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Topic Options
#2100155 - 06/10/13 08:41 AM First shot at tuning
stymie222 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/08/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Iowa
I purchased a tuning wrench and Korg TM-50 digital tuner for my Kimball 2 string upright.
The middle C was the most audibly out of tune.
After re tuning C, I checked the other keys and just about every single one showed the correct key, but "flat".
Before I attempt to re tune everyone of them, Can I trust the Korg ?

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#2100173 - 06/10/13 09:20 AM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
woodog Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 430
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
short answer:
You can depend on the Korg to give you the correct pitch in Hz.

Shorter answer:
No

Longer answer begins with:

Depends on how picky you are.

As someone who bought an Ipad and Verituner software JUST to be able to tune Bill Bremmer's EBVT III, which I LOVE, a good hammer, and has spent the last year reading, reading, and reading and listening, listening, and listening, and with 8 tunings done at this point (6 on mine, two on my church piano)... it ain't as easy as just lining up the needle <-understatement of the year.



The best line about tuning I've ever come across is 'the piano has it's tuning, the tuner's job is to find it' (sorry I can't remember who, and sorry if the quote isn't exact, but I find it true).

In that last bit, and in your own trials, you'll find that it takes years.

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2100180 - 06/10/13 09:26 AM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
Zeno Wood Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 481
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I think if there's only two strings, then the Korg tuner is just fine.
_________________________
Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2100194 - 06/10/13 09:47 AM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
Stymie,

The Korg is designed for string and wind instruments - tuning a fundamental (or a few strings on a guitar etc.), or checking your pitch on any number of notes. You could use it to get a good idea of how far off certain notes on your piano are, but for actually tuning a piano, it would be extremely rough, at best. A piano has over 200 strings, all of which have unique relationships to each other, not mathematically equal.

This is a very simplified explanation of the pitch measurement alone. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, using a tuning lever to correctly move and set each of those 200+ tuning pins on the piano is a highly skilled task that takes years of practice (I'm five years in and still consider myself learning).

Conclusion: you can use your tuning lever, and perhaps your Korg, to correct any wildly out-of-tune notes. You should recognize the possibility of string breakage if you are not careful, and many other technicians here would discourage you from even doing this. But with the proper precautions, you can do some touch-ups such as you did on the middle C with some success.
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2100261 - 06/10/13 11:39 AM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: woodog]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: woodog
[...] The best line about tuning I've ever come across is 'the piano has it's tuning, the tuner's job is to find it' (sorry I can't remember who, and sorry if the quote isn't exact, but I find it true). [...]


Nice! I like to think of it as getting the piano to reveal its secrets to me. grin

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2100343 - 06/10/13 01:45 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have the CA-30 and use it frequently, though never for piano.

With other instruments I sometimes get weird results. For example, playing an F softly and having it flash C at me. With a strong note it seems to read the fundamental, but I'm not sure how it really works.

Unlike wind instruments, piano harmonics don't line up neatly.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2100418 - 06/10/13 03:24 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 359
Loc: UK
I'm only a DIYer on pianos but i can assure that the best thing to do is to have a book on piano tuning and repair. You can find websites which are comprehensive but a book is more handy.
Can you explain "2 sring piano"?
Surely all pianos have 3 strings in the treble and tennor sections.
I started off tuning by ear using tuning forks from my school science lab, I was the snr sci teacher! However, I now have a Yamaha analog (needle on a scale) electronic tuner. This works very well for all but the top and last octaves.
If you are going to be interested then you must find out how to listen.
My own favourite way is to start with A4 at 440 Hz and get the three maj thirds in that octave to sound as "I" like them, then work from there.
Oh! one last point NEVER move your tuning lever without having slight pressure on the lever and repeatedly striking the note at the same time. It then becomes difficult to break a string!

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#2100436 - 06/10/13 04:08 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
plunkit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/13
Posts: 20
I bought a tuning program for my laptop from the piano supplies website, Balaam's Ass. $35 or so, free to try. I am not a pro, and I respect that a pro would do better and would be worth his pay...but I have 3 old pianos snatched back from the edge of the dump (well, one is from Goodwill). I fiddle with the insides of them and I wanted to be able to put them more or less in tune myself.

If you are determined to try it yourself, this may be for you. Lots of reading goes with using it, coaching from the website, preparation for what tuning is about and how to go about it. It has worked well for me. The program is called Tunelab 97.
_________________________
beginning tinkerer

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#2102053 - 06/13/13 03:57 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
pianohead30 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 101
Loc: Texas
Which electronic tuners are good for pianos then? Ones That are $1000.00?
_________________________
PSO Piano Shaped Object!

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#2102055 - 06/13/13 04:05 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: pianohead30]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Reyburn Cyber Tuner and TuneLab both have good points. You can use a plain old strobe tuner, provided it has the required range, but then you need a lot of training. Mathematical pitch isn't the same as the pitch you hear, especially on a piano. You have to "stretch" the ends to end up with a good result.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

And why yes, I know I'm a girl!

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#2102062 - 06/13/13 04:25 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: Samthetech]
tdv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/13
Posts: 69
Loc: MI
< Mathematical pitch isn't the same as the pitch you hear, especially on a piano. You have to "stretch" the ends to end up with a good result.>

I read this statement often. Also, I understand that good piano tuners do a better job by ear than can be obtained via software / machine tuning programs. I am NOT trying to debate that point!! Also, forgive my ignorance as someone who is just learning.

But my question is always this: Is not frequency frequency? In other words say a top notch tuner, like many techs on this great board, did a top notch job of tuning a piano (of course by ear). Then a frequency expert accurately measured the frequency of each and every string. Then someone put the piano out of tune. Then the frequency expert retunes the piano to the exact frequencies for each string that the professional tuner had initially done. Assuming (note that I said assuming) that the string frequencies were exactly the same, would not the piano sound exactly the same when tuned by use of a frequency machine as when the pro did it by ear?

Note: I realize that a non-experienced technical frequency person would not know how to set the pegs right, etc., but that is not what I am getting at. I am only asking the question of frequency because when I read things about tuning programs and measuring frequency, everyone seems to say that what the ear hears is different than the machine hears. But from my study of wave motion many years ago in physics, it would seem to me that that frequency is frequency.


Edited by tdv (06/13/13 04:31 PM)
_________________________
1978 Charles Walter piano
1915 5"1' Weber
Seeking truth in all areas of life

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#2102071 - 06/13/13 04:37 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: tdv]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
The "good" machines measure the partials, and then adjust the stretch accordingly. So, while it looks like they're just tuning to mathematical pitch, in reality they are just programmed to hold an awful lot of equations to find the correct stretch for each piano, which they then present as the correct pitch for each note. So they are, in fact, not the "mathematical" frequencies. If you were to measure the frequency for each string and continually return them to that point, then, yes, the piano would always be in tune. But the frequencies for, say, the A's would not be 110, 220, 440, 880, 1760, etc. When you have a simple strobe tuner, it only tells you when the note is at 1760, not whether 1760 is the correct hertz for that particular note.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

And why yes, I know I'm a girl!

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#2102072 - 06/13/13 04:37 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
woodog Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 430
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Since you have a background in mathematics, you must know that you cannot divide by zero, yet calculus depends on the theory of that division (as x approaches 0.... etc.)

You also know that 0.99999999.. is equal to one, but not really, oh, yes, really.

and also, the quantum guys insist that my desk is mostly empty space, but I should no put my hand through it.

so yes, frequency is frequency. Go ahead and use the tuning machine to tune your piano. Get back with us about how it sounds.

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2102110 - 06/13/13 05:41 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
tdv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/13
Posts: 69
Loc: MI
<Go ahead and use the tuning machine to tune your piano. Get back with us about how it sounds.>

LOL! Actually, I can do a better job than one "tuner" that came to tune my piano. This guy was just getting into tuning and to help the new tuner out my friend gave me a "gift" of having this guy tune my piano (my friend paying the bill). Ouch! Not good! At least my piano was in one piece when he left. But my experienced tech friend, who I met after that "interesting" experience, can tune much better by ear than I can with TuneLab. So I suppose 40 years of experience does count for something!


Edited by tdv (06/13/13 08:41 PM)
_________________________
1978 Charles Walter piano
1915 5"1' Weber
Seeking truth in all areas of life

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#2102126 - 06/13/13 06:16 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
pianohead30 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 101
Loc: Texas
I can get a pretty good reading with a tuning fork. But I would much rather use an electronic tuner for better quality of sound. I took piano for 10 years so knowing something out of tune is not hard, but something maybe slightly yes. Are there any cheaper version of electronic tuners out there?
_________________________
PSO Piano Shaped Object!

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#2102136 - 06/13/13 06:46 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 488
Loc: Farmington, MO
Yes, Tunelab has a free trial version.

http://www.tunelab-world.com/


I believe the Trial version is only available for use on a lap top or Pocket PC. I have the iPhone App version, it was $299 in the app store but worth every dime!
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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#2102406 - 06/14/13 10:32 AM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
contrapiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/12
Posts: 32
I used a Korg tuner for a while when i started to tune. I tuned the center two octaves or so to the Korg and then expanded by octaves from that. Results were OK but not great. I got plenty of practice. Now I use Tunelab Pro, the demo version, with excellent results. As well as not addressing stretch, the Korg lacks precision, not being able to detect pitch changes of less that a couple of cents.

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#2102470 - 06/14/13 12:36 PM Re: First shot at tuning [Re: stymie222]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Possessing the requisite aural sensitivities, there is a far less costly route. Meanwhile you will have learned an invaluable skill while deciding on the best ETD to invest the major dollars in.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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