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I plan to start using my own piano to practice aural tuning and would like to practice some amount every day. Does it pose any long-term risk to the pinblock if I do this? Could I lose some tuning stability by tinkering with it frequently? I would think it would be more resilient than this, but I would like a professional opinion before risking it.

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This is a hard question to answer. Yes, pianos which are frequently tuned can have their pin blocks wear out sooner. But, if your hammer technique is good, then the wear and tear is much less.

But daily practice on the same piano can help you enormously in learning to tune and tune well. The piano isn't going to wander too much from one day to the next so you are able to evaluate yesterday's work and learn and improve upon your work. And you will learn how to make smaller and smaller changes.

When I started to do recording studio tuning work on pianos I saw several days a week and sometimes tuned multiple times a day, the quality of my work improved very rapidly.

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Try to turn the pin to the perfect spot that allows you to relax all the twisting and bending forces the pin accepts when you do turn it and leave the string in perfect tune. You don't need to turn the pins very much at all during fine tuning. Use a test blow to settle the string at the appropriate point in the tuning motion to lock the pitch in at a stable place.


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I think concert pianos ARE tuned daily.
As to what additional wear and tear results from that ...it may just be the price of striving for perfection, however temporary.
In your case the price of perfecting, or at least improving, your skills.

IMO that could be worth it and you may ALSO get the chance of practicing repair of whatever you prematurely wear out. laugh

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Go for it! At tuning school many of the practice pianos got tuned 5+ times a day by people who didn't know what they were doing. Even more in the temperament. Just be sure to tune as many different pianos as you can. Every piano is different and you don't want to be surprised and/or stumped by your first paid job!

Last edited by Phil Stewart; 06/22/16 04:35 PM.

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A concert piano may get tuned daily or very often.
The typical concert piano tuning requires only micro adjustments, maybe only a couple ticks of pin movement if the environment is relatively stable.
Also, concert tuners typically have well developed hammer technique.
Not the same for a piano that you will practice tuning on.
First you need to take it out of tune enough to make it worth the effort to put it back in tune.
And as mentioned, technique is very important.
Try to get an experienced tuner to coach you for tuning hammer technique.


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Not necessary harm the piano. When I learning tuning, tuned my piano daily, pin to pin unison tuning, then temperament, octaves... It accumulated to thousand of tunings in a year. The pins are still tight. Now I am a tuning coach. In the classroom, the pins are still very tight, far tighter than most piano I met in daily servicing.

One important thing is not to tune the same pin for long time. If trying a few turns not success, go to next pin. The pin will heat up in tuning and may damage the pin block. You can unscrew out a pin then touch it to feel the heat. Beware burn your finger tip.


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Originally Posted by anrpiano
But, if your hammer technique is good, then the wear and tear is much less.

Hi,Sergei
If you try to use the Soviet upright piano for your practic, then the risks are minimal for all a pinblock, I'm think. I would recommend use it's hammer technique position , as in this video (9-12) up:
https://youtu.be/KY-7h_Jjqlc
Regards, Max

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Originally Posted by Weiyan
Not necessary harm the piano. When I learning tuning, tuned my piano daily, pin to pin unison tuning, then temperament, octaves... It accumulated to thousand of tunings in a year. The pins are still tight. Now I am a tuning coach. In the classroom, the pins are still very tight, far tighter than most piano I met in daily servicing.

One important thing is not to tune the same pin for long time. If trying a few turns not success, go to next pin. The pin will heat up in tuning and may damage the pin block. You can unscrew out a pin then touch it to feel the heat. Beware burn your finger tip.


Good advice under any circumstances. In any tuning, a recalcitrant pin/string can occur that just doesn't want to cooperate.

Leave it and deal with it later.

That's another reason that I tune by completing the unisons as I go. It makes it easier to spot the pin I needed to get back to when I use it as a reference note at an interval of a third or so later.

Heat will build up in bearing and friction points making more manipulation futile. This is because the heat will later dissipate and put the string out of tune again.

When i get back to the string later, I nearly always find myself wondering what on earth the problem was!!

I sometimes suspect that actual damage I occasionally find may have been caused by too much manipulation possibly accompanied by frustrated banging of keys at sometime in the past.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.



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