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#621729 - 09/23/05 10:19 PM Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Tonight, the 7th tuning of the day on last minute notice, a touring group found me as the only person who would even accept the job of tuning the "untunable" Yamaha CP-70. (The "electric baby grand" with no soundboard which is almost never seen anymore). I said, "Sure, no sweat at all (even though I stunk like a skunk from working what was to end up being a 12 hour day, 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM), I used to tune one or two of those a week during the 1980's".

The piano was just a tad flat. I used my "generic" offsets for the F3-F4 octave (all read on octave 5), the "Quasi Equal/EBVT." This still produces the same well tempered effects as the original EBVT.

F3: 1.0
F#3: -2.0
G3: 2.0
G#3: 1.0
A3: 0.0
A#3: 1.0
B3: 1.0
C4: +2.0
C#4: -1.0
D4: 1.0
D#4:1.0
E4: -2.0
F4: 1.0

I tuned out the octaves roughly by ear to raise the pitch, then went back over and did what I have been writing about recently: make all octaves, 5ths, octave and 5ths and double octaves "agree". That means, effectively, all Equal Beating but sounding either beatless or very nearly so. This, on a piano that most people say is virtually impossible to tune, especially in the bass.

I finished tuning promptly at 7 PM, the deadline, and as soon as I did, they opened the doors and a bunch of freaky looking kids ran in and took their seats. The pianist tried it out briefly, mostly checking the bass octaves which often growl terribly and flashed me the "OK" sign. The producer promptly wrote me a check from his check book and said, "I REALLY appreciate you doing this on such short notice. I tried several other people who refused, saying those instruments were obsolete and could never be tuned satisfactorily but you seemed to know what you were doing and the band is obviously pleased".

The point is, that even with an unequal temperament and the wildest of inharmonicity. the compromise between octaves and 5ths works every time and is so easy to effect, even under pressure and fatigue. That is why I sometimes call my octave tuning method, "mindless octaves". This means that even if there are errors in your temperament equality, you can effectively even them out in your upper and lower octaves. It does NOT become a dilemma, it RESOLVES any dilemma you may have! It is done quickly and effortlessly and the reason I often call them "MINDLESS OCTAVES".

I think you ought to try this with the Marpurg temperament I published and for which you wrote the graph. The tempered 5ths would theoretically be 6th comma (4 cent) 5ths. I can still get the cleanest, most beautiful sounding tuning using my method which seems to disprove the notion that it would only work with the most perfected
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621730 - 09/23/05 10:37 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Last paragraph was written to Jason Kanter who makes beautiful graphs and was not intended to be copied here, but what the heck. He seemed to question (as others have) whether the method would work on anything but a perfect ET but I had told him that it does indeed work with all mild well temperaments from Thomas Young and Antonio Vallotti on up. If you'd like to try it personally, see my article written many years ago, "How to Tune TEMPERED OCTAVES":

http://web.archive.org/web/20021012112200/www.billbremmer.com/TemperedOctaves.htm
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621731 - 09/25/05 02:16 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3789
Manipulating octaves and fifths is my favorite way to control the stretch. In a concert situation, I'd rather favor beatless fifths (even leading to expanded fifths) for a greater stretch. I do the opposite for a piano that is on a tile or wood floor in the home. In that situation I'll favor a beatless octave (fifths not too wild) to reduce the stretch.

This is one reason I strip out the whole piano with a temperment strip first - If I don't like the stretch, it's easy to change it.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#621732 - 09/26/05 12:26 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Well, now at least we finally agree on something! 5th's do become expanded higher on up. Steve Fairchild RPT proved it long ago.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621733 - 09/26/05 01:12 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Up until recently I owned a CP-70B which I tuned myself. (Bought it brand new in 1978). It only has one or two strings per note, and I simply used a guitar tuner and my ears. I would never think of doing it with my Estonia 190, but the CP-70 was easy and I was *never* dissatisfied with the result. Heck, players tune hammered dulcimers themselves daily where every note is a unison, why not an electric piano? It's really not a big deal in my opinion. Maybe it won't be as "perfect" as your tuning, but it's not going to last 6, 9, 12 months, either. (Although they can be surprisingly stable if you don't take them on the road). What does your tuning on this piano sound like after a month or two? For that matter, what significant differences are you going to notice right away? You're playing on an amplified short stringed instrument. Probably not softly playing Debussy solo, either.

I'm not trying to denigrate your work, but why didn't the owner tune his own? A simple star head wrench is $23. I'm surprised to read you tuned two of these a week in the 80's. I thought every band tuned their own instruments. I guess not.

The CP-70/80 is still a great instrument.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621734 - 09/26/05 03:50 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Jens Schlosser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 262
Loc: Leipzig, Germany
gryphon,

fine piano tuning is an art. It always was and always will be. The method you describe will produce acceptable results for some players and maybe even more listeners but the more discerning people (on eighter side) will definately notice the difference. Your method will result in a bass which is tuned to high and a treble section which is tuned to low (not enough stretch in both cases). Also a guitar tuner (and other simple cromatic instrument tuners) have the problem that the instruments they use will not allow for a precise enough reading of the pitch, therefore the temperament will be flawed as well.


Best regards,
Jens

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#621735 - 09/27/05 12:14 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20763
Loc: Oakland
I tuned one for Mongo Santamaria once, and another for Phish, and a few more. Often they were even more difficult to tune if you couldn't get the electronics working! They have a lot of problems with breaking strings.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#621736 - 09/27/05 12:59 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Yes, I understand what you're saying. I hope my post didn't come across different from the way I meant it. I only meant that a home-tuning on this would sound great compared to its condition before, and however "not-perfect" it was compared to what you guys who really know what you're doing do would pale in comparison to the guitar being off and drifting analog oscillators.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621737 - 09/27/05 02:38 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I've used this method as well on my clavichord and harpsichord. This is a quick enough tuning to get the 4-octave double strung and single instruments tuned. The four octave C/E-c''' and C/E - e''' don't have much of a spread to worry about things being too flat.

Most people don't notice that they are not in the perfect piano-tuning, and I find as the performer that they sound good enough in all the keys that I play them in. The music in particular doesn't have many sharps or flats compared to much later piano music.


In the late 1970's, after deciding on not going into music, I looked into the becoming a piano technician. I applied and was accepted at the North Bennett street and New England Conservatory, but I decided again to follow the new-found boom of computers instead.

Having said this, I would never tune my piano, and will gladly hire a RPT to do the job for me. I have way too much respect for the skills and work that you guys and gals do to make these beautiful instruments work the way they are intended.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#621738 - 09/27/05 05:33 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Jens Schlosser Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 262
Loc: Leipzig, Germany
Harpsichords and clavichords do not have any inharmonicity due to very thin strings. Whatever applies to piano tuning is not valid when it comes to tuning a harpsichord. These instruments don't need any stretch (inharmonicity is the main reason for doing stretch on a piano) and can therefore be tuned easily with a cromatic tuner. It is also much easier to handle string tension since it is much lower then on a piano.

Best wishes,
Jens

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#621739 - 09/28/05 12:47 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Double post
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621740 - 09/28/05 01:07 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Originally posted by John Citron:
 Quote:
I would never tune my piano, and will gladly hire a RPT to do the job for me. I have way too much respect for the skills and work that you guys and gals do to make these beautiful instruments work the way they are intended.[/b]
Ah, but are you confusing a M&H or Baldwin or S&S or Bechstein or Bösendorfer with the CP-70? That's what we're talking about. Let's not get carried away.

I had a real affection for my CP-70, but let's face it. I'm saying that anyone with a room-temperature IQ can tune a CP-70. Yes, on day-one they won't be the same, but how long before the differences between the two tunings are negligible?

If I tried to tune a real 7' grand piano (M&H, etc. above) I'd have to really be sharp, er, good at my job (no pun intended). But the CP-70?

You're not trying to get three unisons beating properly. The strings are half the length of a real piano. The tuning stability is less than a real piano. Really, how can a "professional" tuning once or twice a year on an instrument like this compare with an idiot like me hitting my wrench whenever I want over a cup of coffee?

The original poster complained that the Yamaha CP's weren't stable tuning platforms. In light of this, especially in light of this, why shouldn't the player tune it themselves? You can do it monthly, fortnightly, daily free of charge if need be.

Just in case someone doesn't know what piano is being discussed:


_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621741 - 09/28/05 01:08 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Aahh!! Triple post. But while I'm here, how does this differ from a hammered dulcimer on steroids?
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621742 - 09/28/05 09:35 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3036
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I'd certainly give Gryphon the benefit of the doubt that he could tune out the octaves in a way that was satisfactory to him. Also, as he says, the kind of music played, usually on a set with other loudly amplified instruments and a drumset, the precision demanded for solo piano was often not required.

Yes, many of the groups back in the 1980's did tune their own pianos with a Korg or a Peterson Strobe Tuner. But often, they did find their own efforts to be unsatisfactory and hired a professional tuner to do the job. I was often complemented on how "clear" I got them to sound. Surely, if someone tuned every string just to theoretical indications on an ETD, the bass would growl terribly and the treble would sound very flat. That is what those who hired a professional tuner paid to have done better. I was often asked how I did better than the ETD which was assumed to be perfect but I had no explanation to offer other than "ear" tuning was just better than "electronic".

I never started to introduce well tempering into the mix until the very end of the era when I used to tune these regularly but I had used my octave tuning approach all along. It is what, along with careful unison tuning, made my tunings sound so clear. These days, I only tune one of these CP-70's or CP-80's (with 88 keys) every other year or so but I do have one local professional musician customer who has a CP-80 in his studio where his band practices and records. He has me tune it about every other year which is all it really needs. I am puzzled by the statements that these instruments are unstable because by their nature, with no soundboard to expand and contract, once they are tuned solidly and initial stretching of the strings has settled, they can stay in tune for very long periods of time.

Sadly, they are now considered obsolete by most itinerate groups, being replaced by digitally recorded sampled sound electronic keyboards, some of which have stretched tunings and even modifiable temperaments. My Quasi Equal/Victorian temperament however adds to the appeal of having one of these instruments over a "fake" piano. There has to be a reason why some people still prefer these over what has largely replaced them. I wonder if they might make a comeback? Does anyone know if they are actually being made anymore or completely discontinued?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#621743 - 10/01/05 12:44 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Sadly they are no longer being manufactured. I sold mine to a guy from Wisconsin last year. From Madison, if I remember correctly!
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#621744 - 10/12/05 02:57 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Colin Crawford Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 438
Loc: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U...
I have a CP80 in my collection of instruments which once belonged to English 'barrow-boy crooner' (!) David Essex. It was as new when I purchased it which says much for Mr. Essex's piano playing I guess!
It was bought not for its capability of providing an authentic piano sound, I have pianos which do that quite sufficiently, but for the distinctive CP80 sound as used by many '70s supergroups.

The tuning chart which accompanies the piano illustrates the severe octave stretching required to make it sound 'in tune' and as previous posters have said, once you're used to its foibles, tuning is very possible and the thing actually sounds good. So good in fact that I have ended up using it more than any of my other pianos!

It also has the useful side effect that unamplified it makes a great practice piano, since the sound created by the strings is very audible whilst being quiet enough not to be heard in the next room and the Yamaha action is capable of good results.

My small observation is that the tuning on these beasts is very stable; the lack of a wooden soundboard in the loop must have the most influence on this, and in any case is easier and clearer to tune than a good 75% of the small US-built spinets of the Baldwin / Kimball / WurliTzer and similar from the same era that I've encountered in the UK.

Am I alone in thinking this?
_________________________
G.Colin Crawford MPTA

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#621745 - 10/13/05 05:22 AM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Colin Crawford Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 438
Loc: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, U...
 Quote:

Sadly, they are now considered obsolete by most itinerate groups, being replaced by digitally recorded sampled sound electronic keyboards, some of which have stretched tunings and even modifiable temperaments. My Quasi Equal/Victorian temperament however adds to the appeal of having one of these instruments over a "fake" piano. There has to be a reason why some people still prefer these over what has largely replaced them. I wonder if they might make a comeback? Does anyone know if they are actually being made anymore or completely discontinued? [/QB]
The CP70/80 range is completely discontinued, but there is a small renaissance here in the UK led by indie band Keane, who have created a following for the instrument. Apologies to Sakura for the photo, but it was the best one on the web!



In the last year I've tuned five of them excluding my own (which hasn't been tuned in two years and is still tolerably good!) and one of the rarer but inferior Kawai equivalent. This may be because I'm known as a technician who is sympathetic towards them.

Values are picking up, and a few firms specialising in electric pianos such as WurliTzer and Rhodes have added the CP range to the list of instruments that they will restore. I sold my tatty CP70-B for $1,100 when I replaced it with my immaculate CP80 for which I paid a mere $500 four years ago. These days a tatty but good CP will fetch $2,000 here in the UK, but then a good Wurli EP200 will fetch $1,500 or more if it's an early version in a good colour.

As an addition to the above, if anybody has an early instruction manual for a CP80 that they will part company with, I'd be interested in buying it.
_________________________
G.Colin Crawford MPTA

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#621746 - 11/06/05 04:23 PM Re: Yamaha CP-70 Tuning for Concert
Marsupio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 4
Colin,

how would you qualify the CP80 actions in comparison to a good grand piano ? BTW, I have the Yamaha CPs manuals...

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