Online piano tuning courses for self

Posted by: Brooke2949

Online piano tuning courses for self - 02/28/13 04:08 PM

What do you think of online piano tuning courses just so I can tweak my piano between tunings? I live in a remote area and it is not easy to get a tuner to come over. I have a 2012 Kawai. I guess I should practice the tuning on an old piano first of course.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 02/28/13 07:12 PM

Why not just buy a book on tuning? For what you want to do, you wouldn't really neesd to invest in a whole online course.

The Arthur Reblitz book is excellent, and another good option is the Haynes Piano Manual. You can see descriptions and review of them on my website.

Best regards,

David.
http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/piano-books.php
http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/haynes-piano-manual.php
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 02/28/13 07:16 PM

I have a few customers I have coached over the years to keep unisons touched up and such...maybe your tuner will oblige if you ask nicely.
Posted by: Brooke2949

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 02/28/13 08:38 PM

Thanks for your input, I'll look into both options. This is a great forum to get information from professionals.

Brooke
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 02/28/13 11:15 PM

No. Just... no. If anything, follow Emmery's advice. And/or, get Verituner and some quality piano tuning tools, and some books, and have at it.
Posted by: Mario Bruneau

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/01/13 10:27 AM

You can also start by viewing YouTube videos.

But the problem with that is that some are not doing a good job and some piano tuning videos on YouTube are plain misleading.

You can try on my site, I have put some YouTube videos but I have commented on them so to guide you.

My Video Tutorial is soon to be released in English so you might check it out too.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/01/13 05:57 PM

You can download for free a trial version of Tunelab.
Posted by: AndyJ

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/01/13 06:05 PM

Originally Posted By: David Boyce
You can download for free a trial version of Tunelab.

And you can do a complete tuning with the trial version, too. Just avoid changing notes (it stops for two minutes after every 14th note) and, if you're using the Android version, don't touch the phone during the delays.

But that's overkill if you just want to adjust the occasional octave or unison.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/01/13 10:25 PM

Greetings,
It isn't rocket science. Unisons are a simple, difficult, chore. Tuning them also tunes who ever is doing the tuning, in that it activates brain circuitry directly controlling our hearing. This is valuable for any musician. The home tuner can worry about stability later, if the pin has to be adjusted daily, it costs nothing. I say, go for it, but odds are, you are going to break a string. Either by turning the wrong pin or turning the right pin but listening to the wrong note, or B!ang! doesn't matter. If you are not mindful about where you put the hammer, you will break a string.
I think any reasonably sensitive person can equate pin movement with pitch after enough trial and error. If the basic understanding of the friction/tension/pin is there, experience will quickly teach the diligent the rewards of finesse.
Regards,
Posted by: Brooke2949

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/04/13 11:31 AM

You are all so knowledgeable and I'll bet this all comes easy to you. However, I am a newbie...I was thinking about the first two options offered. While a book can be helpful there is nothing like seeing and hearing the instruction. Better still someone who knows what to do teaching those little things that sometimes make all the difference with getting it right or frustration and failure.

Since I know so little about this it might be useful to read then "see" and hear through the video. I appreciate all the suggestions, will look at them all. I will let you know how it worked out. This might take some time. I was thinking of getting an old piano on the cheep so as not to mess mine up, I want to play mine for lessons and that might be difficult if I mess things up while learning how to tune.

Thanks ,
Brooke
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/04/13 11:44 AM

The idea of a "learning" piano is a very good idea.
Posted by: Brooke2949

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/05/13 01:31 AM

Yes, a "learning" piano, especially if I mess up!

Thanks for the help. You guys are awesome!

Brooke
Posted by: Aussie tuner

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/05/13 04:06 AM

Can I highly recommend you buying a quality tuning lever if this what you want to do rather than a cheap learner one. Over my 54 years of tuning I have used all sorts of tuning levers and recently purchased a Fugan lever and I am amazed how nice it is to use. It has a carbon fibre shaft and is very light and strong. A 2012 Kawai could have extremely tight pins which you wont be prepared for, so get a long shaft model.
http://www.fujanproducts.com/ . Tuning and setting the pin takes a lot of practice so using a quality lever will give you a head start.
Robin
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/05/13 05:08 AM

On your own piano you are prone to obtain a tired pin after some training, the pianos used for learning tuning have the pins and strings changed until it is not possible anymore (unless the pins are so large that tuning is almost impossible with some precision)

Reblitz say no much about tuning and all that partial match control theory is real but can be misleading.

Mario Bruneau made a huge job on videos and animation, but shows only his own method, where the pin find its natural place because it is made free by impacts.

slow tuning is not as hard on the block, but concert tuners have no enough time to do it, often so many are using that nudge and impact method. Concert pianos are repaired more often, due to their value, the cost of repair is not considered important. (they are changed for more recent ones after some time anyway)

On older pianos, or if one need to learn on one piano only, slow method with high control is absolutely harmless to the block and the pins.

In the end that is the pin that say to the tuner that the note is tuned, so felling all its motion from the start of the move to the end is really providing some control on the process.






Posted by: Brooke2949

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/06/13 11:08 PM

Thank you both for the info and insight. Having someone with expert experience is sooo helpful. Good tools are very important to do a good job with little or no frustration or even just to be able to do the job at all! In this case I want to do it right.

I was thinking of putting an ad in the local paper about purchasing an inexpensive piano or I guess I could ask some music teachers. I'm not sure on how to go about it.

Thanks,

Brooke
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/09/13 11:35 AM

Hi,
What online course are you thinking of? I am doing this with a student in Australia next month.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/09/13 01:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek
Reblitz say no much about tuning and all that partial match control theory is real but can be misleading.


Isaac can you please explain why the partial match theory is misleading and what tuning method you propose is better than that?

Thank you
Posted by: Brooke2949

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/10/13 01:42 AM

I don't know which course, I haven't gotten that far yet. I thought I would start by reading first. Any suggestions for an online course?

Brooke
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 03/13/13 03:04 PM

Good tuning technique can produce great results and takes much education, time and practice to develop. Improper tuning technique can break strings and damage the instrument in more ways than one might think. Read everything that you can. The PTG website also offers good study resources. Visit with the piano tech schools. Ask lots of questions. Make an informed choice. Best wishes smile
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Brooke2949
I don't know which course, I haven't gotten that far yet. I thought I would start by reading first. Any suggestions for an online course?

Brooke


As far as I know, I am the only person offering this at this time. Email mark@mrtuner.com and I will put you on my mailing list.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 03:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
Originally Posted By: Olek
Reblitz say no much about tuning and all that partial match control theory is real but can be misleading.


Isaac can you please explain why the partial match theory is misleading and what tuning method you propose is better than that?

Thank you


Sorry I missed your post Mark. I just say it makes you listen to the most prominent beat but also to filter too much.

Also you listen with partial match on one string generally, listening partial match with the final unison is really tiring.

I have heard tuning s where the partial match was emphasized, as 12 th in the soprano, and that seem to go against homogeneity of the tuning generally speaking.

In fact for years I thought it was an absolute necessity to compare M3 and 10Ths or 10ths and 17ths, to know how is the octave and I was surprised that it is not at all necessary, nor for 5ths. You can train to listen directly to the whole activity and it is way quieter.

I guess that this was due to the learning of the stacked M3ds that put the accent on FBI from the start.
I could not imagine that you can get stacked M3 while tuning with 4ths and 5ths.

In the end it is possible. May be it is more easy for me because I learned first without those octave size theory, I dont know.

My first tuning master, simply told me when the octave was nice. it was then "consonant" something simple.

But to listen to that one may possibly get used to hear very slow beats in the octave, as the consonance is when they have lowered enough.
Using just one partial mat(ch possibly can make octave mismatches, I thought that the iH was more smooth and even than it is ,k may be the reason why a serial of octaves using partial match can sound somewhat unreal at some point.

That's just me, possibly, but I am happy to be back at something more directly related to the music.

In the end I feel no desire to test the size of octave I use, I know sometime I make them more open and sometime less.


Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 03:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
[quote=Brooke2949]
As far as I know, I am the only person offering this at this time. Email mark@mrtuner.com and I will put you on my mailing list.


Very surprised that you are not aware that Bill Bremmer teaches via SKYPE, besides all the free articles and videos on his wonderful web site.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 04:03 PM

We never are THE ONLY ONES (there are always people more silly than us wink
Posted by: Herr Weiss

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 04:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek
We never are THE ONLY ONES (there are always people more silly than us wink


And smarter.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 07:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Herr Weiss
Originally Posted By: Olek
We never are THE ONLY ONES (there are always people more silly than us wink


And smarter.


Impossible !
Posted by: Gary Fowler

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 08:12 PM

Some of my best, most loyal customers, are those who once tried to tune their own pianos. I always encourage customers to "go for it". I will even order the tools(hammer, mutes, etc) they will need.
Posted by: Jbyron

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/23/13 10:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Some of my best, most loyal customers, are those who once tried to tune their own pianos. I always encourage customers to "go for it". I will even order the tools(hammer, mutes, etc) they will need.


I tuned for a really excellent pianist a while back, she had a Yamaha C7 and played regularly on cruise ships. There were three different tuning hammers laying around the room and the piano sounded absolutely dreadful, I mean utterly horrendous when I arrived. There was some kind of make-shift cotton mute laying on the plate. I spent a couple of hours tuning the piano and getting it back into shape. When I was finished, all she did was sat at the piano and started banging on one bass note over and over with a disappointed look on her face claiming she needed to tune the piano herself again, as it was not 'right'.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/24/13 04:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Some of my best, most loyal customers, are those who once tried to tune their own pianos. I always encourage customers to "go for it". I will even order the tools(hammer, mutes, etc) they will need.


If you do show them how to bring an unison back, why not, but even the ones that are gifted cannot really do it, and once the unison you leave are stable enough, there is no point to retune them (they do not sound horrible even when the piano is out of tune) . When an unison move , first zingles appears on the notes with less good hammer mating, then some sort of slow roll appears, which is typically one of the most difficult thing in tuning (correct just minor things on unison)

So in the end no much is left to the customer he could do himself.

I do not push them but if they ask I do not discourage them too much.
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/24/13 03:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Herr Weiss
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
[quote=Brooke2949]
As far as I know, I am the only person offering this at this time. Email mark@mrtuner.com and I will put you on my mailing list.


Very surprised that you are not aware that Bill Bremmer teaches via SKYPE, besides all the free articles and videos on his wonderful web site.


I am too! I was not aware. Bill is an acquaintance of mine; he was my examiner when I took the CTE exam.

Brooke, if I were you, when you're ready, contact Bill and me, and anyone else you can find who offers this service, and interview us over Skype and find someone who best suits your learning style.
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/24/13 03:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Some of my best, most loyal customers, are those who once tried to tune their own pianos. I always encourage customers to "go for it". I will even order the tools(hammer, mutes, etc) they will need.


I tuned for a really excellent pianist a while back, she had a Yamaha C7 and played regularly on cruise ships. There were three different tuning hammers laying around the room and the piano sounded absolutely dreadful, I mean utterly horrendous when I arrived. There was some kind of make-shift cotton mute laying on the plate. I spent a couple of hours tuning the piano and getting it back into shape. When I was finished, all she did was sat at the piano and started banging on one bass note over and over with a disappointed look on her face claiming she needed to tune the piano herself again, as it was not 'right'.


I've got a few of those stories too. I just quietly walk out and make a mental note never to call or tune for that person again. Check out Michael Port's "Book Yourself Solid". He mentions the "Velvet Rope"; a concept where you tailor your business to serve the customers you love to work for, and they love you. They get to pass the Velvet Rope.

I still wonder though if that person had some good direction, if she wouldn't have more respect for tuners. I would say the most important thing that my students learn from my course, is that.
Posted by: Jbyron

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/24/13 05:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Some of my best, most loyal customers, are those who once tried to tune their own pianos. I always encourage customers to "go for it". I will even order the tools(hammer, mutes, etc) they will need.


I tuned for a really excellent pianist a while back, she had a Yamaha C7 and played regularly on cruise ships. There were three different tuning hammers laying around the room and the piano sounded absolutely dreadful, I mean utterly horrendous when I arrived. There was some kind of make-shift cotton mute laying on the plate. I spent a couple of hours tuning the piano and getting it back into shape. When I was finished, all she did was sat at the piano and started banging on one bass note over and over with a disappointed look on her face claiming she needed to tune the piano herself again, as it was not 'right'.


I've got a few of those stories too. I just quietly walk out and make a mental note never to call or tune for that person again. Check out Michael Port's "Book Yourself Solid". He mentions the "Velvet Rope"; a concept where you tailor your business to serve the customers you love to work for, and they love you. They get to pass the Velvet Rope.

I still wonder though if that person had some good direction, if she wouldn't have more respect for tuners. I would say the most important thing that my students learn from my course, is that.


Thanks for the book lead, I'll check it out. thumb
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 01:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Herr Weiss
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
[quote=Brooke2949]
As far as I know, I am the only person offering this at this time. Email mark@mrtuner.com and I will put you on my mailing list.


Very surprised that you are not aware that Bill Bremmer teaches via SKYPE, besides all the free articles and videos on his wonderful web site.


I only offer to coach PTG Associate Members who are preparing for the Tuning Exam. It is part of the process that PTG calls "Exam Prescreening". As many people here know, I believe in the value of PTG membership and particularly in the value of the RPT credential.

I have long been aware of the number of people who initially learned to tune pianos with an ETD but since tuning the two central octaves from C3-C5 aurally is a requirement of the Tuning Exam, I decided 10 years ago to try to help such people gain the aural tuning skills that are required.

To be sure, many people have benefited from my efforts. I have seen that people who learned first to use an ETD found it nearly impossible to subsequently gain the necessary aural tuning skills. I wanted to find a way around that for them. I came up with several ideas that have turned out to be useful.

I am far too busy with my business to simply offer a free piano tuning school on Skype! But I will help any PTG Associate who wishes to pass the Tuning Exam as time for me permits. Any PTG RPT should do the same.

Therefore, I would recommend Mark C's course because that is part of his total business. I would also recommend the Randy Potter course. Any piano tuning course that teaches temperament tuning by using the truncated 4ths & 5ths temperament sequence from William Braide White's century old book, I would not recommend. It will inevitably lead to tuning a Reverse Well temperament instead of Equal Temperament (ET).

The original poster said she had trouble getting the temperament right. If the temperament produced from following the instructions given does not work, then what exactly are the results? I would bet 10 tuning fees that I know exactly what it is!

Put a recording on here of a progression of Major thirds from F3-A3 to D#4-F4 of any temperament results from using that kind of sequence and 99 times out of 100, it will be nothing but Reverse Well!

If the original poster believes (as most people do) that Equal Temperament and Well Tempered Tuning (Well Temperament) are synonymous, then some re-education is in order. If the original poster believes that any results from tuning a temperament are ET, no matter how poorly those results turn out to be, then a whole lot of re-education is in order!

Equal temperament and proper subsequent octave tuning can only be correct within extremely narrow parameters! Otherwise, the results are something else and that something else is not likely to make for good music from the piano. It is not child's play. It is not generally for casual hobbyists or for Do-it-Yourselfers!

Piano tuning is a very refined art and science. No piano technician, even of the highest caliber will ever claim absolute perfection of any particular tuning. If they do, it is a false proclamation. There are far too many variables for any piano tuning to be called "perfect". In the end, it is an impossible task. One can only do one's best in any instance. A piano technician can only hope that with every tuning accomplished that the results will be pleasing.

People in this forum constantly discuss a better way and refinements that are possible. That is all well and good but the end result of absolute perfection remains an impossible task.

To the original poster: There is nothing at all wrong with deciding to learn to tune the piano yourself. However, if the reason you want to do that is that you don't want to pay for piano tunings by a professional technician, then your reason for wanting to learn to tune the piano yourself is the wrong reason!

There is no reason why a piano teacher cannot also be a piano technician. There are many people who do exactly that. They teach piano, play the piano well and also tune the pianos of their students and also perhaps of other clients. That being said, Piano Technology is a profession in itself. If you decide to be a piano technician, then you will be dividing your time between teaching music and tuning pianos. Time, of course, has its limits.

There is also much more than tuning involved in maintaining a piano. There is NO place in this world for people who only know how to tune a piano (especially only those who depend upon an ETD to do it) but know nothing else about piano maintenance. Surely, there are piano tuning specialists (as I am) who mostly engage in tuning but you would be doing a disservice to yourself and your clients if tuning (on whatever level of expertise there may be) is all that you could offer.

If you limit yourself only to tuning, both you and your clients will develop a false sense that the piano has been well maintained. You would only be a hobbyist and you would be taking away the legitimate business from people who earn their living by tuning and maintaining pianos.

That being said, it is all well and good that you have explored what it takes to tune a piano. If you find that what it takes to do so is beyond your grasp, then you will know and understand why piano technicians exist. Tuning is only part of what you need to know. Surely, it is the principle and most important part of piano service but complete ignorance of all other aspects does not contribute to the business of piano maintenance. It only weakens it.

You can specialize in tuning and refer repairs, regulation and voicing to other technicians, yes, but You may well find that no true piano technician would only be interested in resolving the problems that you cannot resolve yourself. If you tuned a piano, for example and found that it had "bobbling hammers", no piano technician that I ever knew or heard of would accept the job of simply correcting the problem you identify. Your piano tuning would also most likely be deemed unsatisfactory!

Therefore, I agree with others who have said that you must either make a full and true commitment to piano technology or leave it alone entirely, having learned that there is much more to it than you ever thought about.

If the latter turns out to be the case, you just have to figure in the costs of maintaining your piano to your liking and find a full service piano technician who will do that for you. The arrangement can be mutually beneficial. Your piano technician may want to work with you in terms of costs if you also refer your students to that piano technician.

Piano technicians need daily business all year long to make a living. So do piano teachers. We can't all only tune the pianos each year in the Fall after the heat goes on, after all. We need full employment all year long, especially in Summer!

Summer is the time when longer term projects such as interior cleaning, regulation and voicing are welcome opportunities for piano technicians. I am sure that many of your student's pianos as well as your own could use that kind of maintenance.

I always find enough of that kind of work to do all year long because I have been in the business for 44 years and I am now a 30 year RPT. I depend upon people who have the discretionary income to be able to afford piano maintenance.

There are enough people for whom the piano is important enough in their lives that they will pay for piano tuning in the dog days of Summer or to have other maintenance done when I actually have time to do it when the demand for tunings is not so overwhelming as it can be during the September-May months.

You have a decision to make! Do you want to be a piano technician as well as be a piano teacher? If not, you can and should develop a relationship with a good piano technician and make that relationship be good for you both.

Keep your own piano well maintained at all times. If your students comment that your piano seems so much better than theirs at home in terms of response to touch and clarity of tuning, then encourage your students to hire your favorite piano technician to service their piano as well. Emphasize that the costs are worth the benefits.

Nobody needs a good piano to eat, be clothed or sheltered. As piano technicians, we serve the people who have decided to spend the money they have on what is precious to them in their lives outside of work or school. We can't make a living tuning and otherwise servicing pianos for people who have no money to spend for it.

The task at hand is to find a way to make your business as a piano teacher seem important enough in people's lives that they are willing to spend the money that it takes to provide that precious part of life for them. Piano technicians are used to serving people with very ordinary instruments but which can still provide just as much enjoyment and enrichment in their lives as very expensive pianos can for the people who can afford them. Any piano can be made to perform at its best! That is our business!

You must decide for yourself which business you want to be in or if you want to be in a multi-faceted business. There is no wrong or right decision to make, only a decision that you think you can personally handle.
Posted by: Jbyron

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 10:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Herr Weiss
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
[quote=Brooke2949]
As far as I know, I am the only person offering this at this time. Email mark@mrtuner.com and I will put you on my mailing list.


Very surprised that you are not aware that Bill Bremmer teaches via SKYPE, besides all the free articles and videos on his wonderful web site.


I only offer to coach PTG Associate Members who are preparing for the Tuning Exam. It is part of the process that PTG calls "Exam Prescreening". As many people here know, I believe in the value of PTG membership and particularly in the value of the RPT credential.

I have long been aware of the number of people who initially learned to tune pianos with an ETD but since tuning the two central octaves from C3-C5 aurally is a requirement of the Tuning Exam, I decided 10 years ago to try to help such people gain the aural tuning skills that are required.

To be sure, many people have benefited from my efforts. I have seen that people who learned first to use an ETD found it nearly impossible to subsequently gain the necessary aural tuning skills. I wanted to find a way around that for them. I came up with several ideas that have turned out to be useful.

I am far too busy with my business to simply offer a free piano tuning school on Skype! But I will help any PTG Associate who wishes to pass the Tuning Exam as time for me permits. Any PTG RPT should do the same.

Therefore, I would recommend Mark C's course because that is part of his total business. I would also recommend the Randy Potter course. Any piano tuning course that teaches temperament tuning by using the truncated 4ths & 5ths temperament sequence from William Braide White's century old book, I would not recommend. It will inevitably lead to tuning a Reverse Well temperament instead of Equal Temperament (ET).

The original poster said she had trouble getting the temperament right. If the temperament produced from following the instructions given does not work, then what exactly are the results? I would bet 10 tuning fees that I know exactly what it is!

Put a recording on here of a progression of Major thirds from F3-A3 to D#4-F4 of any temperament results from using that kind of sequence and 99 times out of 100, it will be nothing but Reverse Well!

If the original poster believes (as most people do) that Equal Temperament and Well Tempered Tuning (Well Temperament) are synonymous, then some re-education is in order. If the original poster believes that any results from tuning a temperament are ET, no matter how poorly those results turn out to be, then a whole lot of re-education is in order!

Equal temperament and proper subsequent octave tuning can only be correct within extremely narrow parameters! Otherwise, the results are something else and that something else is not likely to make for good music from the piano. It is not child's play. It is not generally for casual hobbyists or for Do-it-Yourselfers!

Piano tuning is a very refined art and science. No piano technician, even of the highest caliber will ever claim absolute perfection of any particular tuning. If they do, it is a false proclamation. There are far too many variables for any piano tuning to be called "perfect". In the end, it is an impossible task. One can only do one's best in any instance. A piano technician can only hope that with every tuning accomplished that the results will be pleasing.

People in this forum constantly discuss a better way and refinements that are possible. That is all well and good but the end result of absolute perfection remains an impossible task.

To the original poster: There is nothing at all wrong with deciding to learn to tune the piano yourself. However, if the reason you want to do that is that you don't want to pay for piano tunings by a professional technician, then your reason for wanting to learn to tune the piano yourself is the wrong reason!

There is no reason why a piano teacher cannot also be a piano technician. There are many people who do exactly that. They teach piano, play the piano well and also tune the pianos of their students and also perhaps of other clients. That being said, Piano Technology is a profession in itself. If you decide to be a piano technician, then you will be dividing your time between teaching music and tuning pianos. Time, of course, has its limits.

There is also much more than tuning involved in maintaining a piano. There is NO place in this world for people who only know how to tune a piano (especially only those who depend upon an ETD to do it) but know nothing else about piano maintenance. Surely, there are piano tuning specialists (as I am) who mostly engage in tuning but you would be doing a disservice to yourself and your clients if tuning (on whatever level of expertise there may be) is all that you could offer.

If you limit yourself only to tuning, both you and your clients will develop a false sense that the piano has been well maintained. You would only be a hobbyist and you would be taking away the legitimate business from people who earn their living by tuning and maintaining pianos.

That being said, it is all well and good that you have explored what it takes to tune a piano. If you find that what it takes to do so is beyond your grasp, then you will know and understand why piano technicians exist. Tuning is only part of what you need to know. Surely, it is the principle and most important part of piano service but complete ignorance of all other aspects does not contribute to the business of piano maintenance. It only weakens it.

You can specialize in tuning and refer repairs, regulation and voicing to other technicians, yes, but You may well find that no true piano technician would only be interested in resolving the problems that you cannot resolve yourself. If you tuned a piano, for example and found that it had "bobbling hammers", no piano technician that I ever knew or heard of would accept the job of simply correcting the problem you identify. Your piano tuning would also most likely be deemed unsatisfactory!

Therefore, I agree with others who have said that you must either make a full and true commitment to piano technology or leave it alone entirely, having learned that there is much more to it than you ever thought about.

If the latter turns out to be the case, you just have to figure in the costs of maintaining your piano to your liking and find a full service piano technician who will do that for you. The arrangement can be mutually beneficial. Your piano technician may want to work with you in terms of costs if you also refer your students to that piano technician.

Piano technicians need daily business all year long to make a living. So do piano teachers. We can't all only tune the pianos each year in the Fall after the heat goes on, after all. We need full employment all year long, especially in Summer!

Summer is the time when longer term projects such as interior cleaning, regulation and voicing are welcome opportunities for piano technicians. I am sure that many of your student's pianos as well as your own could use that kind of maintenance.

I always find enough of that kind of work to do all year long because I have been in the business for 44 years and I am now a 30 year RPT. I depend upon people who have the discretionary income to be able to afford piano maintenance.

There are enough people for whom the piano is important enough in their lives that they will pay for piano tuning in the dog days of Summer or to have other maintenance done when I actually have time to do it when the demand for tunings is not so overwhelming as it can be during the September-May months.

You have a decision to make! Do you want to be a piano technician as well as be a piano teacher? If not, you can and should develop a relationship with a good piano technician and make that relationship be good for you both.

Keep your own piano well maintained at all times. If your students comment that your piano seems so much better than theirs at home in terms of response to touch and clarity of tuning, then encourage your students to hire your favorite piano technician to service their piano as well. Emphasize that the costs are worth the benefits.

Nobody needs a good piano to eat, be clothed or sheltered. As piano technicians, we serve the people who have decided to spend the money they have on what is precious to them in their lives outside of work or school. We can't make a living tuning and otherwise servicing pianos for people who have no money to spend for it.

The task at hand is to find a way to make your business as a piano teacher seem important enough in people's lives that they are willing to spend the money that it takes to provide that precious part of life for them. Piano technicians are used to serving people with very ordinary instruments but which can still provide just as much enjoyment and enrichment in their lives as very expensive pianos can for the people who can afford them. Any piano can be made to perform at its best! That is our business!

You must decide for yourself which business you want to be in or if you want to be in a multi-faceted business. There is no wrong or right decision to make, only a decision that you think you can personally handle.



Well said.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 11:12 AM

Fascinating lecture but the reject of 4th and 5th is premature.

They are perfectly used to obtain all other inter als so should not be dismissed.

Besides, they sound as unisons so they can be learned as easily.

Hail 5th and 4th's (minor, of course :-) )
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 03:46 PM

Isaac, as you will probably soon see from a 45 minute video that I made at Grandpianoman's house, I tune using exclusively 4ths & 5ths with the exception of the initial set of contiguous thirds. My objection is to a temperament sequence that relies solely on three or four estimates of how much to temper each fourth and fifth before there is even one check available. Yes, some people can do it but most end up tuning in Reverse Well that way and don't even realize it.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 05:50 PM

Bill I was pushing !!!
but I find that tuning the octave plus 2 5ths and 2 4ths allows enough precision, and oblige the tuner to learn to listen to those intervals more than when they follow a stack of M3.

that gives them more weight, I think.

It is also more immediately "musical"
Octave = consonance
5th = consonance
4th = consonance

While with stacked 3ds you have 3 intervals very active that you cannot judge the musicality unless you are very experienced .
SO you may provide a bulletproof solution but it does not push on musicality, the first octave can be too large easily, a name could be find as "reverse ladder of 3ds temp". wink

Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 11:18 PM

Isaac,

In my videos, I show a "bullet proof" (as you describe it) method of constructing the initial ladder of contiguous Major thirds. When you have those correct, you can hardly go wrong with the rest of the temperament octave. On my website, I offer several ways to go from there and each one of them is about tuning 4ths and 5ths thereafter.

When you have the 4ths & 5ths truly correct, you don't really need to bother with or check any Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI). But I must say that merely guessing at how the 4ths & 5ths (Slowly Beating Intervals ((SBI)) must sound proves to be inaccurate for most tuners and that inaccuracy leads directly to Reverse Well!

Many You Tube videos which are online confirm that to me! Also, the many pianos, (concert stages and Steinway Hall in NYC included) that I encounter that have Reverse Well on them instead of any semblance of ET confirm that to me as well.

I will say it again and I mean it: Show me a piano tuned aurally using only a 4ths & 5ths temperament tuning sequence and I will show you a piano tuned in Reverse Well 99 times in 100.

It is not ET just because the intent is ET. It is not ET if the belief is only in ET. It is only ET if it is truly ET! 99 in one hundred pianos tuned aurally are not really ET but Reverse Well instead. I stand firmly by that statement!
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/25/13 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

In my videos, I show a "bullet proof" (as you describe it) method of constructing the initial ladder of contiguous Major thirds. When you have those correct, you can hardly go wrong with the rest of the temperament octave. On my website, I offer several ways to go from there and each one of them is about tuning 4ths and 5ths thereafter.

When you have the 4ths & 5ths truly correct, you don't really need to bother with or check any Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI). But I must say that merely guessing at how the 4ths & 5ths (Slowly Beating Intervals ((SBI)) must sound proves to be inaccurate for most tuners and that inaccuracy leads directly to Reverse Well!

Many You Tube videos which are online confirm that to me! Also, the many pianos, (concert stages and Steinway Hall in NYC included) that I encounter that have Reverse Well on them instead of any semblance of ET confirm that to me as well.

I will say it again and I mean it: Show me a piano tuned aurally using only a 4ths & 5ths temperament tuning sequence and I will show you a piano tuned in Reverse Well 99 times in 100.

It is not ET just because the intent is ET. It is not ET if the belief is only in ET. It is only ET if it is truly ET! 99 in one hundred pianos tuned aurally are not really ET but Reverse Well instead. I stand firmly by that statement!


I am most looking forward to your class at the PTG convention!
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/26/13 02:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Show me a piano tuned aurally using only a 4ths & 5ths temperament tuning sequence and I will show you a piano tuned in Reverse Well 99 times in 100.


Well then, how many tuners out of 100 use only 4ths and 5ths? No RBI checks, no SBI checks, no progressiveness checks, no outside-M6-inside-M3 checks, no corrections?

1 in 100?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/26/13 04:03 AM

I have seen lot of temp tuned with a ladder of 3ds in a too large octave and they all have some too large 5ths (over "pure")

So I suggest the cause of what Bill call RW is not absolutely a 4th and 5th temp.

Also intervals are tuned a little temporary , some mistakes are allowed assuming one cam detect them. It is not harder with a slow beating construction and the initial octave sound better generally.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/26/13 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Show me a piano tuned aurally using only a 4ths & 5ths temperament tuning sequence and I will show you a piano tuned in Reverse Well 99 times in 100.


Well then, how many tuners out of 100 use only 4ths and 5ths? No RBI checks, no SBI checks, no progressiveness checks, no outside-M6-inside-M3 checks, no corrections?

1 in 100?


That may be a conservative estimate, yes. According to recent discussions on the PTG examiner list, many examiners have had trouble finding other RPT's to serve on exams who actually knew any checks at all.

How those people ever passed their exams is a wonder. Some discussion said that after passing exams, many had turned to exclusive ETD use and had forgotten what aural skills they once had. Some said that the examinees often knew more checks than the RPT volunteers. I have also had the experience many times over where everyone in the room left saying they had learned a lot then and there that they had never known before.

Some people seem to know some checks but still can't discern some of the very fine gradations that there are in ET tuning checks.

I'll never forget watching one You Tube video where a Japanese man proudly announces that he will now demonstrate how to tune ET. He tunes his first three or four intervals, of course, making them all too pure because he does not like that tempered sound. Then, he finally arrives at his first available check. F3-A3 and F3-D4. They are both far too fast but they sound similar, so he deems the check to be correct and moves on.

He eventually runs into a dilemma and finds an irresolvable "wolf" and says, "I made an error" (but what he has really done is make several consecutive and cumulative errors). He proceeds to "back up" through it as described in another current thread.

When he gets to the point where he can check chromatic M3's and plays, F3-A3, F#3-A#3, G3-B3, etc., he hears the fast-slow-fast pattern but shrugs his shoulders, deeming that to have been acceptable. He had, in fact tuned a Reverse Well temperament but was clearly unaware that he had.

He had used the temperament sequence that most piano technicians have been taught. It was a sequence for ET and therefore the results were deemed to be ET. He does not know what a Well Temperament is or sounds like and therefore he does not know what a backwards version of a Well Temperament is or sounds like either.

What he did was ET in his mind because that is what he intended it to be and believed it to be. When I say such things as 9 in 10 temperaments I come across are actually Reverse Well, it is because it is actually rare for me to encounter a temperament that is not.

It is always on a piano that has come from out of town and a new customer. It is on pianos that previously had been tuned for years in some small town by the same tuner who passed away, so the church, school or private owner needed a new technician. I look at the decades long tuning record left in the piano. Year after year and decade after decade of Reverse Well tuned by a tuner who had used that very same 4ths & 5th sequence.

It is also on some concert instruments I find, often tuned just the week before. The pitch is good but the temperament is Reverse Well. The usual technician, not being available, I get the call. I know who the technician is and it is always one of those who claim to only tune ET, mock and disparage the use of WT's and who use a 4ths & 5ths sequence.

It is on PTG exam pianos. Sometimes, it is within passable tolerances but it is still Reverse Well. Just as a Well Temperament can be very mild and only barely deviate from ET, so can a Reverse Well temperament. It passes the exam as such and it passes for ET in people's homes, churches, schools, recording studios and concert halls. I know that because I have witnessed it personally for decades. I don't just pull a figure out of thin air and my imagination and then broadcast it world wide as a fact.

There is a strong and consistent record of it. It is not just some occasional anomaly. There is a foundation for it and a reason why it happens so consistently. If anyone says that it doesn't matter, fine it doesn't. But then, why should it matter if some technicians actually choose to tune legitimate non-equal temperaments?

I have seen that paradox for decades too. As long as you intend to tune ET but end up tuning Reverse Well, that is OK. But if you actually know what you're doing and deliberately tune in Well Temperaments, you are unethical, you are arrogant, you are imposing your own taste on your clients, you are violating a contract, you are tuning the piano in a way for which it was not designed and you are making all music sound in a way that was not intended.

If, for the benefit of all others than myself, I work tirelessly to find ways to actually tune a true ET, mostly so that all of the ETD dependent technicians out there today can actually pass their exams, I am criticized for that and called one of PTG's weaknesses (always by people who have never taken the PTG tuning exam and never will).

So, if you don't mind, I will continue to help PTG Associates who wish to gain the aural tuning skills necessary to pass the tuning exam. If you don't mind, or even if you do, I won't be teaching the Braide-White sequence to them for the reasons I have stated. It simply does not work for far too many people, at the very least, 99 in 100.
Posted by: miscrms

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/26/13 07:00 PM

As a fairly inexperienced home tuner, my method based mostly on lots of trial and error and reading a lot of great threads here on PW has evolved to essentially the following:

- Use tunelab to calculate stretch and temperament.
- Tune chromatically from the bottom up.
- Tune center strings to the computer.
- Try to keep hammer handle between 10:00 and 2:00 to reduce bending/flexing of the pin (upright).
- Position yourself at right angle to keyboard facing the bass end, thumb down, elbow out (upright, right handed).
- Begin by slackening the string slightly (maybe 2-5c), make sure you have the right note/pin.
- Slowly pull to just a hare over pitch (maybe <1c to 1c) "feeling the pin moving in the block."
- Use thumb to "push back" against fingers pulling to aid in generating firm even pressure.
- Relax the tension/twist on the pin by releasing pressure and then pushing back slightly.
- Finish with several loud test blows and see if its still where you want it on tunelab.
- If not make fine adjustment up or down and repeat test blows.
- Tune the unisons by ear to the center string one at a time.
- Listen for stillness in the highest harmonics that can be heard and tone/volume change as strings "lock in".
- When no beating (or as little as possible) can be heard for each set of two strings, glance up at tunelab to see if the combination is still at pitch.
- If not, recheck center string alone and adjust if necessary.
- If center is still ok, listening to both together try pulling the unison a tad farther in the required direction to see if unison is coupling center string off.
- Plucking individual strings can be useful in cases where you're having difficulty telling how close you are, or if the unison being tuned is too high or low.
- Focus on achieving the purest possible (for skill level & piano eccentricities) unisons by learning to hear upper harmonics, and on learning to manipulate the hammer/pin to achieve the best possible (for skill level & piano eccentricities) stability.
- When tuning is complete up the whole keyboard check by:
- Starting at A0 depress sustain pedal and play 1s, 3s and 5s all the way up the keyboard, repeating several times if necessary and omit 3s in the first octave or two if "muddy."
- Listen to whole tones for any note in the progression that doesn't quite seem to "fit."
- Recheck that note using tunelab, center string only if necessary.
- Retune that note and/or unisons if needed and begin check again.
- Repeat check for each key/arpeggiated chord from A0 to A1.

Following more or less this method, I was able (after several tries) to produce what I considered an acceptable tuning that held quite well for several months with only occasional unison cleanup until the humidity changed drastically. Of course it also takes me 3-4 hours to get there wink It definitely gives me all kinds of respect for those who could most certainly do a better job, way faster, and without a computer telling them what to do.

Curious if anyone has any thoughts / comments on the basic approach. May be better to start a new thread, but this seemed relevant to the OPs original question.

Thanks,
Rob
Posted by: BDB

Re: Online piano tuning courses for self - 06/26/13 09:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Show me a piano tuned aurally using only a 4ths & 5ths temperament tuning sequence and I will show you a piano tuned in Reverse Well 99 times in 100.


Well then, how many tuners out of 100 use only 4ths and 5ths? No RBI checks, no SBI checks, no progressiveness checks, no outside-M6-inside-M3 checks, no corrections?

1 in 100?


That may be a conservative estimate, yes. According to recent discussions on the PTG examiner list, many examiners have had trouble finding other RPT's to serve on exams who actually knew any checks at all.

How those people ever passed their exams is a wonder. Some discussion said that after passing exams, many had turned to exclusive ETD use and had forgotten what aural skills they once had. Some said that the examinees often knew more checks than the RPT volunteers. I have also had the experience many times over where everyone in the room left saying they had learned a lot then and there that they had never known before.

Some people seem to know some checks but still can't discern some of the very fine gradations that there are in ET tuning checks.

I'll never forget watching one You Tube video where a Japanese man proudly announces that he will now demonstrate how to tune ET. He tunes his first three or four intervals, of course, making them all too pure because he does not like that tempered sound. Then, he finally arrives at his first available check. F3-A3 and F3-D4. They are both far too fast but they sound similar, so he deems the check to be correct and moves on.

He eventually runs into a dilemma and finds an irresolvable "wolf" and says, "I made an error" (but what he has really done is make several consecutive and cumulative errors). He proceeds to "back up" through it as described in another current thread.

When he gets to the point where he can check chromatic M3's and plays, F3-A3, F#3-A#3, G3-B3, etc., he hears the fast-slow-fast pattern but shrugs his shoulders, deeming that to have been acceptable. He had, in fact tuned a Reverse Well temperament but was clearly unaware that he had.

He had used the temperament sequence that most piano technicians have been taught. It was a sequence for ET and therefore the results were deemed to be ET. He does not know what a Well Temperament is or sounds like and therefore he does not know what a backwards version of a Well Temperament is or sounds like either.

What he did was ET in his mind because that is what he intended it to be and believed it to be. When I say such things as 9 in 10 temperaments I come across are actually Reverse Well, it is because it is actually rare for me to encounter a temperament that is not.

It is always on a piano that has come from out of town and a new customer. It is on pianos that previously had been tuned for years in some small town by the same tuner who passed away, so the church, school or private owner needed a new technician. I look at the decades long tuning record left in the piano. Year after year and decade after decade of Reverse Well tuned by a tuner who had used that very same 4ths & 5th sequence.

It is also on some concert instruments I find, often tuned just the week before. The pitch is good but the temperament is Reverse Well. The usual technician, not being available, I get the call. I know who the technician is and it is always one of those who claim to only tune ET, mock and disparage the use of WT's and who use a 4ths & 5ths sequence.

It is on PTG exam pianos. Sometimes, it is within passable tolerances but it is still Reverse Well. Just as a Well Temperament can be very mild and only barely deviate from ET, so can a Reverse Well temperament. It passes the exam as such and it passes for ET in people's homes, churches, schools, recording studios and concert halls. I know that because I have witnessed it personally for decades. I don't just pull a figure out of thin air and my imagination and then broadcast it world wide as a fact.

There is a strong and consistent record of it. It is not just some occasional anomaly. There is a foundation for it and a reason why it happens so consistently. If anyone says that it doesn't matter, fine it doesn't. But then, why should it matter if some technicians actually choose to tune legitimate non-equal temperaments?

I have seen that paradox for decades too. As long as you intend to tune ET but end up tuning Reverse Well, that is OK. But if you actually know what you're doing and deliberately tune in Well Temperaments, you are unethical, you are arrogant, you are imposing your own taste on your clients, you are violating a contract, you are tuning the piano in a way for which it was not designed and you are making all music sound in a way that was not intended.

If, for the benefit of all others than myself, I work tirelessly to find ways to actually tune a true ET, mostly so that all of the ETD dependent technicians out there today can actually pass their exams, I am criticized for that and called one of PTG's weaknesses (always by people who have never taken the PTG tuning exam and never will).

So, if you don't mind, I will continue to help PTG Associates who wish to gain the aural tuning skills necessary to pass the tuning exam. If you don't mind, or even if you do, I won't be teaching the Braide-White sequence to them for the reasons I have stated. It simply does not work for far too many people, at the very least, 99 in 100.


If you really want people to tune a good equal temperament, perhaps you should spend more time explaining how it is done, and less time writing about how so few people can do it properly.