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Times it takes to tune a piano

Posted By: Cashley

Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 11:32 AM

What is the usual time frame for a RPT to finish tuning a piano ?

I mean the usual process of setting the temperament, up and down the octaves, to completing all the unisons. Does anyone think 40 minutes is achievable ?
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 12:41 PM

For most, on average 1 hour. Others 1.5. Yes, even 20 minutes is achievable with a lot of speed and experience.
Posted By: Randy Karasik

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 12:58 PM

One hour.

40 minutes only if the piano is barely out of tune, or you don't consider accuracy as important as speed.

Posted By: Dave Stahl

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 02:00 PM

It really depends on the piano and the state of in/out of tuneness. A good quality upright with a good pin block that is predictable and is only a couple of cents off can be cranked out pretty easily in 45 minutes. Good quality grands take a little more time for me, usually a bit more than an hour, because it's physically a slightly different process. Also, the better the piano--especially high quality grands--the more time I spend really dialing in the intervals and unisons.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 02:21 PM

I was told to just "tune faster".
I'm trying various mute techniques and or using a temperment strip or "strip Muting" the whole piano. What helps you guys?
Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 02:25 PM

Drink lots of Coke and be determined that you will not leave the piano until you are finished tuning!
Posted By: Inlanding

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 04:18 PM

Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
Drink lots of Coke and be determined that you will not leave the piano until you are finished tuning!


This is so true...The first time I tuned my piano, it took 4+ hours and it was what I would consider sub-average.

...eight months later, it now takes me an hour and a half and I am now quite happy with the result. Unisons hold their pitch (better hammer technique), thirds and sixths don't beat too fast; their respective beat rates increase uniformly up the scale, and the amount of stretch across the scale is quite good and very pleasing to my ear. Having a good temperament is one thing, but of little value if the octaves unisons are not where they should be.

I mute all tri and bi chords leaving one string open when tuning the entire register. For tuning tweaks in the interim, I just use a couple of mutes when certain unisons/notes start to stray.

Your results may vary, but patience is key. Speed comes with lots of practice and experience, both of which are a work-in-progress.

Glen
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 05:11 PM

Originally Posted by Inlanding
Speed comes with lots of practice and experience.


Couldn't agree more - there's absolutely NO substitute.

When I was at college (27 yrs ago - eek!), our tuning instructors were VERY strict.

For the first maybe 6 months-or-so, they would sometimes insist that you spent the whole

3-hour session setting the scale to perfection..... then re-setting it time & again

to make sure it was flawless.

THREE HOURS - setting 13 strings!!! - then came the unisons, then the octaves etc etc.


27 years later, and an 'average' piano takes roughly an hour to tune 220 strings! thumb.

.
Posted By: Inlanding

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 05:23 PM

Originally Posted by jpscoey
Originally Posted by Inlanding
Speed comes with lots of practice and experience.


Couldn't agree more - there's absolutely NO substitute.

3-hour session setting the scale to perfection..... then re-setting it time & again to make sure it was flawless.

THREE HOURS - setting 13 strings!!! - then came the unisons, then the octaves etc etc.


27 years later, and an 'average' piano takes roughly an hour to tune 220 strings! thumb.

.


Thanks, John...So glad to know my own patience is starting to pay off - albeit, slowly smile.

I've only gotten it right on one occasion without having to retrace my steps since embarking on learning to tune.

The more time and focus I spend on F3 to A4 temperament, the more likely I am to get octaves/unisons correct in the interest of consistency - this is happening with near regularity even on the few pianos my friends are now allowing me to tune. thumb

Glen
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 05:50 PM

Oh yes, I was referring to upright, not grand.

So it appears that on average it takes about an hour. What if you have to raise the pitch ? Meaning you do a rough tuning first followed by a fine tuning. Is 90 minutes a realistic target ?

Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/17/09 06:47 PM

Originally Posted by Cashley
Oh yes, I was referring to upright, not grand.

What if you have to raise the pitch ? Is 90 minutes a realistic target ?


There's no reason why a grand should take any longer to tune than an upright -

assuming there are an equal nuumber of strings!


As for a pitch-raise, 90 mins is easily do-able.....

a quick run-though to raise the pitch (15 mins), followed by a 'proper' tuning.

If the pitch is a long way off to start with though, a follow-up tuning will probably be

required very shortly afterwards.

.
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/18/09 05:38 AM

Hi list. Long time lurker first time poster. Often times a DIYer will find that it takes a long time to tune their piano at first and then think that they are becoming proficient at tuning because their speed improves after a few months.

Tuning the same piano over and over again becomes easier and easier because you are continuing to capitalize on your previous efforts. The real test comes when you have to start over on a new out of tune piano each time. Getting good at this takes years and hundreds or thousands of pianos. It's harder to develope good hammer technique by tuning the same piano over and over again.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/18/09 04:51 PM

Don't worry about the speed, it comes with practice as others have said. There are a few things that cut down or add to the time. One is how long it takes you to move the tuning hammer from one pin to the next. Another is how many times you have to manipulate the hammer before the string is in tune and how long it takes your ear to recognize that the string is on pitch (or the unison is pure).

I've been tuning professionally for over 30 years, so I can naturally tune faster than someone who hasn't been at it long. However, the time it takes me to tune any particular piano can vary from as little to 30 minutes to 2 hours or more. A good studio piano that is tuned regularly may easily only take 30 minutes and that is with going through it twice completely as I almost always do. For some reason, a grand always takes longer. A broadcast quality tuning can easily eat up two or more hours.

I always use muting strips to get the general pitch. There is almost no piano I ever tune which doesn't require some pitch correction. A broadcast quality tuning requires the strip mutes first (at least two passes), then to tune each unison as solidly as possible to my ETD program using a single rubber mute.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/18/09 06:49 PM

Hi Bill,

Quote
quality tuning requires the strip mutes first (at least two passes), then to tune each unison as solidly as possible to my ETD program using a single rubber mute.


I'm just curious Bill, as my ETD (the RCT) has a over pull calc that works pretty well. Could you skip the second run of pitch raise if you pulled the outside strings up during the first PR using the ETD? I'm just thinking that bringing the others up to pitch would equalize the stress earlier than just tuning the center strings twice, and then bring up the outside strings.

There are probably a lot of other factors here too.

What type of ETD are you using? I appreciate your time and help here Bill. smile
Thanks...
Posted By: David Jenson

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/18/09 11:58 PM

Speed increase comes as a natural product of experience. Don't fret over it, and don't push it. It'll come.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/20/09 10:58 AM


To add this to my earlier posting.

Oh... sorry... I see. blush

If I read the whole thing, It's a concert tuning as apposed to a pitch raise. Double tuning with the mute strip is a great technique. As you finish the first run tuning the center strings the first center strings have dropped pitch. Re-tuning the centers the second time will allow for even less drop before tuning the outer strings to unison.

I should have thought about this more before I posted the prior posting.

Sorry to bother you, Mr. Bremmer.

Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/20/09 01:55 PM

Originally Posted by Scooters

To add this to my earlier posting.
Double tuning with the mute strip is a great technique. As you finish the first run tuning the center strings the first center strings have dropped pitch. Re-tuning the centers the second time will allow for even less drop before tuning the outer strings to unison.


I'm not very clear. Do you mean when you do the first run, you only raise the pitch of the center strings?

That is to say when the pitch raise is finished, the outer strings would only have gone through one tuning. Would that cause the outer strings to drop pitch faster than the center strings ?
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/20/09 03:59 PM

Hi Cashley,

I think Mr. Bremmer does two strip muted fine tunings (the two passes) then the final fine tuning with rubber mutes with the ETD. Maybe he would elaborate on this.

The center string will still have dropped some on every tuning with the strip mute and if the ETD is used, you'll see how much as you go back down the piano. So using the ETD, you'd have to bring the center string back up then tune the two outer strings instead of hoping the center string didn't fall too much and just doing the unisons. A lot more work but it is for a Concert tuning and what the Client pays for... A Quality Tuning.

How's that...? thumb

Of course, after you tune down the piano the strings are still going to fall in pitch because you brought the two outside strings up causing more tension on the frame. So if one rechecks pitch there will still be some changes. I think you could tune all day and still have pitch changes. But this wasn't a pitch raise. It was a ultra fine tuning.





Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/20/09 06:43 PM

Hi Scott. Another way to do two passes with a strip mute that works too is to tune the center strings, pull the strip mute and do the unisons and then repeat. You will just have to insert the strip mute twice instead of once which is takes very little extra time.

If you do two passes of the center string before pulling in the unisons the center string will still move some. If you do one pass of the center string followed by unisons and then repeat, there will be less movement needed to tune the unisons the second time and the center string will stay put.

I hope you don't mind me adding my two cents. I'm no Bill Bremmer but I've found this method works well when the piano is close or to or at pitch.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/20/09 07:51 PM

Sounds good byron,

And no, I don't mind a bit. In fact the more I read in my study materials and the more I read here the better off I am. Thanks thumb

And I hope Mr. Bremmer didn't think I was insulting or disrespectful by my posting(s). That would be the last thing I'd want to do here or anywhere.

Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 12:30 AM

There are a lot of tuners here giving stating 15-20 minutes as the duration for their first rough tuning of a piano that will be tuned a second time right after. In my own experience it might be better to think that the first tuning should take something about 1/3, 1/4 of the time of you standard tuning.

Thus, if you start to learn, and your standard tuning takes three hours, 45-60 min could be ok for the rough 1st tuning.

I myself really tried the 15 min deadline several times, but the piano a lot of times got in worse condition than before. The idea of the first tuning was accomplished time-wise, but it didn't help my second tuning at all wink Now I'm getting faster in the pitch raise/lowering/stabilization phase (1st tuning) as well, but that too takes practice time.
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 01:08 AM

I worked at a ski factory years ago. On my first day I looked around at the other workers who were effortlessly just flying away at their stations going through their repetitive motions very quickly and efficiently. It seemed so fast to me. Whithin a month or two I noticed that I was going fast too but didn't feel like it.

Piano tuning is repetitive like assembly line work, only much much harder obviously. Once the listening becomes second nature and a feel for pin setting is aquired you get faster. There are also many large and small muscles throughout the body that become stronger. My friend started laughing when she saw me with my shirt off ath the beach. I asked what was so funny. She said look at your arms in the mirror. My right arm is way bigger than my left. I look like a lobster! This is after tuning about ten to fifteen pianos a week for five years. I should have learned to tune with both arms.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 01:48 AM

Originally Posted by Scooters
Hi Cashley,

I think Mr. Bremmer does two strip muted fine tunings (the two passes) then the final fine tuning with rubber mutes with the ETD. Maybe he would elaborate on this.

The center string will still have dropped some on every tuning with the strip mute and if the ETD is used, you'll see how much as you go back down the piano. So using the ETD, you'd have to bring the center string back up then tune the two outer strings instead of hoping the center string didn't fall too much and just doing the unisons. A lot more work but it is for a Concert tuning and what the Client pays for... A Quality Tuning.

How's that...? thumb

Of course, after you tune down the piano the strings are still going to fall in pitch because you brought the two outside strings up causing more tension on the frame. So if one rechecks pitch there will still be some changes. I think you could tune all day and still have pitch changes. But this wasn't a pitch raise. It was a ultra fine tuning.


Hi Scooters,

You left me more confused than before. Lets keep things simple on a YES or NO basis with less technical terms (such as two passes which I don't understand at all).

(1) Does it mean on the first run the center strings are raised to the appropriate pitch but the outer strings are untouched (muted) ?

(2) Does it mean on the second run both the center strings and outer strings are tuned ?

(3) If (1) and (2) are correct, wouldn't the outer strings drop their pitch more quickly than the center strings ?
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 02:44 AM

There are many ways to skin a cat. You'll never find a one size fits all approach to tuning because there are so many variables. Yes and No answers would be nice but experimenting and evaluating the results is the only way to know. Getting a personalized training program going with Bill Bremmer on Piano World sounds like a bargain but isn't going to work.
Posted By: 88Key_PianoPlayer

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 03:08 AM

I think there's absolutely NO way I could do a 10 to 15, maybe 20-minute rough tuning (pitch raise) on a piano that starts off relatively close to pitch - chances are it would sound worse when I was done than when I started. I've been able to do some floor tunings in 35-45 minutes, though, but I can't maintain a pace like that for very long.

For a piano that is, say, a quarter step (50¢) to a half step (100¢) flat, maybe up to a full step (200¢), I might consider doing a quick pass the first time through. Chances are for something that far off I wouldn't even bother trying to use strips or mutes at all. Question.... would cranking up a string from $1.00 or $2.00 flat to pitch, or maybe up to 25¢ overpull, if it's done very fast (like put the hammer on the pin, play the note once, crank it up (fast enough so that it almost sounds like you play one note then step, not glide to near the proper pitch), play again to verify approximate pitch, remove hammer from pin, all within less than one second (maybe 2 seconds if you count the time switching the hammer from one tuning pin to the next)) potentially be harmful to the string?
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 03:36 AM

It takes me an hour and a half to do a pitch + tuning together. That is at least two passes. If I'm lucky I can do it in an hour and ten minutes. A regular tuning takes me an hour or less. People think I'm crazy for this but I will often spend an hour or more on a floor tuning.
I believe strongly in a two pass tuning. Even when the piano is close I'll do two passes because even if a unison sounds good there still may be some pin setting to do. There may be some inaudible out of tuneness left in the piano after only one pass. With two moderately fast passes I can get into a good pin setting rhythm that is more efficient than trying to nail it once.

The question at the beginning of this post was (what is the usual time frame for a RPT to tune a piano). I'm not a RPT but I have some colleagues that are. One tunes in two hours or more. Another one tunes in 50 minutes. Another one in an hour and a half. Another one has been known to tune in twenty minutes but the customers weren't satisfied with the end result so someone else had to go in to retune the pianos.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 04:13 AM

What you will find, is that much depends on the skill and technique acquired by any particular technician. If one cannot tune any faster than 2 hours or longer without doing a good job then so be it. That's their speed. If one can tune in 1 hour and do a good job great. That's their speed.

I was taught speed. Speed in pitch raising and fine tuning. Drilled into my head over and over. Can a pianos pitch be raised in under 10 minutes easily? Yes, many of us do it. That leaves you 20 minutes or more for a fine tuning if we are shooting to be done in 30 minutes. There are times where that is all we have available for tuning in some settings due to time constraints on behalf of the school or where ever we are working, so it does come in handy. However, that doesn't mean we do that to each piano either as it takes a lot out of you doing this consistently for 40 years. 35 full time for me. These days, I choose to tune them in about 45 minutes to an hour or so. It is much easier on the body and mind IMO.

My point, is that if we judge a tuner that takes 2 hours to do a job that another can do in half that time well, it isn't fair to either person. There are tuners everywhere that can spend 6 hours or 6 minutes and never do a good job. wink

Posted By: Horowitzian

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 04:14 AM

My tech (a concert tech) takes 1 hour exactly. He says it takes him about 2 hours to do a concert/recording tuning.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 04:17 AM

That's about what I spend on a concert tuning as well Howie. 1.5-2 hours depending on when I tuned it last. If it was the day before, maybe an hour or so.
Posted By: Horowitzian

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 05:01 AM

Cool! It's funny how all you guys are working in the same timeframe. Lots of practice! smile
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 05:03 AM

Originally Posted by byronje3
There are many ways to skin a cat. You'll never find a one size fits all approach to tuning because there are so many variables. Yes and No answers would be nice but experimenting and evaluating the results is the only way to know. Getting a personalized training program going with Bill Bremmer on Piano World sounds like a bargain but isn't going to work.


The reason why I sought a YES or NO answer had nothing to do with finding a one size that fits all approach. I couldn't understand the expressions and I thought it would be easier if someone clarify according the way my queries were phrased.

It was a simple question, absolutely nothing to do with "finding the best method etc.". It's has everything to do with "understanding the method that was described" and my problem was trying to understand the method that was described.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 05:09 AM

Hi Jerry,

When you do a pitch raise, on your first run do you tune the unison ?
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 08:26 AM

Originally Posted by Cashley
When you do a pitch raise, on your first run do you tune the unison ?



The idea when doing a pitch-raise is to get the tension on the strings,

so the frame/soundboard etc can adjust itself to that extra tension.

Therefore tuning the unison is important..... if you don't tune the unison,

in effect you are only tuning one third of the entire tenor/treble section.

So a run-through tuning the centre string only, doesn't really achieve this aim.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 11:47 AM

I thought so too thumb
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 11:58 AM

Usually yes. It is more stable then. There are times where I won't use mutes or muting felts when the piano is far enough off from pitch.

A long time ago, a tuner friend, one of my mentor's Harry Buyce actually, who used to work at the old Everett Piano factory in South Haven Michigan suggested turning each tuning pin about the same as its neighbor. "You get a feel for it after a while he said." Provided of course, they are all about the same amount flat. If it takes I don't know, let's just say, a 1/4 turn, he taught me to turn them all about 1/4 turn very quickly ripping through the piano and the pitch will be the same or very close to it. He showed me a few times and because of all of his practice, he raised pitch 2 full tones in about 4- 5 minutes bringing it up to pitch hardly without even playing the piano. Now THAT takes practice. It came out pretty good too considering.

Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 12:50 PM

Sorry I could not answer of all your questions over the weekend. When I use muting strips, I tune the center strings first, then as I pull out the strip, I tune the unisons. It never does take more than about 15-20 minutes to tune the entire piano, each and every string. However, since each string was moved a considerable amount, the result is not a finished product. The whole process is simply repeated.

The second "pass" simply means the second time I tune the piano. The first time, I usually don't dwell on each string very long at all. It usually only takes me one or two strokes of the tuning hammer to get to the desired pitch. My eye is not on where I have the tuning hammer but the next pin. The longer it takes you to remove the hammer and put it on the next pin, the longer it will take to get through the piano. I'm sorry if it seems to some people an incredible and impossible task to go through an entire piano and tune every string in 15-20 minutes but that is all the time it takes. You just have to build the skill and technique to make that happen. Jerry Groot does it just as I do. I learned the procedure at the first PTG convention I attended 30 years ago and have done it that way ever since.

The second pass is the time when I do dwell longer on each and every string, making sure the center string is on pitch, then making sure the unison is pure and the unison itself stays on pitch. For the ultimate broadcast quality or concert tuning, I will go through the entire piano again after two strip muted tunings and get each and every unison to hold exactly to the program with not a hint of drift and not a hint of a beat in the unison. It seems contradictory but the closer the piano is to absolute perfection, the longer it takes to change it a very small amount.

The difference in result from a double strip mute tuning and the final single mute pass would be barely audible if at all. However, a concert pianist playing Liszt or Rachmaninoff, or a case like the New Age pianist, George Winston who produces amazing waves of sound by lots of repetitive and percussive operation of the keys, can easily knock out of tune any strings that were not very thoroughly settled. To do this, it takes very firm test blows and a period of time to listen to a unison to see that it is holding firmly to the ETD program and to hear that there is no beat. If it took an hour to go through the piano twice completely with muting strips, it can take up to another hour to go through it with a single rubber mute. Some pianos are easier to tune than others, of course. Those with very tight tuning pins do slow you down.

One important factor in the total time it takes is the ability to focus and concentrate on the task. If you can't "keep your eye on the ball" so to speak, it will take you longer. If your technique has not sufficiently developed so that you struggle with each and every string, of course you will tire easily and you have to take many pauses to rest a bit as you tune. I can have that experience too if I am quite tired, not feeling well or the piano has very tight or recalcitrant tuning pins. Having said that however, I can always be in a "sprint" mode when making the first pitch correction pass.

If you feel that "sprinting" through the first pass would only leave the piano worse than it was, then simply slow down and be more deliberate with the first pass. You may well find that the second pass falls much easier into place and can actually take less time than the first. That happens for me sometimes as well. It is also possible that a third, single mute pass ends up just being a "touch up" here and there and takes very little time. There are all kinds of circumstances and possibilities.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 01:06 PM

I'll add one more comment. When I tune, I get very warm. In summer, I dress very lightly and often get a fan on me while tuning. When I am finished, I often have sweat beads dripping off of me. That happens because I do "sprint" most of the time. If I am not hot by the time I have finished tuning a piano, it means that I have taken a far more leisurely pace and the job will have taken far longer to finish.

I have been practicing my singing this weekend for an upcoming audition. I have often noticed and did this weekend as well that after I have sung an aria a few times, I am also very hot. It is still warm weather here, so I have had to have a fan on me while I practice my aria. When I have sung an entire concert in my tux, I have to get it cleaned before I can use it again because inevitably, it is soaked.

Using your muscles when tuning will produce heat if you are working efficiently. It is amazing to me how much heat it can produce. I am also amazed at how much heat is produced when singing but I know that to really sing opera type literature, that is what it takes. Just find a you tube video of Luciano Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma" for example. Upon a close up shot of him when he finishes singing the glorious high notes, "Vinciero", you will see his chest heaving and sweat rolling off his forehead. It means that he put everything he had to give into it.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 01:12 PM

Thanks Mr. Bremmer,

I hope this helps Cashley. I misunderstood the last paragraph in Mr. Bremmer's posting on Sept 18th. He does do the unisons after each strip mute (or during).

Thanks for the complete and great explanation on the double pass.

Mr. Bremmer, Do find you have to "chip" tune the upper ultra treble with a guitar pick or finger nail?

Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 02:55 PM


My gratitude to Mr Bremmer for taking the time to explain in such concise manner. I've received help from your wonderful posts.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 03:21 PM

Thanks Cashley. Yes, Scooters, that is sometimes a useful technique.

Just for anecdotal evidence, I arrived at a home a few minutes before 9 AM this morning. The piano was a Kawai Studio. I propped open the lid and removed the front panel, muffler rail, and fallboard. I strip muted out the piano. The piano was basically at pitch. When I have that situation or only a slight pitch change of a few cents, I often will tune each section twice rather than go through the entire piano and then mute it out again.

I tuned the middle section center strings, then pulled out the mute one note at a time starting from the high end and tuned the right string of each note. Then I tuned all of the left strings. I reinserted the strip. I tuned the middle again, this time, there were only a few notes a cent or less off. I left the middle section unisons for last and continued to the treble. One time through, then pulled out the strip one note at a time and tuned the right hand string, then the left. I reinserted the strip and began over. Same scenario, only a few notes here and there which needed any correction. This time as I pulled out the strip, I watched the ETD to make sure no whole unisons were going flat.

Then I moved to the Bass which for me is always the easiest. The first time throu, there were several notes flat. The second time, very little to fine tune. Lastly, I tuned the middle unisons again watching the ETD. When I finished the last note, the time was 9:31. I changed the humidifier wicks, put the piano back together, put away my tools and collected payment. When I got to my car, the clock said 9:45. At this moment, I still have 40 minutes until my next appointment.

That is a very typical routine for me. I can easily handle 4 appointments in a day. By the time I was done tuning however, I was dripping sweat.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 03:51 PM

You actually did 2 passes within half an hour! thumb

That is an average of 4.09 seconds per pin, assuming there are 220 pins. And it does not include the time you spent on moving the hammer from one pin to another.

Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 04:21 PM

Quote

If you feel that "sprinting" through the first pass would only leave the piano worse than it was, then simply slow down and be more deliberate with the first pass. You may well find that the second pass falls much easier into place and can actually take less time than the first.


This is exactly what I meant earlier. For me a first pass that will do any good at all for the 2nd pass takes 45 minutes. As I get better, I guess the time span will be shortened.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 10:26 PM

Originally Posted by Cashley
You actually did 2 passes within half an hour! thumb

That is an average of 4.09 seconds per pin, assuming there are 220 pins. And it does not include the time you spent on moving the hammer from one pin to another.



I have also contemplated this "average" time but it is really misleading. When you develop good technique, it is often possible to "pop" a string into tune during either the pitch raise phase or fine tuning with just one stroke of the tuning hammer. If all of the tuning pins have about the same resistance, your hand knows just how much force to apply. In such instances, it takes one second or less to tune any particular string. It takes less than a second to move the hammer to the next pin, even when applying the counterclockwise motion that is often advisable when raising the pitch.

Then, on the second pass, many strings will not need tuning. It doesn't take much time to not tune a string. That leaves plenty of time for tuning those strings which offer more resistance. Certainly, a large change of pitch will take more time because each and every string may take more strokes to raise the pitch.

I tried to find the Guiness book of world records listing about Steve Fairchild RPT who had tuned a piano in record time but my search yielded no results. However, I seem to recall that he did a 20 cent pitch raise of a grand piano in approximately 5 minutes. I was at a class he gave on speed techniques and put them into practice.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 10:37 PM

Bill,

Let me ask you this: when you switch to another pin, do you let go of the handle end of the hammer and move your hand down to the metal just above the tuning pin socket? or just switch to the next pin while continuing to hold on the the handle where you've been tuning all the time?

Woof, what a question!

Don't you have to be careful about too much speed? You know, you might set off the fire alarm with all the smoke! thumb
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 10:38 PM

Bill,

I tried your suggestions and it really worked for me. Thanks again. I was able to make the 1st pass in 30 minutes, leaving the piano well prepared for the 2nd pass. A lot of the strings didn't need further correction, and I had a much easier time than usual.

I hereby, through enlightening empiric research, sign the you-can-tune-a-piano-much-easier-twice-than-you-can-fight-it-once deal :-D
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/21/09 10:51 PM

Originally Posted by Scooters
Bill,

Let me ask you this: when you switch to another pin, do you let go of the handle end of the hammer and move your hand down to the metal just above the tuning pin socket? or just switch to the next pin while continuing to hold on the the handle where you've been tuning all the time?


The most amazing tuner I've ever met (one of my tutors at college), was totally blind.

He would locate the bottom tenor note of any given piano, by playing the note, then

figuring out which pin it corresponded to (so he knew where the break-point was).

Once he'd done that, he'd use his fingers to feel the layout of the pins.


Once he was on his way he'd sort-of "flick" the tuning head from one pin to the next

instantly.


I'll probably post more about this man when I've got a bit more time.....

he was amazing.
.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:04 AM

John,

That's incredible! I'd enjoy hearing more about him.

Did he have arms like a Crab? One small and one big?

grin I told my Wife about that and she told me I better keep up the weight lifting. It's bound to happen though. I just don't use my Left had for more than hitting the key and chipping the high trebble. Oh, also stuffing a sandwitch into the food processor.( the mouth ) ha

Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:10 AM

I believe blind tuners might not be able to carry out regulating work. Just say if there is a squeaking noise, I can't see how a blind tuner would be able to locate it. Correct if I'm wrong.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:16 AM

Originally Posted by Scooters
Bill,

Let me ask you this: when you switch to another pin, do you let go of the handle end of the hammer and move your hand down to the metal just above the tuning pin socket? or just switch to the next pin while continuing to hold on the the handle where you've been tuning all the time?

Woof, what a question!

Don't you have to be careful about too much speed? You know, you might set off the fire alarm with all the smoke! thumb


Maybe if someone can post a youtube video of "speed tuning" from one of the experts. A video paints a thousand words. 3hearts
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:17 AM

Care to share with us with some 'before' and 'after' details ?
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:24 AM

Cashley,

It won't work... A vid of speed tuning is just a room full of smoke...
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:31 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

I have also contemplated this "average" time but it is really misleading. When you develop good technique, it is often possible to "pop" a string into tune during either the pitch raise phase or fine tuning with just one stroke of the tuning hammer.


I am able to 'visualize' doing the 'pop' for the mid range and bass, but treble section is a constant menace. help

BTW, would like to know which model of ETD Mr Bremmer uses.
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:10 AM

It is great to read Bill Bremmer's posts. He explains so clearly how he does his work and I enjoy reading and learning form what he writes. Thanks Bill!
Only problem is now I visualize him as a big hairy chested and very sweaty opera singer!

I believe he uses the SAT III ETD. I think he tried TuneLab but went back to the Accu-Tuner. Forgive me if I'm wrong on that but I thought I read that somewhere.

The Accu-tuner is great for really fast tuning and doing a lot of aural checks as you tune. Its great for direct interval tuning too.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:45 AM

You're right on all accounts, Byron. Since I started with an SAT II, it was familiar to me. The ruggedness and long battery life were also factors in the decision. Other devices have their advantages and features which the SAT's don't have, however.

The tuning hammer I use is made by Joe Goss (Mother Goose Tools) and is the best I have ever had. It has an oval shaped ball handle and a very firm 1/2" shaft. It has a moderate weight to it which I prefer and use to my advantage. The lighter weight titanium levers would not work for me. During this season where pitches often have to be lowered, I can "throw" the hammer on the pin and often tune the string just by putting the hammer on the pin. I usually lift the hammer off the pin in the middle part of the shaft with my wrist and fingers, throw it on to the next pin and if that doesn't do it, my hand immediately moves to the handle and the palm of my hand taps it.

Yes, tuning the high treble is inherently more difficult and tedious.

Look for the first in a series of three articles by me in the October issue of the PTG Journal. Jerry Viviano who sometimes writes on this forum helped me edit it to get the utmost clarity out of what I have tried to explain. He was trying to learn aural tuning but is a mature man with great math and editing skills. The idea was that if he couldn't understand clearly what I was trying to say, nobody else would either.

Clarity and simplicity have always been my goal as a style of writing because with most texts I have read on tuning, they were very difficult to follow and understand. I started on teaching the skills necessary to pass the PTG tuning exam by writing back in 2003. I have learned a lot from the people I have tried to help, mainly what people can easily learn and what they can't. Therefore, I looked for ways to help people short cut through the process to get superior results with the least effort.

I learned the "tune it twice" concept 30 years ago and have always used it.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:46 AM

Whenever I am going for speed I leave my hand on the hammer in the same position it was in as if I were still tuning. It wastes time moving your hand to another location on the tuning hammer when you can leave your hand where it is and just slap it onto the next tuning pin instead.

If I am tuning strictly by ear which I do often because it is still much faster for me that waiting for RCT to read, hear, register and then show it, our ears hear it a lot faster than a machine does....and if I am raising pitch by say a full tone, I may, strip mute the whole piano, tuning only the center string all the way up and down and only the top tuning pin in the bass section down to the single wires. Then I will rip out the muting strips and do all of the unisons without any mutes or felts. With some training, you can easily hear the unisons popping into place very quickly.

Something else to consider is this. Every wasted hand movement, moving some tool out of your way, re-positioning a mute or dropping it, wastes valuable time while tuning so get the stuff you need, get it situated and then get the other unnecessary junk out of the way before you begin pitch raising.
Posted By: RPD

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:04 AM

Thanks guys, for the insights...

I learned to tune aurally, with strip mutes...but I haven't used them much in years, except on occasion I'll pull them out and set the temprement the "old" way to make sure I still can!

...your comments about how you raise pitch gives me the idea I'll be trying that approach(strip muting, that is) again...thanks...

Bill: I look very much forward to reading your work in the Journal. And, congrats for the three issue run! Very cool...

RPD
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 08:34 AM

Wait a minute ! By "mute strip" all of you are referring to the long red cloth-like material that is normally inserted into the mid-range section ?

As for treble, I believe the only option is the 'mute stick'. Now if I got all my nomenclature right, using the mute stick really slows down the process.

I've been taught to use mute stick for treble section, and to set the pitch on the leftmost string, and tune the unison (2nd and 3rd) before moving to the next key. I realized that the pitch often drops after the unison is done. Is that the wrong method of tuning treble section ?

I'm still screaming to find ways to cap my treble tuning to less than 30 minutes. I hit a snag with the treble cry
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 08:56 AM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT
Then I will rip out the muting strips and do all of the unisons without any mutes or felts. With some training, you can easily hear the unisons popping into place very quickly.


By training, do you mean continual practice ? My worry is if I got my method wrong from the beginning, I could end up repeating the same mistake on every practice session.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 12:16 PM

By strip muting I mean the red cloth for the tenor section only. I use action cloth for the treble section cut into a smaller strip. The action cloth for my liking anyway, doesn't mute it off enough in the tenor section. It comes in about a 2" strip which I cut in half so it will fit in easier and be out of the way for the hammer hitting the strings. I also pull the dampers back in the treble section by hand gently shoving the action cloth behind them and out of the way. Be careful when pulling it out so as not to mis-conform the damper felt. Simply pushing down on the sustaining pedal will easily allow you enough room on most pianos to pull the felt out so long as you pull UP on it and not sideways catching the dampers.

Yes, continual practice. My dad used to have me check my watch. Set a time frame for your pitch raise. If it takes you 45 minutes, drop your goal to 40 minutes checking your watch frequently and I mean, frequently. Once that is goal achieved, drop it down to 35 minutes etc., until you can finally raise pitch in in the amount of time you are satisfied with.

Beware though, not everyone can learn it to the degree some of us have. I have a friend here in town that is a fantastic tuner but never could figure out how to tune a piano in less than 2 hours without doing a good job. The fasted tuning I've ever done was raised it 1/2 to 1 full tone up to pitch and completed the tuning in 20 minutes. Unbelievable maybe, but it can be done. I once raised a pianos pitch up from F-3 to C-4 in under 6 minutes.

On another occasion, working with a friend in a college, starting at 9:30 AM, taking 2 smoke breaks in the morning, an hour lunch and one smoke break in the PM, I tuned 11 pianos by 2 PM that day. So, as I said, it can be done but, it takes a lot of practice, perservance and patience.

It would be good if you could attend a class at a PTG meeting or somewhere, where they are showing a speed tuning. Everyone has their own particular method for pitch raising. Whatever works.... But, the person showing their method must be able to actually do it and at least partically complete the final tuning to show that it can be done in a certain time frame. Usually, most tuners fall alseep watching another tuner tuning.



Posted By: RPD

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:04 PM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT


I have a friend here in town that is a fantastic tuner but never could figure out how to tune a piano in less than 2 hours without doing a good job.


Well, that's easy! To avoid doing that dreaded "good job", all he has to do is tune longer!

(...sorry about that Jerry...I just couldn't help myself!)

RPD
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:17 PM

Thanks RPD. I think for virtually any piano you tune, if you use the strip mute method first for 15-20 minutes, then follow that by using your single mute method, you will find the total time reduced, a less stressful job and a more stable and accurate tuning. You may well find that for many strings, you do not have to place the mute at all because the strings may already be where you want them.

It seems this topic has evolved into what a complete article on the subject would call for. Cashley, piano supply companies sell a red strip of felt (not cloth) called a "temperament strip". When I first began tuning 40 years ago, I had one supplied by the correspondence course I took. If I used one today, it would last about a month at best and would be problematic and slow me down considerably.

The difference between felt and cloth is that cloth is woven and felt is not. The felt strip will wear out quickly, developing tears and lumps. Those tears and lumps tend to mute center strings and as the strip wears out, it will break when being pulled.

The material you will want to get is called "abstract or sticker cloth" by supply houses. It is the material used to cushion the bottom of the wippen against which the capstan pushes in direct blow vertical actions. In large upright actions, there is a long post from the capstan to the wippen. That is called by either name, "abstract" or "sticker". The cloth is used as a cushion between the capstan screw and the bottom of that post.

The cloth comes in either green or brown, your choice. Order the medium thickness if you have a choice. Order three strips of it (uncut if possible but three cut strips is OK too). If you get an uncut roll, pull out about 2 1/2 feet and cut that off. Cut the remainder in two. Cut a taper about a foot long on your 2 1/2 foot piece (or on one of the pieces if you get pre-cut strips). Go to the end of the strip and at about 1/4 to 1/3 of its width with some sharp scissors, begin cutting, leaving a very narrow end for an inch or so and then several inches of about half the width of the strip, then taper up, leaving about a one foot tapered end.

That tapered end is for the middle section of verticals where there is very little clearance between the highest hammers and the termination point. In grands, you can use the tapered end in the high treble.

To mute the treble in a vertical, first place the strip above the dampers across the entire treble section. The cloth will block the hammers from striking the strings, of course. Then, with your left hand, lift two dampers at a time and with your right hand, tuck the strip down behind the dampers. Tuck the rest of the strip down far enough so that the hammers can strike the strings. There are certain 1980's models of both Yamaha and Kawai console pianos which have very fragile damper felt and the damper stop rail does not allow you to lift the dampers very much at all. You can still use the strip but you have to be careful or you can easily tear the damper felt. In these cases, you could choose to not use the strip mute in the area of the treble that has dampers.

The speed and efficiency comes by being able to tune the middle strings of each section of the piano without having to move a mute. Then, when you tune the unisons, you pull out the strip one note at a time starting at the top of the section and tune the right hand string. Once all of the right hand strings are done, the left strings are exposed and can be tuned without using a mute. In the treble section of verticals, I pass the end of the strip behind the right action bracket. That way, I can just pull outward. I give the strip a tug and it pops out for the unison I want to tune.

It takes a little practice to learn to insert the strip mutes quickly, of course but an entire piano can usually be muted in under two minutes. The total time saved in pulling the strips as opposed to moving a single or two rubber mutes for each note is quite considerable. To me, having to move rubber mutes for each note is far more tedious and time consuming than I would ever care to bear.

If you tune aurally, don't tune the middle section unisons immediately after tuning the middle strings. If you do that, you will inevitably end up with a flat treble and high treble. You will want to compare your double octaves, octaves and fifths, 10th & 17ths, etc. of the treble and high treble with only single strings of the middle, not whole unisons.

There are two factors: First, a whole unison will give you a less distinct pitch from which to tune a single string in the treble and high treble. You won't be able to hear the beats as clearly. Second and most important: the pitch of a whole unison often drops slightly compared to a single string. If you create your intervals using only one single string compared to another, the pitch of all will tend to drop uniformly when the unisons are tuned. If you tune the middle unisons first, you have a cloudy sound from which to create intervals in the treble and high treble and then when you pull in the unisons, they will drop flat of where you intended them to be.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT
By strip muting I mean the red cloth for the tenor section only. I use action cloth for the treble section cut into a smaller strip. The action cloth for my liking anyway, doesn't mute it off enough in the tenor section. It comes in about a 2" strip which I cut in half so it will fit in easier and be out of the way for the hammer hitting the strings. I also pull the dampers back in the treble section by hand gently shoving the action cloth behind them and out of the way. Be careful when pulling it out so as not to mis-conform the damper felt. Simply pushing down on the sustaining pedal will easily allow you enough room on most pianos to pull the felt out so long as you pull UP on it and not sideways catching the dampers.


By tenor section, I guess you meant the middle range. What is an action cloth ? And are you referring to a GP or Upright piano when you do you strip muting on treble ? If it's on an Upright, are you suggesting that the muting cloth be inserted 'below' the hammer head ?

Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 02:00 PM

I've got action cloth. Schaff lists it and I bought the thinnest they had. I had to split it down the center. (as mentioned) I found that using a small screwdriver is to "fat". Mr. Potter says he uses a small putty knife. I didn't have one handy but I did have a split mute. The handle end is a 3/8" by <1/32" (less than) flat piece of metal. I filed the handle end to remove all sharpness. Wow, it works great. And it's fast!

When I cut the action cloth in half, I stopped cutting 1" from the end. This way I don't have to reach down for another strip after the first one has been installed in the Piano. It's attached for easy access. The attached part does, however, get in the way so this is an option you can try out yourself...Warning! help
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 02:10 PM

I just couldn't visualize confused

As usual, a picture paints a thousand words.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 02:23 PM

What part can't you visualize? I'll see what I can do.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 02:37 PM

Take a picture of the treble section fully muted. smile The reason is with an upright piano I just couldn't see how a long strip of muting cloth could be inserted as the last 10 hammers or so are hitting the augmented section of the cast iron.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 02:48 PM

Action cloth and they also have the felt type. Buy the thin stuff and make sure you push the sustain pedal when you put this stuff in!
Action Cloth

Split mute, These are handy.
SplitMute

Next job here I'll get you a pic of a strip muted piano.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:01 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
In the treble section of verticals, I pass the end of the strip behind the right action bracket. That way, I can just pull outward. I give the strip a tug and it pops out for the unison I want to tune.


This one I'm totally lost, I'm afraid. help

I'm still working on getting the unisons in the treble section on time, which is why I queried about the muting method, and whether it's appropriate, even when using muting sticks, to tune from leftmost string, and move on to unison on middle and rightmost strings.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:05 PM

The Action Cloth looks thick enough to be the long muting strip I used to insert into the middle range. Do you use the same action cloth to insert into the middle range section ? Or is it meant only for treble section ?
Posted By: Inlanding

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:08 PM

Cashley,

I've been learning to tune pianos for 7 months now. My pin-setting technique has improved markedly and I've been learning to use several different methods for setting the bearings (temperament), octaves, octave stretch, etc. The better the pin-setting, the longer the tuning lasts and seems to recover better from changes in humidity and heat. I have been taking extra time to do exacting work on my friend's pianos (the ones that trust me ;)). I recently replaced the bass strings with GC strings and the bass dampers especially have lost their stopping power on my own piano.

Next, I will be replacing those 92 year-old dampers on my magnificent 1917 O sometime during the next couple of months.

Anyway...

Speed is secondary when you are learning, trust me. Speed comes with lots of practice and experience. I'd rather have a tuning that lasts longer because I took the extra time for pin setting, rather than getting through it quickly. Maybe in a few years, I will get fast enough, but for now, I'd rather spend the extra half hour or so ensuring my work is better than average, even at my novice level.

I highly recommend the below references for your review, especially Reblitz' book.

Piano Servicing, Tuning, and Rebuilding
by: Arthur A. Reblitz (2nd Ed.)

Find your mute strip and a most excellent beat locator to learn about partials
http://www.colemantools.com

Excellent demonstrations on how it's done
http://www.pianotapes.com

Hope this helps

Glen
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:09 PM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT

Yes, continual practice. My dad used to have me check my watch. Set a time frame for your pitch raise. If it takes you 45 minutes, drop your goal to 40 minutes checking your watch frequently and I mean, frequently. Once that is goal achieved, drop it down to 35 minutes etc., until you can finally raise pitch in in the amount of time you are satisfied with.


Just the treble section alone, I managed to have it reduced from the initial 45 minutes to roughly 30 minutes. I've been trying to do with within 20 minutes, but still get stuck at 30 minutes for weeks. I'm still waiting for a 'breakthrough' as I continue to find it difficult to manipulate the hammer to find that magic 'pop'. I wonder if the magic pop would come automatically like the way kids learn their mother tongue, as long as go through the same motion everyday. crazy

Posted By: BDB

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:20 PM

I would never think of judging my work by the length of time it takes me to do it. I judge it by the length of time it lasts.
Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:33 PM

Most of my customers have decided that my tunings last for many years...
Posted By: Inlanding

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 03:59 PM

Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
Most of my customers have decided that my tunings last for many years...


How is their hearing? You must be good wink
Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:04 PM

They remind me of the town folk in the final scene of The Music Man. I have regular customers, also.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:09 PM

Originally Posted by Inlanding
Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
Most of my customers have decided that my tunings last for many years...


How is their hearing? You must be good wink


I thought he meant the customers decided that his tunings could last long enough, and never came back to him to seek a 2nd tuning ?
Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:22 PM

It is hard for me to tell why people do what they do. Like when the blind floor tuner that taught me to tune said that there was nothing more he could teach me after the fifth lesson.

One never knows, does one...
Posted By: BDB

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:26 PM

I just touched up a piano that I last tuned 5 years ago. It was beginning to need it, although it was not real bad.
Posted By: Inlanding

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 04:59 PM

In Colorado, with extreme changes in temperature and humidity, we don't have that luxury. Most folks don't use a humifying/dehumidifying system anyway.
Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 06:34 PM

Ok Cashley,

Just got back from a tuning... an old spinet.
Strip muting ...


[Linked Image]



[Linked Image]



Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 09:51 PM

Originally Posted by Scooters
John,

That's incredible! I'd enjoy hearing more about him.


Ok Scooters, I've got a bit more time now, so I'll tell you 1 or 2 anecdotes about

this incredible college tutor I was priveleged to be taught by.


As I said, he was totally blind, and the way he ripped through a piano

(and tuned it PERFECTLY every time) was simply unbelieveable.


Looking back, two more things spring immediately to mind.

If one of the students was having difficulty figuring out a piece of music,

he could immediately tell you what key it was in/what the melody line was.....

and (no matter how complicated the chords/inversions etc) -

what that exact chord sequence was.


Another example is that at the college I attended (Newark UK), there were approx 20

'tuning booths' in each of the two corridors.

The noise in the corridor was a cocophony! - each practicing student was at a different

place on their tuning, and if you were struggling to pitch a string correctly,

suddenly the door of your tuning booth would open - and he'd say (for example)

"that D# is a fraction flat"..... how he was able to discern miniscule discrepancies

such as that - with all the surrounding 'noise' going on, I'll never know.


This chap really was special.

.


Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 10:40 PM

HI Jpscoey,

He really was... But you guys trying to practice/learn under those conditions must have been a real chore indeed. Well, it made you learn how to focus, and how to block out other things. wow

That's something that's really needed in this profession.

Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/22/09 11:27 PM

Quote
By tenor section, I guess you meant the middle range. What is an action cloth ? And are you referring to a GP or Upright piano when you do you strip muting on treble ? If it's on an Upright, are you suggesting that the muting cloth be inserted 'below' the hammer head ?

Just the treble section alone, I managed to have it reduced from the initial 45 minutes to roughly 30 minutes. I've been trying to do with within 20 minutes, but still get stuck at 30 minutes for weeks. I'm still waiting for a 'breakthrough' as I continue to find it difficult to manipulate the hammer to find that magic 'pop'. I wonder if the magic pop would come automatically like the way kids learn their mother tongue, as long as go through the same motion everyday.


Well, first off, I would suggest learning the names of the parts of the piano. That will help you tremendously when we explain things. And I don't mean that in a derogatory way either.

Great pictures of strip muting by the way Scooter!

The middle section of the piano is called the tenor section. The upper section is called the treble, the lower section is called the bass.

I'm referring to both a grand and vertical when strip muting. On an upright, in the tenor and bass, it has to be inserted above the hammer line. Occasionally, there is not enough clearance near the tenor treble break on verticals so that can tend to be a problem area sometimes. In the treble, it is inserted below the hammer line. The Vbar will get in the way otherwise up there. See Scooters pictures. That's how we place them behind dampers. As Bill says, by lifting a couple at a time and very carefully, sliding them down BEFORE letting go of the dampers.

It will take you hundreds and hundreds of tunings before you are able to master your speed and accuracy. Perhaps even a couple of thousand tunings. Or more. grin The more you do it, the quicker you will learn it.

Funny RPD!!!!

Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/23/09 01:04 AM

Thanks, Scooters.

True enough, a picture paints a thousand words thumb

Frankly, this is the first time I see strip muting for the treble. Yamaha tuners who came to my place, or those I came across at the showrooms, when it came to the treble section it was always 'split' muting. This is something unique in this part of the world where I live, where the Big Brother of Pianos is Yamaha Corporation.

Many thanks, once again.
Posted By: Cashley

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/23/09 01:16 AM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT

Well, first off, I would suggest learning the names of the parts of the piano. That will help you tremendously when we explain things. And I don't mean that in a derogatory way either.


Thanks, Jerry. Yes, I'm learning names of the parts of piano, right here in the Pianoworld forum wink The names of the parts of the action I'm quite familiar as they are pretty standardized. It's the less technical ones that are posing problems for me, as there are many different ways to describe the same item. Anyway, I'm gaining mileage in this forum.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/23/09 11:20 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
The speed and efficiency comes by being able to tune the middle strings of each section of the piano without having to move a mute. Then, when you tune the unisons, you pull out the strip one note at a time starting at the top of the section and tune the right hand string. Once all of the right hand strings are done, the left strings are exposed and can be tuned without using a mute. In the treble section of verticals, I pass the end of the strip behind the right action bracket. That way, I can just pull outward. I give the strip a tug and it pops out for the unison I want to tune.


Bill, Jerry and all you other strip muters out there :):

How can you remove the strip fast in the lower treble area where the mute lays under the dampers (on the uprights, that is)? This is the section that slows me down considerably - even so much that I chicken out and remove the whole strip and go by rubber mute right there. Seems like I cant be gentle enough not to harm the damper felt.

This is a great thread, btw, and your descriptions are very good. After a year of switching back and forth between rubber muting and muting strips, I'm a fully converted strip muter by now - it helps me relax a lot during the process.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/23/09 11:43 PM

Have your foot ready to push down on the sustaining pedal in the treble to lift the dampers off from the muting strips. When you're ready to pull it, push down on the sustaining pedal. Then, pull UP on the mute strip and to the right all in one movement sort of, so that it will first lift the mute strip UP and away from the dampers so you don't bend or brush against the damper felt and then pulling to the right, it yanks it out. When I get about half way up into the treble with tuning, I place the muting strip around the right hand side of hammer number 88. This keeps it out of the way of the hammers striking the strings and you can easily give the strip a pull from there to yank it out to tune the next unison.

One thing I should probably mention is that if you leave a big BIG U sticking out then it will catch the dampers no matter what you do. Coil the mute strip close together so that while it does not mute out the center string too, it is a smaller upside down u verses a larger U if that makes sense?

When you use only a mute in that same section, again, push down on the sustain pedal to lift the dampers off from the strings. Then, gently slide the mute down just in front of the damper so it is out of the way of the hammer. Same when you remove it again. That way, nothing interferes with the damper felt.

Today, I strip muted the tenor and treble of a Yamaha P22. I found that I only had to lower the tenor section so I tuned only the middle strings. Then, I did one unison at a time with no mutes only pulling out the muting strip. Less hand placement, less movement, more time saved.

After that, I put it back in again and tuned the entire piano and then tuned the unisons in the same manner only using a mute on those occasional stubborn unisons that wanted to drift on me or because all 3 strings had false beats in them. It saves a lot of time mute striping.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 12:59 PM

Yes Jerry,

the u vs U analogy certainly makes sense smile Thanks, I'll try it out!
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 01:01 PM

You're welcome! Hope it helps.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 01:28 PM

'
I know this is more than difficult on a 'spinet', but on a regular upright I simply remove

the action prior to placing the muting strip - no danger of damaging any fragile dampers.

In the tenor area I normally put the muting strip above the strike-line of the hammers,

so, working from left to right, you pluck out the mute one-by-one

to work on that unison.

After the tenor/treble break, I place the mute under the damper line.

Once all the centre strings are tuned, I remove the mute and use a 'papps' wedge,

rather than a rubber mute, to finish off the rest.

I find the papps wedge much quicker to use on an upright.

Having tried all sorts of techniques, this method has proved, to me, to be

the most efficient way to go thumb.



Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 03:24 PM

Do you remove the action every time you insert the mute strip? That would slow me way down if I had to do that.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 03:38 PM

Originally Posted by byronje3
Do you remove the action every time you insert the mute strip? That would slow me way down if I had to do that.


Only on 'standard' uprights - it's only a matter of unscrewing the

(usually two, occasionally three) action standard nuts.

On many uprights you don't have to 'remove' the action at all - just tilt it towards you.

On an 'average' upright from removing the top panel & fallboard, to releasing the action,

inserting the muting strip, then replacing the action & ready to start tuning takes

less than one minute.

No delicately fiddling about with dampers or anything - get the muting strip in &

start tuning straight away.


The other bonus to this technique is that when re-seating the action you can make sure

that it is correctly positioned.

Sometimes pianos have been sitting there for years with the action out of alignment,

causing poor let-off, lost motion etc, but by this "kill-2-birds-with-one-stone" method

you can identify these issues thumb!
.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 07:01 PM

Originally Posted by jpscoey
'
Once all the centre strings are tuned, I remove the mute and use a 'papps' wedge,

rather than a rubber mute, to finish off the rest.

I find the papps wedge much quicker to use on an upright.

Having tried all sorts of techniques, this method has proved, to me, to be

the most efficient way to go thumb.





John,

would you care to explain your use of the papps mute in detail? My guess: You mute out the left unison, tune the right unison, move the mute to the right, muting the right unison + the left unison of the 1/2 step above, tune the left unison and the next right 1/2 step up... and so on?

I'm just eager to try everything that works for those of you that have been around smile
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/24/09 11:36 PM

Originally Posted by pppat
would you care to explain your use of the papps mute in detail?

My guess: You mute out the left unison, tune the right unison, move the mute to the right, muting the right unison + the left unison of the 1/2 step above, tune the left unison and the next right 1/2 step up... and so on?


I'm ok about explaining the way I go about it!

The system is this.... I use the muting strip from the tenor only (the Bass I tune

note-to-note... one string at a time, then tune the unison in on a bi-chord)

I set the scale, then the octaves (referencing 3rd's/4th's/5th's/10th's in particular)

Once it's correct, I remove the muting strip, & (using the papps wedge) tune the

Left string (in unison) to the centre string. After that, I tune the Right string.

It's so quick to do it this way.


ps - this is a very simplified account..... if you'd like more detail I'd be happy to oblige!
.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/25/09 12:17 AM

smile Thanks John, i think I got it!

The only move you make with the papps wedge is up a half step, to the next similar position, right?

I still struggle with not letting my analythical mind get the best of me. What really counts should, even logically (!), be what the piano player hears when all three unisons are struck at the same time. Still I get lost in tuning L/R separately to the center string, knitpicking... No wonder I have a problem getting a rough tuning done in a short time span wink

Thank you, I will try this out tomorrow (I will tune a Yamaha U3 for a jazz gig tomorrow).
Posted By: Les Koltvedt

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/25/09 12:31 AM

It's all based on setting the first outside string of the unison, that makes setting the third string much easier, you'll also find out if the first string drifted at all.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/25/09 01:47 AM

Originally Posted by pppat
:)The only move you make with the papps wedge is up a half step, to the next similar position, right?



After some experience you can do this blind-folded in a fraction of a second.

You just 'flick' the wedge from one 'note' (tri-chord) to the next.

Because it's not flexible/floppy like a rubber wedge, you can do this with ease

once you've got used to it.


I broke one of mine once, and didn't have a spare one with me bah .....

it took me ages longer to finish the job than it would have done otherwise.


The good-ol' papps is indispensible for me smile.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/25/09 02:06 AM

Originally Posted by Monster M&H
It's all based on setting the first outside string of the unison, that makes setting the third string much easier, you'll also find out if the first string drifted at all.


That might be the case. Some tuners still swear to the bi-cord tuning. I´ve tried both, and frankly, my biggest concern about the tri-chord tuning is that I have a hard time knowing my tri-chords in the upper treble. But I guess it's a matter of (diligent) practice wink

Originally Posted by jpscoey
The good-ol' papps is indispensible for me smile.


Sounds good, up for a test run tomorrow smile
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/25/09 02:28 AM

Originally Posted by pppat
Originally Posted by jpscoey
The good-ol' papps is indispensible for me smile.


Sounds good, up for a test run tomorrow smile



Let us know how you go, yeh?

.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/26/09 12:47 AM

Yes smile

I tuned the upper section of the U3 (D5 ->) with the papps mute and I really liked the simplicity of it - I'll give it a few more test runs, but I'm already tempted to switch over to this method!

Had another problem today, though. The U3 was moved to the locale the night before, and I tuned it today. I tried very deliberately to set the pins, and I did succeed - in all but one section of the piano.

The section starting from the break at D5 and ending with the next plate brace was very hard to tune, the pins felt easy and "jelly-like". Indeed, this was the section of the piano that didn't hold when the McCoy-style banging piano player got his hands on it. Had to correct pretty much all the unisons in that section during intermission.

Could this be due to the pressure bar not being tight enough, or something like that? Seems funny that all those pins in the very same section would suddenly have become to loose. I didn't have the time to play with the pressure bar in the short intermission, but if any of you more experienced techs out there would give me a hint as to what might be the cause of the unstability, I will know where to look tomorrow (I tune the same U3 for tomorrow nights gig.)

Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/26/09 03:37 PM

Hi,

I've used my Papp's some and seems quicker than a rubber type mute. But I haven't tried it on a Grand yet. I've got a grand to tune up this next Monday so I'll experiment. I think the spring would have to be stronger to keep the Papp vertical on a grand, I don't know. I don't think it was designed for grands.

I've got a Treble Stick Mute (schaff #204-1/2) It's a double ended mute with wedges that are buck skin covered. One end has a slit in it that I assume is to slip onto a string. The slit seems to tight to go onto the string with out doing damage to the string.
Anyone have any experience with this tool?

A good video on split mutes is:

Drwoodwind has some real nice vids.
This technique it also talked about in the book:
Different Strokes - hammer techniques by Ken Burton. (Appendix B and C)
I've tuned several pianos this way and it works ok. I'm still faster with the temp strip especially when I have to do a pitch raise.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/26/09 06:11 PM

Originally Posted by jpscoey


Let us know how you go, yeh?

.


John,

I did the action tilting today on the U3 and used the mute below the dampers in the section just after the plate brace (D5 ->), as you do. It has another great advantage for me - the dampers are still in normal use. When I put the strip mute underneath (ie behind) the dampers, I have constantly open-ringing strings, and that gives me less control. Might be due to lack of experience, but the strip-mute-below method was great in that sense - it relaxed my c5 -> tuning considerably. Thanks for the great help.

One more question, though. Where on earth do you fit the papps mute in that section on a U3? That is, the octave roughly D5-D6. I can somewhat get it to work, but I can´t move fast and with ease. In the upper treble I use it just below the hammer line.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/26/09 06:49 PM

Originally Posted by pppat

One more question, though. Where on earth do you fit the papps mute in that section on a U3? That is, the octave roughly D5-D6. I can somewhat get it to work, but I can´t move fast and with ease. In the upper treble I use it just below the hammer line.


I'm glad that you found some success with this Patrick -

as I said, it is the most efficient way for me to work quickly.

I've tried to upload a few photos I took on a job yesterday, including one of where I

place the papps wedge,

but unfortunately my computer skills aren't up to much & I couldn't figure out

how to do it help!!!

If you want to PM me your email address, I should be able to do it that way?

(maybe you could then post them on here?)

Cheers for now,

John.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 02:34 AM

I'll PM you right away, and post them here ASAP!
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 11:19 AM

Originally Posted by pppat
I'll PM you right away, and post them here ASAP!


Email has been sent, Patrick.
.
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 07:09 PM

Here they are, John, with your comments aligned. Thanks once again! Cheers, Patrick.

Originally Posted by jpscoey
[this photo] shows the overall muting of the piano (I use 4 separate muting strips).

[Linked Image]


Originally Posted by jpscoey
[this one] shows tuning the unisons in the scale area - you can see that I'm working my way up, tuning the left string to the centre, then moving on to the right string.

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by jpscoey
The third picture shows the position of the papps wedge - it works best when you place it between the hammers 3 or 4 notes up from the one you're working on.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 07:17 PM

'
Nice work Patrick - one of these days I'll figure out how to use

this damn computer!


I hope these pics may make what I've tried to explain a little clearer for you folks?
.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 08:11 PM

Moving the action and muting under the dampers can be detrimental on older pianos. The dampers no longer line up as well with the strings and do not work as well. So I never do that. Speed is not as important as not damaging the piano.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 08:22 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
Moving the action and muting under the dampers can be detrimental on older pianos.


Sorry, but I have to disagree here - I've been using this technique for years & years now,

and never have I found it to be of any detriment to any piano.

If anything, it helps to identify any potential problems with the action seating/dampers etc

that may need attention - if the action is securely (& accurately) seated in the first place

then there is no detriment at all to the dampers - certainly less than 'pushing' the

muting strip behind the dampers in-situ.

If you can tell me something I don't know, I'd be very willing to learn?

.

Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 08:22 PM

Nice pics and great shot of the Papps Mute!

Isn't there a place to store pics on this forum list? I've seen the gallery but I don't know if that's the place to store or not.

In my email place in the server with my internet provider (ISP) there's a storage space. If I use an FTP program and go there I can build a directory called public_html. Then I can build other directories in there for each subject or what ever.

My isp is nemont.net so I just make the following url to grab pics for this forum:
http://www.nemont.net/~MyEmail/nameFoo.jpg
Hope that comes out ok. The little squiggle in front of the user name of my email is the tilde which lives on your keyboard just above the " ` " key (upper left hand corner).

But it would be nice to load 'em up here too.

Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 09:42 PM

Originally Posted by jpscoey
I hope these pics may make what I've tried to explain a little clearer for you folks?

Yes definitely, John, great that you took the time to take these enlightening pics!

Originally Posted by scooters
Isn't there a place to store pics on this forum list?

[ EDIT: I don´t think there is, I put this up on one of my sites and linked the images from there.
If there is a need for a public storage place for pics in this forum I guess I could make one on one of my servers. I'm a much more experienced webmaster than tuner, and I'd be happy to give something back to all you helpful people here in the forum smile
This earlier suggestion of mine is obsolete if the forum gallery works as well as during my test run right after I wrote this thread. ]

Anyway, I agree with you Scooters, would be nice to have a central storage on the forum server.

[ EDIT: I checked the forums at Piano World, and they do have a gallery just as you said, Scooters, even if it's just up for a test drive at this stage. I'll try it out right away.]
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/27/09 09:58 PM

Yes, it worked out great. Now the pics are in the gallery at the forum itself. If anybody needs help with how to do this, I'll be happy to help out.

The whole gallery can be seen here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/galleries/1276246.html#Post1276246
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/28/09 05:24 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
Moving the action and muting under the dampers can be detrimental on older pianos. The dampers no longer line up as well with the strings and do not work as well. So I never do that. Speed is not as important as not damaging the piano.


BDB, please will you explain what you meant by this?

I did ask you to enlighten me yesterday, but due to the time difference I thought I'd

give it time.

However, you have posted a couple of comments on this forum in the last hour-or-so.....

and I can't help wondering what it is that we all need to know about what the 'dangers' are

of removing an action from a piano?
.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/28/09 11:47 PM

Old damper felts get grooves in them (compression failure!). There are a number of things that can cause an action to move slightly when you take it from the piano: loose screws, warpage, etc. If moving the action, or for that matter, having the dampers hit on a piece of felt, then the dampers can leak, or worse.

I gave up trying to do anything like that a long time ago. I use Schaff #200 wedges with handles, usually placed above the dampers. In the rare cases where that does not work, they fit between the hammer shanks below the dampers.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 01:53 AM

Originally Posted by BDB
#1 Old damper felts get grooves in them (compression failure!).

#2 There are a number of things that can cause an action to move slightly when you take it from the piano: loose screws, warpage, etc. If moving the action, or for that matter, having the dampers hit on a piece of felt, then the dampers can leak, or worse.


I really do NOT want embark on a crusade here, but you seem to be questioning/belittling my

way of working - which has won me plaudits as as a full-time professional tuner/tech for

nearly 30 years. (Your signature indicates that you are a semi - pro?)

What you are saying is contradictory - if the damper felts get "compression failure",

then surely the thing to do is sort it out? -

and if there are "loose screws/warpage" - then that needs sorting out too, agreed?


Removing the action is something any competent technician can do without any worries

about the consequences - what would you do if you had to replace a broken

string/spring/hammer shank/worn-out felt/leather/adjust the pedals/remove 'unwanted'

articles interfering with the action etc...etc? - leave the action exactly as it is?


Your 'explanation' does not stand up to scrutiny.

Sorry, but that's my point of view.


Posted By: Scooters

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 01:36 PM

Hi guys,

I used a Papp's mute on a Baldwin Upright yesterday and I'm impressed with the ease of placing the mute and moving from note to note. Fast unison tuning!! thumb

Posted By: BDB

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 04:12 PM

Originally Posted by jpscoey
Originally Posted by BDB
#1 Old damper felts get grooves in them (compression failure!).

#2 There are a number of things that can cause an action to move slightly when you take it from the piano: loose screws, warpage, etc. If moving the action, or for that matter, having the dampers hit on a piece of felt, then the dampers can leak, or worse.


I really do NOT want embark on a crusade here, but you seem to be questioning/belittling my

way of working - which has won me plaudits as as a full-time professional tuner/tech for

nearly 30 years. (Your signature indicates that you are a semi - pro?)

What you are saying is contradictory - if the damper felts get "compression failure",

then surely the thing to do is sort it out? -

and if there are "loose screws/warpage" - then that needs sorting out too, agreed?


Removing the action is something any competent technician can do without any worries

about the consequences - what would you do if you had to replace a broken

string/spring/hammer shank/worn-out felt/leather/adjust the pedals/remove 'unwanted'

articles interfering with the action etc...etc? - leave the action exactly as it is?


Your 'explanation' does not stand up to scrutiny.

Sorry, but that's my point of view.



I do not need to explain myself. My method does not interfere with the dampers nor the rest of the action. I found it is the best way for me and my customers, in my many years of professional work, even before I came into a position where I no longer need to be professional all the time.
Posted By: JBE

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 04:26 PM

You don't need to explain yourself? I thought that's what started the problem.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 05:04 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
I do not need to explain myself.

My method does not interfere with the dampers nor the rest of the action.



Yes you do...!!!

If you put posts on here contradicting other peoples opinions/methods, then a valid

explanation as to why is warranted.

Please tell us what is so special about your method?..... if it's a better way of working

than the rest of us use, then all of us on this forum can benefit.
.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 05:06 PM

Not to try and create an even bigger problem here but, BDB is a widely respected tech in the forum John. He knows his stuff. Gets to the point, says it and moves on.
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 05:12 PM

Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT
Not to try and create an even bigger problem here but, BDB is a widely respected tech in the forum John. He knows his stuff. Gets to the point, says it and moves on.


I appreciate your point Jerry - but the issue here is that BDB has contributed to this thread,

and commented about all the things that are "wrong", without explaining an alternative.
.

Posted By: UnrightTooner

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/29/09 05:32 PM

John:

BDB did explain an alternative. I agree with him that the less done with working dampers the better. Besides, on many pianos the string with the least false beats is the right one in the treble. (I have wondered why...) If the piano is not strip muted, it leaves me the choice as to which string to tune first, and even which string an octave below to tune to.
Posted By: Gregor

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/30/09 10:05 AM

Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
Besides, on many pianos the string with the least false beats is the right one in the treble. (I have wondered why...)


Good question. I noticed that too but I also have no idea why.

I never use a strip for tuning. When I used to be an aural tuner I used a strip for the temperament section. Now with an ETD I use only single rubber mutes in the bass and tenor and the papp mutes for the treble section. For pitch raise I start with A0 and go upwards, tuning the unisons as I go. The same I do for fine tuning. Both together takes me between 60 and 75 minutes.

Gregor
Posted By: pppat

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/30/09 10:46 AM

Jeff, BDB: I take it that you prefer wedge mutes to strip mutes.

If, on the other hand, one wants to go with stripmuting the whole vertical, there are the two alternatives of either placing the strip-mute behind the dampers or to use Johns method of removing/releasing the action and use a strip-mute below.

I myself, with my far-from-brilliant muting skills, wink think that Johns method is less invasive, so to speak. You have to be really good at what you do to mute behind the dampers and not hurt them, and the release of the muting strip is quite risky too.

Again, that's for me. I bet Jerry, Bill and the others muting behind the dampers all the time have developed the necessary skills to do that brilliantly.

So I'll go with Johns method for now. I don't think it's fair to discourage removing/releasing of the action, that is quite an everyday operation of piano maintenance, anyways. Of course, the safest would be to not remove the fallboard or even open the piano lid, just like the best way to be safe in traffic would be to stay indoors all your life wink
Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/30/09 11:54 AM

'
Good point & well made Patrick thumb.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/30/09 12:00 PM

I actually, only mute behind the treble dampers and only when there is not enough clearance for the hammers to miss the muting felt. I never pull the action forward to mute anything. I don't like taking any chances to interefering with the dampers any more than is necessary. Damper felts are finicky to say the least sometimes.

Some dampers pull back further than others do allowing for more clearance to get the muting strip behind it. Others do not. In that case, I make the U - into a smaller u - from string to string pulling back two or 3 dampers in the treble at once gently sliding the muting felt behind these dampers.

In the tenor section, I shove the mute strip as far UP as possible towards the Vbar. In most cases, this allows enough room for the hammers to just pass underneath the strip.

Personally, to each their own but, I prefer to not touch or interfere with the damper felts as much as possible especially on older pianos. That's my preference and is quicker than pulling an action back. If you're looking for speed you just eliminated one more process.

Posted By: jpscoey

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 09/30/09 12:59 PM

'
I feel that I'm repeating myself now - but I can only go from

my (seems like donkys years) of experience!

The way that I've described works very well for me, and if it helps

other tuners/techs out there then so be it smile


If you've got a different point of view - that's fair enough!


I'm only trying to do my best.
.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 10/01/09 03:38 AM

That's what it's all about. Do our best! smile
Posted By: b3groover

Re: Times it takes to tune a piano - 10/01/09 07:05 AM

I remember when my dad first showed me how to strip mute a piano. He started in the treble section and carefully pulled the dampers away, three or four at a time, to gently push the loops of temperament felt behind them. He made the loops with a small flat head screwdriver. He did it so fast.

Then he pulled them all out and said "Go ahead". It seemed like it took me 20 minutes just to do the treble section. I said, "How can you do that so fast?" He said, "Patience. It will come."

It takes me about 75 minutes to tune a piano these days. For a pitch raise, about twice that. The fastest I've ever tuned is 40 minutes on a nice Yamaha upright that just fell into place.

I've noticed I've been getting pretty hot during tunings lately, which I guess means I'm working efficiently! smile By the end I definitely have to wipe some sweat from my brow.

I find sometimes that after pulling the strip mute and tuning the left unison, I often use a rubber mute on that same left unison when I tune the right unison, so that only two strings are speaking at any time. Not always and mainly in the treble.

I don't tune a lot of grands but I've gotten the impression that it is sort of a faux pas to use a strip mute on them?
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