I believe the reality is that different pianos require different techniques. On some pianos the "slow pull" is more effective and on others the jerk method is better. Some pianos I tune at 1 'O clock, and others at 3.
What helps is to have an arsenal of techniques that will help you deal with the eccentricities of the piano at hand.
Clearly, I agree with this. I could see that one of the people I had helped, struggling for over an hour just to set a temperament and failing badly, did not know how to manage a new piano with squeaky, tight and jumpy pins as I saw him attempt the slow pull method and heard the tuning pin lurch back and forth numerous times.
He told me that he had never tuned new pianos, only old ones that were usually not in very good condition. He came to the convention to learn and to take the tuning exam because he believes that becoming an RPT is the best thing he could do for himself. He already went to the school, has the certificate, learned the slow pull method on the old pianos at the school and also learned to tune a temperament sequence using 4ths & 5ths.
Six years ago, he had come to me to ask my advice. He demonstrated what he could do. Although he could tune excellent unisons, his temperament was, yes, sorry to say but in fact, true, reverse well and would not have passed the exam. He also had a rather poor concept of octaves.
From what I saw at the time, an attempt to pass the tuning exam would have been what is often seen with first time attempts, some good scores but others falling far short of passing. He also went to a local dealer who is an RPT and was told fairly bluntly that he would have to learn everything all over.
Naturally, he found both of our comments to be discouraging. He had the diploma! He trusted in what he had been taught. For the next few years, each time he asked me to listen to his temperament, it was always reverse well. As many have said, he had never heard of that, so he didn't know what I was talking about. I said that he would have to know what well temperament sounds like to understand. "We were not taught well temperament", he replied "Only equal temperament." "But your temperament is not equal", I countered. "The way I did it is the only way I know how. What am I doing wrong?", he asked.
It was not that he didn't know some checks, he did but his perception of them had not developed sufficiently enough to discern the errors he accepted as correct. "You have to try a different strategy", I said. "Like what?", he asked. "The contiguous thirds", I replied.
"Oh yeah, we learned something about those but I can't get them. I can't just pull beats out of thin air. I am better at 4ths and 5ths", he claimed. "Well, you are clearly not better at 4ths & 5ths since the result of tuning them is an unequal, not equal temperament", I said. "You must learn to do both", I insisted. "I can teach you what to do but you must be willing to learn something new or you will never progress beyond the point where you are now. It is not that what you were taught was wrong, you just have an incomplete understanding of it. In order for you to improve, you have to learn some new techniques", I told him.
It took a long time but slowly, he did improve. Still, while at the convention and wanting to practice, he could only find brand new squeaky tight-pinned Asian pianos to practice on. He had reverted to his slow pull method and that was what was causing him problems. He had always had a habit of blaming the piano for his inability to tune it. I told him that he had come to the end of the line for that.
"You must be able to adapt your technique to whatever resistance the piano has to offer. Any piano used for a tuning exam at the convention will likely be a new one with very tight tuning pins. That is not going to change. You have to change or you will fail but watch all the others who passed get their reward for it. They can do it, the examiners who did the master tuning had no problem with it, so either you find a way to do it that works or you never will.", I told him calmly but firmly.
He did have some impact skills within his range of technique and instantly found upon trying them that they indeed worked. He went on to take and pass the tuning exam the next day with some very impressive scores, three of them 100's in fact, one 88 which is still quite good but all the rest mid to high 90's. Not bad at all, above average and certainly above average for a first attempt.
Learning skills other than those which were traditionally taught was what it took for him to succeed. It is not about "my way" being the only way. I learned "my way" from other technicians in PTG. It is their way too. To suggest that I should not have shown that man what to do that would probably work for him because it "offends" some people in this forum is absurd.
I should not actually write the details and specifics of what to do that may work for some people when other methods have not because that is not "technical information", it is boasting and bragging. It is putting other people down so as to make myself look better. If that is what you, as an individual believe, you are entitled to your opinion. You have the right to express it and you also have the right to describe in your own words which techniques work the best for you, just as I do.
Some 30 years ago, I noticed that for every strongly held opinion or belief, there would eventually arise an opinion or belief contrary to it. I soon realized that this did not mean that one person was right and the other wrong. They were both right depending on certain factors, conditions and circumstances. It would be far more useful to try to understand where each is coming from than to take a polarized position.