot of the wire if there is the slightest rust or sticking at the agraffe. It's easy to take the first two parts of the wire beyond breaking if the tension won't slip easily through the agraffe.

I wouldn't expect to lubricate in a normal tuning situation unless there was a specific reason.

Nick
Posted By: michaelopolis Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 06:42 PM
Tuned a piano that was about 20 cents sharp today. I suspect the last tuner might have went for A444 but that's another story.
Verituner first pass in 30 mins.
Don't worry too much about accuracy or tight unisons. within a few cents is fine. Go for speed and keep moving the pins.
2nd pass I go for accuracy , good unisons and most of all stability.
Verituner is worth its weight in gold and tunelab can also make light work of pitch raises. I used to do pitch raises by ear a few years ago but never want to go back to that pain again.

I also lubricate with protek on any pianos that are new to me.
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 07:16 PM
Which Protek do you lubricate with? Protek CLP or Protek Prolube?
Posted By: michaelopolis Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 08:17 PM
CLP here.
Posted By: accordeur Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/23/20 10:40 PM
I do a muteless pitch raise with the average tuning (or a saved tuning from a similar scaled piano) with tunelab. Takes at most 15 minutes. I then take measurements with verituner and fine tune the piano. I have pianometer also as a backup, it does a pretty good job at pitch raising, but tunelab, being able to display all 3 strings, therefore allowing one to not use mutes is a major time saver. Also very accurate. Even a 100 cent pitch raise will bring the pitch within a few cents of a440.

In my 35 years of tuning there is only one grand piano where I have used CLP on the under felt because the piano was restrung and the felt used was too thick.

I very rarely break strings. I tune using the jerking/impact type movement as opposed to slow pull. If there is rust I just very slightly lower the pitch before raising it.

Just my method, I'm sure others do just as well using alternative methods.

All the best.
Posted By: KLX-F1 Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/24/20 09:16 AM
Originally Posted by David Boyce
What are your tips for doing a speedy and effective 'first pass' in a two-pass pitch raise, for a piano around 25-30 cents low?

Step #1: Don't raise the pitch of the piano more than 5c at a time.

All jokes aside, you really want to float the pitch of a piano as much as possible to maintain stability. Only in hyper-demanding circumstances (i.e. concert hall or recording studio) must a piano be at exactly a certain pitch. In every other circumstance, people can happily adjust. The 440Hz nonsense is just that..

The structure of the typical piano is vastly over engineered, and can take pitch changes of half a semitone or more without shifting noticeably. It is the membrane structure of the soundboard that bleeds forces throughout the scale. Floating to minimize this is what creates stability efficiently and reliably.
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/24/20 10:45 AM
I'm a big believer in floating the pitch, especially in the domestic situation and especially when you see that due to some odd seasonal weather, everyone's piano has drifted a little sharp or a little flat. No point in yanking the pitch around by a few cents every time.

For an upright piano acquired by a music studio though, and between 25-30 cents flat across the compass through being long untuned, it's really got to be pitch-raised, and 440 is probably the place to go.
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/26/20 04:27 PM
Quote
Nowadays though, I would use the pitch raise on Tunelab. It produces such an amazingly accurate tuning in one pass that I suspect black magic is at work. The second pass is just tuning to my preferences then.
Nick

So yesterday I tried using Overpull mode on PianoMeter.

I had tried it once before, but maybe I set or measured something wrong, or maybe it was because it was on a ropey old upright that was very flat, but I couldn't get it working well for me.

Yesterday was a 2 1/2 year old Yamaha G1 that had not been tuned since purchase and was around 20 cents flat. I decided to try Overpull mode on PianoMeter, and it worked very successfully. Like you Nick, I was amazed at the accuracy - I could probably have crept away after the overpull pass and the owner would have been reasonably satisfied. For the second pass, the piano behaved very well, and I was pleased by the speed of the two passes - an hour and three quarters all in (with coffee!).
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/27/20 11:38 AM
Good news David.
On the subject of floating the tuning....in my part of the world all the men in the household have purchased a guitar tuner and if A on the piano doesn't register exactly on 440 they think the piano hasn't been tuned! So I often have to change just that few cents all through, knowing inside that the piano would be more stable floated.
Hey ho!
Nick
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/27/20 01:20 PM
That's interesting, Nick. And frustrating! Would some form of words by way of explanation about the difference between pianos and electronic tuning devices work to convince them that it's better for the piano to let it do its thing, within limits? No?
Posted By: That Guy Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/27/20 03:56 PM
David - Glad you found the Pitch raise function on PianoMeter useful. I use it all the time and have found it to be very accurate with just a little touch up needed after the first pass.

Just an F.Y.I. - Maybe people are already aware of this but the Pitch raise function will also work as a pitch lowering function equally well. I use it a lot in the summer when the humidity is high. It might be good if it was called Pitch Correction function since it works well either way.
Posted By: P W Grey Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/27/20 06:27 PM
When the issue is a minor one I will often ask if the piano gets played with other instruments. If the answer is no, then I explain what "floating the pitch" is and why it can be better overall. When they learn that there is extra cost and less stability associated with putting it at 440 every time they usually opt for floating.

This is also a good time to discuss the merits of humidity control.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/27/20 06:44 PM
I have that kind of discussion too. We don't have huge humidity swings here - it's damp all the time! But you do get seasons where everyone's piano has drifted a little sharp, or flat. I always explain about 'floating the pitch', and that other instruments will be able to tune to the piano, which is not that much away from 440, but if they are using a recorded music source, they might hear the difference. I explain that it's physically better for the piano, and for tuning stability, not to yank the pitch around. And that it will probably go back to 440 all by itself, with seasonal changes.
Posted By: KLX-F1 Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 12:33 AM
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I explain that it's physically better for the piano, and for tuning stability, not to yank the pitch around. And that it will probably go back to 440 all by itself, with seasonal changes.

This is exactly it, with the caveat that in perfect conditions the average piano will lose about 2.5c of tension per year. It is absolutely superior structurally and value-wise to float. Yanking pianos to 440 Hz every time reveals a very inexperienced technician, and puts very destructive forces on the block, bearings and board. I approach pitch corrections in a time-distributed approach, and combine the value of a long lasting tuning with micro-corrections to achieve target objectives for the customer. This way, pitch targets can be achieved over the long term, integrating float curves with target positions. Try not to change the pitch more than 11c at once on a large grand (as measured from the low tenor deviations), or about 25-30c on an upright.
Posted By: N W Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 01:58 PM
Originally Posted by KLX-F1
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I explain that it's physically better for the piano, and for tuning stability, not to yank the pitch around. And that it will probably go back to 440 all by itself, with seasonal changes.

This is exactly it, with the caveat that in perfect conditions the average piano will lose about 2.5c of tension per year. It is absolutely superior structurally and value-wise to float. Yanking pianos to 440 Hz every time reveals a very inexperienced technician, and puts very destructive forces on the block, bearings and board. I approach pitch corrections in a time-distributed approach, and combine the value of a long lasting tuning with micro-corrections to achieve target objectives for the customer. This way, pitch targets can be achieved over the long term, integrating float curves with target positions. Try not to change the pitch more than 11c at once on a large grand (as measured from the low tenor deviations), or about 25-30c on an upright.
I think this needs disecting a little....
How often are you tuning these floating tunings? Fair enough comment if you are tuning every month or two but,for instance, there are many people who only have their pianos tuned once a year or even once every two years. These pianos need bringing back to pitch or they will just "slip downwards" until they need a proper (and hard on the piano) pitch raise.
Other clients have visiting musicians who need A at 440.
Try telling my studio and concert hall clients that bringing to A440 each time " reveals a very inexperienced technician" and I can assure you that, in this part of the world (south England) you won't have a career long enough to become experienced.
"very destructive forces on the block, bearings and board" what are these forces then?

I guess it all hangs on what the client is satisfied by, maybe someone being happy with a 10cents low tuning "reveals an inexperienced client" rather than anything else!
Nick
Posted By: David Boyce Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 02:33 PM
Good points. I was thinking mainly of the home situation and clients whose pianos I know. AND, I am much more inclined to 'float', when the pitch has gone sharp rather than flat - especially if it seems to be happening to everyone's piano at the same time.
Posted By: KLX-F1 Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by N W
How often are you tuning these floating tunings? Fair enough comment if you are tuning every month or two but, for instance, there are many people who only have their pianos tuned once a year or even once every two years. These pianos need bringing back to pitch or they will just "slip downwards" until they need a proper (and hard on the piano) pitch raise.

Other clients have visiting musicians who need A at 440. Try telling my studio and concert hall clients that bringing to A440 each time "reveals a very inexperienced technician" and I can assure you that, in this part of the world (south England) you won't have a career long enough to become experienced.

"very destructive forces on the block, bearings and board" what are these forces then?

I guess it all hangs on what the client is satisfied by, maybe someone being happy with a 10cents low tuning "reveals an inexperienced client" rather than anything else!

Made me laugh; so true. Every situation pulls the technician in different directions, based on capitalistic necessity, or the marketing 'knowledge' absorbed by the client. We are at the mercy of whim, which is a great difficulty in this career. Science and analysis are treated like an extra option or indulgence, which is insane.

Yes, concert halls and recording studios leave us with no choice but to tune to (439.5-442.5?) 440 Hz..

Yes, the detailed float tuning approach applies to pianos serviced every 2/3 months, or more often. At 6 months, I use a two-point system with the correction applied in the summer or early fall. At a year, I only deal with measuring the approximate correction needed. Going out 2+ years, things become less stable because degradation of net tension does not really happen linearly. I don't track pianos out that far, just deal with them as they come. I expect to see them 5-8c flat on the net cycle.

There is a linearizing effect on the board with keeping a piano in tune. When this controlling force (counter force of strings on the board) becomes too disregulated, board movement accelerates and the extremes tend to increase until the system finally plateaus, due to other structural effects.

Destructive forces on the block come from moving the pins much more than necessary (especially in the center section, where pin precision must be the highest). Destructive forces on the bearings come from drawing excessive string through the bearing points in one pass. There is a small mating zone on every string that corresponds with the bearing point, that must act as a precision slip joint. Aggressive pitch raising can destabilize this, especially if the pins are pulled one at a time, and not in pairs.

Destructive forces on the board relate to the crown and the distribution of tension across it. The climate determines board movement, and we have no control over these destructive forces unless the client decides to be responsible with a regulation system. The best we can do is not introduce secondary stress forces, on top of what climate is already doing. This may be very counterintuitive, but the board is the most delicate structure on a piano besides the action. Floating the pitch accurately allows for the center regions of the board (where it is most delicate) to not take any asymmetric, jarring stress loads. Try floating the pitch accurately for a couple of years on any piano, and you will see the stabilizing effects.
Posted By: BDB Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 07:00 PM
The problem with "floating" the pitch is that the central area of the piano goes out of tune more than the extremes.
Posted By: Ed Foote Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/28/20 10:08 PM
Originally Posted by KLX-F1
Destructive forces on the block come from moving the pins much more than necessary (especially in the center section, where pin precision must be the highest). Destructive forces on the bearings come from drawing excessive string through the bearing points in one pass. There is a small mating zone on every string that corresponds with the bearing point, that must act as a precision slip joint. Aggressive pitch raising can destabilize this, especially if the pins are pulled one at a time, and not in pairs.

I haven't seen damage to a block by too-infrequent tunings, nor too-frequent. I have tuned a concert piano 4-6 times a week for decades, moving it to the exact 440 every time. It showed no appreciable loss of torque. I have often first tuned pianos with a 4-10 year span of neglect and not found any block damage for that since they tuned well for years after, (I have been in one place here for a LONG time). I also haven't found any less stability for bringing them all the way up to pitch at once as opposed to "spreading it out" over a month or two and several tunings. Big changes all bring instability, and it seems to me that getting it all done at once in an over-pull controlled pass and then fine-tuning is no less stable than bringing one up in increments.

Assume a 10 year gap after stringing, and you may have a 30=100 cent flat piano. The pin movement required to bring it up is no more than a continuation of the last tuner's effort. I have also not seen infrequent tuning associated with damaged boards, never noticing that the variance of load a board sees between a440 and 435 or 444 is enough to distort it, and when bringing them to pitch from various distances, I find no loss of performance. Old adage was soundboards crack if the piano is not kept up with, but I find the neglect of the climate control far more damaging than wild swings of pitch.
Regards,
Posted By: KLX-F1 Re: Fast First Pass for Pitch Raise? - 09/29/20 05:23 AM
You are also right, Ed. I respect how you are a warrior for truth. However, here we meet the Checkhovian impasse of understanding between human beings. It really depends on your perspective. What I call damage is very minor to most, and invisible to the eye. I also did not make as many assertions as were refuted above. Piano techs are a tightly wound bunch, but that's to be expected. Not an easy job we have, especially in the era of techno-driven misinformation..
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