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#606573 - 03/30/03 11:47 AM Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
What do you think of the idea of tuning brand new pianos sharp? Is this supposed to stretch the strings? Seems high questionable to me, given the nature of inertia, but I'm not a tech. I have encountered dealers (or at least their tuners) who jack 'em up to 442 as a regular policy before shoving them out the door. Do this make sense?

HH
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HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#606574 - 03/30/03 02:37 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Yeah, the pitch crashes so dramatically in most new pianos it makes sense to overshoot and have settle down into A440 rather than trying to play catch up from the flat side. Do it--things will settle in better. Of course like anything else it takes skill and judgement to know just how much to overshoot the pitch. I've seen some pretty drastic mistakes to the sharp side where after 6 months it's still 25 cents sharp, and I had to wonder if they ended up stressing the elasticity out of some of the strings. But if you do it right, you end up right around A 440.

Regards,

Rick Clark
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Rick Clark

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#606575 - 03/30/03 04:51 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3789
Some manufacturers barely tune the piano before they ship it out the door. Some stores don't tune it before shipping either. The in-home tuning then becomes an unstable pitch raise of 100 cents or more, and the piano needs tuning again within two weeks.

A new piano or re-strung piano needs 7 tunings before it goes to the customer. Then once in the home, 3-4 tunings the first year, and 2 tunings per year after that. I tune my re-strung pianos 6 cents sharp before they go back to the customer, and when I do my free tuning 4 weeks after delivery, the piano has settled to about A-440. The customer still needs to tune it 3 more times that year (but most don't).
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#606576 - 03/30/03 09:26 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
I'm happy to see Rick is for this, because I've done it for years. My thinking was always that the piano is going to lose quite a bit of tension initially anyway, so why not tune it a bit sharp, so that you're not constantly pitch raising it in the first year.

Considering how most people maintain their pianos, I'd rather have it drift down to A=440 rather than sit at 440, and drift down to 30 cents flat in the first 6 months.

When I worked at Schimmel, I noticed the first day that I was their, that the tuning forks used in the factory were standardized at 445 rather than 440. I found it interesting that they were tuning 20 cents sharp right out of the factory, knowing that the piano was going to lost a lot of that tension very quickly.

KlavierBauer
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Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#606577 - 03/30/03 10:29 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
Good info--my ignorance shone here. Was trying to get some free education, and more specifically decide how to handle my new Yamaha grand, which was delivered tuned at about 442, and after six weeks of banging is still pretty sharp overall. About to get the first of four tunings planned before the end of the year--guess I'll be happy to just mention the delivery pitch and have the tech do his thing based on his judgement.

Thanks,
HH
_________________________
HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#606578 - 03/31/03 08:52 AM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
bcarey Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3378
Loc: North Carolina
Just curious, do you still tune sharp if the piano is going to a church and will be played with an organ? That might not sound too good.

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#606579 - 03/31/03 05:23 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
bcarey: that's a valid concern.

First I'd ask if it's a "real" organ, or an electric one. If it's actually using air, chances are it itself hasn't been tuned in quite some time (you know, organs aren't supposed to sound as mean as they sometimes do). But if it is an electric organ as most are now, then I wouldn't want the piano to contrast with it.
If it's just a matter of matching the "worship team", then I figure they can match their instruments to the piano. Not such a big deal to pull a guitar up a few cents.

Why would a piano try to compete with a pipe organ anyway? \:\)

KlavierBauer
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Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#606580 - 03/31/03 05:42 PM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
bcarey Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3378
Loc: North Carolina
Klavierbauer,

It is a very valid concern for my church. We have an electronic organ (Rodgers) but it actually has a good sound for an electronic. I don't see a pipe in the near future. $500,000 to 2 million just isn't what we want or need. We are just too small and and we have an activity/life center on the drawing table as a higher priority.

That said, we may need a new electronic. Ours flipped out the day before a funeral and last Sunday service. All of a sudden the key won't hold. It won't play in the right key. It either adds the music you play to the right key and plays it in the two keys at the same time or, it will play it in the key it chooses, two full steps below the key you think you are playing in. About 30 seconds into playing, the key is subject to change or it adds another key to what you are playing. STRANGE. Hope to get it fixed SOON. Of course, it wouldn't do it when the organ tech was there! :rolleyes:

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#606581 - 04/19/03 02:54 AM Re: Tuning New Pianos Sharp?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Of course not!

and sticking keys, squeaking pedals, buzzing lid hinges, and clicking actions all flee when I arrive! \:\)

For some odd reason though, the tuning never gets better when I show up to fix it!

KlavierBauer
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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