2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
85 members (BillS728, Animisha, anamnesis, 36251, AJB, BlakeOR, 22 invisible), 957 guests, and 292 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#3169367 11/08/21 10:58 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
I have 1987 Yamaha U1 which I bought in May this year. It is in good condition apart from cosmetic blemishes and appears to have been little used - I am making up for it at around two and a half hours a day! First free tuning in late June then a paid one 29th Sept when the tuner did some adjustments and sorted out the unisons. However, not surprisingly the unisons are now out again so I am thinking about doing some top up tuning. I have been looking at the videos on-line, more specifically Robert Estrin's and at what is on offer regarding tuning kits and wondering if anyone can advise as to a good one in the UK - I see that the US ones advertised via the forum seem much more expensive, it's usually the other way round.

Also, it seems to be the bass unisons that are out and the further down you go the worse they seem to be. So where would I start, from the bottom up or maybe a couple of octaves up. or?


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 424
A
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 424
If you don't have a lot of free time and will to learn a lot of practical and theoretical skills, just call a tuner. Your first tuning will be very bad and not stable, in worse case you can damage your piano. If you are interested in piano technology and willing to take the risk then go ahead, otherwise call a tuner.
Robert Estrin videos are not a good source, he's not even a piano technician, he's a salesman. There are loads of good information on this forum, you will most likely tune with some tuning app for your smartphone, so search for apps for tuning pianos (random free app for tuning guitar will NOT do the job) choose one, then search for information about tuning hammer technique. Even if you are tuning with app, you should have also idea about what is equal temperament, inharmonicity, octave stretch.

Last edited by ambrozy; 11/08/21 02:09 PM.
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 536
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 536
For DIY instruction, search YouTube for "howard piano tuning". Take notes as you watch.

As for tuning kits, you will need a lever, some rubber mutes and felt strip. Avoid the cheap ones made in China.

I use the PianoMeter app and this is their recommended order:
"The recommended order is to tune the midsection first, starting at the tenor break (often around D#3), tune up through the treble, and then tune the bass last."

Disclaimer: I'm not a tech but DIY tuner.

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,986
D
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,986
Fletcher & Newman the UK piano trade supply house are strictly trade-only and won't supply to the public. But Heckscher, the other supply house (now scaled down) will supply to the general public. www.heckscher.co.uk

Some tuning levers on Ebay seem to be OK, but others are definitely not.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,876
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,876
If the climate differentials where you live are ANYTHING like what we experience here in New England (USA) then it is entirely realistic that things are out considering a Sep 29 tuning. Things are changing fast in this season. The piano is still full of summer humidity and as soon as it starts getting cold outside stuff dries out. THAT is what puts a piano out of tune. Sep is one of the worst times to tune the piano (sorry to say) unless your seasonal humidity does not change more than about 10%.

Unless you are effectively and intelligently counteracting the seasonal humidity fluctuations, you are at the mercy of the weather. You should look into installing (not yourself) a Dampp-Chaser climate control system. It works extremely well in an upright piano (not so great in a grand). Simultaneously you should mitigate the room humidity extremes with an external unit (summer and winter).

No tuning can be expected to last more than two months here in NE without somne form of humidity control.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 11/08/21 11:23 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
Thanks for all your replies. Yes - I do have the time and if I start on this I would hope to continue in the hope of gently nudging the piano towards greater stability - and it is top up tuning I am talking about between 'proper' tuning. As for the climate, here in Wales it is generally wettish and we don't have great seasonal variations - I also have a weather station and have monitored the weather here for many years. The piano is also well situated in a room which doesn't suffer much in the way of temperature and other changes.
@David Boyce. Thanks for the suggestion - I was looking for a kit and unfortunately on Amazon they don't seem to give where they are made.
My piano tuner is very busy and with the pandemic continuing there is always uncertainty as to availability - which is another reason for me getting to know my piano better. I will continue my research but if it gets too bad I always have the digital to fall back on - and if anyone has any other suggestions....


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,385
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,385
I suggest you also talk to your piano tuner about this. You'd want to avoid a situation where your "top-up" tuning changes things that he has to change back later, e.g. treble stretch. That wouldn't do stability any favours either. Touching up unisons in-between his tunings might be a good, non-disruptive start.


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
Mark R. #3169547 11/09/21 05:04 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
Originally Posted by Mark R.
I suggest you also talk to your piano tuner about this. You'd want to avoid a situation where your "top-up" tuning changes things that he has to change back later, e.g. treble stretch. That wouldn't do stability any favours either. Touching up unisons in-between his tunings might be a good, non-disruptive start.
Thanks Mark. Yes I do intend to talk to him but I wanted to hear what others said first of all. As you say I don't want to disrupt what he does - I think he said he did a treble stretch on the first free tuning.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,798
G
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,798
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Thanks for all your replies. Yes - I do have the time and if I start on this I would hope to continue in the hope of gently nudging the piano towards greater stability - and it is top up tuning I am talking about between 'proper' tuning. As for the climate, here in Wales it is generally wettish and we don't have great seasonal variations - I also have a weather station and have monitored the weather here for many years. The piano is also well situated in a room which doesn't suffer much in the way of temperature and other changes.
@David Boyce. Thanks for the suggestion - I was looking for a kit and unfortunately on Amazon they don't seem to give where they are made.
My piano tuner is very busy and with the pandemic continuing there is always uncertainty as to availability - which is another reason for me getting to know my piano better. I will continue my research but if it gets too bad I always have the digital to fall back on - and if anyone has any other suggestions....

Hi Colin,

You can't really 'nudge' the tuning like that. You can get a tuning aid (something like the previously suggested Pianometer is good) and tune your piano but it will be a different stretch or tuning target than used by your tuner or even some other brand tuning device - they all vary. So unless you always use the same tuner (or at least the same tuning target ) you will be making considerable tuning changes each time and will therefore reduce your piano stability rather than increase it. Your tune is also unlikely to be amused at having to undo all your changes each time he tunes to get it back to his preferred state - he will also be expecting your piano to become more stable with time and have less to do, rather than more.

What you can do, if you read a bit, are careful and have a good ear is to not tune the piano but just touch up the unisons that offend your ears as they go out. For that you just need a tuning lever and some mutes - do use a reasonable quality tuning hammer so that you don't damage the tuning pins. Fortunately we have much less seasonable variation in our parts of the world than others so we don't have the same massive climate changes to deal with - but even so my suggestion for the best way to keep a piano in form between tunings is not to fiddle with it but first to get a decent dehumidifier for your piano room so as to keep the humidity more stable.

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
@gwing - it is the unisons that I am most concerned about as their being out creates a haze of sound - good in one way as it teaches me to use less pedal but it would be nicer without this. My experience with dehumidifiers has not been that satisfactory and I am not sure it would work that well in the living room. I am working out how to talk to my tuner and, if he is willing, see how we can best work this out. Simply more frequent tunings, at least to start with, or maybe I can do something.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 424
A
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 424
gwing is right, having two tuners take turns tuning one piano is a bad idea unless they are tuning for the same target tuning and compensated for humidity. You could save tuning after your technician tune your piano but I see that free version of pianometer doesn't have that functionality, some other free software may have it.

And you can't really clean unisons if you don't know which string is "right" (most likely none of the three, what then?)

And if you would do a recording of your piano in current condition it would be helpfull

Last edited by ambrozy; 11/09/21 11:54 AM.
ambrozy #3169690 11/09/21 05:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 642
T
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 642
Originally Posted by ambrozy
And you can't really clean unisons if you don't know which string is "right" (most likely none of the three, what then?)

That's the problem with touching up unisons. I've seen this done at intermissions, when it can safely be assumed that most of the piano is in tune. But when that's not the case, deciding which string is right can be difficult if not impossible. You can see which is nearest to octaves above and below, but can still end up with a temperament that's badly off.

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 536
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 536
You can locate the unison string that is closest to in-tune by using the trial version of TuneLap Pro (nag screens), or a paid version of PianoMeter. The free version of PianoMeter limits one to the middle octaves. That's probably the safest bet if the OP doesn't want to retune from scratch.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,876
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,876
If your general RH is above 50% year round, you ought to have a 38w DC rod installed WITH the humidistat control unit. That will create a very stable RH inside the piano.
And it will be automatically with no need of input from you. After about a month or so make have the piano tuned again.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
P W Grey #3169769 11/10/21 04:40 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
Originally Posted by TBell
You can locate the unison string that is closest to in-tune by using the trial version of TuneLap Pro (nag screens), or a paid version of PianoMeter. The free version of PianoMeter limits one to the middle octaves. That's probably the safest bet if the OP doesn't want to retune from scratch.
Thank you. That answers the question of which string.
Originally Posted by P W Grey
If your general RH is above 50% year round, you ought to have a 38w DC rod installed WITH the humidistat control unit. That will create a very stable RH inside the piano.
And it will be automatically with no need of input from you. After about a month or so make have the piano tuned again.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
Thank you. Any suggestions as to which control unit? Looking at my weather data for the last few years the indoor humidity is generally between 40 - 70 though it varies on a 24 hr cycle, not surprisingly. But the control panel is on an upstairs window sill, not where the piano is, so it varies far more than in the living room.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 4
T
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
T
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 4
Hi, I'm UK based (Oswestry, over the border)
I started tuning three years ago from a similar need as you as I couldn't get anyone out to work on my own instrument within a few weeks and I was impatient. Compared to others on here I'm less experienced, my tuning count is now about 50 pianos. Apparently 950 to go before I'll begin to get good at it!
However I can offer a perspective as someone who tried to do exactly what it sounds like you want to do.

I don't regret getting into tuning pianos, I love it, but I do regret the way I started!
My first ever tuning attempt was on my own instrument and started off as a 'top up', just a handful of unisons.
For me, the gamble did not pay off! I'd solve one problem (the unison) and that note would sound great. But then I'd play an interval from that note and because I'd slightly shifted where the note is in the temperament to where the app (TuneLab97 at the time) thought it should ideally be, the interval would now sound wrong. So you tune that note, and then something else sounds wrong. And you are chasing your tail!
To try and illustrate this, for a given note it might be that the software is showing two strings at 4 cents sharp and one at 0.9. You'd assume to bring the two strings down to 0.9 as a starting point. But it might also be that several other notes are 2-3 cents sharp and by bringing the first note down to pitch the maths of the temperament just went out of the window. If you aren't doing a full tuning it might be that counter-intuitively settling all three strings at 3 cents is actually the best for the unison and the temperament. (One of the strengths of the app PianoMeter is that you can get a visual representation of how a piano is generally tuned and with hindsight this would have made it easier.)

Anyway, having created a growing mess and realising it was getting worse not better I ended up watching a LOT of videos and then setting about methodically tuning most of the piano. With persistence and probably most of a day working on it I got there in the end and was very happy with it. But it was short lived - 3 days later and some unisons were out again.
I finally ate humble pie and called a tuner out and admitted what I'd done. They were gracious enough to say I'd done pretty well for a first tuning, and kindly showed me a few things, including the tension of non speaking lengths being important.

I write all this not to put you off but give you a sense of what to expect if it goes a little wrong. If you are going to proceed I'd suggest that PianoMeter basic (£20) and this kit off Amazon is ok (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B089YDRNVG )
As a final hint I'd suggest you focus on the strobe on the app more than the exact numerical reading and spend a good while muting strings and just watching before you touch anything.

Oh - and a U1A has a practise pedal doesn't it? You'll need to get that out of the way before you start...

Last edited by Tim Howard (UK); 11/10/21 05:29 AM.
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
Hi Tim - thanks for all this info. Yes - I am aware of what could go wrong which is why I posted the query here and all the responses are very interesting. I don't intend to tune any other pianos - I'm a 79 year old focused on becoming the concert pianist I was expected to become when I was a youngster! At the moment I am inclined towards first stabilising the piano as suggest by Peter Grey. And your comment about the tuner showing you what you should have done - well that is the approach I was thinking of with my tuner, if he is amenable.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,986
D
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,986
I second the comments about that particular kit from Amazon. A customer had bought one, and the tip fits nicely on the pins. Others I've seen, bought from Ebay/Amazon, not so good.

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
C
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,198
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I second the comments about that particular kit from Amazon. A customer had bought one, and the tip fits nicely on the pins. Others I've seen, bought from Ebay/Amazon, not so good.
Thanks David. I texted my tuner about damp chasers and/or more frequent tunings and he said that damp chasers were not his field of expertise so has put me on to another guy I know at the Coach House so I am awaiting to see what he has to say.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 231
W
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
W
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 231
What if you write down all the frequencies for 88 notes when your tuner finishes tuning and its fresh? Will not it be a good reference for the future unison touchups?

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Natural sharp sign?
by Brus - 05/17/22 06:15 AM
Such a great piece!
by Qazsedcft - 05/17/22 04:48 AM
A mysterious and irritating phenomena..
by Rallent - 05/16/22 11:14 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics213,111
Posts3,192,214
Members105,297
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5