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A few years back I decided I either needed to make my peace with spinets or...well I don't know...stop tuning them I guess. But there's sooo many of them out there and there's good money to be made tuning and repairing them. So, I began to work on a good technique for pitch raising them (since many of them need a pitch raise) and that led me to changing my hammer technique. I use a jerking motion (as opposed to a slow pull), my Fujan tuning hammer with an extension that makes it 17' long (it's also super light and easy to move from pin to pin) and lots of CLP by ProTek. Don't spare the lubrication! Also, I always sit. The only exception there is the B.O.U. (Big Old Uprights). So, now I can take a spinet that's 100-150 cents flat up to A440 in under 2 hours, usually with no broken strings. And I charge for it too! At this point I actually LIKE tuning spinets. Some quick voicing with a wire brush to mellow out the sound and everybody's happy.


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Yes, these spinets are floating around out there, en masse.

They generally sound awful, but at the very least, since most
of them are badly neglected, it's very easy to make them
sound much, much better than before you showed up!

I'd rather be tuning brand new grands in a piano showroom,
but since beggars can't be choosers, we'll have to keep
working on these buggers, til they die out for good!

grin


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Hey Scott, are you using Tunelab?

Have you noticed it doing any better dealing with spinets since the 3 part tuning was implemented last fall? Perhaps that's why spinets don't bother you as much any more!

I see many of these, even though I recommend most shoppers to stay away from even the free ones...

With so many people downsizing and getting rid of bigger pianos, I do often suggest to the spinet owners that it would be pretty easy to upgrade to a bigger piano now!

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I only experience two positives when tuning spinets:
1. My arm won’t get as tired because the piano is short and I prefer to tune while seated.
2. I’m likely to get paid extra for a tuning because these pianos are almost always neglected and in need of a significant pitch raise.


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Ron - I've been using PianoMeter. It handles the break on spinets very nicely although I know that TuneLab, with the new improvements, does much better with it now. I've been using PianoMeter for quite a while now. It's just so quick and easy to use. Kind of addicting! You just open it up, start playing notes and tune. But, if you like tweaking things, TuneLab is a much better way to go.


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They generally sound awful, but at the very least, since most
of them are badly neglected, it's very easy to make them
sound much, much better than before you showed up!

Actually, yes, I think this is another advantage to tuning spinets. I find most of the time that if people have reasonable expectations of how good their spinet is going to sound, then they're pleased with the results. Sometimes I'll joke with my customer that with the way the piano is sounding now, anything I do will be fabulous! thumb


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Originally Posted by That Guy
Ron - I've been using PianoMeter. It handles the break on spinets very nicely although I know that TuneLab, with the new improvements, does much better with it now. I've been using PianoMeter for quite a while now. It's just so quick and easy to use. Kind of addicting! You just open it up, start playing notes and tune. But, if you like tweaking things, TuneLab is a much better way to go.

You can generate a tuning solution in Tunelab by sampling most of the C and F notes.

How many notes do you sample when you use Pianometer?


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I generally will tune any spinet in EBVT rather than ET since their scales are typically majorly compromised. UT sounds better to me as a musician on this kind of piano.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 07/04/20 08:22 AM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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How many notes do you sample when you use Pianometer?

I usually just go ahead and sample about every note. It only takes a minute or so and that way I have a "road map" of where the piano is, and where it needs to go. But, PianoMeter also only needs a few samples to extrapolate a tuning curve. Basically you can sample whatever you want to.


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I love spinets. Only complaint is setting the mutes down in there. But I’m not picky, I’ll tune anything. Even more than my share of birdcages that I should have been smart enough to turn down.

I used to think of spinets as bottom feeder pianos but have grown to respect them and, for the first time I actually want to find a nice one for the house.

But what used to be plentiful and cheap (often even free) have become scarce and pricey. It’s typical everytime I decide I’m finally interested.

And to think of all the nice cheap and free ones I turned down over the decades because “spinet”.


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There are still bunches around Chicago being given away...

Ron Koval


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