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#645081 - 04/23/04 02:01 PM Do you use earplugs when you tune?
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I just had my first tuning on Wednesday and I noticed the tuner put on earplugs. I assume this is to protect his hearing from long term damage. My question is can you, or do you need to be able to listen to all of the sound to tune properly? BTW, my piano sounds great, and he fixed all my pedal problems without a hitch.
Jon
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#645082 - 04/23/04 03:04 PM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Pianomansaint Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/18/03
Posts: 19
Loc: nyc
You do not need to HEAR every sound the piano makes when tuning but are listening for harmonic partials between two notes. These partial can be heard through earplugs and are quite usefull when tuning in a noisy envoirment. The plugs can drown out any background noise which can interfere with the tuning. This can be something like a vac being used or any kind of distracting background noise.

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#645083 - 04/23/04 06:26 PM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I use them all the time but make my final check withou them.
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pianoseed

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#645084 - 04/24/04 12:10 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1644
Loc: Chicagoland
Kindof like an airplane pilot putting on sunglasses....

Stay safe out there, tinnitus and deafness is nothing to scoff at.

Ron Koval
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Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#645085 - 04/24/04 08:13 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
There is nothing wrong if a tuner is using earplugs. The ears take a beating day in and day out and he or she is trying to protect their ears from ear fatigue and long term cumulative damage.
I started using ear protection because of the number of pitch raises I have to do. I remove them to do the fine tuning and final checks. Ear protection also helps screen out some of the background noise such as tv's, cars, vacuums,
birds , dogs etc
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#645086 - 04/24/04 09:01 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3843
I bring ear plugs to sporting events and concerts as well. After years of aural tuning, my ears are too sensitive for loud noises such as the roar of the crowd, ect.
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#645087 - 04/24/04 10:09 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3191
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Ditto to all of the above. The use of earplugs has made a big difference in my ability to work longer and maintain a high degree of qualit. You can indeed hear beats through earplugs, particularly when doing rough or coarse tuning. Saving the open ear for the finest work allows the open ear to be fresh and sensitive when it gets to that point rather than being fatigued and desensitized.
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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
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#645088 - 04/24/04 02:55 PM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
Anyone use the special musician earplugs? The cost $80 to $100.
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pianoseed

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#645089 - 04/26/04 10:12 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
I make use of earplugs as well. Just the cheapo yellow foam ones from Home Depot. If the piano is very bright or the room,floor and general acoustics make it brighter, then I use earplugs.

As mentioned, I always save the last 10 minutes for fine tuning, without earplugs. And yes, one can hear just fine with them.
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#645090 - 04/26/04 11:13 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Not that I doubt the wisdom or experience of you guys, and I know that some very good tuners use plugs. But I am having diffuculty understanding certain things.

Once I am out of the center octaves I use octaves (doubles and triples), 4ths, 5ths, 12ths and 13ths as checks. (Not pitch raising, but regular tuning) These harmonics can be pretty faint. My gut feeling is that any attenuation of volume (earplugs) is going to blank out some of these harmonics, especially when you get into the end regions. You all are saying this is not so?

There are a lot of pianos I woud like to use earplugs with but I'm worried about losing these faint harmonics as they are a primary ear-tool.

Regards,

Rick Clark
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Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#645091 - 04/26/04 11:27 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1644
Loc: Chicagoland
Rick,

Good question. There is a HUGE range of earplugs out there. What works best for tuning, are the flat- response plugs. The custom ones are an option, but there are inexpensive options available.

Check out

www.etymotic.com

Mead Killion, the founder of this company did his origional R&D work with the Chicago symphony musicians. His filters are used in the custom plugs, but very similar results are possible with the ER-20 Hi-fi earplugs. Lower attenuation is possible with the custom molds and the ER-9 filter.

I wouldn't try using the foam ones, unless you are just bulk-tuning in the concrete bunker practice rooms with a machine, and just want to zone-out....

Ron Koval
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#645092 - 04/26/04 11:53 PM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Thanks Ron. I have some familiarity with the musician's plugs. But I guess my point is that if the harmonic the tuner needs to hear is already very faint, doesn't it cause a problem to attenuate it that much more?

It would be nice if they only attenuated sounds over a certain level- let's say 85 dB- but left the fainter sounds alone. Now that is something I could see as very beneficial to the tuner.

Still, do see the wisdom of these flat response plugs for pitch raises, pounding in a noisy environment, etc.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#645093 - 04/27/04 08:23 AM Re: Do you use earplugs when you tune?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3843
I think you have to be selective on using plugs. A bright piano, pitch raise, wood floor, no drapes certainly qualifies for plugs. The stage Steinway probably wouldn't (at least for the fine tuning).
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