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#2053658 - 03/24/13 07:25 PM Re-stringing, when should it be done?
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
What are the reasons for re-stringing a piano....solid strings. How does one know when it is necessary? Is it the sound of the strings, if so, what does one listen for? I suspect rust is not a good thing. Rust is not the issue in my case, but I am curious as to the sound effects on solid strings that are at least 50+ years old.

If you were to replace the solid stirngs on a 82 yr old 4ft 8 Weber Grand...what manufacturer would you use today for the best results?

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#2053684 - 03/24/13 08:19 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Did you measure the Weber at 4' 8"? I can't recall ever seeing or hearing about a Weber that old, that small.

The latest development in wire types is often referred to as "Hybrid" wire scales. This redesign takes advantage of the lesser longitudinal mode production and reduced transverse mode partials that "softer" types of piano wire exhibit. The high-carbon steel wire sources are Paulello in France, (distributed in US by Arno Patin), and PureSound stainless from (Holland I think or is it Portugal?), (distributed in the states by Jurgen of Pianosupply).

These special wire types are used in the portion of scales where the string length is too short to sound good with the hardest, high-carbon wire, and the introduction of fine wound strings introduces other negative issues.

Properly used a well proportioned small piano scale can be improved a lot. I have done 6 or 7 pianos so far this way.
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#2053689 - 03/24/13 08:25 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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Those of us who restring pianos know what the difference between new strings and old strings sound like. Like so many other things, it is difficult to put into words. Tubby bass strings, and shrill but weak treble strings are symptoms. It also takes experience to differentiate the affect of new strings from the affect of new hammers.


Edited by BDB (03/24/13 08:26 PM)
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#2053758 - 03/25/13 12:31 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Ed, thanks for the info....yes I did measure. The case is 6ft, but because this is a player piano, the Duo-Art system takes up room. I measured from the front of the plate to the tail, and it is 56 inches exactly.

You mentioned PureSound stainless....I wonder it this would be a good choice given how short the piano is? I was under the impression that this kind of wire was for earlier pianos than 1930?

Bdb....thanks for your input....the hammers are new, as are the bass strings, so I don't think they are an issue. I have not had a lot of experience with older strings on pianos, hence my questions. I think I am use to the sound of my 7ft grand. wink This is a pretty short piano, and of course a different make etc.

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#2053770 - 03/25/13 01:26 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
beethoven986 Online   content
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Posts: 3348
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


You mentioned PureSound stainless....I wonder it this would be a good choice given how short the piano is? I was under the impression that this kind of wire was for earlier pianos than 1930?



As Ed mentioned, string scales can be improved by utilizing special wire (from PureSound or Paulello) in conjunction with modern wire. In this so called "Hybrid" scaling, this wire is typically used in the lowest plain trichords and the core in wrapped strings. Of course, the extent to which it is used depends on the particular model of piano. It's entirely likely you'd notice an improvement on your piano, but the existing scale would have to be measured and analyzed to determine the optimum modifications.
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#2053775 - 03/25/13 01:59 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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The problem with short pianos is that most of them are designed with tensions that drop really low at the lowest point of the tenor plain wire strings. Ideally there would be more wound strings to increase the tension at that point, and the tension of the rest of the piano should be lowered as well.

I rescaled a small Bush & Gerts that way once, and it came out nice. A Kimball I rescaled was not as nice, but then, it was not as nice a piano to begin with.
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#2053837 - 03/25/13 07:25 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed Foote Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1183
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Reasons for replacing the plain wire? Breakage, loose pins, poor scale, bridge/capo problems, damaged strings, tired of looking at old strings, too much money, boredom, etc.

I have a number of 90 year old pianos in my care that, with original strings, sound better, with less false beats, than 2 year old pianos of, supposedly, the same brand. New wire is not always an improvement, sometimes we find that the steel of 1914 was a better steel than what is being used in wire today.

It has also been my experience that new strings are not a sure improvement, tonally, over the old. Most of the shortcomings are termination-related, but on a smaller grand, the wire, itself, is probably not the source of the problem. New hammers and bass strings, 82 years old, left the block and treble wire...??


regards,

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#2053879 - 03/25/13 09:09 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Old wire type is useful to avoid too much ih when the lenght is short.

If the original lenght allows for enough tension the scale is "modern".

Wire age , above 40 years the treble is less thick, the mediums sound harder.

Very old wire is a different matter, and can be kept as "original" .

Bass strings are another problem if they sound clear I dont change them, but it is not so often.

The use made of the piano is dictating the options. Treble wire is sometime changed after 20 years of intense playing.
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#2054211 - 03/25/13 08:07 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Olek]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks for all the replies.

Going to have a pro take a listen and see if it's warranted. This piano has a LOT of sustain, all the way up to C8, so it's not a soundboard issue...it just could be that this is a short piano, and it is what it is. Perhaps the 'hybrid' stringing would help....will see.

Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.

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#2054223 - 03/25/13 08:23 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed Foote]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Ed.....The plan was to rebuild everything in the player system, not the piano itself, cost factor being the main reason. The original pin block is surprisingly solid for 82 yrs. If it had not been solid, I probably would have had it replaced along with the strings, or at least, larger pins. The sustain is really good throughout the whole piano, even in the 5th-6th octaves.

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#2054233 - 03/25/13 08:43 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
beethoven986 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.
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#2054249 - 03/25/13 09:18 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: beethoven986]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Interesting take on the Wapin....but I have to disagree. I had it done to my 7ft M&H and am very happy with the outcome...having the correct hammers for the Wapin made a significant improvement...in my case it was Ari Isaac's hammers that made that difference.

I have Ari's hammers on the Weber. The piano is 82 yrs old...it has it's original bridge pins.

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#2054299 - 03/25/13 10:52 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
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I have not noticed that plain wire in a piano will change it's sound due to age alone. Like ED Foote said; I have some very old really well preserved pianos that the wire sounds as good as new. I don't know if the 1914 or so steel is better than new. I do prefer the Mapes gold plain wire for high stress portions of a modern piano scale over Roslau. I haven't compared Suzuki.

We are in dire need of some independent testing for all kinds of todays piano wire for break point, elastic limit, Youngs modulus, Rockwell hardness, comparative longitudinal modes and relative amplitudes of selected sizes. The PTG foundation should organize and fund this.
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#2054303 - 03/25/13 11:10 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Tunewerk Offline
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Loc: Boston, MA
Hey Ed, could you describe what you hear out of the Mapes Gold wire that you like better than the Roslau?
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#2054304 - 03/25/13 11:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
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Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I used to convert low breaking point trichord plain unisons at the lowest part of the long bridge to high breaking point wound bi-chords to improve the tone. These scaling protocols were developed back in the day when we though inharmonicity was a very significant determinate of tone quality.

It rarely worked well because two string unisons do not couple like three, and more prominent longitudinal modes often appeared. I now use Hybrid wire protocols that I developed which are easier to implement and so far at least-have always improved the musical utility of the piano. Thank you Juan Mas Cabre and Stephan Paulello!
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#2055045 - 03/27/13 10:53 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Tunewerk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2189
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Some of us "think" Mapes international gold wire is stronger than Roslau. This thought is based on testing break point with the very crude method of comparing what pitch two samples of wire break at on a given note of a real piano. Basically string a unison with the two samples and raise pitch a little at a time on both samples until they break and note the pitch difference.

The industry needs a complete, comparative testing of all the relevant wire behavior elements, of the different types of wire.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2055064 - 03/27/13 12:05 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Ed is not the carbon content different ?
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055067 - 03/27/13 12:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Is not tge carbon content slightly different ? The tensile strain have certainly been tested some decades go. For the numbers provided I believe they are only from computations .

That said Roslau seem to guarantee that their wire can be hmnered on 1/3 thickness, or rolled (as done for winding) and keep the official BS .

About iH i find more pianos with less than 0,8 at note 49 the note pitch is not too much distorded then. I tend to believe that when we raise in the 1.00 range something is less pleasing, more brutal, to the ear.
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055068 - 03/27/13 12:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
BDB Offline
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There are probably information sheets available on various makes of piano wire. It is used for other purposes, where that information may be more useful. However, that would probably give minimum breaking strength, and the amount of variation would not be recorded.

Trying to analyze by pitch would be fruitless. The point at which the string is ruined is the elastic limit, not the breaking point. Once the string has reached the elastic limit, it begins to distort and the pitch goes haywire.

These limits depend on the heat treatment of the wire. The usual cause of breakage is when the treatment is no longer the main influence on the strength of the wire, due to metal fatigue. That causes the elastic limit to lower, until the string breaks.
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#2055076 - 03/27/13 12:28 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
You are right to say probably, but it is in the end not really.

The wire for pianos is only for music, hence surface treatment and probably recipesvfrom the string maker on how many passes before "cooking" knowing that the elastic properties are lost at that moment, then bring back with the next passes in the drawing holes.... Speed and number of cookings beforebobtaining the wanted diameter are determining the wire elasticity, assuming the original "salmon" is made from similar steel.
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055346 - 03/27/13 09:20 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
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Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
I've enjoyed reading these responses. Some nice points about what difference restringing might or might not make, and how much a piano's deterioration is due to strings or to other things, especially hammers.

I have wondered sometimes if people think of piano strings as like guitar strings. A guitar will have many sets of strings in its lifetime, not necessarily because they break, but because they do "wear out" due to the degree of deflection, the relative thinness, the acids in skin etc. I believe that there may be a false perception at large that restringing is some kind of cure-all for an old piano.

This may have been fostered by unscrupulous "rebuilders" willing to sell a restringing when it's not really neccessary. (Of course I am not talking here of reputable rebuilders who do everything in properly restoring, even improving the original design, of a piano).

I have stressed to customers that restringing on its own is unlikely to make much difference, especially if there is little or no soundbaord crown left, and/or if the hammers are not replaced.

It's funny that (at least in the UK) people ask about restringing, but they don't ask about new hammers. Or other action restoration. I have tried to address some of these issues on the Strings page of my website http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/piano-strings.php

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#2055353 - 03/27/13 09:38 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: beethoven986]
kpembrook Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
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Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.


It would not be a mistake. I think your comment is based just on seeing a particular piano post-Wapin. You need to have seen it pre-Wapin to offer any valid perspective.

In my experience of observing Wapin by others and the installations I have done, there is ALWAYS a noticeable improvement.

I have done work in various sequences such as restring first, hammers first, with/without Wapin. Wapin and then hammers and would comment that in many cases the tonal improvement from Wapin is greater than the tonal improvement from just restringing.
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2055358 - 03/27/13 09:44 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
kpembrook Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have not noticed that plain wire in a piano will change it's sound due to age alone. Like ED Foote said; I have some very old really well preserved pianos that the wire sounds as good as new. I don't know if the 1914 or so steel is better than new. I do prefer the Mapes gold plain wire for high stress portions of a modern piano scale over Roslau. I haven't compared Suzuki.


I don't think this is able to be an accurate statement -- certainly not one that a single person has observed. It may well be that a piano with old wire sounds very good. But whether it sounds as it was when new simply is not within the capability of anyone who didn't hear the piano new to make. Even then, the passage of time would likely dull one's memory of the original sound.

In any event, having done enough "modular" rebuilding to assess the impact of different procedures, I would say that yes, there is an observable improvement in tone from new wire. Not as much as new hammers, to be sure.

I have had the interesting phenomenon of letting the tension down, moving the strings slightly from one pin to the next and re-tensioning. I got a tonal improvement similar to what I observe from new wire. Apparently, getting wire that has been "worked" less at the bearing points gives some of the increased clarity/sparkle of new strings.

I have also experimented with frozen wire, (liquid nitrogen) but not enough comparison to say what all it does other than a strong impression that it stabilized more quickly.


Edited by kpembrook (03/27/13 09:45 PM)
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2055665 - 03/28/13 12:46 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
I would say that yes, there is an observable improvement in tone from new wire. Not as much as new hammers, to be sure.


Yet generally, people will ask about restringing, and not about new hammers.

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#2055735 - 03/28/13 02:53 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: David Boyce]
fishbulb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/13
Posts: 50
Originally Posted By: David Boyce
Yet generally, people will ask about restringing, and not about new hammers.


Could be that way because for many popular stringed instruments (guitar, violin, etc.) restringing has a very large impact on tone, so that is what people think about. smile

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#2055863 - 03/28/13 08:30 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
David Boyce Offline
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Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Yes, that is what I suggested in Post #2055346, above.

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#2055868 - 03/28/13 08:38 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: kpembrook]
RoyP Offline
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Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


Another possibility is the Wapin bridge mod. ....will see.


It would be a mistake to rely on this to improve your piano. I have heard and played several pianos with the Wapin mod and if I had not known ahead of time, I wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I don't think it's worth the trouble unless you have 90 year old bridge pins in your piano.


It would not be a mistake. I think your comment is based just on seeing a particular piano post-Wapin. You need to have seen it pre-Wapin to offer any valid perspective.

In my experience of observing Wapin by others and the installations I have done, there is ALWAYS a noticeable improvement.

I have done work in various sequences such as restring first, hammers first, with/without Wapin. Wapin and then hammers and would comment that in many cases the tonal improvement from Wapin is greater than the tonal improvement from just restringing.


I was thinking the same thing, Keith. I don't know what pianos Beethoven986 has heard, and have no reason to doubt his experience. But I do know that a significant percentage of Wapin installations have been done on pianos which didn't sound so very good to start with. Often, it is a last ditch effort to get any kind of tone at all out of an instrument. I know I've done it. Having done many Wapin installations, there has always been a before/after difference. At this point in my career, I've used it enough that I get relatively consistent, predictable results. I hear the difference immediately.

Grandpianoman has become accustomed to hearing the sound of Wapin on his Mason and Hamlin BB. He might just be missing that sound on his other piano, despite the fact that it has new hammers and good sustain. To me, there is a "Wapin sound". Now, the hammers need to be kept voiced. It can get too bright and zingy with hard hammers. But then, I think that hammers should be kept voiced on all pianos. The Issac's hammers do seem to work very well with Wapin.
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#2056646 - 03/30/13 02:39 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: RoyP]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Roy,

Yes, that is def part of the reason...I'm spoiled by a beautiful sounding 7ft M&H 'Wapinized' Grand. wink

I just found out that these treble strings were new around 2002-3~! Given that fact, I think I am not used to hearing a 4ft8 grand, short piano, short strings and all that goes with those issues. Perhaps a Wapin is in order in the future.....That being said, I think I have found the ideal tuning/stretch for it, ET that is.

The hammers are Ari's Cadenza "S" hammers..they work really well..no voicing other than Ari's pre-voicing after he made them.

Let me know what you all think of this tuning/stretch.

"It Had To Be You-- Fox Trot from 1924. https://www.box.com/s/vli1tytq10jv0310ax2y



Edited by Grandpianoman (03/30/13 05:27 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#2058584 - 04/03/13 08:07 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
RoyP Offline
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Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
The tuning sounds good, GP. I've listened to it a few times. As far as whether it is ideal? I can't say.

If the plain wire strings are only about 10 years old, they shouldn't need replaced. I doubt that you would get much improvement there.

I haven't heard of Ari's Cadenza S hammers. What are they, a light version for small pianos?
_________________________
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Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#2058795 - 04/03/13 04:29 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Roy,

Appreciate the feedback. After trying several stretches/tuning styles, it's clear to me that this short piano presents a challenge in finding the ideal tuning. Will continue to experiment.

Yes, as soon as I found out that the solid wire was only 10 or so years old, no need to replace them.

I believe they are his normal hammers, although, these are his 165 hammers.

Same tuning...recorded a few days later....a short classical piece. Playing a large classical piece on a short piano...it's not my favorite thing to do. This one is not too bad, but some of the classical rolls sound better on a larger piano. You can hear more of how the tuning works with this piece.


--HUNGARIAN DANCE-- No. 8 in A minor, Played by Harold Bauer
https://www.box.com/s/ucsjktz6o624ehhjontq

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#2059085 - 04/04/13 07:53 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1765
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman
Hi Roy,

Yes, that is def part of the reason...I'm spoiled by a beautiful sounding 7ft M&H 'Wapinized' Grand. wink

I just found out that these treble strings were new around 2002-3~! Given that fact, I think I am not used to hearing a 4ft8 grand, short piano, short strings and all that goes with those issues. Perhaps a Wapin is in order in the future.....That being said, I think I have found the ideal tuning/stretch for it, ET that is.

The hammers are Ari's Cadenza "S" hammers..they work really well..no voicing other than Ari's pre-voicing after he made them.

Let me know what you all think of this tuning/stretch.

"It Had To Be You-- Fox Trot from 1924. https://www.box.com/s/vli1tytq10jv0310ax2y



The 17ths at 0.22 are indicative of far too much bass stretch on any size piano in any temperament. It is not evident in most of the rest of the take because the bass notes are ahead of the beat ,short, and never sound with the rest of the chord.

If this occurred in a slower piece it would be enough to cause an audience to look at each other as though convinced that something was wrong with the piano
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2059405 - 04/04/13 04:54 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: rxd]
Chris Leslie Offline
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Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 678
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman
Hi Roy,

Yes, that is def part of the reason...I'm spoiled by a beautiful sounding 7ft M&H 'Wapinized' Grand. wink

I just found out that these treble strings were new around 2002-3~! Given that fact, I think I am not used to hearing a 4ft8 grand, short piano, short strings and all that goes with those issues. Perhaps a Wapin is in order in the future.....That being said, I think I have found the ideal tuning/stretch for it, ET that is.

The hammers are Ari's Cadenza "S" hammers..they work really well..no voicing other than Ari's pre-voicing after he made them.

Let me know what you all think of this tuning/stretch.

"It Had To Be You-- Fox Trot from 1924. https://www.box.com/s/vli1tytq10jv0310ax2y



The 17ths at 0.22 are indicative of far too much bass stretch on any size piano in any temperament. It is not evident in most of the rest of the take because the bass notes are ahead of the beat ,short, and never sound with the rest of the chord.

If this occurred in a slower piece it would be enough to cause an audience to look at each other as though convinced that something was wrong with the piano


I like the sound. The low "growl" is effective in this context. Much better than a biliously sharp bass.
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Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2059458 - 04/04/13 06:36 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Chris Leslie]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
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Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks rxd and Chris for your feedback.

Interesting...this tuning/stretch was specifically for small pianos. Here is one I recorded yesterday...now keep in mind, it's been about 5 + days since I tuned it with this stretch....so it's not a fresh tuning...I have also been experimenting with different tunings/stretches over the last month...stability is not there yet. There is a bit more action in the bass notes on this one.

"Mine all Mine" 1920;s Fox Trot https://www.box.com/s/mpq9u6atjpabxq2zxl0z

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#2059639 - 04/05/13 07:26 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
rxd Offline
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Registered: 03/11/09
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Loc: London, England
This is a fascinating point. The interval in the recording in this thread of ' it had to be you' at 0.22 ,while it may give a strange thrill to some, would not have passed the PTG exam when I was an examiner, (40 years ago). I'm not sure the current exam encompasses this interval from what I hear. Will someone enlighten me?

Even our most vocal advocates of UT's, electronic tuning and extreme stretching would not encompass such an interval as being representative of their creed. Am I to regard their silence on this matter a tacit acceptance of such an interval?


Edited by rxd (04/05/13 07:58 AM)
_________________________
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2059642 - 04/05/13 07:39 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
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Loc: France
it is around 1.40 that the out of line basses and low medium is the most noticed , to me. and later 2:00 (the little descending scale sound false to the context)
The low E is good, but above it does not sound strongly set in the harmony, a little aside, as if some notes in the basses where played on another instrument.

I also hear some strange 4th and 5ths. surprising it can be noticed as much)

Too low basses sound better with minor harmonies than with major ones.

remind me of my long search for optimal stretch in basses .

keep the good work on !

unison help a lot to find that "stretch" , in my opinion.
( by allowing more "answer" from other notes it reinforces the justness sensation to the listener (just a guess but ...)


Edited by Olek (04/05/13 07:47 AM)
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#2059656 - 04/05/13 08:01 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
rxd Offline
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Sorry, Isaac, I was referring to the recording of ' it had to be you' some posts back. I have altered my post Requesting input accordingly.

My mistake.

Sorry to be confusing. I agree there's a lot going on in the other recordings but the particular instance I refer to would be noticed by even the most unsophisticated listener.


Edited by rxd (04/05/13 08:04 AM)
_________________________
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2059659 - 04/05/13 08:10 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
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Loc: France
Well yes Sir I agree totally at 0:22 this sound really strange, (that A1)as if the string had a problem.

Not easy to detect as notes are short, you have good ears, may be you are a piano tuner (?) The smartest guys in the world and neighbors places wink



Edited by Olek (04/05/13 08:19 AM)
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#2059675 - 04/05/13 08:46 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
RoyP Offline
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It makes a difference what you are listening on. Previously I was listening on my tablet, which doesn't have much bass. Now I have listened on my desktop, which has a better set of speakers. Yeah, it does sound off at that spot. That's the trouble with all these recordings. Most of the time I am listening on some sort of mobile device with lousy speakers.
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#2060012 - 04/05/13 07:38 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: RoyP]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Definitely makes a difference Roy....the iPhone/IPad speakers are woefully inadequate, as are the usual built-in laptop speakers. I always listen through a pair of Koss Porta-Pro headphones....not expensive, and are very good with the Ipad etc, and computers.

This is tuning into a very interesting subject wink Olek, rxd, I appreciate your comments. You both have excellent 'ears' This was an experiment. I have purposely not said what ETD I used for this. I will reveal that a bit later. If I have time, I am going to re-tune the piano with a different parameter, and will post the results. [i][/i]

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#2060198 - 04/06/13 05:40 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
rxd Offline
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Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1765
Loc: London, England
While I am aware that this is an experimental tuning, we were asked for opinions on it and as long as nobody minds this stringing thread morphing into a tuning thread, I do have concerns.

I first heard this over-stretched 17th immediately on the tiny speakers of my iPhone. It stuck out like a sore thumb. I don't need to hear it on anything else, a ridiculously inappropriate fast beat rate is just that. Chris is right, it does sound billious although I doubt Isham Jones and Gus Kahn would appreciate their music being thought of as requiring the comedy mistuning that used to be thought to enhance ragtime piano of the generation before.

I feel concerned that professional tuners don't hear it immediately and others actually preferring this sound.

Thank you for publishing this experiment, it exposes quite a lot. That there is an electronic program out there that produces this result I find odd.

I have constructed comedy tunings for recordings and shows for pianists that specialise in music that the general public enjoys for its old timely feel, I never found it necessary to mistune this far.

I know that this is a stack up of tolerances created by a combination of UT, over-stretching and the 'lost-sight-of-the-end-result-ness' of purely theoretical electronic tuning programs. I wonder what happens if that program was continued downwards in the same progression. It would be interesting for you to record a series of descending 17ths in this tuning from the middle of the piano for us.

It only takes one interval like this for the whole piano to be dismissed as out of tune. Any tuner who wants to minimise call backs would be wise to note this. It would be inexcusable in anything but an intentionally experimental tuning as this is.
_________________________
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2060470 - 04/06/13 05:46 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Loc: Portland, Oregon
I can understand where you are coming from. I am sure the folks on here would not mind this post continuing in the direction of tuning etc. My original question had to do with strings, but since I found out that these were not that old, I am fine with that. One caveat....I don't know if these treble strings are of good quality, or that they are the correct diameter for this piano. That is a subject for the future when I have a pro-tech come take a look at the piano and compare it to an original string scale.

I am not a pro-tuner as you may know. My interest in tuning came out of the need to constantly tune my main piano, an M&H BB. It has 2 player systems, an Ampico and LX. You can imagine how quickly it drifts after playing concert-level piano rolls and the same type of music on the LX.

An explanation as to what you heard on the 2 recordings above...Back when I started using ETD's in 2004, my frist ETD did not function like the ETD's we have today. It had a pre-set selection of stretches that were derived from aural tunings. The stretches were all based on using just the fundamental of each string/note to determine the stretch. The inventor also believed it was imparitve that the tuning curve be as smooth as possible. The 2 recordings above were made using this ETD. I had not used it for years, and wanted to see how it performed compared to the modern ETD's I have.

I should not be surprised that both you, Olek and Roy heard the issues with this ETD. I am impressed. Olek, the fact that you mentioned that it sounded like it was on a different piano was correct. There is also the possibility that some of the low bass strings have issues. I used a tuning that was made for smaller pianos. Obviously it was not that good. When the tuning was fresh, it sounded pretty good to my ear, but I am not a pro-tuner. The ETD is going back in it's case. smile Incidently, the piano used for that stretch was a Hale upright, according to the manual.,,,,Ahemmm,,,,,,,

As a side note, Jerry Groot had pointed out to me back in 2005, that an ETD that cannot measure anything is not going to give the best result.

So with that in mind, I re-tuned the piano yesterday using a modern ETD. Let me know what you think about this,,,,same piece, "It Had to be You". It does sound better to my ears. Btw, when I was re-tuning, many notes were way sharp, 3-5 cents...that being said, and the fact that I have been changing tunings over the last month, the stability is not that great. The piece below was the first one I recorded after doing 2 passes. After the first pass, when I wen tback to check it, many notes had gone sharp, which I know happens in situations like mine. The 2nd pass was much better, but it still is not stable. Once I settle on the ideal stretch, will stick with that, and that should help the stability.

I recorded a few rolls after this one, inc a slower semi-classical piece. However, they are not of "broadcast" quality. If you would like to hear them, let me know and I will post them.

"It Had to be You" https://www.box.com/s/bv9tgklkd2uikzks6f1m

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#2060477 - 04/06/13 06:12 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Hi I did not really listen to the tuning as I listened to the music.
I find that, despite a limited dynamic range provided by the hammers (if those are the ones I think off they mature a little but still are in a relatively small range, unless the piano dictates that)

Well wanted to say you obtain pleasing unison with some sort of construction, it makes the piano musically enjoyeable and certainly nice to play also.

They may be can be "opened" a little more ( reinforcing the decay, as said Glen recently) but possibly the instrument will not have much gain, its character seem to ask for that sort of silky tone. (may be slightly more pressed hammers would help)

As I am always emitting reserves on tuning and particularly on unison (I regret but I cant refrain wink that does not give enough body to tone, that is pleasing to be able to say elsewhere.

The tuning sound medium and quiet probably a little "generic" (could have a more strong harmonic behavior I believe that you will perceive that yourself with time, when tuning unison and trying to get more power the justness at the octave and probably more, is automatically corrected). But you may forget the ETD at that time, using it only to check consonance may be if it helps , when you are unsure.

I suspect you keep an eye on the ETD while tuning the unison, this only disturbs a little in my opinion, the "dive" in the piano tone is not as organic !

Greetings








Edited by Olek (04/06/13 06:13 PM)
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#2060479 - 04/06/13 06:20 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman


An explanation as to what you heard on the 2 recordings above...Back when I started using ETD's in 2004, my first ETD did not function like the ETD's we have today. It had a pre-set selection of stretches that were derived from aural tunings. The stretches were all based on using just the fundamental of each string/note to determine the stretch. The inventor also believed it was imparitve that the tuning curve be as smooth as possible. The 2 recordings above were made using this ETD. I had not used it for years, and wanted to see how it performed compared to the modern ETD's I have.




You know, I doubt that this ETD was able to listen to the basses, check the notice the cut of the frequencies must be somewhere in the top of the bass region.

In fact the inventor was not totally wrong about smoothness, but his device should be able to "hear" the final result of the 3 or 2 strings together, and determine which pitch impression it provides. I believe that this process is not really possible with electronics, due to fluctuations in time, to differences in stabilization time between bass and treble , between pianos.

The mathematical model may be very difficult to define.

I would more easily believe in an ETD that can signal the phase and power peaks in unison that some that can hear the pitch of unison, including the partials mix and all..)

Oh well, sorry for the OT, but its your topic, for once wink


Edited by Olek (04/06/13 06:21 PM)
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#2060548 - 04/06/13 10:17 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Olek]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Olek, appreciate your feedback.

That is correct, this ETD cannot measure anything to do with computing a tuning. It only has 8 preset tunings/stretches for various types of pianos. The inventor was a mechanical engineer and had an avid interest in piano tuning. I am not sure if he is still alive.

I actually did a posting about this ETD back in 2006...reading what I wrote back then is somewhat humorous...I was pretty strong in my opinion that this ETD was the best....;)

Below is an excerpt from a paper he wrote back in 2001. It's a bit of a long read but interesting.
At the end of the article, I posted the 2nd roll I recorded with the modern ETD...it was not as bad as I had originally thought, although I do hear some drift.


[/i]Piano Tuning Basics

"The modern piano is an amazing device with a very long history of empirical development. That it works at all is astonishing considering the fact that every note on every piano ever built is defective in peculiar ways that are antagonistic to commonly held ideas of musical excellence. The complex sound that is produced by freely vibrating strings is always laced with partial tones that are generally unpredictable and nearly always SHARP. This effect is maximized in the modern piano with its very hard steel strings under great tension. The amazing thing is that a good piano has a wonderful sound that enthralls and captivates those who listen closely and learn to love the sounds that only a fine piano can produce. However, some excellent musicians have become aware of the "defects" and are unable to accept them as the principal charm of the tonal sound quality.

There is no freely vibrating string that has perfectly harmonic higher partial tones. This is true of all forms of fretted instruments as well as harpsichords and other baroque instruments with plucked or hammered strings. The effect is all due to the physics of tensioned strings. It reaches its apex in the modern piano.

These "sharp partials" produce great anguish in both artists and their technicians who are required to tune the piano. One artist has commented that he never gets to practice on a a piano that is tuned properly as it must be for a concert performance. These partial tones create a set of "beats" as various tones combine with a variety of slowly changing patters of sound interference. There is no way that two strings can be "tuned" to eliminate all audible beats. In fact, a single string can produce these beats in a piano tone! Yes, it is possible that some single strings on a piano will have beats that most probably cannot be totally removed.

The source of this "trouble" is the way the string is terminated in the bridge. The stiff steel string "snakes" by steel pins driven in the bridge to form the coupling to the sound board. (Without this, the piano would not make much of a sound!) In vibrational theory this is called the impedance of the termination. This impedance is dependent on the direction of string vibration. When the hammer hits the string you would expect that the vibration would be vertical. however, close examination shows that the actual vibration is in all directions perpendicular to the string direction. When these vibrations reflect from the bridge pin, the string appears to be very slightly shorter in the vertical as compared to the horizontal direction. This difference in length causes the string to simultaneously vibrate at two (or more) slightly different frequencies, thus creating "beating"

It is no wonder at all that tuning the piano to a satisfactory artistic quality sound is a daunting task. One tuner who has great experience has said that he had tuned about 1000 pianos before he felt able to produce a professional result. This is a direct result of the very complex combination of tones produced by the strange partial tones from every string. Learning to hear these obscure beats is truly an art on a par with learning to play.

All of this is made even more complex by the introduction of the Equally Tempered Scale. In the baroque era of music it was paramount in importance to adjust the scale to relate directly to the character of the musical composition. It was highly desired that the sound have a "bright" and "clear" quality in one key and have a "dark" and "obscure" sound in another. Thus the composer had some control on the objectives of his composition. There were literally hundreds of designs for tuning. However each tuning was suitable for music in only a very few keys. As the composition of music progressed it became obvious that some compromise was needed to divorce the tuning of the instrument from the composer's selection of the key for his work. Consequently about the same time of Bach, the thrust of keyboard tuning moved to a compromise in the E.T. scale.

Equal Temperament is very democratic: all musical compositions in any arbitrary key signature sound equally BAD. There are very real and obvious troubles with the major and minor thirds. They have impressive beating effects that are very disturbing to anyone who has heard the purity of any chordal structure tuned in the long accepted JUST intonation where the objective is to eliminate all beating sounds. In equal tempering all pairs of notes with intervals of a third have beats at their primary "fundamental" frequency. It is important that adjacent pairs of thirds have their beats adjusted to uniformly increase as they are played chromatically up the scale. But, in contrast, the fifths (or fourths) will sound very nearly pure (primary fundamental tones).

These concepts have very little to do with the strange beats caused by the wild partial tones. Altogether a different concept is needed to deal with this defect. Consequently the gradual development of the "Stretched Scale". It was only a few years ago that this effect was unknown outside the close community of piano tuners. A critical investigation of the physics of actual artistic practice in tuning pianos revealed that the nearly eight octaves produced by the keyboard were tuned in a totally different way from that expected in other kinds of musical instruments.

The existence of the "sharp" partial tones caused the artist and his tuner to gradually lower the pitch of the notes below middle C (or A) and gradually increase the frequency of notes in the upper half of the keyboard. Otherwise there is a very serious musical problem: the notes outside the middle do not sound like they are part of the harmony created in the center of the keyboard. This is a direct result of the evaluation of the "total" sound of the note, including all the partials, by the human ear. The ear hears everything at once and makes a judgement on the totally harmonic "picture". If you play a triad in the center of the keyboard and then add a fundamental note in other octaves, the ear will judge the added note to be "tuned" if it is in agreement with the total sound of the one cluster in the central triad. For instance, a major chord on A-220 demands that the A-110, A-55 or A-27.5, be significantly flattened to sound like a part of the chord. Likewise, a single fundamental note at A-880 or A-1760 will sound dramatically FLAT if it is not tuned to a much higher pitch than expected. This whole effect is the essential reason that the modern piano must have "stretched" tuning.

But, exactly how much stretch? There is no "exact" answer. Every professional tuner has a different concept and result. The issue is significantly confused by the very partial tones that are the only clue to the art of tuning by ear. When aural tuning is limited to the comparison of only two notes at a time, there are some very real problems in judgement. The temperament is set in the middle octave and then the tuning is extended to upper and lower octaves. This actually increased individual tuning errors as they compound as the "beat" method "leapfrogs" to the remote ends of the keyboard.
Measurements on actual tunings show clearly that the errors become larger and more random as tuning extends away from the center of the keyboard. There is a real conflict in tuning concepts between the required beats of the thirds and the elimination of beats in the octaves. It is no wonder that learning to tune by ear alone is an art that develops only after many years of experience and serving as apprentice to a master tuner. [/b]

The design objective of the (my ETD) for keyboards was based on empirical research and historical data from several sources. The empirical research was done with a concert artist/professor and his personal aural tuner/technician. This research was confirmed by interviews with professional tuners in many different areas. The foundation of this investigation was to determine the values of the fundamental pitch of each note on the piano from tunings that were typical of pianos suitable for the performing artist. Published literature and tunings provided by major piano manufacturers were included in the study. Many measurements were made on a variety of pianos in use at the University of _________. The net result was seven different data bases that relate both the kind of piano structure and the type of music to be performed.

There is a significant difference in the tuning requirements for a piano to be used in solo performances and that for a small chamber group. In the concert solo artist tuning, the piano must have brilliance in the top octaves and a full deep sounding bass support. The listener is usually at some distance in an auditorium. The chamber music situation is vastly different. The piano must be integrated into an ensemble and blend with the sound of other instruments. In addition the tuning for small pianos in homes or churches must overcome the loss of quality with small frames and short strings. These observations lead to a totally confusing set of parameters confronting the tuning specification. One result of our research was that a qualified professional tuner was not so much influenced by the different pianos, but by this concept of the musical/artistic total sound. Individual and peculiar defects of each piano were subdued to the overall musical character of the whole instrument. Thus the (my ETD) approach is to select a particular "stretch" curve suitable for the size and quality of the piano and for it's intended use. When the fundamental pitch of each string is matched to a suitable curve, the partial tones are reduced in their diversionary contribution to the tuning adjustments.[/b]

Consequently, the (my ETD) Method includes seven different selections for the essential piano size, quality, and stretch curves. Each note on the piano for each tuning is stored on a memory chip. Direct matching of the fundamental tone to the master tuning does not require any comparison between two notes. The result is a very smooth curve of stretch over the entire keyboard. The instruction book for the tuner gives more description of each tuning and a complete listing of the data base for detailed examination. If some occasion develops such that a special curve is needed, it can be easily accomplished by using the variable frequency adjustment and the CENTS digital indicator. However, it is very likely that one of the seven tunings will be found satisfactory."

July, 2001 [i]




Here is the 2nd roll I recorded with this new tuning using a modern ETD.

"Bye Bye Pretty Baby" Played by Pauline Alpert Duo Art piano roll. https://www.box.com/s/dgacmnsiy3nf01azoug2

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#2060631 - 04/07/13 04:46 AM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
Hello, thanks a lot for the job on the wav file, it is cleaner (and edited, I am lazy with those things I do not master well !)

About the second roll, indeed the tonality is different but I feel the tuning is older. is it the case ? If so (a day or so assuming your pin setting is not yet "concert style") you may try to stabilize better your tuning, tuning pin and strings. Try the terrible method proposed by our colleague who plays a maximum notes on whites and sharps with his 2 forearms, move the strings and soundboard to the max before deciding the tuning is set.

But I suggest you can "build" more that medium region tone wise. If you obtain the tone less straightened it will possibly sound more defined, and possibly it will be more stable.

Once you separate the top of the spectra in tone, the attack begins to "build" , in my opinion.
The cleaner tone allow to perceive it well, physically under the fingers, that is a quality of the tone that can be noticed.

You may be tuning "too much" the unison. If at some point you stop "listening" and you try to feel the quality of the attack, as a pianist, you will notice a slight delay between immediate crash and the tone thickening, the moment "tuned" (specrtra wise) is the moment where the tone begin to stabilize. if you try to tune all at the same time it makes a sort of fight of frequencies that seem to rob much energy. The unison is really "educated" and separated in parts.

Then, you can have all energy pushing toward fundamental and left the partials moan a little (they always do in that case even if it is not immediately apparent) this makes a thick slightly damped attack and reduce the dynamics.
Or you can try to "comb the spectra" and reinforce it, incidentally it creates more sympathetic rings from the high strings (and others).
This is how a crisp attack is obtained, by the participation of other notes, for a good part (IMO).

Now, depending of the iH, the balance between fundamental and other partials may vary, allowing a more or less enlarging of the attack. It could be a good exercise to tune unison with the pedal engaged a little. it is somewhat boring, but you can perceive the top spectra way better and the stabilization of the wire is better , try it you may be surprised to obtain a better result than you think (it cut all the harshness of the attack so you are not temped to tune it)

Greetings
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#2060892 - 04/07/13 05:39 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Olek]
Grandpianoman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2362
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Glad to help.

Yes, stability is still an issue for me. For this time, the piano was so sharp from the tuning I did with the older ETD, I did not drop the pitch below, then back up to the right spot, that did not help the stability. Next time I tune it, will do that. I usually do the hard blows to the string, not sure about using my forearm strength...:)

When I do my unisons by ear, I try to get the beats out of the strings, and I listen for the decay, or however long the sound sustains, that there is no beat in that sustain/decay. Sometimes that is not possible to due to false beats, and sometimes I can tune out the false beats so they are less of a problem.

Interesting idea about slightly using the pedal...will try that. Thanks for your ideas!

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#2060963 - 04/07/13 07:11 PM Re: Re-stringing, when should it be done? [Re: Grandpianoman]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7877
Loc: France
With the 2 forearms one for sharps and one for white notes, push the sustain pedal and make an horrible noise by "playing" one another repeatedly ("clusters" ) !

Certainly it may check the stability !

Tuning from above is always difficult, you can massage a little the back scale before, but it is necessary to tune from below generally speaking.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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