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Thread: Piano Tuning?

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default Piano Tuning?

    I'm not sure where else to post this, other than keyboard instruments. I am interested in exploring piano tuning as a career option and wonder if anyone here knows about it.

    I potentially have an opportunity to learn piano tuning in a piano rental store, and get paid to tune up the pianos on their floor. The boss seems to think I can be trained to do that. I am wondering if it could be a very meditative activity that could open the gateway to a profession that would sustain me for a living. This initial job, provided I can be trained for it, would not necessarily be a very frequent job. Originally I was working with some piano maintenance, but it proved too difficult for me, the refinishing tasks at any rate I messed up too many times on.

    The catch is that I had a recent hiccup in my mental health. I would want this to be a job I could really tolerate. I believe I could easily get lost in the right task and that mentality could be instrumental to piano tuning. I have good pitch awareness and a good ear, the question is if I have the patience and motor skills, and can develop the calm. And if I can be properly motivated to learn and excel.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Here's a page with quite a bit of information on this career.

    https://www.careersinmusic.com/piano-tuner-technician/


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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    . . . I am interested in exploring piano tuning as a career option and wonder if anyone here knows about it.
    . . . Originally I was working with some piano maintenance, but it proved too difficult for me . . .
    Some piano maintenance skill is going to be needed as you venture into a career of piano tuning. It goes with the occupation ... strings break and some other adjustments in the action will be necessary on certain instruments as part of the tuning visit.

    You have the best two qualifications right from the get go ... pitch awareness and a good ear ... essential for a piano tuner, although most these days use some form of electronic gizmos to aid in their tuning processes. Although I have seen many a tuner adjust middle A to a tuning fork and go by ear from that point through the rest of the instrument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    I'm not sure where else to post this, other than keyboard instruments. I am interested in exploring piano tuning as a career option and wonder if anyone here knows about it.

    I potentially have an opportunity to learn piano tuning in a piano rental store, and get paid to tune up the pianos on their floor. The boss seems to think I can be trained to do that. I am wondering if it could be a very meditative activity that could open the gateway to a profession that would sustain me for a living. This initial job, provided I can be trained for it, would not necessarily be a very frequent job. Originally I was working with some piano maintenance, but it proved too difficult for me, the refinishing tasks at any rate I messed up too many times on.

    The catch is that I had a recent hiccup in my mental health. I would want this to be a job I could really tolerate. I believe I could easily get lost in the right task and that mentality could be instrumental to piano tuning. I have good pitch awareness and a good ear, the question is if I have the patience and motor skills, and can develop the calm. And if I can be properly motivated to learn and excel.
    The piano tuner I knew was a piano player & had a pretty good ear, but when he started tuning pianos for a living, he used a Yamaha digital tuner. It had stretch-tuning curves for most models of pianos, whether they be grand, spinet, whatever. It didn't take much "ear" in that regard. I would think that using a tuning hammer would be the most skillful part, getting a feel for that.

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    most part a ear(brain)muscle coördination. And loads of practising of course -esp.tuning unisons. my experience is it's boring most of the time when tuning 20plus (mostly old) pianos a week.

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    I have a yamaha tuner from 1980, the first small one (?)

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamus View Post
    most part a ear(brain)muscle coördination. And loads of practising of course -esp.tuning unisons. my experience is it's boring most of the time when tuning 20plus (mostly old) pianos a week.
    Are you a tuner? I'm trying to decide if it's a smart move for me to try to learn it.

    I know it's not required to have perfect pitch, but I basically do have it. Would it be an asset at all then? Maybe I could learn to tune with a fork just to check for accuracy?
    Last edited by clavichorder; Oct-23-2016 at 17:02.

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    try smartphone (ios/android) apps. www: pianotechniciansguild, Reblitz book about repairing etc.

    smart move? the internet has a truckload of info......
    Last edited by Adamus; Oct-24-2016 at 11:08.

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    Hello,
    Is it true that old pianos were tunned half a note lower, that what today sound as D sounded before as D#? I ask that because if that is true, the most of the classical pieces are supposed to sound half step lower.

    Thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlada View Post
    Hello,
    Is it true that old pianos were tunned half a note lower, that what today sound as D sounded before as D#? I ask that because if that is true, the most of the classical pieces are supposed to sound half step lower.

    Thank you
    I've encountered this situation on old pianos ... the old tall uprights specifically ... I think you mean Db instead of D#.

    The main reason I was given years ago that the tuning pins could not be tightened to hold enough, therefore they sounded one half step flat.

    I haven't heard about classical pieces supposed to sound a half step lower. Various some symphony conductors do, however, alter tuning from A-440 either sharp or flat for a better overall sound. There are times that one half step higher sounds brighter in tone.

    Kh

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    I have a very old upright player piano tuned quite flat. A was around 430. And the tuner told me that the stress on the soundboard was too great at the slightly higher pitch. He thought that originally it was even below 430. It's impossible of course to use to accompany anyone with a modern A440 instrument. But the player still works and it's fun.
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlada View Post
    Hello,
    Is it true that old pianos were tunned half a note lower, that what today sound as D sounded before as D#? I ask that because if that is true, the most of the classical pieces are supposed to sound half step lower.

    Thank you
    There was no standard, so noone knows how most classical pieces could have been tuned.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concer..._Western_music

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    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    Prior to cast iron (end XIX), piano frames were made of wood. I could imagine wood creeps enough over time to drop to 430 or even 415 Hz. Even the loss of humidity reduces the frame's dimensions, and steel strings are very sensitive to it.
    You just write French exactly like you spell it. Very simple!
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