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#2177419 - 11/05/13 09:15 AM Tuning Stabilty
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I have been preparing some online content to help people learn to tune pianos. In the process I have identified numerous approaches that students can take to learn to tune pianos.

The ones I have identifiied fall into two categories, with sub categories below:

1) Tuning by ear
- Using a mute strip
- No mute strip with open unison tuning starting with single strings
- No mute strip with open unison tuning starting with double strings
- No mute strip with open unison tuning starting with triple strings
(I am just experimenting with this last one for fine tuning although it is useful and very possible for pitch raises.)

2) Using an ETD
- Accutuner
- Verituner
- Tunelab
- Cybertuner
- Generic ETD's

3) Simultaneous combination of 1) and 2)

However, when deciding which topics to include in a course on these methods, one always comes up; Stability.

It doesn't matter which method one chooses, in order to produce a tuning the lasts (which is desirable, especially for a commercial tuning) the string needs to be left in a state the results in stability, i.e. the string does not "slip" across the v-bar, even during loud fortissimo playing.

I have in the past, and recently, read text books that expound the importance of leaving the hammer at 12 o'clock to produce stable tunings. I cannot express how disturbing to me this advice is, because it just isn't true.

Yes, beginning students will reduce the variables that can cause instability by using this angle, but when tuning difficult pianos, that variable is needed to get to stability quickly.

Experienced tuners know that we need to alter the angle for different pianos and techniques.

I am also surprised to find the number of technicians who are not aware of the affect of hammer angle on stability, and just guess. For these technicians, guessing works most of the time. However, it is the circumstances where stability seems ellusive and frustrating, that could be reduced, if a more clear understanding of friction and deformation were known to them.

Chris Warren recently posted a comment on tuning unisons where he said "Sometimes I can get rid of this [problem creating a clean unison] by approaching the unison from flat, but that obviously doesn't do wonders in terms of good pin setting."

Here is my response. I hope it shines some light on the friction and deformations that are happening when we tune a string, and hopefully it explains how a clear understanding of those forces affecting stability can help us attain stability easily and quickly.

Feel free to contact me with specific questions or post them here.


The Problem of Stability from Below

It is quite possible to produce a stable tuning from below, due to the "After Tuning" that occurs when you release pressure on the tuning hammer.

"After Tuning" is a term I invented to describe the effect of the Unbending and Untwisting of the tuning pin, on the tension of the Non-Speaking Length (NSL) of the string.

The Tension Band (TB) is a range of NSL tensions that produce stability.

Tuning from below produces a NSL tension at the top of the TB. (Needed to break friction and move the string across the v-bar)

Untwisting (when tuning from below) serves to reduce the tension of the NSL.

If that Untwisting is minimal (old pinblock), then the NSL tension may still be within the TB, and a stable string will be the result.

If the Untwisting is too much and results in flattening of the string on a test blow, simply use the hammer closer to the three o'clock position (on an upright). Now the Unbending will add to the NSL tension and keep the NSL tension from dropping below the TB. (Some situations may result in the Unbending not being enough to counteract the Untwisting. In that case, Controlled Static Massage can work.)

There are numerous other combinations of hammer angle and unbending/untwisting amounts due to pinblock tightness, etc, that can produce stability in any situation.

Also, keep in mind that the length of the NSL determines the amount of the After Tuning on the NSL tension.


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (11/05/13 09:27 AM)
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Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2177471 - 11/05/13 10:50 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Please, this is such an irritating bugbear for me - is it really necessary to invent your own acronyms? Is it really that hard to type out Non-speaking length and tension band every time you want to refer to them? It makes scanning and understanding your writing unnecessarily difficult. Plain english is very important, and acronyms are a form of jargon, which is a barrier to plain english. Yes, piano tuning contains lots of jargon as it is a specialist field, but adding new ones to the field, even if you don't abbreviate them, just clouds matters. I suppose as a teacher it is important to have a coherent a self-contained way to describe things, but here it's just off-putting.

Rant over.
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2177528 - 11/05/13 12:39 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Phil,

I've agonized over this more than you know. Creating new terms and abbreviations risks alienating potential students, but there was no way to simplify this concept.

Very few techs understand or apply these principles and even fewer students learn them. That's one of the reasons techs say it takes years and 1000s of tunings to get it right.

This principle cuts through a lot of that to reduce that time and help techs get there sooner, without guessing.

I can't promise to stop abbreviating, but I can make a pledge. After many years of investigating and experimenting with techniques and testing out explanations on students, I can pledge not to present any ideas that have not first been tested by myself, have not first been confirmed in use by other high level techs, and whose explanations have not first been revised so that their understanding is as easy as possible.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2177534 - 11/05/13 12:47 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21398
Loc: Oakland
There are add-ons that will expand abbreviations. Get one for your computer. I use TypeIt4Me on my Mac, but there are others.
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Semipro Tech

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#2177613 - 11/05/13 03:23 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Mark yes there different locations for the handle that change the amount of twist/flagpole and olso the direction of the force vs the wire.

Those are things tuners learn as you learn how to hold the steer-wheel in a car or any thing tactile that is learned by repetition.
A little theory is not bad , for instance it is easier to tune left hand on a grand if you have to lower the pitch.

The 12-14:00 orientation is a standard for a certain way.
if hold at 15:00 , another way is used.

When in a hurry one can work with a little less strong pin setting, the piano will stay in tune for sometime as well.

Depending of the friction differnce between capo and pinblock , presence or no of pin bushings, somepostures may be better than others.

The most evident to me is to add tension with the handle at 14:00 15:00 and to work the pin and setting with the hammer facing or 13:00-

I could also "jump the pin in place " and set it with the handle at 15:00 but I have less control doing so.

When working on a piano where the pins are all set, the work is also different, (and the pins can have been set one year ago, sometime more)

Pin are set : some energy is stored between pins and upper segment.


Edited by Olek (11/05/13 03:26 PM)
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#2177672 - 11/05/13 05:25 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Phil D]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Please, this is such an irritating bugbear for me - is it really necessary to invent your own acronyms? Is it really that hard to type out Non-speaking length and tension band every time you want to refer to them? It makes scanning and understanding your writing unnecessarily difficult. Plain english is very important, and acronyms are a form of jargon, which is a barrier to plain english. Yes, piano tuning contains lots of jargon as it is a specialist field, but adding new ones to the field, even if you don't abbreviate them, just clouds matters. I suppose as a teacher it is important to have a coherent a self-contained way to describe things, but here it's just off-putting.

Rant over.


Phil,

I may have responded to your post too soon.

I'm more interested in if you understand the concepts I wrote about, rather than trying to defend the writing technique.

Feel free to post any questions about the technique.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2177772 - 11/05/13 10:47 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Mark,

How do you describe "controlled static massage"?

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2177781 - 11/05/13 11:16 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
CSM ?
_________________________
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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#2177966 - 11/06/13 12:18 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Good topic, because this game is played at the stability level. All the other skills are dependent on this skill, and there are more efficient ways to learn than repeating the same motions, without analysis, many thousands of times.

I'm curious about both Chris' coming from below instability concern, and Mark C's "problem with coming from below".

I think one needs to differentiate between the apparent pitch and what the pin foot is doing.

When my tuning is stable, the pin foot has always come from below and right up to its final resting
place. Depending on the lever angle, pin torque, front segment rendering, the apparent speaking length pitch may "overshoot" the targert pitch and need to have the front segment/pin settled, but for me, the pin foot always comes from below right up to its target resting place. I find any downward movement of the pin foot untrustworthy,because as a relatively quiet tuner, senza really loud test blows, the actual speaking length pitch will drop in the near future.

I would add that, for me, the real task, and the part of lever technique that takes the most time in my tunings, is adjusting the pitch that last fraction of a cent, for really fine tuning. In Mark's analysis above, which I have been thinking about and analyzing over the last couple of months in my own tunings, these concepts are helpful to get the pitch real close. But once real close is achieved the final dialing in, without introducing instability is the tricky part.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2178073 - 11/06/13 03:45 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: jim ialeggio]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Mark,

How do you describe "controlled static massage"?

Jim Ialeggio


Well, it is a bit complicated. I am in the process of systemizing it so I can explain how to use it accurately.

What I can say is that, basically, it is bending the pin.

But, obviously, there are ideas that a technician must understand to use this properly.

The biggest advantage to using this technique is that we are able to produce fine, minute pitch adjustments with superior stability.

Some points to consider:

1) All technicians bend the pin. Because of the shape of the hammer, there is a force vector on the pin, applied to the top of the hammer above the pin, in a direction perpendicular to the hammer handle, and the pin.
T hammers and Dan Levitan's hammer are the only exceptions.
At 12 O'Clock, that bending is perpendicular to the string and hence, does not affect Non-Speaking Length (NSL) tension.
(I will be following standard journalistic procedures by writing out the full name of a term, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses, then only using the abbreviation in subsequent sentences. Sorry Phil.)

2) The stable state of the NSL tension is that it is within the Tension Band (TB), which is an upper and lower limit of NSL tension that produces stability. I.e. the friction at the upper bearing points (V-bar, pressure bar, etc) is enough to hold the string from slipping on the V-bar. (This TB narrows during hard blows.)

If you understand those two points, then you can imagine a situation where the NSL tension is near the upper or lower limit of the TB.

Now, with the slightest pressure, more of a massage, sometimes just resting your fingers on the handle, in the direction that pushes the NSL tension out of the TB, the string slips on the v-bar and the TB shifts, so that when you relax the pressure, the NSL tension returns to what it was, but it is in a new place within the TB, ideally more central.

It is "Controlled" because the amount of pressure (massage) is minimal. If a minimal amount of pressure isn't enough to put the NSL tension outside the TB, then the pin foot needs to be moved.

It is "Static" because you are not combining turning the pin with bending. Turning and bending at the same time causes more of a "grinding" of the pin against the pinblock.

It is "Massage" because we are only using the smallest and gentlest pressure or force on the handle as possible. I think of it as definitely less than the bending moment induced from normal turning of the pin.

Feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

I hope to eventually create videos demonstrating these and other techniques on my site http://howtotunepianos.com.

Please visit and subscribe.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178102 - 11/06/13 05:12 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
MArk I tuned for sometime by massaging the wire, and that give a lot of control. The pin turned by small increments, the wire went exactly where I want it.

To have that slightly higher tension at the end I begun to massage while the pin was bend(that mean up to raise, and down to lower)

Did not realise that the block does not help to be pressed that way, even if I was feeling I did so gently without excessive force.

Off course on pianos with bushings, that gives you a security sentiment.
SO yes I agree with with you say, massaging (I read "warming the wire" which describe well the process) while turning the pin is really hard on the block. But even doing so to generate small minute jumps of the pin is only good for some situations.

But may be we talk of different things.

There is the "pump" motion that store energy in the pin until it moves, and there is the pump motion that is done to move the wire and the pin That last is bad fro the block, I think.

Regards
_________________________
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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#2178171 - 11/06/13 08:41 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Now, with the slightest pressure, more of a massage, sometimes just resting your fingers on the handle, in the direction that pushes the NSL tension out of the TB, the string slips on the v-bar and the TB shifts, so that when you relax the pressure, the NSL tension returns to what it was, but it is in a new place within the TB, ideally more central.


I'm assuming you are hearing a tiny speaking length pitch change with this gentle massage, as an indication that a non-speaking length/TB shift has happened...correct?

If this is so, and you are dealing with a grand with yards of bearing felt, under string corrosion, acute termination angles, ie poorly rendering, what indication do you have that you have indeed moved the tension on the non-speaking length in relation to the TB? I find in these pianos, which are all to common, the massage has to become a much more aggressive movement to get any indication of movement in the non-speaking length or speaking length. This aggressiveness means that you lose the feedback you described which gentle massage affords.

How do you read these poorly rendering beasts?

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2178219 - 11/06/13 09:55 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: jim ialeggio]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Now, with the slightest pressure, more of a massage, sometimes just resting your fingers on the handle, in the direction that pushes the NSL tension out of the TB, the string slips on the v-bar and the TB shifts, so that when you relax the pressure, the NSL tension returns to what it was, but it is in a new place within the TB, ideally more central.


I'm assuming you are hearing a tiny speaking length pitch change with this gentle massage, as an indication that a non-speaking length/TB shift has happened...correct?



Hi Jim,

No actually. The TB is a function of the actual pitch of the speaking length.

For example, say the string is at 150lbs tension and the TB is such that a NSL tension of 151lbs will cause the string to slip upwards on the v-bar and result in a rise in pitch.

Similarly, let's say 149lbs tension results in flattening of pitch.

In this example the TB is 149 to 151 lbs, or 150 +/- 1 lb tension.

When the pitch changes, the TB follows.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178287 - 11/07/13 03:19 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1961
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Now, with the slightest pressure, more of a massage, sometimes just resting your fingers on the handle, in the direction that pushes the NSL tension out of the TB, the string slips on the v-bar and the TB shifts, so that when you relax the pressure, the NSL tension returns to what it was, but it is in a new place within the TB, ideally more central.


I'm assuming you are hearing a tiny speaking length pitch change with this gentle massage, as an indication that a non-speaking length/TB shift has happened...correct?



Hi Jim,

No actually. The TB is a function of the actual pitch of the speaking length.

For example, say the string is at 150lbs tension and the TB is such that a NSL tension of 151lbs will cause the string to slip upwards on the v-bar and result in a rise in pitch.

Similarly, let's say 149lbs tension results in flattening of pitch.

In this example the TB is 149 to 151 lbs, or 150 +/- 1 lb tension.

When the pitch changes, the TB follows.


If indeed "the string slips on the v-bar", as Mark describes, then part of the non-speaking length moves into the speaking length, or vice versa. The tension of both lengths changes. Therefore,
... the pitch must have changed, and
... the non-speaking length will not have the same tension as before.

[Edit: at least that's my understanding; I'd gladly stand corrected on how there can be string movement across the capo / v-bar without changing the tension in both adjacent string segments?]


Edited by Mark R. (11/07/13 03:54 AM)
Edit Reason: given in post.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2178298 - 11/07/13 03:48 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
149 151 are probably way too low numbers. to retain a 150 lbs tension from moving at each occasion, the differential must be higher in my opinion.

I wrote you may have 20% more tension on the pin side, +- they cannot be in the wire or we could go too far with the breaking strain limit in high treble.

probably that number is not good.

what is is that if you pull on the lever (grand piano) you must be able to rise a little the pitch and when you push (those are bending the pin in direction of the string)it should hardly lower, but still a little amount if you push strong enough.

This is how the pin stress condition is tested, since a few decades and certainly before. it also say something about the balance at bearing point indeed.

it is also a finesse thing with tuning, but the goal is more the balance between pin and upper segment than the one at bearing, even if yes, you can feel how is the stability of pitch that way, and modify a little he balance.

basics are that when you try to turn counterclockwise the pin, it must not move and the note must not lower in pitch.

that control with the lever in the vertical plane attest that you have the good balance for concert work (or stable work generally speaking)

with a wire pulling on the pin with a fair 150 lbs it is not surprising to have the pin "activated" by the wire tension.

if with the vertical pressure on the lever you can raise or lower the note by a same amount,a little strong playing will make the pin "set" in a more tense position (due to the waving coming from impacts in the speaking length, that goes up to the pin)
the pitch lower so ever slightly it can pass unnoticed but the pin is then firmer in the block, more set.

In all the precise descriptions you give, the pin and the amount of stress it receive is not described, it seem to come of nowhere and be an immaterial thing that stay in place once "set".

May I say you to add it to the mix in your formulas ? use your descriptive formulas for it as for the rest.

on some pianos you can scratch the top of the pins and have the string resonate, but that is another question.






Edited by Olek (11/07/13 03:58 AM)
_________________________
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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#2178332 - 11/07/13 06:35 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark R.]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Now, with the slightest pressure, more of a massage, sometimes just resting your fingers on the handle, in the direction that pushes the NSL tension out of the TB, the string slips on the v-bar and the TB shifts, so that when you relax the pressure, the NSL tension returns to what it was, but it is in a new place within the TB, ideally more central.


I'm assuming you are hearing a tiny speaking length pitch change with this gentle massage, as an indication that a non-speaking length/TB shift has happened...correct?



Hi Jim,

No actually. The TB is a function of the actual pitch of the speaking length.

For example, say the string is at 150lbs tension and the TB is such that a NSL tension of 151lbs will cause the string to slip upwards on the v-bar and result in a rise in pitch.

Similarly, let's say 149lbs tension results in flattening of pitch.

In this example the TB is 149 to 151 lbs, or 150 +/- 1 lb tension.

When the pitch changes, the TB follows.


If indeed "the string slips on the v-bar", as Mark describes, then part of the non-speaking length moves into the speaking length, or vice versa. The tension of both lengths changes. Therefore,
... the pitch must have changed, and
... the non-speaking length will not have the same tension as before.

[Edit: at least that's my understanding; I'd gladly stand corrected on how there can be string movement across the capo / v-bar without changing the tension in both adjacent string segments?]


Hi Mark,

You are right. But please let's remember that this is theory used to describe an actual tuning procedure that I use to do concert tunings. I.e. it works.

With that in mind, a little more analysis will show that the application is sound.

Example: NSL tension is near the top. You know this because you brought the pitch up and you had the hammer at 12:00 and the pinblock was not too tight and the NSL length was long. (All these factors result in minimal After Tuning and coming from below puts the NSL tension near the top of the TB, actually at and beyond the top for the string to slip.)

Now, the worry is that, even though the string hasn't slipped after you remove the hammer, it is near the top of the TB and during a hard blow, the TB will narrow, (Dynamic coefficient of friction is always lower than static coefficient of friction.) and then it will slip.

Now, you knew you were going to use Controlled Static Massage (CSM) so you left the pitch infinitesimally flat.

You will use CSM to simultaneously raise the pitch a very small amount, and lower the NSL tension within the TB, i.e. make it more central (closer to equalized).

A slight massage in the upwards direction does nothing. That means the amount of tension increase in the NSL is not enough to put the NSL tension over the TB. (Not surprising with long NSL's)

So, you need to move the foot. Apply controlled easy pressure to the pin until you fell the foot move. No need to listen or play the note.

Now, reapply CSM while playing. This time you hear a small increase in pitch and it is where you want it.

Relax the hammer and the pin will return to its resting place.

As you correctly pointed out, the NSL tension has not returned to its previous tension because the slipping has caused the NSL to increase in length.

But what was our goal? Lower the NSL tension within the TB.

So, the TB has risen and the NSL tension has lowered, both affecting a relative and desired movement of the NSL within the TB and this produces better stability.

This is how I am tuning more and more and I am getting incredibly accurate tunings with superior stability.

If anyone wants to try it out and has more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you so much for the post, Mark. Critical analysis is needed to produce application theory that actually works.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178333 - 11/07/13 06:35 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark R.]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sorry, couldn't delete the double post so just edited it to this.


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (11/07/13 07:42 AM)
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www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178334 - 11/07/13 06:37 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Olek]
Chris Warren Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 50
By default, after reading every relevant post on this forum over the last couple of years, I've made the last movement of the hammer a flattening / counterclockwise one - as I've understood it, to reduce the torsional effects on the pin that might be set up by tuning from below.

However, as a result now of Mark's and others' comments, I've found more stability now by trying to adopt Mark's "massage" movement to create a little excess tension in the NSL (sorry) essentially making the last movement a tuning-from-below one.

(My original post that Mark answered was more about a particular problem with a single string that seemed to be creating its own interference with itself when approaching unison from above (well past the point of removing any beats)).


Edited by Chris Warren (11/07/13 06:39 AM)

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#2178361 - 11/07/13 08:03 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Chris,

Be careful. A "tuning from below" massage will result in an After Tuning effect (Unbending) that will lower the NSL tension within the TB, if the pitch changes. If the pitch doesn't change, then there is no effect.

If you want more confidence in leaving the NSL tension near the top of the TB (i.e. tighter than the speaking length tension), the massaging from the top, with an accompanied pitch change, is the best, again because of the After Tuning, or Unbending. Of course, this can result in instability in the sharp direction.

However, for an upright, if you can move the pin foot clockwise, with a 12:00 application on a long NSL, and the pitch doesn't change, you've got a good chance that the NSL tension is near the top of the TB, and within the dynamic TB (which is narrower than the static TB) because of the tiny amount of Untwisting that lowers the NSL tension away from being right at the top of TB, which is where is was while raising pitch.. (Issac's preferred concert setting for very loud playing.)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178381 - 11/07/13 08:56 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Example: NSL tension is near the top. You know this because you brought the pitch up and you had the hammer at 12:00 and the pinblock was not too tight and the NSL length was long. (All these factors result in minimal After Tuning and coming from below puts the NSL tension near the top of the TB, actually at and beyond the top for the string to slip.)

Excellent blow-by-blow helpful description, thanks

Would you take a couple of other specific piano types and do the same blow-by-blow? For example:

#1
-older grand
-comfortable to light torque
-some light corrosion on the strings, indicating under-string corrosion as well. Difficult to induce aural feedback from the NSL, as the NSL resists movment, at least the way I usually mess with it.

#2
-newer chinese grand
-very tight pins
-yards of understring felt
-at first it seems the NSL is giving good feedback, but 5 minutes later I can see I've been "duped", indicating the massaging techique I had been using was not giving reliable info.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2178772 - 11/07/13 10:28 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Olek]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Olek
In all the precise descriptions you give, the pin and the amount of stress it receive is not described, it seem to come of nowhere and be an immaterial thing that stay in place once "set".

May I say you to add it to the mix in your formulas ? use your descriptive formulas for it as for the rest.


Hi Isaac,

I respect your passion for contributing to this forum, and I read all your posts I can, and I would most definitely incorporate any elements you describe into my analysis, if I could understand them. (This is not meant to be facetious, I seriously feel inadequate when reading some of your posts.)

I really have trouble following your logic when you describe how you tune. I get about 15 - 20% of it. Sorry. Maybe if you described it again in more simple terms, I could figure it out.

The pin stress is described in my analysis as bending, twisting, and unbending and untwisting.

I have not mentioned the deformation band, which is a window of pin deformation within which stability can occur. I didn't want to complicate things. Maybe that is what you are referring to. I thought about it and I don't think its description brings much to the conversation except confusion, so I left it out.

Remember, my focus is creating explanations that help beginning to intermediate technicians. I personally do not spend much time thinking about high level concert tuning; it is not my passion, so my explanations may fall short of that level of tuning, in favour of keeping them more accessible.

It is my belief that there are so many more technicians that would benefit from accurate simple explanations that are sound, than high level technicians that would benefit from in-depth hardcore analytical description, so that is where I turn my focus.

But I would not want you to change at all how you describe things. I find the challenge intriguing. I will try to get better at understanding it.

All the best.

(P.S. I think it would be so cool if some of us hooked up on Google Hangout to discuss some of these topics in person. Our inflections would add so much more to the conversation.)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178797 - 11/07/13 11:41 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: jim ialeggio]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
[quote=Mark Cerisano, RPT]Example: NSL tension is near the top. You know this because you brought the pitch up and you had the hammer at 12:00 and the pinblock was not too tight and the NSL length was long. (All these factors result in minimal After Tuning and coming from below puts the NSL tension near the top of the TB, actually at and beyond the top for the string to slip.)

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Excellent blow-by-blow helpful description, thanks


You're welcome, Jim.

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio

Would you take a couple of other specific piano types and do the same blow-by-blow?


I'll try.

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
For example:

#1
-older grand
-comfortable to light torque
-some light corrosion on the strings, indicating under-string corrosion as well. Difficult to induce aural feedback from the NSL, as the NSL resists movment, at least the way I usually mess with it.


Ok, well, aural feedback about the NSL tension is induced by the pitch change of the speaking length, and the understanding of where you think the NSL tension is, or was, in the TB, based on what you've been doing to the pin.

When you say, the NSL resists movement, I infer that you mean the Speaking Length resists movement, i.e. you turn the pin, but the pitch doesn't change.

That is not uncommon at all in grands, because of the long NSL's.

Consider a bungee cord.

Tie a foot long cord to my belt and rock violently back and forth. I will definitely feel it and be moved myself.

Now tie a 20 or 30 foot cord to my belt and do the same rocking. Not so much feeling on my end.

That is what's happening with a long NSL. You turn the pin, and the V-bar doesn't feel it too much; the pitch doesn't change.

I used to think this was a result of high friction at the bearing points, but there was not enough variation in the materials and construction for me to believe this. The elasticity of a long NSL is more convincing to me as a reason for the behaviour.

As for your piano, I would try a 3:00 hammer angle on those, with a slow pull technique, sometimes I use massage.

So, for the 3:00 technique:

PROCEDURE
You pull up from below, the NSL tension rises to the TB limit until the string begins to slip. Now the NSL tension is at the upper limit of the TB. Once you get to the desired pitch, just let go.

ANALYSIS
The pin untwists = lowers the NSL tension
The pin unbends = lowers the NSL tension
But because of the long NSL, and the soft pinblock, the effect of the untwisting and unbending on the NSL tension, is not as drastic as if the NSL was shorter and/or the pinblock was tighter.

The result, IMHO, is that the NSL tension is nicely in the middle, or even above middle, of the TB. (Use a test blow to confirm stability)

You can also use the massaging technique as follows:

PROCEDURE
Hammer at 12:00.
Come from below. Feel pin move. Remove pressure on the handle then gently massage the handle up while listening for a pitch change. Keep doing that until the desired pitch is reached.

ANALYSIS
When you turn the pin, the NSL increases. Then when you turn the foot, the NSL continues to increase. Then, if you keep turning the foot, the string slips. (This is the order of events for a long NSL with soft pinblock. For shorter NSL's or tighter pinblocks, the string can slip before the foot moves. That tends to confuse matters a bit, for me anyway.) Don't turn the foot that much, just feel the smallest movement possible, and stop.

When you relax the pressure, the pin untwists, reducing the NSL tension. But if the string didn't slip, that means we are not close to the upper TB limit.

So, a slight upward pressure on the handle might cause the string to slip, if we are close enough to the upper TB limit.

If it doesn't slip, move the foot again. This brings the NSL tension a little higher and closer to the upper TB limit, maybe just enough so that a slight upward pressure will cause the string to slip. Now at some point, we will be at the desired pitch. The final unbending of the pin as we reduce the upward pressure on the handle, will bring the NSL tension down a bit, hopefully to within the dynamic TB (that which produces stability on hard blows).

The nice thing about this technique, is that, one can imagine we are leaving the NSL tension tighter than the speaking length tension, i.e. still near the top of the TB.

Some technicians feel this produces a strong resistance to ffff playing that can happen during professional concerts, for example.

Note, this technique also works by coming from above, i.e. lowering pitch, but adding a downward pressure on the handle between foot movements. In this case, one can use slightly more downward pressure. This induces more unbending which serves to add more tension to the NSL, thereby taking it away from the lower limit of the TB, which is the danger zone.

(Whew!)

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio

#2
-newer chinese grand
-very tight pins
-yards of understring felt
-at first it seems the NSL is giving good feedback, but 5 minutes later I can see I've been "duped", indicating the massaging techique I had been using was not giving reliable info.

Jim Ialeggio


Ok, well. Tight pins means much more bending and twisting of the pin during tuning, which relays into much more unbending and untwisting in the After Tuning. This can reek havoc, especially if the NSL is not that long, which can happen with baby grands.

Also, be aware of which pin you are on; every note has a long NSL, medium NSL, and a short NSL, relatively speaking, and they all behave differently.

I have not noticed a difference in the effect of understring felt on how the pins/strings behave. The amount of elasticity is variable anyway; I look for how the pitch behaves re:my hammer technique to give me an idea of how the NSL tension and TB relate to each other.

So, when massaging, it is possible that the untwisting has had more of an affect on NSL tension than we expect, especially if the NSL is short. (In general, or you are on the third pin of a trichord.)

So, assuming 12:00 (no unbending affect) and coming from below, the extra untwisting puts the NSL tension farther from the TB limit than usual.

Now you may find you have to press or lift more than you feel comfortable doing, before you get the pitch to change, because the NSL tension is farther from the TB limit than usual.

A better technique may be to change the hammer angle to create the proper unbending and untwisting that leaves the NSL tension near, or slightly above, the center of the TB.

PROCEDURE
At 12:00, coming up, find pitch and stop.

ANALYSIS
The After Tuning (only Untwisting at 12:00) will reduce the NSL tension.

If a test blow shows the note slips flat, you need less NSL reduction.

Change to 11:00.

Now there will be a slight unbending forward, that adds tension to the NSL and results in the sum of the affect of the untwisting and unbending, being less than untwisting alone.

Check with a test blow.

If 12:00 results in a sharpening of the pitch on a test blow, change the angle to 1:00 or 2:00.

Note: whatever works on the shortest NSL, when coming from below, should work on the others, because the reduction in tension will be less and therefore closer to the "concert" setting, i.e. nearer the top of the TB.

(O.K. I'm finished)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2178940 - 11/08/13 09:14 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Thank you for the time you put into that response! I asked for clarification on these specific "non tuner friendly" pianos, because they represent, by far, at least for me, the majority of pianos I meet daily.

I agree with the majority of your explanation...all except the under-string friction component of the NSL...but I'll leave that for a different discussion.

What I find interesting about your response to both of the above scenarios, and the one earlier in the thread, is how you approached the pitch, at least in these examples, from below, without the classic slow pull "move the string flat/raise tension and pitch over target/settle down to target". This agrees with my experience, as the greatest stability, for me, always comes from below, bringing the pin foot up to pitch. Or more precisely, often, bringing the foot just shy of pitch and massaging/moving the pin tiny increments till well balanced and at pitch. The only time I trust a down motion is when it is an infinitesimally small massaged movement.

As a side note, I bought a Levitan C Lever a little while ago, and have found it makes the theoretical moves you speak of even easier to understand and perform. This because it eliminates the pin bending component of the process...it eliminates one of the two variables which effect "after tuning", leaving you with a simpler "after tuning" scenario to decode. Actually, more precisely, it allows you to apply the pin flex selectively, when you want/need it, rather than forcing you to reach in to the grand and very uncomfortable positions to mess with ideal 12:00, 11:00, etc angles to adjust the bending component of the twist.

Thanks again for the response and excellent analysis of what the process we are told to learn to intuit by tuning 1000 pianos without critically thinking about what we are actually trying to accomplish. This information represents an opportunity to vastly compress the learning curve!

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2179272 - 11/08/13 05:51 PM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: Olek
In all the precise descriptions you give, the pin and the amount of stress it receive is not described, it seem to come of nowhere and be an immaterial thing that stay in place once "set".

May I say you to add it to the mix in your formulas ? use your descriptive formulas for it as for the rest.


Hi Isaac,

I respect your passion for contributing to this forum, and I read all your posts I can, and I would most definitely incorporate any elements you describe into my analysis, if I could understand them. (This is not meant to be facetious, I seriously feel inadequate when reading some of your posts.)

I really have trouble following your logic when you describe how you tune. I get about 15 - 20% of it. Sorry. Maybe if you described it again in more simple terms, I could figure it out.

The pin stress is described in my analysis as bending, twisting, and unbending and untwisting.

I have not mentioned the deformation band, which is a window of pin deformation within which stability can occur. I didn't want to complicate things. Maybe that is what you are referring to. I thought about it and I don't think its description brings much to the conversation except confusion, so I left it out.




Hi Mark, than you for asking.
"The pin stress is described in my analysis as bending, twisting, and unbending and untwisting.

I have not mentioned the deformation band, which is a window of pin deformation within which stability can occur."

yes that is, and that is a parameter of TONE, hence its interest. The piano Jim posted a recording he tuned did have a nice tuning, and could benefit of a little more firm pin setting (my impression) . That is just basic tuning with some attention given to the deformation of the pin, and as that is the way to check the front segment, it is not that difficult to include it in the gesture or description. (I understand why you focus on the barrier provided by the capo indeed, that is the first problem the tuners have to solve)

I cannot believe that the experience of tuning for concerts may change the way we tune at that point.

To say it simply, you are may be aware that when tuning we do not do the same job on the upper part (les say 2/3 inclueding the coils) of the tuning pin , and the bottom, which is responsive for the grip and the firmness.

All the "finesse you do adresses the upper part of the tuning pin, which is the prolongation of the wire.

SO I am focusing there (sensation wise) the friction and bearing points are manipulated of course but the way I leave the pin at the end is of high importance.

When you tune basses on a vertical, you are well in direct relation with the upper segment from the pin.

IO suppose you are aware then how much the strings are putting the pin under stress, and that it eventually help the pin to stay in place better.

The same process is happening when there is more friction with under felt, capo bar, agrafes, etc.

First I place the bottom exactly where I know it will provide me some leeway for the finesse job, allowing the pin to be stressed by the wire at the end.

Then all the "massaging" is done, with the gentle inclination of the lever to free the upper part of the pin, and on release the wire put all in place definitively.

On all pianos I previously tuned I find that very firm hold at the bottom of the pin, that I may need to displace a hair eventually, but it also happen often that only the upper part have to be worked, the bottom being in position.

Some tuners I explained that understood it, others knew what i was talking about.
Yes the main problem with old pianos is too much friction so we need to understand what is going on.

Too bad that the one that know have no interest to exchange or help the forum members. Many cannot really explain how the do, also.
I do not do anything special in the end, but the way the pin and strings are left, make the piano more sonorous.

Do you notice such thing when tuning ? the energy at the pin level is reflected in the sounding length.

Think "basses" I am sure you know what I mean.

Simply often the tuner is a little disconnected from the couple pin-upper segment, and focus a little farther.

All the best

The thing we could do is a meeting with video. If I see you tuning I would know how you do and what are your perceptions, certainly. I could try also to make a video with explanations during tuning, that would be more appropriate that sound samples. But the sound samples are ample proof of the added resonance and sound strength (see the high treble tuning sample and tuning I recorded today)





Edited by Olek (11/09/13 07:32 AM)
_________________________
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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#2179433 - 11/09/13 04:17 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1701
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Here's a description of a physics based model of tuning stability. It's probably too technical for this audience, but maybe some of you will get something out of it. It basically supports some of the things Marc has been saying. Not everything and I'll probably add more later. Perhaps Marc will translate it for a non technical audience at some point.

http://persianney.com/misc/pinmodel.pdf

Kees

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#2179461 - 11/09/13 06:30 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
That is excellent, Kees.

Did you compute the amount the pin is subjected to in degrees ?

Pins are in different metals so this may be taken in account.

I appreciated that you show that a stable tuning can be done without test blows.

Something I do no understand when Jim say he do not raise above pitch. I hear the string high and eventually too high (a strong test blow would rasie it once the pin is set)

But I consider that exactly as tuning from below, I memorized the differential at the moment the string move at the capo, and what happen before that point (how was the stretch and pin twist before any audible result)

I turn my pin to the point I want the note in tune, plus all those differnces due to the pin and the stretch.

Of course in that case while I am tuning "at pitch" the sound perceived is not, and the mechanical part of the system have to be put back in its original position, as you said.


What I do not see is an energy preservation scheme using the pin shear , not only the wire.

Minimally the pin is "neutral" and receive the stress from the wire.
Ideally the pin is a very little active and fight that stress.

You must be tuner to know that difference and even then only some get it.

I am curious about that rotation of the pin (and bend) due to the wire. I tested about 2° with a torque wrench (conservative values), but it was all but scientific. That would mean that if I leave the pin torqued 3 degrees it have more energy than the wire.

As we leave a little extra tension on the front segment side, for security reasons, the only mean to control it is with the pin, that is why I insist to say so.

of course there are many things we do without noticing. Nevertheless the tactile perceptions at the pin level (in the tuning lever) are so clear I do not understand why it is not understood more easily.

The pin reacts in 2 different moments, exactly as the wire.
First top, then the friction barrier is passed.

The amount of twist and bend at that time is as important that the same effect in the wire at bearings, and I suppose a similar analysis may happen.

The tuner evaluate the differential of friction between the pin (twist) and the wire (stretch) that gives 2 different timings that are used to "know" where the bottom of the pin have to be located when the string will be at the correct tension/pitch

Best regards.

Thanks
_________________________
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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#2179462 - 11/09/13 06:32 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Kees, if you cite "many strokes" I suppose you have read it.

I cannot find my version but the pin TWISTED in its stable position is clearly pictured in the first chapter.

Then it is not normal that so little tuners even agrees that the pin is twisted at rest.
_________________________
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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#2179467 - 11/09/13 06:48 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: DoelKees]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Here's a description of a physics based model of tuning stability. It's probably too technical for this audience, but maybe some of you will get something out of it. It basically supports some of the things Marc has been saying. Not everything and I'll probably add more later. Perhaps Marc will translate it for a non technical audience at some point.

http://persianney.com/misc/pinmodel.pdf

Kees


Might I suggest the use of the word 'lever' throughout. Hammer, the way we use the term is a tuners jargon word and the tool isn't used in the style of a hammer in the course of tuning. The action of a lever Is closer to the action you are describing, particularly to the scientific community.

When you include the felt covered piano hammer, it will certainly lead to less confusion.
_________________________
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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#2179474 - 11/09/13 07:19 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: jim ialeggio]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Thank you for the time you put into that response! I asked for clarification on these specific "non tuner friendly" pianos, because they represent, by far, at least for me, the majority of pianos I meet daily.

I agree with the majority of your explanation...all except the under-string friction component of the NSL...but I'll leave that for a different discussion.

What I find interesting about your response to both of the above scenarios, and the one earlier in the thread, is how you approached the pitch, at least in these examples, from below, without the classic slow pull "move the string flat/raise tension and pitch over target/settle down to target". This agrees with my experience, as the greatest stability, for me, always comes from below, bringing the pin foot up to pitch. Or more precisely, often, bringing the foot just shy of pitch and massaging/moving the pin tiny increments till well balanced and at pitch. The only time I trust a down motion is when it is an infinitesimally small massaged movement.

As a side note, I bought a Levitan C Lever a little while ago, and have found it makes the theoretical moves you speak of even easier to understand and perform. This because it eliminates the pin bending component of the process...it eliminates one of the two variables which effect "after tuning", leaving you with a simpler "after tuning" scenario to decode. Actually, more precisely, it allows you to apply the pin flex selectively, when you want/need it, rather than forcing you to reach in to the grand and very uncomfortable positions to mess with ideal 12:00, 11:00, etc angles to adjust the bending component of the twist.

Thanks again for the response and excellent analysis of what the process we are told to learn to intuit by tuning 1000 pianos without critically thinking about what we are actually trying to accomplish. This information represents an opportunity to vastly compress the learning curve!

Jim Ialeggio


Jim, when the wire is retained a lot by the friction you can tune without going up or very little, as the extra tension that is yet under the string will raise soon up to the pin.

On a vertical it never happen you have such problems, and when you pull on the string you are obliged to locate the bottom of the pin while hearing a beat. That is a simple addition, whatever was needed to have the tone change (at pin level) is the difference in pitch we hear to position the bottom of the pin.

The question, to me is not about stability but tone quality, the tone is "cleaned" with the pin being clearly a part of the added tension on the capo side.

How I see it :

The segment of wire between speaking lenght and pin is subject to stress. most of it comes from the pin, as the rest is braked by the friction at bearing points.

That may be such that some extra tension may arise from the speaking length and be fight so the string returns to its previous tension state even if momentarily it was raised.

In a vertical, the stress reserve (energy reserve seem the good term) is even more in the pin, due to a shorter segment of wire)

Do you perceive that differnt job done on the upper and the lower part of the pin ?
_________________________
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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#2179475 - 11/09/13 07:36 AM Re: Tuning Stabilty [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
As I see it I do not really need to stress the pin (as I did before on some pianos by working from above with a bend pin, you described correctly that)

I wait for the wire to put some stress in the pin, when I perceive that I know I am in the tension range of the wire, I am not leaving too much twist in the pin (that would raise the string later).

Tuning descriptions have evolved a lot on that forum, even last year those concepts where ignored or even refused. Great.

Best regards
_________________________
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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