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#89023 - 07/31/06 12:14 AM Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
After I got my new Petrof P125 upright for a couple of weeks, a piano tech came over to tune it. I initially picked the Petrof because I like its mellow rich tone when I compared it to other pianos in the same price range. When it arrived, the sound was a little different but I think that is to be expected as the room placement/interaction would effect the sound a bit.
Anyhow, after the tuning, the sound became quite different, unfortunately for the worse rather than better. The notes especially in the upper bass clef around E-B became rather metallic, twangy (apoogize for my very scientific technical term \:\) ) and unpleasant. Granted I am just a beginner with still very poor control over my left hand, I still feel that something isn't quite right after tuning in comparison to prior. My hearing may not be the best after years of abusing my ears with scuba diving \:\( but I think something is not quite right.
It is now a week after the tuning and my impression has not changed. The piano is not out of tune, at least as far as I could tell.
I am going to call the piano guy again but basically do I just need retuning, voicing ?
May be I should not be taking lessons with my piano teacher on his grandpiano which sounds a lot nicer \:\( Unfortunately, I don't even think that a Petrof V would fit in my smallish apartment living room without significant rearrangement, possibly knocking down a wall or two (it might happen in my long term plan \:\) if I don't get a house).

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#89024 - 07/31/06 12:57 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10371
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
This is the second recent case of a piano changing character after tuning.

See Piano Deterioration

Did the tuner DO anything beyond a basic tuning? Did he do anything to the hammers? Indeed you may need a little voicing.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#89025 - 07/31/06 01:10 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Those strings are very sensitive to not being exactly in tune (assuming they're bichords).

Call the tuner back, and show him or her what you hear. It's hard to tell from your description what it might be.

Was it very far off pitch before it was tuned? Did he have to make two passes?

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
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#89026 - 07/31/06 01:32 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
The tuner did not do anything to the hammer and it was just a basic tuning. The guy was at my place for a little over an hour. Before tuning, there was a key or two in the problematic area that I think was a bit off. However, after tuning, I thought everything was ok, pitch wise (as far as I could tell, my pitch is not exactly perfect either). I just thought the character of the sound was different from what I heard earlier. The guy did make a couple of passes but I think mainly in the treble area, from what I recalled. I wonder if I might be a bit hypochondriac about my new piano! First the humidity and now this \:\)
Pianodad, I did see that thread earlier. That's why I just sat tight and waited awhile to see if my ears will get used to the new sound and see if it might improve a bit after a few days. Unfortunately that did not happen \:\(
The other thing I noticed, sometimes the hammer do not all line up at resting position. However, usually after playing for a little bit, the hammers would all line up again but the next day, before playing, a few hammers in the bass clef would be out of line again!

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#89027 - 07/31/06 12:19 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
there are different styles and preferences of tuning. it sounds to me like this particular tuner likes a wide stretch in the temperament and this creates more excitement and brightness.

you can either call that tuner back, tell him you don't like the sound of the tuning he did, and ask him if he would re-tune it with a narrower, more mellow style of stretch. or you can find a different tuner who has tastes more like your own.

different tuning styles do create very different characters in pianos! and every tech has their own style, based on what sounds good to them.

also, if your piano's hammer shanks really are twisting back and forth as you describe, you may have a serious humidity problem and/or regulation problem, and that can certainly account for the twanginess, either from the hammers not properly mating to the strings, or from the unisons detuning.

what kind of climate control do you have in the room?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#89028 - 07/31/06 12:22 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
I have had that very experience. But one of two things happens.. eithe rthe piano mellows back out on its own or your ear adjusts to the difference.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#89029 - 07/31/06 12:46 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
Um.... How does scuba diving abuse your ears? Have you had repeated eardrum ruptures? I've been a diver for a few years now, and haven't had any problems with my ears, either with blockages, reverse blockages, or ruptures. I know this is a little off-topic, but I'm curious.

As for your piano, trust your ears. Call your tuner back and have him take a look at it.
_________________________
Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#89030 - 07/31/06 04:15 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bellspiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Boston, MA
Years ago, I did a first tuning for a customer on her new piano. She called back to say that the deep, rich tone they had chosen in the showroom was gone. She was desolate. I went back and, through experiment, we found that what that customer liked was slightly-out-of-tune unisons, which she perceived as a singing tone. So I retuned the unisons on that basis.

This story may not pertain to the present question, of course.
_________________________
Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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#89031 - 07/31/06 04:16 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
You took out the "vibrato", Dorrie! :-)

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
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#89032 - 07/31/06 07:03 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
Thanks for all the comment. I talked to the piano store that sent out the tuner. They will send someone out to check it out.

Pique, I have a damppchaser/humidistat installed inside the piano and finally got a portable dehumidifier a few days ago. My indoor humidiy is currently around 60% although the dehumidifier is struggling to get the humidity much lower than that as it it the monsoon season here and humidity can be very high.


Frank_W, actually I don't know if scuba diving really did damage to my hearing or not. I never ruptured my ear drum but I had pretty bad deviated septum and chronic sinusitis forever. When I dive, I frequently get reverse block on the way up but usually not on the way down. After a few days of diving, it is also not uncommon to get a little ear infection \:\(

Unfortunately my ears are still not getting use to the new sound! In fact, right now I prefer the sound when the practice pedel is used. Not because it is quieter but it is softer and not so aggressive.

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#89033 - 07/31/06 08:24 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
cmk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Singapore
bkkmd
You need to "seal" the room. Close the windows/doors, so that the dehumidifier can do its work. When you play, you can switch it off for a while so that the noise doesn't distract.
_________________________
Sauter 130 Competence with burl inlay (S/N: 112 291)

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#89034 - 07/31/06 09:38 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
cmk, yes, all the windows,doors are closed. The unit is rated for 1200 sq ft which is plenty for the living room/kitchen. It has a 2.5 gallons reservoir which get filled up in less than 24H. I now have it hooked up to a hose to my bathroom so the unit does not shut off when the reservoir is filled.So far, the lowest humidity in the room without A/C ever was 56% but tends to stay more around 60%.If I am home and the A/C is on, it will drop a bit more but so far never below 50%.

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#89035 - 07/31/06 10:19 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
cmk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Singapore
bkkmd
Try to get it to around 60-70% as this is more comfortable, both for yourself and the piano. I presume this reading is from inside the piano?
_________________________
Sauter 130 Competence with burl inlay (S/N: 112 291)

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#89036 - 07/31/06 10:35 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
cmk, the reading inside the piano varies from 60-65% depending on where I put the probe (lower closer to the heating bar and higher closer to the lid on top of the piano cabinet). The reading I mentioned in the post above is from a hygrometer on top of the piano. I only have the dehumidifier for 3 days. I figure once the humidity in the room is stable, the humidity inside the piano should be ok.

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#89037 - 07/31/06 10:45 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
60 percent is really about as high as it should be allowed to go. can you run your a/c at a minimal level while you are away during the day? 50 percent would be a lot better.

since you live in such a humid climate, try aiming for 50 to 55 percent (in europe it would be 45 to 50 percent), and then try to keep it there. the dehumidifier shouldn't be taking so long to get the humidity down. can you try using it only in the piano room and skip the kitchen?

bring the tuner back only after you have your humidity and temperature stabilized.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


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#89038 - 07/31/06 11:47 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
Pique, I will try to see if I can get the humidity down even more but I don't want the humidity to be too low to be uncomfortable either. The piano is in the living room and there is no door between the kitchen/dining area. However the whole area is probably around 700-800 sq ft so the dehumidifier should be powerful enough. I just had to move it a bit further from the piano so I can run a hose to the bathroom.
I am not sure if I like the idea of leaving the AC on all the time even at relatively higher temp. I suppose I will feel differently if I have a concert grand in my apartment \:\) However, this is the experimental phase so that in the future if I ever get something really nice, I'll know how to do things properly \:\)
Over here, everybody I talked to at most will only install DC/humidistat, have AC on only when they are around and don't seem to worry about it otherwise and these includes people who have Steinway or other nice and shiny big grand pianos \:\(

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#89039 - 08/01/06 10:23 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Brick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 373
IMO, while there are several possibilities going on here, based on experience I find only a few to be in the 'likely' category.

1. When a piano is receiving it's first free store tuning, most of the time that tuning is quite drastic, because new pianos go so badly out of tune. It is usually more of a pitch raise than a fine tuning. The owner has really only heard the piano previously in a relatively bad state of tuning, even though he may not have realized it. The piano not only goes from chorusey unisons to clean unwavering unisons, but the gross increase in pitch creates an overall tonal change because the downbearing is finally optimized with the piano finally at proper pitch.

Many people simply find this new piano tone strange, because it's new. This is a very common scenario I encounter.

2. Pianos that need a gross pitch change (most new pianos) really require a couple tunings to get a fine tuning. Dealers don't like to pay for this. Someone who works 1 hour has not performed a couple tunings. When they need a couple tunings but don't get it, one of a few things can happen. A) The tuner pulls it up to pitch but it starts to fall flat a bit immediately. Since most pianos were unevenly low in pitch to begin with, the fall will also be uneven. You are left with a piano that is closer to being at standard pitch then when you started, but is still pretty out of tune, and may sound weird. B) A somewhat better tuner will attempt to 'overpull' the tuning sharp in anticipation of how much he thinks the pitch is going to fall. However this is a tricky skill and some are better at it than others, so you can still end up with a weird sounding tuning if the overpull anticipated is not a very good guess. C) You get a really good tuner who is very good at estimating 'overpull' and in fact the pitch raise sounds reasonably close to a fine tuning. Though many new pianos are so grossly and unevenly out of pitch, no tuner can get a great tuning in just a single tuning.

3. There are a lot of bad tuners and beginning tuners out there. Their unhoned skills may leave a piano sounding odd. Among these would be tuners who use tuning machines but have no ear skills of their own. (Good ear tuners use machines too, but those without ear tuning skills sometimes do strange things relying solely on machines.)

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#89040 - 08/01/06 10:31 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by bkkmd:
Frank_W, actually I don't know if scuba diving really did damage to my hearing or not. I never ruptured my ear drum but I had pretty bad deviated septum and chronic sinusitis forever. When I dive, I frequently get reverse block on the way up but usually not on the way down. After a few days of diving, it is also not uncommon to get a little ear infection \:\( [/b]
Aw.. Man, that sounds like a real bummer. \:\(

I hope you get your piano problem sorted out, soon. Good luck!
_________________________
Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#89041 - 08/01/06 09:32 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
Thanks for all the input. Brick, your point is very well taken but then it raises a lot of questions. When I go out looking for piano, the first thing I look for is the tone of the piano. One would assume that the store would take a relatively good care of the piano and prep all the piano in their showrooms. Granted a lot of people have mentioned hearing horriblly preped pianos regularly, etc etc in showrooms, I suppose if you go to a good piano showroom, this should not be a problem. In Bangkok, I would consider this piano showroom to be one of the top 2-3 dealers in the country, considering the pianos that they carry such as Sauter, Bechstein, Schimmel etc. So I assume that they do know what they are doing (may be this is where I am wrong \:\( ). At least I did not think that the piano was badly out of tune at the store and when it arrived at my place. While I am not really a musician, I listen and attend classical music concert, operas etc on a regular basis and listen to classical music pretty much on daily basis so hopefully I would notice anything grossly out of tune. The tuner that came over has been a tuner for 8 years. Interestingly, he can't read music but taught himself to play piano by ears and plays quite well (in my opinon and my annoyance). Anyhow, I am going scuba diving in Bali for a week next week so I think I might let things settle in, get the humidity stabilized and have the tuner comes back after I return from my divetrip (hopefully with my hearing intact \:\) ) and hope that everything will be sorted out!

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#89042 - 08/02/06 11:04 AM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Brick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 373
bkkmd,

My experience is of course in the U.S., not Thailand, so I can only comment about my own experience here. No matter how big the dealer is, the last thing I would assume is that all the pianos in the store are prepped to perfection. Even if they set out with that goal in mind, many new pianos go out of tune so quickly and drastically that it's very difficult for a dealer to keep up. For most low and medium priced pianos (and some of the highly priced ones) they'd be tuning pianos 3 times the first week on the sales floor to keep them in a finely tuned state.

Some places hardly tune at all in the store, because so many customers can't tell the difference anyway. The majority make some kind of effort, but it's rarely geared toward truly perfecting each piano. It's usually geared more toward making them acceptable enough for the average Joe.

I've seen new pianos come in anywhere from 60 cents flat to 60 cents sharp, yet if the unisons are not too jangly, the dealer will often neglect to tune it, on the basis that it 'sounds OK to him'. (Anything more than 8-10 cents out could be called 'very out of tune.)

Of course, there is always the odd store that may be more diligent about it.

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#89043 - 08/02/06 12:33 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
Have fun on your dive trip and be safe!! \:\) Say hi to my little buddies with the scales and fins, while you're down there! ;\)

See ya' under,
-Frank
_________________________
Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#89044 - 08/02/06 04:03 PM Re: Piano sounded strange after tuning?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqu麊

also, if your piano's hammer shanks really are twisting back and forth as you describe, you may have a serious humidity problem and/or regulation problem, and that can certainly account for the twanginess, either from the hammers not properly mating to the strings, or from the unisons detuning.

what kind of climate control do you have in the room? [/b]
humidity has a lot to do with it.. I had had my piano tuned on a day in which the room humidity was over 50%.. it sounded awful..

now that it is lower it sounds 500 % better, I'm happy to report.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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