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#1650126 - 03/29/11 09:36 AM Aural pitch raises (with over-pull)
jmw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Girard, KS,
What is your process for pitch raising aurally? I understand that over-pull is not recommended for all pianos, but when you can use over-pull, what process do you use to determine how far to safely go?

Thanks very much!
John
_________________________
Music teacher and beginning Tuner

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#1650134 - 03/29/11 09:55 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
No more than 20 cents over standard pitch. This allows me to give some extra on the treble break and for the first notes I tune. After the temperament is set, I tune all F's toward the treble then all F#s, etc. I like to give these first ones more of a PR because they will drop more.

So using the rule of thumb that a piano will drop 25% of the pitch you raise, which is why you go 1/3 more than it is low in pitch if possible, and if a piano is more than 10 cents low in pitch it will need a pitch raise (at least tuning aurally...), then if a piano is much more than 100 cents low in pitch, it will need two pitch raises. Otherwise it will be more than 10 cents low in pitch after the first pitch raise.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1650142 - 03/29/11 10:07 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 393
Loc: Boston, MA
Dear John,

Typically what's on the mark in the midrange is 30% overpull. A very accurate table found by empirical measurement of many pianos and tabulating the results is Reyburn's overpull table (on page 79 of the RCT manual):

http://www.reyburn.com/pub/reyburn/rct_demo/RCT_5x_manual.pdf

The old aural method for overpull is determining the offset of A4 from 440, or whatever your target frequency is, and tuning to 130% of that value, then tuning all other notes to this 30% high value. However this overestimates for the lower bass and underestimates for octaves 5-6.

If you can figure out a simple way to work the Reyburn percentages into an aural tuning, let me know! I've been looking for good way to do a more accurate aural pitch raise for a long time.

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#1650147 - 03/29/11 10:21 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
From the CE manual:

In all pitch raise modes, you should start tuning at note A0 and proceed up the keyboard to C8, tuning unisons as you go. The overpull percentages used by CE are optimized for this procedure.

(And then)

The following chart and graph show the overpull percentages CE uses when
calculating the overpull cents for each note. The overpull percentages listed below are applied to the differential between a note’s original pitch (before you tune it) and its target pitch (where Ch2 calculated it should be after you tune it).


This does not make sense to me because C8 is tuned last but is supposed to be tuned with a 21% overpull (according to the chart). How could it drop if all the other notes have already been tuned?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1650172 - 03/29/11 10:55 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Here's similar information from Robert Scott's Tunelab pitch raise instructions:

"Over-pull for each note is a percentage of the weighted average of the recent measured offsets in the history list. This percentage is called the over-pull percentage. This percentage defaults to 25%, but it may be changed at any time by using the F7 or F8 keys or by using the over-pull dialog box. The current over-pull percentage is always displayed in the Current Settings box when over-pull is enabled. The following guidelines have produced good results in actual tunings, but your experience may indicate different over-pull percentages:



bass bridge 12% (maybe up to 16% by the end of the bass)

tenor bridge to G5 26% increasing to 29%

G5 to G6 29% increasing to 37%

G6 to C8 37% decreasing to 14%
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1650183 - 03/29/11 11:16 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20740
Loc: Oakland
A couple of beats per second in the mid-range are safe and effective, depending on how flat it starts.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1650211 - 03/29/11 12:07 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Great discussion topic!

I approach aural pitch raises differently in different situations.

Note: one thing that can really help pitch raises is to lubricate the upper or front bearing surfaces. Rendering problems can really slow you down, and cause less accurate results (not to mention string breakage!). I usually use Protek with a thin gauge hypo-oiler.

Situation #1: Piano is at 435-439 and follows a consistent pattern. Usually the bass section will not be as flat as the rest of the piano, and the treble, especially around the treble break area will be more flat than the rest of the tuning.

I have become a fan of "pre-tensioning" before tuning in these situations. I'll estimate the amount of beats flat in each section, double it and quickly tune the top row of pins (on an upright) or all the left string tuning pins (on a grand) so that one string of each unison beats at least twice as sharp as the note is flat. Then I just tune normally, but on each note I'll be bringing one string down to pitch, so it can eliminate or minimize the drop you'll experience while tuning the piano.

Situation 2: A piano that hasn't been tuned in decades and is chaotically out of tune. The piano may be as much as a half step flat (or more! The horror!). Depending on the age of the piano I'll tune A to between 440 (for an old upright where string breakage may be an issue) and 446 (a newer piano where I feel confident that the strings can take it).

I tune unisons as I go and after I set a very quick temperament I tune down to the tenor break and then up to the treble break. I then usually pull up the bass at this point - really quickly not worrying about accuracy. Then I'll tune the treble. If its an old upright I tune unisons as I go, not stretching the octaves too much if I'm worried about string breakage.

Otherwise I do a "sloppy ball park" tuning of the treble in about 2 minutes: Using no mutes I listen to the octave and estimate about how many beats I hear and then pull up one string so that its beating somewhat faster than the octave then quickly pull the other strings of the unison up, going mostly by feel, but listening too. I try to move very quickly and try to tune each note only once. If I feel like I didn't raise one enough, the next one I will raise a little higher to compensate. In the 6th octave and above I will use the pedal so I can keep referencing back to the middle of the piano with one hand and keep my other hand on the tuning lever. In this area, I'm not really listening to beats but mostly melodically. Expect that the treble section will really sound like crap! But its tension may be surprisingly close.

At this point I'll go over the midrange once more. If I'm lucky it will be close enough to fine tune at this point, but I may decide to do a quickie again before trying to lock it in. Then back to the bass. I don't usually use any mutes in the bass section. I listen to the octaves and 6ths mostly and use the unison to estimate how sharp or flat to make the note.

For example, if the octave has about one beat to the flat side, I'll tune one string of the bass note so that I hear just about a beat in the unison and then bring the other up to match, recheck and adjust as necessary. You can be amazingly accurate with this "shimming" method. Virgil Smith called it "cracking the unisons". I believe it is absolutely essential for fine tuning work.

I often use a similar technique in the treble section, but will use one mute so that only 2 strings are open. The unison sort of becomes an aural display of how far you are moving the note - and since you are moving 2 strings instead of one, the stability of the note is much greater.

Since the area around the treble break can be fickle depending on the piano, once I get an octave above it, I check the lower note again before tuning the upper. This means I'll use one mute on the upper note of the octave and one on the lower. Once I get to the top octave with the upper mute, depending on time, I may stop or I may decide to continue all the way up with the lower mute.

Of course the last task is just to quickly check the unisons and clean up the most noticeable ones. In most cases I can get through a major pitch raise and tuning in an hour and a half. Some pianos lock in much more quickly than others so your mileage may vary.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1650228 - 03/29/11 12:34 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: UnrightTooner]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
This does not make sense to me because C8 is tuned last but is supposed to be tuned with a 21% overpull (according to the chart). How could it drop if all the other notes have already been tuned?

I posed this exact question on the Tunelab mailing list a little while back. If all those overpull percentages are perfect, the relief in tension caused by the third C8 unison would be just enough that the previous strings settle into their correct pitches when that unison is pulled precisely to pitch, no overpull.

But of course, this is not a precision operation. I received suggestions as to why it works otherwise: general instability; stabilization of metal tensioning; instability caused by being at the end of the bridge. I have not spent the time measuring it myself, and have not paid close enough attention to the resulting pitch when I tune after pitch-raising. I probably should. But I have been taking the collective wisdom embedded in both the Tunelab and Cybertuner algorithms that it is required.
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

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#1650367 - 03/29/11 04:01 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Mexico City
Ry,

Very interesting. It is the first time I see a complete and congruent explanation of how aural overpull is to be made for each and every string. In the Reblitz book it is advised to not overpull strings but instead to make several, as many as needed, rough tunings at 440, until the piano finally stays at pitch. The piano, the strings, the bridges and the soundboard will benefit of the absence of over-tension.

In other sources I've red some suggestions of overpulling, but they are incomplete in the sense that they don't take into account that the piano is getting flat while you are pulling the strings, so your reference notes are moving flat as you are tuning up or down the scale, resulting in an altered, false tuning where the middle doesn't match the extremes, because the deformation of the soundboard is not even along the bridges.

The approach of tuning from A0 to C8, is very easy done with an ETD, but doing this aurally is not so obvious.

I usually use my Verituner for pitch raises, because when I've tried to do it aurally I've gotten bad results.

But what you explain is complete and clear.

First of all, you speak in BEATS. To me it's difficult to think in cents when working aurally. Cents are not heared, they must be mentally calculated, what is heard is beats. I find it natural to explain and think in beats and not in cents.

The most interesting of your post is overpulling. What you say about using untuned strings as a reference to estimate overpull is a cleaver idea. It makes possible to "measure" in BPS how flat is the string before raising it and how much we must sharpen it to the desired overpulled spot by hearing the beat rate with an untuned string of the unison. thumb

Originally Posted By: Rysowers
Since the area around the treble break can be fickle depending on the piano, once I get an octave above it, I check the lower note again before tuning the upper. This means I'll use one mute on the upper note of the octave and one on the lower. Once I get to the top octave with the upper mute, depending on time, I may stop or I may decide to continue all the way up with the lower mute.


I don´t understand how and why are you using the lower mute. Don't you tune unisons as you go? So the lower unison is already tuned and need no mute to be used as a reference. Does it?



Jim,

Originally Posted By: Jim Moy
I posed this exact question on the Tunelab mailing list a little while back.


Me too, I posed the same question to Dave Carpenter from Verituner. I don't remember the answer, but anyway it doesn't matter. If you tune with the same overpull, only B7 and C8 will be sharper than they must. Usually, for all notes up to A#7 the overpull will be correct.

So I tune B7 with half and C8 with a third of the overpull indicated by Verituner.





Edited by Gadzar (03/29/11 04:28 PM)
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1650495 - 03/29/11 07:15 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
David Jenson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 1946
Loc: Maine
"what process do you use to determine how far to safely go?"

There's no substitute for experience. Experiment, and pay attention to the results.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1650499 - 03/29/11 07:20 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: Gadzar]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Gadzar


Originally Posted By: Rysowers
Since the area around the treble break can be fickle depending on the piano, once I get an octave above it, I check the lower note again before tuning the upper. This means I'll use one mute on the upper note of the octave and one on the lower. Once I get to the top octave with the upper mute, depending on time, I may stop or I may decide to continue all the way up with the lower mute.


I don´t understand how and why are you using the lower mute. Don't you tune unisons as you go? So the lower unison is already tuned and need no mute to be used as a reference. Does it?


You're right that the lower unison is already tuned, but because it may have settled in sharp or flat as I moved up the scale, I check it again and correct if necessary. It gives me a more accurate reference for the upper note, and it stabilizes the lower note better. In essence I'm tuning the treble twice by doing it this way.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1650618 - 03/29/11 11:15 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1540
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
From the CE manual:

In all pitch raise modes, you should start tuning at note A0 and proceed up the keyboard to C8, tuning unisons as you go. The overpull percentages used by CE are optimized for this procedure.

(And then)

The following chart and graph show the overpull percentages CE uses when
calculating the overpull cents for each note. The overpull percentages listed below are applied to the differential between a note’s original pitch (before you tune it) and its target pitch (where Ch2 calculated it should be after you tune it).


This does not make sense to me because C8 is tuned last but is supposed to be tuned with a 21% overpull (according to the chart). How could it drop if all the other notes have already been tuned?


That's a very good question. It's hard to believe C8 would drop 21% if you tune the other 2 strings. And it seems nobody know the answer!

Kees

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#1651177 - 03/30/11 05:21 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Ryan, interesting, the pre-tensioning idea. Will give it a try on my next piano that's not too far off pitch.
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

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#1651283 - 03/30/11 08:32 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: rysowers]
Steve W Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/07
Posts: 249
Loc: Omaha, NE
Originally Posted By: rysowers


I have become a fan of "pre-tensioning" before tuning in these situations. I'll estimate the amount of beats flat in each section, double it and quickly tune the top row of pins (on an upright) or all the left string tuning pins (on a grand) so that one string of each unison beats at least twice as sharp as the note is flat. Then I just tune normally, but on each note I'll be bringing one string down to pitch, so it can eliminate or minimize the drop you'll experience while tuning the piano.




This sounds like a technique out of "Different Strokes." Ken Burton writes:

"When I come to a piano where the treble is 5-15 cents flat...I use Al Jeschke's brilliant pitch raising method. With two hands on the hammer, you pull pin #1 in each unison just enough to feel the pin move. Don't play the keys, simply do this silently, right up to four or five unisons from the top. Also do one string of each bichord and some of the unichords. This procedure adds pressure to the soundboard and bridges and keeps the pitch from falling again.

After this pass (it takes only a minute or two), when you start tuning octaves upward from the temperament, each unison you come to should have the left string sitting about 10 cents sharp and the other two will be 10 cents flat."


I've never tried it but sounds pretty slick.
_________________________
Steve W
Omaha, NE

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#1651345 - 03/30/11 11:55 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
I've tried it that way but have found that I'm a lot more accurate if I listen while I do it. It's possible to way over or under do it if you go completely by feel. It really doesn't any longer to do it while listening.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1651600 - 03/31/11 10:56 AM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronto

Although I've been using an ETD for a long time, I had an effective aural method.

Tune the middle as normal, but overpulled 25-30%.
Tune from the treble break one octave quickly, and then retune that octave. Pull the strip mute, do unisons and tune the bass once quickly, and once more accurately. You will probably have to retune the lower tenor before doing the bass.

Finish the treble.

This took about 10 minutes longer than a tuning, usually left the piano within a few cents of a440 or right there and was stable.

Hope this helps

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#1652845 - 04/01/11 11:04 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
jmw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Girard, KS,
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Sorry it's taken me a bit to get back on to thank you. I really appreciate the detailed suggestions.

@Ryan- so are you saying that if the piano is within 20 cents, then I can do the procedure of raising the left string, and then when I go back and set the temperament, the others strings will pull up and stay? But, if it's way off (like I usually run into around here) then I need to pull up all the strings?

I've got to figure out some things to get me going faster- I'm like molasses out here! Thanks again to all!
Cheers,
John
_________________________
Music teacher and beginning Tuner

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#1653193 - 04/02/11 03:14 PM Re: Aural pitch raises (with over-pull) [Re: jmw]
meadpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 131
Loc: East TN
I really appreciate this topic! I think that pitch raising is not discussed enough, at least I always feel nervous about getting the pitch to land right. I read in my reblitz book that you should try tuning each style of piano without overpull so you can see how much it drops and where in the diiferent types of pianos. He very basically outlines how to overpull but says if you learn how each style of piano drops you will learn how to do it accuratly on your own. In fact my mentor has been trying to get me to tune some pianos that are dropped straight on pitch so I can learn on my own. I know how to overpull for the most part but I always get nervous and sometimes I pull the mid to upper treble to sharp or too flat. I defintely suggest everyone who tunes aurally should be trying to learn for their own ear how much the diferent pianos usually drop...now if I can follow that advice! haha! crazy

Hope this has helped a bit! I know this thread has helped me some already!

Daniel

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