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#1125758 - 06/12/06 10:47 AM Advice for a beginner?
ScottyM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Springfield Mo
My father is a well respected piano tuner, and I've been working around pianos my whole life. He tried to get me interested in tuning when I was younger, but I never had the enthusiasim for it. (I work on the sales floor.)

Well, I've decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I'm guessing he'll be the best source of advice for me, but I do have a few questions for you guys.

My grandfather has an electronic tuner that he's willing to give me, would this be a good learning device for a beginner?

Is it true that you should learn to tune unisons first?

And can someone give me an idea of what temperament means and why different tuners use different ones? My dad says I won't be able to comprehend temperament until I get the basics down, but I'm curious if anyone could give me some sort of explanation.

Also, any good book reccommendations? Any other advice? Thanks!


Piano & Music Accessories
#1125759 - 07/24/06 07:13 PM Re: Advice for a beginner?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
ScottyM. Regarding the electronic tuner. I prefer not to state my opinions here. I am an aural tuner, and many of the techs who read and post here are much more qualified than I to discuss ETDs. I would strongly encourage you to learn to tune by ear. It takes many hours of practice, a lot of "sweat," and the tuning of many many pianos in order to tune a piano by ear.
Unisons first? Absolutely. Learning to tune pure beatless unsions and control of the tuning level or hammer is essential to a piano tuning.
Temperament in just a few words, is an octave usually in the middle of the piano where tuners lay the foundation of the piano tuning. Within this octave, tuners temper the beat speeds of certain musical intervals. Before a student tuner can begin to set a temperament, he or she must first be able to hear beats. This is why beginning with unisons is best in my opinion.

But I am a little puzzled. Why not query your father on these questions, and if his answers do not satisify your curiosity, then ask a specific question to the forum.

Best of you.

Ron Alexander
Aural Piano Tech since 1983
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

#1125760 - 07/24/06 07:21 PM Re: Advice for a beginner?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Also let me add...do yourself and the industry as a whole a big favor. Do not just learn to tune, spend equal time learning to repair pianos. Do not allow yourself to join that "elite" (smirk)
horde of people who call themselves piano tooners who know absolutely nothing about repair of the instruments they supposedly tune. Sorry if I sound crass in my posts, but it has been a rough day, and it is Monday!!!!
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

#1125761 - 08/29/07 12:53 AM Re: Advice for a beginner?
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I would say to get a mentor...but you do have your father.

A unison is a good place to start.

Please Please learn to repair pianos, and spend the money to buy all of the tools,

Considering the potential upside to piano technology, the many thousands of dollars spent in tools is a drop in the bucket when compared to a formal university education.

Go for it, and always ask questions, read everthing you can get your hands on and stay humble, there are too many arrogant tuners.
Good luck
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs


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