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#2105660 - 06/21/13 09:45 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1514
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Loren D
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.

Loren D,I'm afraid I was misunderstood. I always wish that young pianists and their parents understand and demanded that the technician made a tuning only A = 440. We have to explain to the client why you need that. But in some cases, the client insists that the pitch was that as possibility because he does not agree to pay the additional costs if will be injured his piano.
I am for 440
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2105707 - 06/21/13 11:37 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Max, when I started in the business, I encountered piano after piano that was badly below pitch because the tuner who used to tune kept tuning them where they were. Each year they sunk lower and lower. That first year, nearly every piano was a pitch raise and an education given to the customer who had no idea.

That's not good service. Now if the customer elects, after having been explained to and shown that the piano is below pitch, to leave it there then that's different. But as I said earlier, when the customer is aware, nearly every one of them says "I want it done right."
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105728 - 06/21/13 12:25 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
I think being an "A440 fanatic" does not serve the client as well as being a little more flexible. I know it feels good to leave a piano dead on 440, but the reality is it can start to drift surprisingly quick. If you raise pitch right after an unusual cold snap your tuning could drift noticeably sharp within a couple of weeks!

Case in point: For many years I serviced Gilmore Award recipient Charlie Albright's Boston grand. One year, after a power outage during the winter, Charlie called me and was distressed about how out of tune the piano sounded. I told him to wait a couple of weeks and check in with me. When he called me 2 weeks later he declared that "It sounds fine now!".

Had I tuned the piano right away, I can guarantee that it would have sounded bad two weeks later.

Every professional technician should have a sense of his area's climate personality and how it generally affects the pianos in his/her clientele. How we approach the issue of pitch should be a reflection of that knowledge and experience. An "A440 or die!" mentality is limiting and in the long run leads to less value for the client. Remember - it's all about the music!

The awesome article about perfect pitch that was recently shared shows that even people with this "gift" can have their ears fooled by a large margin. Orchestras that play without a piano have their pitch drift substantially during a concert. If they start at 440 they don't necessarily end up there!

Tuning, in my book, is a necessary evil. I want to get through it as quickly as possible in order to have time to address other needs of the piano. Floating pitch in some situations can save a substantial amount of time.

99 percent of my clients are not sensitive to subtleties of pitch, but most of them can hear unevenness in the voicing, the noisy pedal, the creaking bench, or the buzzing hinge. They will also appreciate lower friction or correct let-off much more than exact pitch. Also, these improvements last longer than the tuning. This is the best way to build strong relationships with your clients.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2105730 - 06/21/13 12:28 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Olek]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11756
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Olek
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.
For classical musicians, one would think the lower pitch preferable, since it was conceived most likely at a lower pitch. Which lower pitch, however, depends. Baroque tuning was often as much as a half step, but even then I'm sure tuning varied. Certainly modern pianos are designed to be tuned at 440 or higher, but it is a choice someone can make if they are informed of it.

For classical singers, the difference is huge, because if the music is sung at A=440 there are different negotiations between the registers they have to make whereas at A=432 they do not, and these composers knew how to write for the voice. They wouldn't have them switch to accommodate covering or making these negotiations in a fast run, for example. Also, it gives the voice a darker, richer sound.

Here's a video demonstrating the difference in how the music of Verdi sounds using two pianos tuned to A=432 and A=440, respectively. In the first example he is able to sing the fioritura open, without covering for the high note. The 2nd example he has to cover the high note, and the sound is much brighter and less depth to the sound:



Sorry, I know this is way OT, but it is something to consider with the whole tuning/pitch raise issue. And something I'm quite passionate about smile .
_________________________
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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#2105735 - 06/21/13 12:35 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21427
Loc: Oakland
On the other hand, I once had a soprano complain that low pitch could be difficult for her. Each human voice is an instrument, different from every other voice, and not all voices are suitable for every piece of music, even within their register.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2105745 - 06/21/13 12:59 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
The Henry Wood Proms were funded by Robert Newman (singer and impressario) and his Harley St. Throat doctor in 1895 on condition that the pitch was lowered from 457 down to 439/440. It required a whole new set of wind instruments. I wonder what Verdi sounded like before those days.

440 or thereabouts has gradually become deeply entrenched internationally since just before those days. Even if an opera company were to adopt a lower pitch, it would still require new wind instruments for half the orchestra and their substitute players. Where are the philanthropists of today?.


Edited by rxd (06/21/13 01:32 PM)
_________________________
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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#2105752 - 06/21/13 01:14 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: BDB]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: BDB
...and not all voices are suitable for every piece of music, even within their register.


Florence Foster Jenkins, anyone? sick
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2105772 - 06/21/13 01:37 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: BDB]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11756
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: BDB
On the other hand, I once had a soprano complain that low pitch could be difficult for her. Each human voice is an instrument, different from every other voice, and not all voices are suitable for every piece of music, even within their register.
Sounds like a technical issue for this soprano. At any rate, I don't understand why you bring this up. Nothing in my post suggested that all voices are suitable for all music, so not sure where that came from.

All I was doing was presenting information in favor of selecting a lower tuning for a piano as more "authentic" to music of previous eras where the instruments were generally tuned lower. Of course, modern pianos are not designed for lower than A=440 usually, but it is not impossible or unstable if done correctly. My Petrof has been at A=432 for the past year and is stable.

It is always a choice up to the personal preferences of the client if they wish a lower tuning or not.
_________________________
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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#2105775 - 06/21/13 01:39 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: rxd]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11756
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: rxd
The Henry Wood Proms were funded by Robert Newman (singer and impressario) and his Harley St. Throat doctor in 1895 on condition that the pitch was lowered from 457 down to 439/440. It required a whole new set of wind instruments. I wonder what Verdi sounded like before those days.

440 or thereabouts has gradually become deeply entrenched internationally since just before those days. Even if an opera company were to adopt a lower pitch, it would still require new wind instruments for half the orchestra and their substitute players. Where are the philanthropists of today?.
It wouldn't require that much. I'm not a tuner, but 440 down to 432 is about 1/3 of a step, so not even a half step. Instruments have the ability to change this tuning, which is why you hear Baroque concerts done at Baroque tuning.
_________________________
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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#2105777 - 06/21/13 01:44 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Olek]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
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.


I agree, a piano's tone really comes to life at around A-440 or higher. This would not be preferable to a singer who desires their voice predominant.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105778 - 06/21/13 01:49 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: rysowers]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
I think being an "A440 fanatic" does not serve the client as well as being a little more flexible. I know it feels good to leave a piano dead on 440, but the reality is it can start to drift surprisingly quick. If you raise pitch right after an unusual cold snap your tuning could drift noticeably sharp within a couple of weeks!

Case in point: For many years I serviced Gilmore Award recipient Charlie Albright's Boston grand. One year, after a power outage during the winter, Charlie called me and was distressed about how out of tune the piano sounded. I told him to wait a couple of weeks and check in with me. When he called me 2 weeks later he declared that "It sounds fine now!".

Had I tuned the piano right away, I can guarantee that it would have sounded bad two weeks later.

Every professional technician should have a sense of his area's climate personality and how it generally affects the pianos in his/her clientele. How we approach the issue of pitch should be a reflection of that knowledge and experience. An "A440 or die!" mentality is limiting and in the long run leads to less value for the client. Remember - it's all about the music!

The awesome article about perfect pitch that was recently shared shows that even people with this "gift" can have their ears fooled by a large margin. Orchestras that play without a piano have their pitch drift substantially during a concert. If they start at 440 they don't necessarily end up there!

Tuning, in my book, is a necessary evil. I want to get through it as quickly as possible in order to have time to address other needs of the piano. Floating pitch in some situations can save a substantial amount of time.

99 percent of my clients are not sensitive to subtleties of pitch, but most of them can hear unevenness in the voicing, the noisy pedal, the creaking bench, or the buzzing hinge. They will also appreciate lower friction or correct let-off much more than exact pitch. Also, these improvements last longer than the tuning. This is the best way to build strong relationships with your clients.



"A-440 fanatic?" Sounds a little judgmental to me.

The other improvements you mention are a given for any piano service. There's no reason to believe that these can't be taken care along with tuning the piano to, or very near the pitch of A-440.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105783 - 06/21/13 01:59 PM 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

It is always a choice up to the personal preferences of the client if they wish a lower tuning or not.


Very true. I'd be more than happy to tune a piano at the client's preferred pitch if requested but I've only had one such a request in the last ten years and that was someone who preferred A-435 because that is what they were used to and comfortable with.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105800 - 06/21/13 02:31 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Morodiene]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: rxd
The Henry Wood Proms were funded by Robert Newman (singer and impressario) and his Harley St. Throat doctor in 1895 on condition that the pitch was lowered from 457 down to 439/440. It required a whole new set of wind instruments. I wonder what Verdi sounded like before those days.

440 or thereabouts has gradually become deeply entrenched internationally since just before those days. Even if an opera company were to adopt a lower pitch, it would still require new wind instruments for half the orchestra and their substitute players. Where are the philanthropists of today?.
It wouldn't require that much. I'm not a tuner, but 440 down to 432 is about 1/3 of a step, so not even a half step. Instruments have the ability to change this tuning, which is why you hear Baroque concerts done at Baroque tuning.


Baroque players use an entirely different set of instruments, (even the string instruments) built to ancient designs to stand at 415hz., as I'm sure as you must have already known. I'm not going to derail this thread more by explaining the intonation problems inherent in changing the pitch of any wind instrument to the extent of 8 Hz. Most of the subscribers here have the general musical knowledge and already understand the issues anyway or could look them up.
_________________________
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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#2105819 - 06/21/13 03:14 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1690
Loc: Conway, AR USA
With respect to setting the pitch, among piano techs there are as many differences of opinion as there are differences in climate .

It makes perfect sense.

No one knows more about the climatic environment under which one tunes; no one knows more about other relevant factors such as piano placement in relation to heat and air registers, windows, room humidifiers, dehumidifiers, sunlight exposure, frequency of use, et al.; no one knows more about the particulars of the piano being tuned and the needs of the owner, than the technician who provides the service.

Let every tech be fully persuaded in his/her own mind.



Edited by bkw58 (06/21/13 03:27 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician

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#2105825 - 06/21/13 03:25 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
Maybe I'm tuning with the wrong customers or in the wrong part of the country, but more than half of my customers can barely afford the lessons AND the piano. I tune for a lot of older folks, a lot of college students, a lot of young families. They have better places to be putting the money than in my pocket. I've never had anybody complain about the piano being too low. Most people couldn't tell without a reference, anyways. And a good tuner can make a piano sing no matter where they set it. As long as you set the correct temperament (and of course it is different if the piano is low) the piano will sound great. It doesn't matter if I like it or not, or if you guys like it or not, my JOB is to give the best possible service within budget.

As for all those "poor kids" who are playing on a piano that isn't at concert pitch... Does that mean that kids playing the clarinet or the saxophone are doomed? Because the clarinet and the saxophone aren't a concert pitch instrument, either.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

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

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#2105836 - 06/21/13 03:58 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Max, when I started in the business, I encountered piano after piano that was badly below pitch because the tuner who used to tune kept tuning them where they were. Each year they sunk lower and lower.


I will agree with this. If you tune a piano below pitch, that doesn't mean you should tune it an even lower pitch the next time you tune it. You have to put some tension back on the strings with a tuning. With once a year tunings, that's actually most of the job.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

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

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#2105840 - 06/21/13 04:08 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7454
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Olek
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.


I agree, a piano's tone really comes to life at around A-440 or higher. This would not be preferable to a singer who desires their voice predominant.


Very possible indeed, as liking tuning without stretch and even with closed or "reduced" octaves. (more comfortable, for the voice probably)

I was thinking that if the goal is to have a piano tuned at 432, the best thing to do is re scale it so the strings have their normal elasticity and the piano tone is not dull and unfocused.
_________________________
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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#2105846 - 06/21/13 04:16 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Samthetech]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7454
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Samthetech
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Max, when I started in the business, I encountered piano after piano that was badly below pitch because the tuner who used to tune kept tuning them where they were. Each year they sunk lower and lower.


I will agree with this. If you tune a piano below pitch, that doesn't mean you should tune it an even lower pitch the next time you tune it. You have to put some tension back on the strings with a tuning. With once a year tunings, that's actually most of the job.


If it is too much trouble, use an ETD in PR mode, and refine the tuning at the end of the job. I am not in favor of ETD but they can help to put pianos back to pitch quickly (with some risks for the soundboard)

I tune "normal" tunings in PR mode, in the end, as I use a method to obtain the CHAS tuning, most often.

This method oblige you to ascertain the level of motion the soundboard is having, then PR can be done more easily.
It happens that the piano stay reasonably well for a long time (old strings , happy to be put back where they where tune some day) It also happens that the piano is really out of tune a few months later, even weeks.You cannot know beforehand.

But to have some quality back, a minimum pitch is necessary. The result generally surprise the customer as their old piano seem to come back to life, it was generally not expected.
_________________________
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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#2105865 - 06/21/13 04:46 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
There was a local technician from a store (since retired, won't mention name, doesn't matter anyway) that started tuning a clients brand new Schimmel piano at A432 from the get go. He became the customer's regular tuner. Every six months the piano was tuned to A432 for six years. Out of a desire to be perceived as a stable tuner rather than putting the interest of the customer first he didn't bother with pitch raising. Unbenounced to the owner this tuner was actually causing the piano more harm than good by acting selfishly or lazily, in my opinion. After six years as the player became a teenager and started having friends over with guitars and keyboards and other instruments they had to go through an expensive series of tunings to re stabilize the piano because it had become so set at A432 from regular bi-annual tunings. They couldn't understand why this great 'Steinway trained' technician would do that. They were not happy about it, the piano was very expensive and took a long time re stabilize.




_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2105873 - 06/21/13 05:09 PM 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
Maybe I'm tuning with the wrong customers or in the wrong part of the country, but more than half of my customers can barely afford the lessons AND the piano. I tune for a lot of older folks, a lot of college students, a lot of young families. They have better places to be putting the money than in my pocket. I've never had anybody complain about the piano being too low. Most people couldn't tell without a reference, anyways. And a good tuner can make a piano sing no matter where they set it. As long as you set the correct temperament (and of course it is different if the piano is low) the piano will sound great. It doesn't matter if I like it or not, or if you guys like it or not, my JOB is to give the best possible service within budget.

As for all those "poor kids" who are playing on a piano that isn't at concert pitch... Does that mean that kids playing the clarinet or the saxophone are doomed? Because the clarinet and the saxophone aren't a concert pitch instrument, either.


Not sure how you're figuring that. A clarinet is a Bb instrument, so it's transposed. So C on a clarinet is Bb on a piano. The music is transposed and as long as the piano is at the correct pitch, they'll be in tune with each other.

If the piano is 10 cents flat, there's a very noticeable clash. But back to the point, a clarinet is designed to be at a standard pitch so it can play with other instruments that are also standard pitched. Yes, a clarinetist can adjust up or down slightly by adjusting the mouthpiece, but not much.

Suffice to say that when I tune for an orchestra or music recital, if I don't leave that piano at 440 there are going to be a lot of unhappy musicians.

As for budgeting; I also understand that family budgets are often tight. I don't and never have made it a practice to sell services the customer doesn't need. But your attitude seems to be that you'll be glad to charge less in exchange for tuning the piano at a non-standard pitch since "most people can't tell without a reference, anyways."

If that works for you, that's fine, but I'd much rather educate the customer and provide them with the highest level of service I'm able. My fees are reasonable and the customers appreciate that I take the time to inform them of the where the piano is and the importance of it needing to be at the right pitch.

Do some of them still elect to tune low rather than pay for a pitch raise? Sure, now and then. But at least they're aware. But I've never thought to myself "Ah, they'll never be able to tell, so...." and just tuned it low hoping no one ever notices. In the end the decision is theirs, but like I said, 99% of the time they want it done right and are willing to pay a reasonable fee to get it there.

If I had someone servicing my tractor, I wouldn't be able to tell whether or not they put in a new spark plug. I hope that wouldn't be a reason for them not to put one in, especially if the tractor (and my lawn cutting experience) would benefit from a new one. I am paying them to look out for my tractor, after all.

We have different philosophies, I guess.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105875 - 06/21/13 05:11 PM 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


"A-440 fanatic?" Sounds a little judgmental to me.

The other improvements you mention are a given for any piano service. There's no reason to believe that these can't be taken care along with tuning the piano to, or very near the pitch of A-440.


+1.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2105876 - 06/21/13 05:14 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1690
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
There was a local technician from a store (since retired, won't mention name, doesn't matter anyway) that started tuning a clients brand new Schimmel piano at A432 from the get go. He became the customer's regular tuner. Every six months the piano was tuned to A432 for six years. Out of a desire to be perceived as a stable tuner rather than putting the interest of the customer first he didn't bother with pitch raising. Unbenounced to the owner this tuner was actually causing the piano more harm than good by acting selfishly or lazily, in my opinion. After six years as the player became a teenager and started having friends over with guitars and keyboards and other instruments they had to go through an expensive series of tunings to re stabilize the piano because it had become so set at A432 from regular bi-annual tunings. They couldn't understand why this great 'Steinway trained' technician would do that. They were not happy about it, the piano was very expensive and took a long time re stabilize.



Sad.

There is no more important time in the life of a piano than when it's new. Lots of tunings - keep 'em well-sharp during "stretch time" and it'll be a winner. Back in the day, no one knew this better than Baldwin/Trumann. Almost without exception, Hamiltons, Acrosonics, 6000s, etc were shipped at 443-5.
These instruments became the really good ones.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician

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#2105881 - 06/21/13 05:26 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Morodiene]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7454
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: rxd
The Henry Wood Proms were funded by Robert Newman (singer and impressario) and his Harley St. Throat doctor in 1895 on condition that the pitch was lowered from 457 down to 439/440. It required a whole new set of wind instruments. I wonder what Verdi sounded like before those days.

440 or thereabouts has gradually become deeply entrenched internationally since just before those days. Even if an opera company were to adopt a lower pitch, it would still require new wind instruments for half the orchestra and their substitute players. Where are the philanthropists of today?.
It wouldn't require that much. I'm not a tuner, but 440 down to 432 is about 1/3 of a step, so not even a half step. Instruments have the ability to change this tuning, which is why you hear Baroque concerts done at Baroque tuning.


I told you what I think of tuning under pitch, but it is possible that your Petrof accept more than some other pianos (Shimmels, for instance)to be tuned low, as those are pianos with low iH , the little raise in iH is probably not disturbing tone wise. (the basses - and the little stretched low mediums plain wires-must loose something but the treble could tone correctly)

But the resistance to seasonal change must be lower, due to the loss in elasticity.


Edited by Olek (06/21/13 05:30 PM)
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#2105959 - 06/21/13 08:44 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Eric Gloo]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 351
Whoa! I've been super busy and not at the computer much for the past couple of days, and I come back to three pages of replies. There's a lot I want to respond to, but I don't have time for everything right now. I'll start with this:

Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
With your "perfect pitch", you would have been able to tell if the piano's pitch was off, right? How did the piano sound after the latest person tuned it? Better, worse, or about the same as the previous technician? If you were happy with the previous person, and are somewhat suspicious about the current person, go back to the previous person. When you call her to set up the appointment, come right out and tell her about this other person and the pitch raise. Simply ask her, "Has my piano always been tuned to standard pitch?"


Yes. I did use scare quotes because I'm not sure how to classify what I have. I can identify notes played on the piano 100% of the time without thinking and have been able to from the time I was five years old. I can identify notes sung or played on other instruments 75% of the time, but if the note is more than 30 cents sharp or flat, my accuracy goes way down; I can tell the general vicinity of the note but often not whatever the pitch is closest to.

I can sing, for instance, middle C and get it right most of the time, but not all the time, and that bothers me. If my piano goes out of tune slowly, I tend not to be bothered too much. I hate playing on pianos that are badly out of tune, though, and it seems that most people's are. I can tell immediately that my piano sounds amazing after being tuned, even if I didn't notice much that it was out of tune. I can tune my flute if given a reference pitch with a fair amount of ease.

All that is to say, yes, I can tell to some extent that both tuners have done a good job. But I'm not sure I'd be able to tell if the previous tuner had, say, tuned the entire piano 10 cents flat.

I will ask her next time she comes.

(Also, thanks to everyone for letting me know the correct terminology to use.)
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#2105969 - 06/21/13 09:11 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: rysowers]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 351
Originally Posted By: rysowers
The idea that 6 month tunings will help maintain pitch better than yearly tunings is completely inaccurate in my experience - at least in my part of the country.

Almost invariably the pianos I see once a year are in much better tune than the pianos I see after 6 months, especially if the piano was tuned in the middle of summer or winter. After a certain age, if the piano has received regular tuning, time is no longer the main factor in losing pitch. It's almost all humidity related. I tuned a piano a while back that I had not tuned in 10 years and it was still at pitch.

If the goal is to have an nice sounding piano throughout the year, I would first recommend a client invest in a humidity control system for the piano before spending money on twice a year tunings.


That's really interesting. Which is better for a piano: a humid environment or a dry one? (I live in a very dry environment.)
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#2105987 - 06/21/13 09:55 PM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Samthetech]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 351
Originally Posted By: Samthetech
Maybe I'm tuning with the wrong customers or in the wrong part of the country, but more than half of my customers can barely afford the lessons AND the piano. I tune for a lot of older folks, a lot of college students, a lot of young families. They have better places to be putting the money than in my pocket. I've never had anybody complain about the piano being too low. Most people couldn't tell without a reference, anyways. And a good tuner can make a piano sing no matter where they set it. As long as you set the correct temperament (and of course it is different if the piano is low) the piano will sound great. It doesn't matter if I like it or not, or if you guys like it or not, my JOB is to give the best possible service within budget.

As for all those "poor kids" who are playing on a piano that isn't at concert pitch... Does that mean that kids playing the clarinet or the saxophone are doomed? Because the clarinet and the saxophone aren't a concert pitch instrument, either.


You know, I can respect this. I can also respect the "purists." There are lots of different pianists out there with different needs and different budgets, and I like that there are different types of tuners out there to meet those different needs.
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#2106031 - 06/22/13 12:47 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Loren D]
Samthetech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/13
Posts: 78
[quote=Loren
But at least they're aware. But I've never thought to myself "Ah, they'll never be able to tell, so...." and just tuned it low hoping no one ever notices. [/quote]

I do make sure to inform my client. My argument is merely that refusing to tune a piano low isn't fair to my clients when there are other options. I wish people would read my entire response before trying to argue against it, as I've said that already. And Bb clarinet is a "note low" compared to concert pitch, so if somebody is only playing a Bb clarinet, then what they think is a G is actually an A. That was my point with, if I tune a piano low, the kids aren't going to suffer because of it anymore than a clarinet player suffers hearing C and thinking Bb! I would never tune a piano below pitch if they are going to be playing a concert instrument with it, but otherwise people often don't care.
_________________________
Piano Technician, 3 years experience

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

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#2106036 - 06/22/13 01:08 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Brinestone]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
I think if someone is just getting started out and gaining experience they should just pitch raise the piano anyway and collect their tuning fee if the piano owner can't afford it. The more pianos you pitch raise the better you get at it and you'll no longer be intimidated by them.
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Tuner-Technician



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#2106039 - 06/22/13 01:12 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: Jbyron]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
I think if someone is just getting started out and gaining experience they should just pitch raise the piano anyway and collect their tuning fee if the piano owner can't afford it. The more pianos you pitch raise the better you get at it and you'll no longer be intimidated by them.


At the same time, then that trains piano owners to think that it is included in the rate, or questions when some more experienced tuner mentions it down the road. I was taught to charge what a professional would charge.
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#2106042 - 06/22/13 01:18 AM Re: Do I trust this tuner? [Re: beethoven986]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
In the beginning it's not unusual to work a little harder for a little less, it usually pays off down the road cumulatively. A lot of times they won't know how much you raised the pitch so why not just do it right? I really doubt that it would cause problems down the road for other tuners.
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