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Tuning - best method? (Read 1859 times)

Offline coolpianoman

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Tuning - best method?
« on: September 04, 2015, 12:49:33 PM »
I have a fairly new Steinway model B which everyone who plays it, including the piano club we host, says it is a wonderful instrument. It is very regularly tuned by a very competent tuner using digital equipment. I have had my previous pianos (all uprights) tuned by the good old tuning fork method and for a period by a delightful blind tuner Sid! I recently attended a professional recording session where the Steinway model D was tuned by a tuner with the traditional fork and listen method. He was trained by Steinway and had been using this method for years and swore by it. He is certainly not digitised as he doesn't even have email. So I started to wonder which method is best and why? Or maybe it doesn't matter? I am sure there must be many out there with views on this?  ;) 

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 01:25:37 PM »
Seems to me that the only really honest answer would be "it depends".  For probably the majority of pianos, in the majority of settings, and the majority of technicians, some form of digital assist will probably give better and more consistent results.  However.  If you have a superb instrument and are blessed with a really fine technician, I think that the acoustic will give better results -- because the tech. will not only be getting the pitch technically "correct", but will be tuning the instrument to best express itself, the environment it is in, and the way the pianist plays it -- and a machine can't do that.
Ian

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 09:11:18 PM »
The best tuning method is the one that turns your piano into what it is that you want to hear and hear over and over again. The best technician is the one who can accomplish this for you.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline richard black

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 10:07:28 PM »
Despite what Ian says above, the best piano-tuning software can in fact adapt to some extent to individual pianos and, with a bit of input from the user, to venues too. The tuner who's looked after my pianos for the last 25 years is a real tech-head and always has the latest electronic gimmicks (he's more than capable of doing without them, he's just fascinated by them) and they have for some years been remarkably capable. For instance, most of them will store settings for specific instruments.
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 10:21:22 PM »
Despite what Ian says above, the best piano-tuning software can in fact adapt to some extent to individual pianos and, with a bit of input from the user, to venues too. The tuner who's looked after my pianos for the last 25 years is a real tech-head and always has the latest electronic gimmicks (he's more than capable of doing without them, he's just fascinated by them) and they have for some years been remarkably capable. For instance, most of them will store settings for specific instruments.
Oh quite -- I do agree.  Thing is, the party using the electronic tuner has to know what he (or she) is doing in the first place -- which yours does.
Ian

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 08:28:35 PM »
I consider myself a quite capable tuner, and I always use the fork.
Now, I believe that it all boils down to knowing how to use your equipment, as well as understanding, knowing and mastering the basic craft down to the last detail. Not to mention years of experience. You get better at it the more you practice it.
If you are well skilled in all aspects of tuning, you'd presumably know how to use those computer programs just as well as your own ears.
I do not think that using any software will improve the tuning over that of a competent aural tuner, but the one doesn't have to exclude the other.

So, if it sounds good it is good, especially if it stays sounding good for a while. But how long it stays in tune is likely more to do with hostile drafty & damp/dry environments and how many people sit down and pound on those keys and for how many hours per day.

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #6 on: December 24, 2015, 06:25:52 PM »
Many thanks for these replies which are most useful.  Actually I have decided to stay with the digital (at least for the time being) for entirely different reasons which will be baffling to some on here but make perfect sense to many too.  It is a matter of communication.

When I want my piano tuned, which as we have a monthly piano club here is about every 3 months I send an email to my tuner, he replies pretty quickly with date and time, turns up and does the job - simples.

The tuning fork man was the tuner for a very famous brand of piano in this area - no need to name it. So far so good.  But he does not have email or a wife/friend who has it - very common here so you have to phone.  I also understand that he does not actually answer his phone so you have to leave a message and he gets back and so it goes on. 

I have really had enough of this time consuming practice and don't think it can be too hard to learn to take email or get someone to take messages for you - it really is not a 'badge of honour' for someone in business.

On the negative side I hardly use the phone and have not written a letter in years.  When I come to write a cheque which I sometimes have to do as the right info is not available for electronic transfer I invariably mess it up and have to write it again - pathetic eh?  My wife is the same and had had to write on out three times this week.  :(


Bet I have started some furious posts now - oh dear.  :o

Mr Helpless and Hopeless (Chris)

 

Offline withindale

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #7 on: December 24, 2015, 07:54:25 PM »
You might find Dirk's tuner or Entropy Piano Tuner useful.

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #8 on: December 24, 2015, 08:36:39 PM »
Bit of a misunderstanding here mate.  I don't want to tune the thing - I leave that to the professionals.  I find it hard enough to play it lol

Chris

Offline withindale

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Re: Tuning - best method?
«Reply #9 on: December 24, 2015, 11:52:24 PM »
Oh, my digitals !