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Joined: Jan 2017
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Asked for an opinion by a local tuner. The instrument (he says) is around twenty cents flat (from A = 435) except for ten cents below the bass break. Last tuned six months ago. No loose tuning pins. Should he tune it to A = 430? I figure 4 cents per Hertz at A = 440, 435 is twenty cents below that, currently is twenty cents lower, so A = 430.

Customer says the piano has never held tune. Tuner says he found it at A = 442 a year ago and tried A = 435. The tone doesn't indicate any bridge or soundboard problems.

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Originally Posted by edferris
Customer says the piano has never held tune. Tuner says he found it at A = 442 a year ago and tried A = 435. The tone doesn't indicate any bridge or soundboard problems.

Greeting,s
This logic escapes me. Seasonal changes can move a piano 12 cents between winter and summer, depending on where you have it. I don't suppose Miami has the same swing as Minneapolis, so that has to be considered. If I found a piano at 442, in the middle of summer, I would tune it there. However, I don't ever see a piano that is equally off pitch, so it may be at 442 right above the bass break, 440 in the middle, and 441 in the top, so there is an average line that extends through the span. Perhaps a year of 441 in humid seasons and 439 in winter would give a baseline, but moving things 30 cents flat, all at once, will probably de-stabilze everything for a full cycle.

It seems that the piano may have gone way sharp before he tuned it down, and then went to the other side of the cycle and dropped below. We have had long threads of floating pitch on this forum, so there is some research material for those interested.

I have also noticed that flat soundboards, or those with no real bearing, will cause wild swings not only during seasonal changes, but also during tuning. I have assumed it was because it takes little change to move the initial tension changes from a straight string to one with bearing.

Regards,

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Talked to the tech again and got some more information. The piano is an antique Weber with a three-quarter exposed pinblock. I suggested that perhaps the block is loose and is being gradually pulled forward by the strings, so that he will never reach a stable pitch. He doesn't like that idea. Still, he can't explain how the pins are stiff but not holding pitch. On the other hand, I can't explain how a loose block wouldn't take up all the slack at once, instead of gradually.

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There is ALWAYS a reason. One simply needs to investigate further. An old Weber probably should be tuned lower. I have had excessive string breakage on those, probably due to the type of wire used back then. At this point (three piano lifetimes later) it just can't takebitv any more.

And of course as mentioned there could be other problems.

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