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#2105224 - 06/20/13 07:06 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: beethoven986]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Only an amatuer tuner is going to sell a "pitch raise" to a once a year customer


Actually, several technicians in my PTG chapter do this. The amount of time it's been since the last tuning is irrelevant. It's how out of tune it is that matters....


Tuning the piano below pitch, when it is in sound enough shape to be tuned to pitch, is hardly better than not tuning it at all, in my opinion.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105226 - 06/20/13 07:38 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Only an amatuer tuner is going to sell a "pitch raise" to a once a year customer


Actually, several technicians in my PTG chapter do this. The amount of time it's been since the last tuning is irrelevant. It's how out of tune it is that matters....


Tuning the piano below pitch, when it is in sound enough shape to be tuned to pitch, is hardly better than not tuning it at all, in my opinion.


Agreed. Particularly since it only takes a few minutes for an experienced tuner to restore the tension on a sturdy piano before tuning it.
I have known many pianos to be still in tune a year after such treatment. It's anybody's guess, of course, where the tuning has been between times.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2105227 - 06/20/13 07:50 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Exactly, rxd. A pitch correction takes me around 15 minutes. After that, I do another quick run-through, followed by a fine tuning. 90 minutes tops. I schedule for six months later before I leave. Six months later, the piano is not all that far from where I left it, and it's usually an at-pitch clean up.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105235 - 06/20/13 08:21 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Gary Fowler]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Jbyron,exactly! Your regular customer gets the best rate. (I am not going to penalize a good customer because humidity got out of hand). Also, when I am familiar with working on the paino, I can get it to pitch quickly


That does not mean that the piano may have drifted a little more than expected. Only due to humidity fluctuations in my opinion.

At worst that give a second pass in the right hand region (and if things are relaly bad I like to put some tension in all the basses before beginning)

Of course selling a PR on a yearly customer is not very good manners, but the new piano is supposed to receive enough tunings to stop drifting, and that mean a few ones with 6 months delay (and even less, depending of the vigourous ploaying or no, of the amount of stabilisation done at the factory, as you know certainly, etc)

On a new piano, the customer is explained that (it is also often written in the factory guarantee in full letters).
It takes a few years for a customer to begin to be a regular yearly customer anyway.

Once he knows he may need mor etunings with the new instrument, if he choose to wait, the main result is that his tunings will be less precise and less stable for years, whatever the tuner and the quality of the piano. Then we have good surprises too.

I do not trust that a piano is find 2cts from the last pitch unless it was exactly in similar mositure conditions, and the strings are old enough (on a 80 yuears old piuano you even can find the piano at pitch, anyway 2 cts for me is "at pitch" in that case)

Now , if the tuning have been done well enough, a professional (but Jazz pianist) musician as my customer need to be obliged to play with a fixed pitch instrument to realize something is wrong with the tuning. Some are more sensitive indeed.
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#2105241 - 06/20/13 08:27 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
THe major problem of PR on a valuable instrument is bridge tilt.

So to me this is not "tuning" but "repair".

ALl depends of the context and the quality of the instrument.
If raising it to pitch will developp a large S shape and eventualo crack at the front and back of the bridge, some precautions have to be taken.

Also if on one hand the tone is better because the strings are made more elastic, but on the other hand the downbearing quiality lowers as the pressure of the strings is displaced toard the back of the bridge, some manipulations and precautions have to be taken.

ALso, the PR from note 0 to 88 with unison as you go is what put the most torstionnal effort on bridge and on the ribs.

It is not enough to have a njice ETD that allow to PR fast and accurately, other parameters are in the show.
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#2105281 - 06/20/13 10:40 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
One of the problems with our field is this consistent clinging to selling piano tunings instead of pianos service. These are two very different approaches to the work. The client is not paying me for a tuning really, but is paying me for 90-120 minutes of my time. My time is spent doing whatever I feel will inspire the owner to want to play their piano more, period. That is the goal: Musical enjoyment and inspiration.

Sometimes most of my time can be spent tuning if the piano is really out and has stability or rendering issues. Most of the time I try to balance tuning, regulating, voicing, and cleaning. This means that sometimes I may spend 30 minutes or less actually tuning. Recently I came across a piano I had tuned a year ago, and the tuning sounded great!(I've been servicing this piano yearly for at least 5 years.) I spent the entire time deep needling shoulders, filing hammers, and fitting hammers to strings. By the way, this was a Baldwin Acrosonic.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2105285 - 06/20/13 10:46 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Only an amatuer tuner is going to sell a "pitch raise" to a once a year customer


Actually, several technicians in my PTG chapter do this. The amount of time it's been since the last tuning is irrelevant. It's how out of tune it is that matters....


Tuning the piano below pitch, when it is in sound enough shape to be tuned to pitch, is hardly better than not tuning it at all, in my opinion.


They're talking about charging the customer for the pitch raise, not not doing the pitch raise.
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Tuner-Technician



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#2105291 - 06/20/13 10:55 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Only an amatuer tuner is going to sell a "pitch raise" to a once a year customer


Actually, several technicians in my PTG chapter do this. The amount of time it's been since the last tuning is irrelevant. It's how out of tune it is that matters....


Tuning the piano below pitch, when it is in sound enough shape to be tuned to pitch, is hardly better than not tuning it at all, in my opinion.


They're talking about charging the customer for the pitch raise, not not doing the pitch raise.


Quite right.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2105300 - 06/20/13 11:17 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
It depends on how far below pitch the piano actually is. I will easily accept a piano that is at 438 if I'm tuning it in January, and 442 is fine in August or September. Of course this depends largely on the requirements of the player and the particulars of the situation - if they specifically need the piano at A440 I will make sure to leave it there. However, the average client is better served by appropriately floating the pitch and using the time garnered to service other aspects of the piano.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2105320 - 06/20/13 12:03 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
I've owned my Yamaha upright for about seven years. It was a used piano, but the first time I had it tuned (a couple of months after buying it), the tuner said he was impressed with the quality of the instrument, and when he looked it up to see when it was built, he was shocked that it was as old as it was (built in the 1980s).

Anyway, I tune it every year. I wish I had the funds to do it twice a year, because I have "perfect pitch" (I've seen threads on that here, and mine is about as complicated as it gets, I guess) and because I teach on this piano. I have moved a few times and always tune it after moving, but not right after. I have hired three or four different tuners over the years because of moving.

Anyway, last August, I had a different guy tune it than I'd been using before. I think the woman who tuned it the previous few years couldn't do it for some reason. Anyway, he seemed like an expert, talking a lot about his schooling back east and how lots of piano tuners aren't all that qualified or well trained.

He recommended a pitch raise, which was a surprise to me. I have never had a tuner recommend that before, and my last tuning was a year before this guy came. Furthermore, I have a good ear, and if it was even half a pitch off, I'd know. And I have a metronome that plays A440, and it's just about right on with my piano. Some of the very low and very high notes get out of tune faster than others, I guess.

Part of me wants to say, "This guy knows more than my other tuners did because he noticed this problem that they didn't," and part of me wonders if he's just trying to get me to do the pitch raise because he'd make more money if I did.

If it were you, would you go with this tuner next time, or go back to my previous (female) tuner? I'm leaning toward the latter. If she recommends a pitch raise too, then I'll know for sure that I need one.

But if she doesn't, I might wonder . . .


If the "new" tuner was telling you the truth, he made a huge error by not demonstrating to you - via an electronic tuning device - just how flat the piano was. What a silly mistake on his part - you would have known for sure exactly where the starting pitch was at, and you would not be doubting this a year later. Next time a tuner comes, ask exactly where the pitch is before they start tuning.

The first thing I do in a client home is to check the pitch with the client present. I also document starting and setup pitches on my invoices (and in my smartphone) so both the client and I know the pitch history.

In NYC, pianos can easily go sharp by 20 cents in summer and flat by 20 cents in the winter, and it can happen in a hurry. For my clientele, I draw the line at + or - 12 cents. Anything above or below that needs a pitch correction or the client will get a sub-par tuning. If they don't want to pay for that, I explain how the piano will be less stable if we skip it. Most people understand and don't mind paying the extra fee. I also am happy to "float" the pitch anywhere between 440 and 443, as long as the client understands and approves. In many cases, this is the smartest approach and yields the most stability. I never tune below 440 unless there is a structural or historical reason to do so, because almost all of my clients are working musicians that rehearse, and brass/woodwinds can't play flat. Sharp isn't usually an issue at all - many string players prefer it.

Recording studios and performance venues have much tighter tolerances for my decision on doing a pitch correction at + or - 5 cents. (Usually a recording studio piano will only be off by 2 or 3 cents at most.)

For those tuners who don't charge extra for a pitch raise, you are giving away your time and services, and therefore losing money, which makes no sense whatsoever. It's actually unfair to your other clients who paid the same amount of money but only got a one-pass tuning and no pitch correction!

I see it this way: It's not my fault that the piano is 30 cents flat, so if I'm going to give a client a great, stable, long-lasting tuning, I need to tune the piano twice, and they need to compensate me for tuning the piano twice. Very simple.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#2105345 - 06/20/13 12:46 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: rysowers]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1728
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
It depends on how far below pitch the piano actually is. I will easily accept a piano that is at 438 if I'm tuning it in January, and 442 is fine in August or September. Of course this depends largely on the requirements of the player and the particulars of the situation - if they specifically need the piano at A440 I will make sure to leave it there. However, the average client is better served by appropriately floating the pitch and using the time garnered to service other aspects of the piano.


Amen. With client agreement, seasonal float from 438-42 is good for all concerned. It tends toward better tuning stability: pianist is happier, and tuner's arm can't complain either.


Edited by bkw58 (06/20/13 03:22 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć Blog

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#2105380 - 06/20/13 02:35 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Raising pitch is really not that big of a deal and not a very difficult task.
There was a tuner in town who never raised pitch to A-440. When he left town and we all started following up with his clients we were finding pianos everywhere tuned well, but at A435 and below. He didn't even ask them if they wanted them at pitch so a lot of them didn't know what was happening. A church called him back right before a Christmas concert because the piano was just tuned by him 50 cents flat. He had to go back and retune it. A different tuner comes in and looks like the bad guy because the customer doesn't understand why the piano needs extra tunings to re-stabilize.
I float pitch if the piano is sharp but always pitch raise if it's flat.
Now, if the pitch is going to climb all the way back when the humidity rises again then that is a different story. The piano should have a Dampp-chaser in that case.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105406 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1728
Loc: Conway, AR USA
This will vary depending upon location. In Arkansas, float from 438-442 makes sense (again, with client approval.) If we PR to A440 in the dead of winter, 6 months later the pitch may be as high as A444-5. Yes, a DC will resolve this if the client is willing to pay for it. Many are not. Raising pitch is easy, true enough. Pulling it down from 445 to 440 is another story. Depending upon the age and condition of the piano allowing pitch to rise that much sharp can cause other problems.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć Blog

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#2105454 - 06/20/13 06:05 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
If it's less than +/- 5 cents, I don't consider it a pitch correction. I consider a pitch correction between 5 and 30 cents a minor pitch correction, and a pitch correction of 30+ cents, I consider it a major pitch correction. I then charge accordingly. Obviously a major pitch correction is more work than a minor one.

I generally don't float the pitch. I like knowing the piano is at the right pitch when I leave rather than hope for it to be roughly there at some uncertain future date.

As for servicing the piano vs. serving the customer; the two are not mutually exclusive.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105491 - 06/20/13 09:51 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
we were finding pianos everywhere tuned well, but at A435 and below. He didn't even ask them if they wanted them at pitch so a lot of them didn't know what was happening.

Maybe this will sound sacrilegious. I understood so that guided this guy. He believed that sharping a pitch then he can break down the string. There are the additional work and the loss of his time. If the piano is old, it will hold pitch temporarily (lost pin). Often a client does not understand how work his piano. If the piano quickly goes float, then the client don't trust of the professional technician. For the lay person the owner piano I think is more important than the stability of intervals and chords and pleasant sounding than the height of each of the keys. So I think that for a vintage piano A = 420 is acceptable. But a technician is a must to say about it the owner of a piano
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A=440
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#2105497 - 06/20/13 10:10 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
Often, I run into pianos that were received for free, or inherited, or the dreaded "craigslist deal." I'm not going to suggest that my customers spend extra money on these pianos if what they want is a piano, that sounds good with itself, for their children/themselves to practice on. I rarely do pitch raises on such pianos. There's no point in risking all that can go along with a pitch raise (broken strings, etc) if my customer doesn't want or need it. I make sure to tell my customer I'm not tuning it to standard pitch, but there isn't any point in doing a 50c pitch raise on a piano that's 50 years old or a piano that hasn't been tuned in 20 years. When I get to anything built before 1939, I generally assume it wasn't designed to be tuned at A440 anyways.

"In 1939, an international conference[9] recommended that the A above middle C be tuned to 440 Hz, now known as concert pitch. As a technical standard this was taken up by the International Organization for Standardization in 1955 and reaffirmed by them in 1975 as ISO 16. The difference between this and the diapason normal is due to confusion over the temperature at which the French standard should be measured. The initial standard was A = 439 Hz (info), but this was superseded by A = 440 Hz after complaints that 439 Hz was difficult to reproduce in a laboratory because 439 is a prime number.[9]"

Standard pitch is simply a number agreed upon, and any number of major musical groups don't agree with it anyways. For example, the New York Phil Harmonic tunes to A442.

I would much rather have a piano that sounds good with itself, with no broken strings or damage to the pin block, then tune it to a nearly arbitrary number. The amount of stress on a piano frame is phenomenal, there is no point in adding to it because we want to adhere to something that our customer doesn't care about.

My quote is from Wikipedia.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

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

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#2105506 - 06/20/13 10:47 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Ugh, Wikipedia again. The Encyclopedia where anyone can change any article at any time, yet people still consider it reliable.

A440 is harddly an arbitrary number. The AFM adopted it in 1917 and I see pianos as early as 1920 with A440 cast on the plates.

Pianos should be at the correct pitch.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105511 - 06/20/13 10:57 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Ugh, Wikipedia again. The Encyclopedia where anyone can change any article at any time, yet people still consider it reliable.

A440 is harddly an arbitrary number. The AFM adopted it in 1917 and I see pianos as early as 1920 with A440 cast on the plates.

Pianos should be at the correct pitch.


Yes, indeedy. I think not raising a piano to pitch, unless floating a few cents due to extreme humidity variations, is really due to either fear or just plain laziness. Even if the piano is less stable after a pitch raise it is still a worthwhile task in the long run, less work is needed the next time its tuned. It doesn't cost that much
money. If a person cannot afford to care for an acoustic piano properly, they cannot afford an acoustic piano.

I've pitch raised thousands of pianos and the few times that strings have broke during tuning have oddly, not been during a pitch raise. And I've never had a plate break. Knock on wood. I agree, pianos should be tuned to the correct pitch. If I was not a piano tuner and I hired a technician to tune my piano but they tuned it flat, I would be very disappointed with the results and would hire another one to get it right.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105519 - 06/20/13 11:20 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Gerry Johnston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/13
Posts: 99
Loc: Haverhill, MA
If a piano is being used for a child taking lessons we do a disservice to the customer by tuning below A440. We would not expect a child to properly learn woodworking if their measuring stick was 11-1/2" rather than 12". I agree that if the piano is only being used occasionally when "Uncle Harry" comes over to play then standard pitch may not be critical. If,however,a piano is so old and in such poor condition that A-440 is not possible, and if a child is taking lessons, I will encourage the customer to replace the piano. If all they can afford is a few hundred dollars maybe they should forget about piano and try guitar instead.
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Gerry Johnston, Registered Piano Technician
Haverhill, MA
(978) 372-2250
www.gjpianotuner.com

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#2105522 - 06/20/13 11:45 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11935
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Interestingly enough, Verdi had stated that all of his operas should be sung at A=432. It makes a huge difference for singers. I have my Petrof tuned to that, and prefer this. Some orchestras in Europe are way higher than 440. Just because it works to make strings sound brighter doesn't mean it makes the music sound better. I figure a lot of orchestras tuned to a lower pitch in previous centuries and since I play most music from pervious time periods, it sounds better that way.

All that is to say, if a piano is in tune with itself, for most people it shouldn't matter if it's at 440 or not, especially if it's not able to stay there.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2105531 - 06/21/13 12:29 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Morodiene]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Some orchestras in Europe are way higher than 440.

If a base of a pitch is A=440. It's good and correctly. But main a goal of tuning to made between A4 and A3 there is clean octave. And all intervals have hard correct sound for yours ears and other people.
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A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2105534 - 06/21/13 12:42 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Morodiene]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Interestingly enough, Verdi had stated that all of his operas should be sung at A=432. It makes a huge difference for singers. I have my Petrof tuned to that, and prefer this. Some orchestras in Europe are way higher than 440. Just because it works to make strings sound brighter doesn't mean it makes the music sound better. I figure a lot of orchestras tuned to a lower pitch in previous centuries and since I play most music from pervious time periods, it sounds better that way.

All that is to say, if a piano is in tune with itself, for most people it shouldn't matter if it's at 440 or not, especially if it's not able to stay there.


I believe that you are an exception to the rule in that you prefer your piano tuned at a lower pitch for singing purposes, nothing wrong with that. But I disagree with your premise that for most people it shouldn't matter if it is at A440 or not. If I were to ask a hundred piano owners if they would like their pianos tuned at the pitch it was designed for, the pitch most studio recordings are at, the pitch any musician would expect it to be at if they were to play along with their other instrument, etc. I think they would choose A440. The notion that the piano either has to be flat and stable, or set to A440 and unstable, is false. If a piano is unstable at A440 then it was not tuned properly in the past, putting aside humidity issues. Stable and at the right pitch is ideal IMHO.

Personally, I think a piano sounds best at around A442 or even sharper.
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Tuner-Technician



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#2105538 - 06/21/13 01:12 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
I agree with BYRON ,

plus pitch is closely related to tone quality , due to the level of string elasticity allowed.

lowering the pitch make a more diffuse pitch impression, as the iH raise

One of the reason it may please the singers wink wink wink

Modern piano are designed for a certain pitch 440-, often 442 Hz, while that light difference may change a little the tone it can be accepted- 438 begin yet to sound flat to me, but a (some)trained musician may go along with it.
For children, , no they need to have their ear and musical memory build with ta good pitch.


Edited by Olek (06/21/13 01:13 AM)
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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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#2105541 - 06/21/13 01:34 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
Do someone want another cup of tea ?
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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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#2105542 - 06/21/13 01:42 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7554
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
I've owned my Yamaha upright for about seven years. It was a used piano, but the first time I had it tuned (a couple of months after buying it), the tuner said he was impressed with the quality of the instrument, and when he looked it up to see when it was built, he was shocked that it was as old as it was (built in the 1980s).

Anyway, I tune it every year. I wish I had the funds to do it twice a year, because I have "perfect pitch" (I've seen threads on that here, and mine is about as complicated as it gets, I guess) and because I teach on this piano. I have moved a few times and always tune it after moving, but not right after. I have hired three or four different tuners over the years because of moving.

Anyway, last August, I had a different guy tune it than I'd been using before. I think the woman who tuned it the previous few years couldn't do it for some reason. Anyway, he seemed like an expert, talking a lot about his schooling back east and how lots of piano tuners aren't all that qualified or well trained.

He recommended a pitch raise, which was a surprise to me. I have never had a tuner recommend that before, and my last tuning was a year before this guy came. Furthermore, I have a good ear, and if it was even half a pitch off, I'd know. And I have a metronome that plays A440, and it's just about right on with my piano. Some of the very low and very high notes get out of tune faster than others, I guess.

Part of me wants to say, "This guy knows more than my other tuners did because he noticed this problem that they didn't," and part of me wonders if he's just trying to get me to do the pitch raise because he'd make more money if I did.

If it were you, would you go with this tuner next time, or go back to my previous (female) tuner? I'm leaning toward the latter. If she recommends a pitch raise too, then I'll know for sure that I need one.

But if she doesn't, I might wonder . . .


It probably have beenanswered to you, but pianos move in their medium range way more than in basses and treble.
On a stable piano, it may lend to the impression that the top and lower parts are out of tune, while , pitch wise, at last those are the mediums that have changed.

If you have perfect pitch plus a good pitch reference, and the mediums are at an accepteable 440for you no PR should be necessary, but it may happen after a hard season that even a well stabilised piano moves a bit more than expected.

the 80's years is supposed to be not that old for an acoustic piano(hopefully)we are not used to deal with objects that can saty useable for so long, those daus indeed.
But Yamahas sometime retain their qualities for 30-40 years.

Gernerally speaking high end pianos are supposed to keep theirs way longer than that, but really the final result depends also some what of the climate and how much the piano was directly exposed to it.
I often work on 1980 German pianos, some of them are very dynamic sign of a resilient soundboard)
Some of them retained just a good part in the mediums and the soprano region is pleasing but quiet if compared with a more recent piano.
I have seen 1960 pianos of the major brands that where really excellent. WIth time the tone hardens due to the steel of the wire. we change them when the piano is worth it.


I also have some cookies if someone is interested.
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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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#2105562 - 06/21/13 03:49 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Interestingly enough, Verdi had stated that all of his operas should be sung at A=432. It makes a huge difference for singers. I have my Petrof tuned to that, and prefer this. Some orchestras in Europe are way higher than 440. Just because it works to make strings sound brighter doesn't mean it makes the music sound better. I figure a lot of orchestras tuned to a lower pitch in previous centuries and since I play most music from pervious time periods, it sounds better that way.

All that is to say, if a piano is in tune with itself, for most people it shouldn't matter if it's at 440 or not, especially if it's not able to stay there.


Personally, I think a piano sounds best at around A442 or even sharper.

But why A442? If many professional ears of a musicants have a nice aesthetic a enjoyment (joy) when their piano 440
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A=440
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#2105617 - 06/21/13 08:14 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Ugh, Wikipedia again. The Encyclopedia where anyone can change any article at any time, yet people still consider it reliable.

A440 is harddly an arbitrary number. The AFM adopted it in 1917 and I see pianos as early as 1920 with A440 cast on the plates.

Pianos should be at the correct pitch.


Yes, indeedy. I think not raising a piano to pitch, unless floating a few cents due to extreme humidity variations, is really due to either fear or just plain laziness. Even if the piano is less stable after a pitch raise it is still a worthwhile task in the long run, less work is needed the next time its tuned. It doesn't cost that much
money. If a person cannot afford to care for an acoustic piano properly, they cannot afford an acoustic piano.

I've pitch raised thousands of pianos and the few times that strings have broke during tuning have oddly, not been during a pitch raise. And I've never had a plate break. Knock on wood. I agree, pianos should be tuned to the correct pitch. If I was not a piano tuner and I hired a technician to tune my piano but they tuned it flat, I would be very disappointed with the results and would hire another one to get it right.


Absolutely! And quite honestly, I seldom have strings break, but the majority happen on non pitch raises.

Usually my pitch raise scenario goes like this:

I walk into a new customer's house and find a piano that hasn't been tuned for decades. Either they just got the piano, or they inherited it, or they bought it off Craigslist for their child to take lessons. It's 100+ or more flat.

First thing I do is check the condition of the strings and pins, making sure there is no rust. Next I check the bridges to make sure there is no splitting or loose pins. 95% of the time, the piano checks out okay on both.

I then demonstrate to the customer with the fork where A should be vs. where it is. If they tell me they don't hear it because they're not musical, then I show them visually with a tuning app.

I explain to them that because the piano has been neglected for so long, it needs a pitch correction in order to be "really" tuned. I caution them up front that they are at a higher risk for strings breaking during the initial process, and that if any would break, it would be an extra charge. I also tell them that bringing it up will cost more than a standard tuning due to the extra work involved. I then ask them if they want me to raise it or tune it where it's at.

Virtually 100% of the time, the response is "I want it done right." I would say 99% of the time I get through without losing a single string. I then explain to the customer that because of the dramatic change in tension, the piano should be expected to drift some, and that it will fully stabilize after the next tuning, which I recommend in 6 months. Usually they schedule it before I leave.

And that's that! Communicate and be fully up front. People who bring service people into their homes want things done the right way. Six months later, I find the piano has drifted but is still light years better than it was six months before. A simple tuning at pitch is usually the end of it. The customer is happy and another piano has joined the ranks of being at pitch.


Edited by Loren D (06/21/13 08:20 AM)
Edit Reason: Fixed a couple of typos!
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#2105618 - 06/21/13 08:19 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Samthetech]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Samthetech
I'm not going to suggest that my customers spend extra money on these pianos if what they want is a piano, that sounds good with itself, for their children/themselves to practice on. I rarely do pitch raises on such pianos.


All I can say is, wow.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105643 - 06/21/13 09:11 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Samthetech]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Samthetech


I would much rather have a piano that sounds good with itself, with no broken strings or damage to the pin block, then tune it to a nearly arbitrary number. The amount of stress on a piano frame is phenomenal, there is no point in adding to it because we want to adhere to something that our customer doesn't care about.

My quote is from Wikipedia.

Thank,Samthetech.I'm think about that as you
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A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2105647 - 06/21/13 09:19 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Maximillyan]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: Samthetech


I would much rather have a piano that sounds good with itself, with no broken strings or damage to the pin block, then tune it to a nearly arbitrary number. The amount of stress on a piano frame is phenomenal, there is no point in adding to it because we want to adhere to something that our customer doesn't care about.

My quote is from Wikipedia.

Thank,Samthetech.I'm think about that as you


Right, because customers don't care if their pianos are in tune or not. ??

Not to mention those young ears being trained on below pitch pianos.

Sorry, I'm just....amazed.
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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