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#633039 - 04/11/07 12:48 AM Is there such a thing a frequency detector?
white52black36 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 7
Loc: SLC
Is there such a thing a frequency detector I can buy?
For first time tuning is it okay to tune middle octave to precise frequencies if I don’t hear beats? If so, should I tune the middle octave any amount higher so that as the extremes add pressure the tuning “falls” to right?

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#633040 - 04/11/07 01:12 AM Re: Is there such a thing a frequency detector?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
Pianos have historically been tuned by "ear," in which this organ is used as a "frequency detector."

There are many electronic devices specifically designed to help in piano tuning. Google "TuneLab" to read about one of them.

You probably need to learn some basics of music theory and of piano tuning theory, which you can find at:


(Not everyone will agree with what this writer states, but the website is a good basic introduction to the topic.)
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

#633041 - 04/11/07 12:04 PM Re: Is there such a thing a frequency detector?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3374
Loc: Madison, WI USA
If you want to be a piano tuner, you *must* learn to hear beats. The very essence of aural tuning depends upon the perception and control of beats. The truth is, you can already *hear* them but have not yet leaned to recognize them. If you start tuning using an electronic device and tell yourself that you *can't* do it by ear, the longer you use the device, the more resistant you will become to doing what is absolutely essential.

Electronic devices can do well but anyone who knows how to tune well by ear will tell you that they are not perfect. If you depend entirely on an Electronic Tuning Device (ETD), you will never master tuning and your tunings will always be mediocre at best and quite flawed in many cases and you'll never know what to do to fix anything your customers find to be faulty. Word will quickly get around that you don't really know what you're doing and your clientele will be severely limited.

I regularly tutor people who claim they can't hear beats. After a 90 minute session, they leave being able to do so. It isn't as difficult as you may think. I will be giving private tuning tutoring at the next Piano Technicians Guild Convention in Kansas City, June 20-24, 2007. If you want to be a piano tuner, the best advice I or anyone could ever give you is to join PTG. See www.ptg.org. I will also give the same session to a group at our regional seminar in Madison, WI, October 4-7, 2007. I also give private tuning tutoring here in Madison. Where is LSC? If you tell me, I may be able to suggest someone closer to you.

Also, I have newly revised a long instructional paper which you may request by e-mail at Billbrpt@aol.com. This paper explains in every detail first how to perceive beats and how to tune the midrange of the piano by ear. You and anyone else are encouraged to send for it but you should also get some help from an experienced piano technician, preferably a PTG Registered Piano Technician.
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA

#633042 - 04/11/07 06:56 PM Re: Is there such a thing a frequency detector?
white52black36 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 7
Loc: SLC
Thanks for the advice, guys.
SLC is Salt Lake City. I'll be in Phoenix for some of the time this summer, also.

#633043 - 04/11/07 11:22 PM Re: Is there such a thing a frequency detector?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3374
Loc: Madison, WI USA
The man you need to see there is Jim Coleman, Sr. RPT in Tempe, AZ. You can probably find him in the phone book, if not, send me a private note and I will give you his phone number. He is, in fact the person I consulted with to write my paper and he has been a mentor of mine for nearly 30 years.

It is he and I who will be doing the private tuning tutoring at the PTG convention. He is also an expert on virtually all ETD's. You couldn't find a better mentor in the whole world! He also has my paper and can give you whatever guidance you may need with it. When he is done with you, you WILL hear beats!

Also, one of the most knowlegeable people in both aural and ETD tuning concepts lives right in Salt Lake City, Rick Baldassin, RPT, author of the coveted book, On Pitch. He also developed a temperament sequence over 20 years ago with the first really good ETD inventor, Dr. Al Sanderson, RPT. His Baldassin-Sanderson temperament sequence is often recommended. However, I did find some problems with it which I tried to resolve in working with Jim Coleman. Rick is a very busy man, however and I'm not sure he would be available to help you but it's worth a try.
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA


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