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#636825 - 06/10/02 05:26 AM Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
HI all,
I am just a piano player. I have a Baldwin Acoustic. Since the 3 years that I have owned it, its only been tuned once. I know that is not very good but there are just no tuners in the area around me. Somebody told me that there are electronic tuners. Could somebody please tell me what those are? If a person who has no knowledge about tuning (like me \:\) ) gets one of these will they be able to tune their piano themselves?
Please help... I am planning on giving my exam this year and my piano, untuned as it is, does not help me in practicing.
Thanks a lot,
Payal Saraf

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#636826 - 06/10/02 02:20 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
deanhday Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 4
Loc: pasadena, ca
Payal,

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#636827 - 06/10/02 02:21 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
You can download a demo version of a tuning program off the net, but you still need the corect tuning tools to actually tune the strings.
A tuning lever which fits and a wedge minimally - search for "piano supplies" on a search engine
_________________________
Brian Lawson, RPT
Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za

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#636828 - 06/10/02 02:34 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
deanhday Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 4
Loc: pasadena, ca
Payal, using an electronic tuner is ok for raising pitch, but once you have done that you will need to temper all twelve intervals in the temperament octave before doing the rest of the piano. It can be learned rather easily. Practice is the key to getting good. You will need the books, a tuning hammer, some felt strips and rubber mutes, and a metronome for counting beats. I'll send you a list of books later, if you like. Reblitz is one of the authors. There are some older books that are good, too. I'm sure you can do it. Cost of equipment can be less than $100 (maybe $40 for the electronic tuner, $20 for electronic metronome, maybe about $20 for the hammer and mutes).

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#636829 - 06/10/02 10:52 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
deanhday, ETD's do more than you described. They set the temperment anywhere you want; equal, mean tone and all that other esoteric stuff. They also set stretch. You can basically go as far as tuning one string of each the 88 notes before you need to be skilled enough to finish unisons. This means hearing beats and having patience and skill with the hammer.

There are tools available on this site, somewhere. Best course of action, IMO, is a laptop, Robert Scott's Tunelab program, a hammer and several mutes.

Lastly, don't think of this as a way to facilitate an in tune piano for your exams. Merely being able to tune with ETD's is something that will take its own form of dedication. You'll be your own judge.

Chris W
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#636830 - 06/11/02 01:23 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
The Sanderson Accutuner is great, but they cost 1300 to 1500 dollars. It aint as easy as it sounds even with the machine, but go for it. I see the beginning of a new career.
_________________________
pianoseed

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#636831 - 06/11/02 04:54 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
Thanks so much all of you for ur help.. but I am still not sure what u guys are talking about \:\( You see I have never tuned a poiano so I have no idea what is the temperament octave.
Brian, could you give me the address of the site where I can see the demo?
Deanhday you will have to explain what you said to me as I am a novice and not familiar with the insides of the piano and I would appreciate if you could send me the list of books.
ChrisW what is mean tone, equal tone etc. How does an ETD work. What I was told that you keep it near the note you want tuned and basically using the key try and get the figure on the tuner to read zero. Now please tell me whether I am right or way off my mark.
Where can I find RObert Scott's Tunelab program and how is the Reyburn Cyber tuner?

I know -- too many questions.. but I am extremely eager to learn and you guys obviously know a lot about this field.. so \:\)

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#636832 - 06/11/02 01:57 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
You can go to it directly but I want you to find it via www.ptg.org Downloads links for technicians -
_________________________
Brian Lawson, RPT
Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za

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#636833 - 06/11/02 09:51 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Brat,

>what is mean tone, equal tone etc.
I honestly forgot what mean tone is, but I know it is one of many, non-standard, ways of tuning. It isn't important for you. Equal temperment is normal and what the ETD I use is always set to. If studied, you would find that equal temperment provides similar relationship accross all intervals in all keys. At least, that's my impression.

>How does an ETD work. What I was told that you keep it near the note you want tuned and basically using the key try and get the figure on the tuner to read zero. Now please tell me whether I am right or way off my mark.

You are basically correct. The interface of the Tunelab program is a bar with black squares traveling accross it. Once you identify which direction they are going, you adjust the string tension to try and stop it. Its the same as those strobe tuners some of us saw way back in high school band. The nifty thing is this program is specifically for pianos and will compensate properly for their needs (ie. stretch).

>Where can I find RObert Scott's Tunelab

Search google and you'll find it, I believe.

>how is the Reyburn Cyber tuner?

dunno, but have read posts on ptg.org that rave about it.

You need to hang around that site, and here too \:\) , in order to get exposed to this stuff. If you feel overwhelmed before picking up the tuning hammer, you'll most definitely be overwhelmed when you start twisting pins. Take it slow. Part of the trick is not to turn them much, at all. If you do so abusively over time, you'll loosen the pinblock and be in a heap-o trouble.

Another site to try can be found by searching for "balaams", or "stevespiano". You have to get through a lot of junk, but there are tools and technical tips that may be of some use.

Good luck,
Chris W
--prepping for the flames
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#636834 - 06/13/02 04:39 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
HI,
Thanks so much for clearing up all of that.. It does make a little easier to understand.
I was looking for lectronic tuners on the net but they are incredibly expensive.
The search in google gave me
Peterson AutoStrobe which starts at around 450$
Sanderson Accutuners which is for 1500$
All the others were also 400$ plus.
Aren't there cheaper tuners?

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#636835 - 06/13/02 04:41 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
Hey deanhday, you were mentioning an electronic tuner for around 40$? what brand is it??

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#636836 - 06/13/02 04:59 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
I am now a professional working piano technician, but in a previous life, I was an auto mechanic and shop owner for 30 years. Brat, your post reminds me of a car owner who knew how to drive, and wanted to tune up his engine. Sounds easy doesn't it? And if nothing goes wrong, one may do a decent job. However, if a problem arises, how is it handled, and is the final product one that is acceptable. What I'm saying is, tuning sounds simple, BUT! What if a string breaks, or a tuning pin is loose, or a dozen other things which you may encounter. And again, will the finished job be acceptable to you. I've learned long ago, in some situations, LET A PROFESSIONAL DO IT! In spite of your location and the difficulty in finding a technician, there must be a way. In the end, you will save time, money, and be more satisfied with the final job. Just my thoughts......PNO2NER

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#636837 - 06/13/02 10:52 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
thanks pno2ner, I shall keep that in mind.. anyways this is just research incase I have to take drastic measures.. Believe me, the idea of tuning my piano gives me nervous jitters.. I would hate to do it.. but I have to be prepared, right?

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#636838 - 06/13/02 06:49 PM Re: Tuning my Piano
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Brat,

PNO2ER has a point. I recently showed a friend how to use Tunelab. He is a graduate of MIT. After completely tuning the piano to a state that was far better than it had been (30-50 cents flat), he became too sensitised to problems that his ear was getting better at hearing. In frustration, he gave up and is going to start using a tuner (he hadn't tuned his G5 since buying it).

If you are still interested, and own a laptop, you can set yourself up inexpensively. A lack of success will most likely not come at the expense of damage to the piano.

Chris W
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#636839 - 06/15/02 12:38 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Brat, you show your ignorance in your posts above. Nothing wrong with that, if you take the time to start reading and learning, spend some time to educate yourself instead of hoping for quick answers from others that DO read, learn, and practice the art of tuning and piano repair. If you don't, and just want some magic machine and a tuning hammer to cut through the knowledge required to accomplish the task, you're either foolish and very young, or hopefully just very young.

My suggestion would be to (of course) get a professional tuner. Once he/she is there, and if it's difficult to find a tuner in your area, ask lots of questions and pay close attention to what's going on. Have beats, false-beats etc. demonstrated, have the tech show you how to listen for beats using 3rds, 10ths, etc. There are lots of things that only a tuner could show you (or rather, have you listen for), that must be part of any tuning process, let alone other important things like test-blows, how to set the string, etc. (no, I'm not a tech, but I do read and listen to experts, including those that answered you above).

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#636840 - 06/15/02 03:07 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
HI rvaga,

Even I know that just getting an electronic tuner is not going to solve my problems.. I plan on doing my reading and research before I even touch my piano with a tuning key. I value my piano a lot and if I gave a wrong impression I am really sorry.. I just thought that this is the forum from where I can get help in finding out what the insides of a piano are like and maybe you guys could help me do research and tell me what books I should read to learn more. I am going to get a professional tuner and hound him to death with questions but I still need to know what to ask and that is the reason I am here...
So.. if you all can just help me out I will be utterly greatful. I would like to have an electronic tuner before the professional tuner comes so that he can explain how to use it and tell me how to listen for the beats and to know whether the strings are in unison...
Believe me I would never touch it till I don't know exactly what to do. If that was my intention I would not heve bothered to find out anything. Just bought my tuner and sat with a key, right?

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#636841 - 06/15/02 03:12 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
Actually we have an amateur tuner in the city whose father used to be an excellent tuner and she used to sit with him when he tuned pianos. What I was thinking is that I should get the tuner Korg ca-30 ( btw how is it) and with her help and your help I would be able to understand how to go about tuning my piano and maybe reach a stage where I won't need the etd at all. \:\) I know I am being overly optimistic and tuning is a difficult task but I can try.. I won't find out unless I do.
So please if you all can suggest some books which would help me, i would be very grateful.
Thank you,
Payal

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#636842 - 06/19/02 12:41 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
deanhday Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 4
Loc: pasadena, ca
payal, sorry for the delay in replying. my post was nothing if not discordant. the other experts (i am but a hobbyist) are correct about many facets of this tuning business. frankly, the last time i went to tune up a fine piano for a friend it totally whipped me. what a horrible feeling it is when you're convinced you did it right, but it turns out wrong. the tuning device i referred to for $40 is type of device made by yamaha or sony, and will basically just indicate how far out of tune you are with a a visual gage. these things get you as close as you can come to a good tuning, but cannot compensate for the inharmonicity of the strings. you must then do the careful listening for beats to set your temperament.

if you have a pentium grade computer you can get a very good program (as noted on the board) that, with a microphone only, can enable you to do the desired professional tuning. all this, of course, after you have learned how to use the hammer and listen. the books i wanted you to use were the arthur a reblitz "piano tuning and rebuilding", which has an adequate description of the necessary steps to learn tuning. the other book is "piano tuning and the allied arts" by w. b white. the latter is a very detailed account of aural tuning. understand the fundamentals, and may all your efforts be productive. when i get the download of the free tuning program i'm going to use it first on my steel drum. jeez, the harmonics on those things have two peaks. this is because the panels for the individual notes are spread across the surface of a steel barrel top that has been depressed to a depth of about eight inches. this means that the center of the drum head is thiner than the edges. each individual note has a variable thickness, and thus, the double peaks. not only that, but the harmonics are nothing at all like strings, with near perfect doubling for octaves, but, being plates, the firt harmonic is something like 1.6 times the fundamental. what beats will i be listening for there? have faith, and persevere. you can get there.

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#636843 - 06/19/02 01:55 AM Re: Tuning my Piano
brat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 29
Loc: India
Hi deanhday,
Thank you for the names of the books. I will definately look them up.. If you manage to download the tuning program, could you please let me know whether it is any good?

Thanks a lot for the help..
Payal
p.s. I will keep you all updated to my progress.. ( I hope I do some progress)...

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