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#645802 - 04/24/04 01:28 PM Tiny steps
junmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 397
Loc: United Arab Emirates
I have noticed that I tune faster, better and more accurately when the piano is way out of tune than when it is only about 5 cents flat. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the time detuning it to give me extra room for more hammer movements. I really find it hard to execute tiny steps.

I understand that the proper way to tune is to twist the pin until the foot of the pin moves and the pitch goes a little above. At this point the head of the pin is already twisted that you have to straighten it back by countering the twist, and the amount of force will just be enough to bring the pitch very close to your target without making the foot move. Give the key 3 hard blows and the string equalization will bring the pitch straight down to its target. Am I right about this?

When I do the fine tuning, I repeat the same process on a smaller scale, that is without reaching the point as to make the foot move.

THE SCENARIO: After fine tuning, and the pitch still settles at 2 cents flat, you gently tap the hammer with your fingers to bring the pitch up by 3 cents without countering it. My question is: will the pin spring back 1 cent flat by itself?
Piano tuner / Piano teacher
United Arab Emirates

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#645803 - 04/25/04 05:49 PM Re: Tiny steps
SamLewisPiano.com Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 635
Loc: WHITE BLUFF (Nashville area) T...
Junmer- my guess is that the more you tune, the less this will be a problem for you. It sounds like something that will cure itself with experience. You will learn to feel how far sharp the pin should be turned before bringing it back, believe it or not, you will develop a feel for that point.. In reagrds to the pin springing back 1 cent, don't count on that. Learn to set the pin so that the string pitch is at zero cents when you are done.
Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.


#645804 - 04/25/04 07:55 PM Re: Tiny steps
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
My advice has always been " For large movements of the pin,, use large muscles. For small movements, use small muscles.

Large muscle systems: arms legs hips shoulders elbows etc

Small muscle systems: Thumbs fingers hands
Maker of the TCHAMMER


#645805 - 04/26/04 08:23 AM Re: Tiny steps
junmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 397
Loc: United Arab Emirates
Thank you, Sirs. I appreciate your advices.
Piano tuner / Piano teacher
United Arab Emirates

#645806 - 04/26/04 09:21 AM Re: Tiny steps
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1786
Loc: Chicagoland
You might also find it helpful to familiarize yourself with alternate hammer techniques. There are good publications available from the Piano Technicians Guild. (www.ptg.org)

Many times, I find myself using more than one technique on a single piano, depending on what I find. Depending on whether you are working on a grand or an upright sometimes a lever position change can engage different muscles to assist with fine tuning control.

1. Smooth pull - this sounds like what you are doing now. Smooth movement, overshoot and come back to pitch.

2. Jerk tuning - Trying to move the pin all at once with a fast motion. Either with muscle, or slapping motion

3. Impact lever - similar to #2, but using a specialized hammer that has a loose connection between the lever and the head, so you can swing the lever a little, and then it impacts the force to the pin.

Theres probably others as well, but hopefully you get the idea...

Ron Koval
Piano/instrument technician

my piano videos:


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