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Topic Options
#2223407 - 01/31/14 12:12 AM Short pianos are unstable?
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
I haven't gotten a tuner to tune a piano in years, since I tune my own and most pianos I perform on, if necessary. So I got a tuner to tune a really short Story and Clark piano (not sure what model but probably around 5 feet long) that I'm performing on tomorrow.

After he finished he asked me to check it so I checked it just like how I check my own tunings: some fifths, major triads, octaves, double octaves, triple octaves just for the lulz. I noticed some unisons beat maybe once every second or two. I sure don't leave unisons like that. And this isn't even in the 7th octave or something; this was like 4th octave. After that I pounded every key at fortissimo and just played single keys in the treble and many notes moved.

After he saw me do that (I didn't say anything) he said he wanted to correct a few things. So I left and he appeared to correct some unisons. After he finished, he told me I can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy. Although I'm a n00b when it comes to tuning, this goes against my experience. Things don't just keep moving as you play. There has to be some point where things settle down and don't move anymore. And AFAIK tuners need to produce tunings that will survive fortissimo because pianists will play fortissimo, so I guess my question is...

Is this guy for real or just making excuses?


Edited by PianistOne111 (01/31/14 12:13 AM)
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#2223417 - 01/31/14 12:47 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3367
It's possible that pianos with compromised scale design could have inferior long term tuning instability. Difficult to tune pianos (i.e. low pin torque w/ high bearing friction or high pin torque with too-low bearing friction) could also have inferior stability.

Aside from that, things like stage lighting, sunlight, HVAC drafts, significant pitch raises/lowering all affect stability.

You have to keep in mind that if you strike the key hard enough, any unison will become fuzzy. A good test of immediate tuning stability is to depress the sustain pedal and use your forearm to smash up and down the keyboard, or play double octaves up and down the keyboard at fortissimo. Anything that moves should be corrected, particularly if it is a critical tuning application.

But to directly answer your question, his explanation is highly suspect, IMO.
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#2223445 - 01/31/14 02:19 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1645
Loc: Reseda, California
Though I can't see any explanation for it in the physics, of the pianos I've owned, the longer ones have stayed in tune better. It may be correlated with quality and cost more than length....

If things do just keep moving as you play, perhaps the piano needs a CA treatment, or larger pins (given that it's a few strings here and there that go way off). It might not be the tuner's fault, if the venue management won't pay to fix what needs fixing. Beethoven986 is right that his explanation is dubious.
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#2223473 - 01/31/14 06:29 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1494
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Short pianos tend to have short upper segments. Short upper segments and tight pin locks, IME, are difficult to get stability on because the pin bends and twists so much more during tuning, and the short segment means the unbending and untrusting that occurs after tuning, is transferred right away to the upper segment, causing a higher change in upper segment tension which causes the string to slip across the v-bar; instability.

Forte playing should not cause any unison to become fuzzy, no matter how loud or on any piano. That is a professional tuning.

For a video explanation of the affect of upper segment length, sometimes called non-speaking length, watch my video at

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P7NFEFBaVvY&feature=c4-feed-u


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (01/31/14 01:18 PM)
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#2223798 - 01/31/14 06:42 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 382
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
There are a few reasons for tuning instability. The tuner's hammer technique is one. Then, if there were a pitch correction and the back scale did not come up to tension because of friction at the bridge pins, a hard blow will leak that lower tension thru. A steep counter bearing angle causes excess friction in the front segment and this speaks to technique as well and is difficult to control.

Believe it or not, following another's tuning. Few tuners have the same technique and I've noticed that the piano behaves better under my hand after the second tuning. That's why it's good to have the same tuner especially in a commercial or institutional gig. And the most frustrating aspect is following a pin bender, especially amateurs which poor or no hammer technique; these pianos take longer to tune and can be more subject to instability until a few proper tuning are placed on the piano.


Edited by Jon Page (01/31/14 06:45 PM)
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#2223941 - 02/01/14 12:34 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 425
Loc: Boston, MA
Shorter pianos, in general, are less stable than larger ones.

Tuning pins are of uniform standardized diameters. A shorter string length undergoes greater change in frequency for the same arc rotation of the pin. Smaller scales are made more poorly; the plate/block interface is often less stable; the pinblock is often of lower quality.

Add all this up, and it's almost a joke that some of those small pianos out there are considered tunable. A breath on the pin will knock them out, even with the best pin setting techniques.

Sounds like you don't have a great tuner there, though.
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#2223942 - 02/01/14 12:38 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
All things being equal, I can't think of any reason why a short piano should be any more or less unstable than a longer piano. If anything I'd think they should be more stable since everything is shorter and there should be less flexing of the string frame.

ddf
_________________________
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#2223947 - 02/01/14 12:50 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1494
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Del,

My experience is that tight pin blocks and short upper segments are harder to tune. But I think I understand what you are saying; given that the pin and string in equalized, there should be no other reason why the pitch would drift, other than the usual. In fact, the larger soundboards should be more unstable when humidity changes, no?

But I find that the tight pin blocks and small pianos (short upper segments) are the most challenging.

Cheers,
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www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2223948 - 02/01/14 12:52 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: PianistOne111
I haven't gotten a tuner to tune a piano in years, since I tune my own and most pianos I perform on, if necessary. So I got a tuner to tune a really short Story and Clark piano (not sure what model but probably around 5 feet long) that I'm performing on tomorrow.

After he finished he asked me to check it so I checked it just like how I check my own tunings: some fifths, major triads, octaves, double octaves, triple octaves just for the lulz. I noticed some unisons beat maybe once every second or two. I sure don't leave unisons like that. And this isn't even in the 7th octave or something; this was like 4th octave. After that I pounded every key at fortissimo and just played single keys in the treble and many notes moved.

After he saw me do that (I didn't say anything) he said he wanted to correct a few things. So I left and he appeared to correct some unisons. After he finished, he told me I can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy. Although I'm a n00b when it comes to tuning, this goes against my experience. Things don't just keep moving as you play. There has to be some point where things settle down and don't move anymore. And AFAIK tuners need to produce tunings that will survive fortissimo because pianists will play fortissimo, so I guess my question is...

Is this guy for real or just making excuses?


I would never expect a tuning to survive, intact, for more than an hour of hard playing, let alone a day or two, regardless of the size of the instrument. That is why you can see a tech come out and touch up a tuning mid-concert or why you need a tuner available for recording sessions. I have left every piano I have performed upon a little wobbly when I was done.

That said, my experience has been with the larger pianos they can more difficult to stabilize after doing a significant pitch adjustment. Also their scales are usually much less compromised so they almost demand a more precise tuning to sound "in tune".

Just my 2 cents.
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#2223951 - 02/01/14 01:02 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Del,

My experience is that tight pin blocks and short upper segments are harder to tune. But I think I understand what you are saying; given that the pin and string in equalized, there should be no other reason why the pitch would drift, other than the usual. In fact, the larger soundboards should be more unstable when humidity changes, no?

But I find that the tight pin blocks and small pianos (short upper segments) are the most challenging.

There are obviously a lot of variables involved; that's why I said "all things being equal." The precision of drilling, the quality of stringing, string deflection angles, the radius of the V-bar, etc. All of these, and more, are factors that affect ease of tuning and tuning stability. But they are not restricted to short pianos. One might add to the list long pianos with erratic pin torque, without tuning pin bushings and with tuning pin heights that vary all over the map.

Still, the professional piano tuner learns to cope with all of these and will leave the piano nicely balanced and in possession of clean and stable intervals, octaves and unisons. I find the comment, "[You] can't play a short piano so hard because the strings can't absorb enough energy." to be ridiculous and more than a little disingenuous.

ddf


Edited by Del (02/01/14 01:12 AM)
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#2224052 - 02/01/14 08:36 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 746
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Del
without tuning pin bushings


Del,

I've been working this question on my own rebuilds...and not sure right now what I think about the question of tuning pin bushings or no bushings...large or small grands.

Like most techs, I see many difficult to tune pianos. Aggressive to very aggressive termination angles, too much front segment under-string felt,etc, etc. I have noticed however that I seem to prefer the pianos with no tuning pin bushings, as its easier to gently coax and equalize the front segment if the pin is allowed to flex some on that 1/4-3/8" plate thickness segment of the pin.

I seem to be finding...but not ready to go the mat on this...that the non-bushed pin pianos, at least the way I tune, end up being the more stable pianos. One caveat to that statement is that the non-bushed pianos all have long front segments, which helps greatly with the stability. I can't actually think, right now, of a non-bushed piano I service with short front segments, so that may be coloring my observation here.

That said, though, I do find it somewhat frustrating with bushed tuning pins, that I really can't gently use the lever to equalize, and must do all the equalizing mostly with reasonably rapid mf key strikes.

Any comments on this...Del and others?

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

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#2224085 - 02/01/14 09:43 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 425
Loc: Boston, MA
That's funny, Jim. Just goes to show how one opinion is as valid as another.

I just tuned a non-bushed Steinway B last night and was wondering why the thing felt so unstable.. then I looked down. Granted, this was also combined with a pin height on the proud side of 7/8", which added to the problem.

To me, bushings are important and make a big difference.

I use very little pin flexing in my technique for grands, so it's important to me that the pins flex as little as possible.
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Unity of tone through applied research.

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#2224089 - 02/01/14 09:51 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4231
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Smaller mass will readily accept temperature and humidity changes more quickly than a larger mass. A smaller instrument will have its stability displaced more quickly by changes than a larger instrument.

Because Q=mcDT, if Q and m are both the same and the DT is smaller then c (specific heat) must be bigger……

Concep test Chabot College
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2224109 - 02/01/14 10:27 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Tunewerk]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
That's funny, Jim. Just goes to show how one opinion is as valid as another.

I just tuned a non-bushed Steinway B last night and was wondering why the thing felt so unstable.. then I looked down. Granted, this was also combined with a pin height on the proud side of 7/8", which added to the problem.

To me, bushings are important and make a big difference.

I use very little pin flexing in my technique for grands, so it's important to me that the pins flex as little as possible.


I don't recall ever seeing bushing in a S&S piano. I could be wrong, I just don't remember. Most likely the tuning pins standing a little ahem, tall, is a more likely cause of your instability.
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http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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#2224113 - 02/01/14 10:35 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 746
Loc: shirley, MA
Tunewerk,

Interesting...as I think about it, I didn't have this preference for non-bushed pins until I started using the Levitan C lever which cuts a huge amount of the standard lever flag-poling out of the picture.

I wish I had more non-bushed pianos to compare and suss-out this question, but I only have S&S's and a few rebuilder's instruments, including a couple of my own earlier non-bushed insturments.

Like I said...not ready to go the mat on this...might even be all wet smile

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

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#2224135 - 02/01/14 11:32 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I find pianos with bushed tuning pins slower to stabilize while tuning. They tend more to creep sharp over a longer period during the tuning than a non-bushed plate. I can simply feel all the torsional and longitudinal bending that is occurring when I turn a tuning pin with un-bushed hole faster. But since I have spent about half my career tuning Steinways, that may be what I am accustomed to most.
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#2224173 - 02/01/14 12:33 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5326
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Del
without tuning pin bushings
I've been working this question on my own rebuilds...and not sure right now what I think about the question of tuning pin bushings or no bushings...large or small grands.

Like most techs, I see many difficult to tune pianos. Aggressive to very aggressive termination angles, too much front segment under-string felt,etc, etc. I have noticed however that I seem to prefer the pianos with no tuning pin bushings, as its easier to gently coax and equalize the front segment if the pin is allowed to flex some on that 1/4-3/8" plate thickness segment of the pin.

I seem to be finding...but not ready to go the mat on this...that the non-bushed pin pianos, at least the way I tune, end up being the more stable pianos. One caveat to that statement is that the non-bushed pianos all have long front segments, which helps greatly with the stability. I can't actually think, right now, of a non-bushed piano I service with short front segments, so that may be coloring my observation here.

That said, though, I do find it somewhat frustrating with bushed tuning pins, that I really can't gently use the lever to equalize, and must do all the equalizing mostly with reasonably rapid mf key strikes.

I don't find pianos lacking bushings "harder" to tune, just different. The competent piano tuner/technician has to be able to do both with equal competence.

The other issues you mention—string termination angles, the drag of the string across felt (especially when combined with aggressive string termination angles), etc.—are all more significant issues.

I’m not a particular fan of bushings—especially when they are forced to take the whole load of the forward pressure as when there is a deliberate gap between the pinblock and the lower flange. Nor am I a particular fan of the technique of drilling a relatively small vertical hole in the tuning pin panel and installing the pins at a back angle significant enough that the pin rests against the bottom of that hole. But both work and have worked for well over a hundred years. (My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)

My point through all of this, though, is not to claim the inherent superiority for any particular type of pinblock installation; it is simply point out that a professional piano tuner needs to be familiar with, and the master of, all of them. There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2224185 - 02/01/14 01:19 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 425
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted By: Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.
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#2224202 - 02/01/14 01:58 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Tunewerk]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Originally Posted By: Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted By: Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.

I don't want to start an argument here but, isn't the scale of most pianos about the same from roughly C4 up? I can understand that below the scale change a shorter string length will be more susceptible to minute changes in tension.

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#2224214 - 02/01/14 02:22 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Del]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 746
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Del
My point through all of this, though, is not to claim the inherent superiority for any particular type of pinblock installation; it is simply point out that a professional piano tuner needs to be familiar with, and the master of, all of them.


Right, agreed.

My interest as a rebuilder coming to a particular rebuild, having tuned new, old and recently rebuilt pianos, short as well as long, is that many of them are harder to tune than needs be. I'm determined to make my rebuilds easy and pleasant to service...something for a tech to look forward to. So, for me, right now, the front segment, terminations angles, counter bearing setups and materials, pin torque,and other pin block conditions, etc are up front and center as far as design priorities.

The nicer I am to the tech, the better my work will be allowed to sound...make the tech's life hard, and the piano's possibilities will languish.

...Ed's observation that the bushed variety tend to creep up to pitch slower during the tuning, is similar to what I have observed. The bushed variety seem to require more activity in the playing hand. Different, as you said...but given the choice, I wonder what others would prefer?

Jim Ialeggio



Edited by jim ialeggio (02/01/14 02:22 PM)
_________________________
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www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2224221 - 02/01/14 02:51 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: prout]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21916
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: prout
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Originally Posted By: Del
...(My preference, should anyone wonder, is a properly designed and constructed open-face pinblock.)


Yes. I second this.

Originally Posted By: Del
There are reasons why a recently tuned piano can easily be knocked out of tune with a hard blow but the fact that the piano is short is not one of them.


But disagree here.

A shorter scale contributes to instability. A competent technician is able to tune them all, but smaller changes in pin rotation result in the same change in frequency for smaller instruments. Meanwhile, the levels of mechanical error remain the same, which affect the string frequencies by a greater percentage.

Trying to lock down a good tuning on a tiny baby grand, console or spinet is an exercise in insanity. It's an attempt to achieve something that poor machine was not designed to do reliably.

In relation to the subject of this thread, yes the technician still should be able to lock down a tuning despite design deficiencies. It is an achievement of skill in adverse circumstance that we all face regularly.

I don't want to start an argument here but, isn't the scale of most pianos about the same from roughly C4 up? I can understand that below the scale change a shorter string length will be more susceptible to minute changes in tension.


That is true, and the smaller soundboard is less liable to changes due to humidity.
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#2224427 - 02/01/14 11:03 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: prout]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Prout,
The middle portion of the piano scale is the region that moves the most regarding pitch. Shorter string scales, (low break-point), will change pitch more per change in elongation than a longer scale.

Often in smaller pianos the first plain wire notes above the wound strings are at a very low break point. So they are harder to tune, move pitch more with any humidity change, and if not tuned carefully, will slip out of tune more than a longer scale.

The unfortunate truth about piano tuning stability is that the part of the compass used most is what goes out of tune the easiest.
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#2224505 - 02/02/14 07:29 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
prout Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 902
Thanks BDB and Ed. I always learn so much here.

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#2224514 - 02/02/14 08:15 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 359
Loc: UK
Ed I watched your video but there is a word which you use a couple of times which I cannot quite hear: to quote " depending on wether or not you moved the ???? " it sounds like FLYT?
y In particular y,ou use it just before then end and it seems it is essential to the meaning of the explanation.

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#2224527 - 02/02/14 09:05 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
It depends upon the design and quality of the piano.

I can think of a few "short" uprights that are much more stable than the taller - even by the same maker using quality materials. It's the design that's makes the difference. One example is the old Baldwin Acrosonic vs the old Baldwin 6000, both of similar age, condition and environment. With respect to achieving and maintaining reasonable tuning stability, the "shorter" Acro wins hands down.

On the other hand, a cheaply made piano will not stabilize no matter what you do. Sadly, the examples of these are too many to recount here.


Edited by bkw58 (02/02/14 10:13 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#2224969 - 02/03/14 02:31 AM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1810
Loc: London, England
There are two basic definitions of stability as it applies to pianos. One is within the control of the tuner and concerns how well the tuning has been set in place to withstand the heaviest playing. This is independent of the size of the piano. Although I have known unisons that are very slightly put go back in tune by themselves, unisons that have failed need the attention of a tuner to correct them.

The other concerns how well the general structure of the piano withstands the many changes of atmosphere between tunings and is not within the control of the tuner.

Some pianos, well tuned, can stay in tune for years on end. Another piano of the same make and model may not fare so well, even in the same room. This ability to stay in tune is independant of the size of the piano. A piano can go out of tune in this manner and still have the unisons intact and come back into tune again later as though nothing had happened.


_________________________
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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#2225270 - 02/03/14 03:33 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
Thanks for the replies. It seems I won't be calling him again.

My performance was...ehh; I don't think the piano affected it. The unisons weren't too clean but since the piano was voiced darker, the faster-beating high partials aren't as audible.

Yes, the kind of stability I'm talking about is the ability to stay in tune under heavy playing.
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#2225412 - 02/03/14 09:00 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 854
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: PianistOne111
Thanks for the replies. It seems I won't be calling him again.

My performance was...ehh; I don't think the piano affected it. The unisons weren't too clean but since the piano was voiced darker, the faster-beating high partials aren't as audible.

Yes, the kind of stability I'm talking about is the ability to stay in tune under heavy playing.


Even the finest concert grands in the most ideal conditions will have some degree of tuning shift under heavy (abusive) playing conditions.


Edited by SMHaley (02/03/14 09:01 PM)
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#2225458 - 02/03/14 10:11 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The tuning slippage you experienced could be because the piano was horribly out to begin with and there was insufficient time to stabilize it.

Many performance venues also can have issues with lights heating the strings too much when the lid is open. Stage doors being left open to facilitate moving in other instruments, props and A/V equipment. All these things can send the temperament and octaves adrift. Wild unisons are most probably tuner error. Although if time is short the top treble often gets short shrift so a wild unison may be present there already and not get attended to.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2225505 - 02/03/14 11:47 PM Re: Short pianos are unstable? [Re: PianistOne111]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 525
Loc: USA
One of the most stable pianos I've ever found are the Baldwin Acrosonic spinets, one of the shortest pianos ever made.
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