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#3174690 12/02/21 02:09 PM
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Not sure if anyone else will appreciate this, but generally my tech only notes on the invoice if the pitch was enough out that it required a substantial correction. Otherwise he writes, "A49=440". I think he got tired of my emailing or texting him (assuming I wasn't home) to ask exactly how far off he found it. (Incidentally, of course I can check the pitch myself, but never know exactly what kind of stretch he does, though I'm getting a better sense. It always sounds good.)

So he's started adding more precise detail: this last time, he included "flat 0.9¢".

(By the way I am actually OCD, so I'm not intending to be cavalier in that regard.)

Last edited by RobAC; 12/02/21 02:10 PM.

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Well I thin sometimes think technician believes I am OCD even though I am not. I can fuss over quite a few things before he starts his work.Not that I am ever really critical of his work.....not OCD but a bit obsessive.

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If you KNOW you're OCD, but experience confirms that your tech knows his stuff and will always do a fine job, then you can/should force yourself to alter your pattern and deal with it, and save your tech the anxiety (rather than essentially say: "I can't help myself").

Just a wee bit of helpful advice.

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Originally Posted by P W Grey
If you KNOW you're OCD, but experience confirms that your tech knows his stuff and will always do a fine job, then you can/should force yourself to alter your pattern and deal with it, and save your tech the anxiety (rather than essentially say: "I can't help myself").

Just a wee bit of helpful advice.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
I do see your point. That said I think I dramatized it a bit for TV; he and I have a very jovial relationship, and he understands, I believe, where I'm coming from (music is my full-time career and I am passionate about matters such as intonation). And this is a new piano for me so I've been very committed to how well it's settling in.

I promise I don't harangue him endlessly! smile

Last edited by RobAC; 12/02/21 09:57 PM.

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In fact, I hope and think he enjoys tuning for me because he knows how much I appreciate it.

Last edited by RobAC; 12/02/21 10:01 PM.

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You can’t be a good technician without being at least a little OCD…

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Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
You can’t be a good technician without being at least a little OCD…
He essentially said the same to me, and said he enjoys tuning my piano because I have it tuned every two months (and a PLS keeps the pitch stable), so he can "really tune".


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Oh My God
I was just thinking this exact conversation over the last week.

I feel this way:
I am holding my Steinway Model A II to a higher standard than my previous piano.
So I expect every nuance of clicks, bings, rattles, etc etc - whatever you want to call them, should be
eliminated and tuning needs to be exact.

Hence, he has said he did not hear some things I have heard (which actually makes me a little worried/uncomfortable)
BTW - my tech/tuner is a very reliable technician & artist.

But was thinking this same thing after this week's 3 month tuning!

brdwyguy


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Originally Posted by RobAC
and said he enjoys tuning my piano because I have it tuned every two months (and a PLS keeps the pitch stable), so he can "really tune".

Greetings,
That is an awful lot of tuning! And, with a PLS keeping a stable pitch, in what manner does it go out of tune in two months?
Regards,

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Oh My God
I was just thinking this exact conversation over the last week.

I feel this way:
I am holding my Steinway Model A II to a higher standard than my previous piano.
So I expect every nuance of clicks, bings, rattles, etc etc - whatever you want to call them, should be
eliminated and tuning needs to be exact.

Hence, he has said he did not hear some things I have heard (which actually makes me a little worried/uncomfortable)
BTW - my tech/tuner is a very reliable technician & artist.

But was thinking this same thing after this week's 3 month tuning!

brdwyguy
A kindred spirit.


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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by RobAC
and said he enjoys tuning my piano because I have it tuned every two months (and a PLS keeps the pitch stable), so he can "really tune".

Greetings,
That is an awful lot of tuning! And, with a PLS keeping a stable pitch, in what manner does it go out of tune in two months?
Regards,
I think there are several things at play here:
--the PLS has to work overtime in a pretty unforgiving climate. It's an old house that isn't well-insulated with no central HVAC, in a region with highly changeable weather.
--the pitch has been keeping quite stable, though occasionally after substantial weather changes there has been a very minor discrepancy between the treble and bass bridges
--the piano has been in situ for less than a year so my idea, rightly or wrongly, has been to tune more frequently off the bat to help it acclimate. I can't see myself ever having it tuned less then 4x/year but hope to move away from 6x.
--harmonics that are even slightly out drive me nuts because
--I am a professional conductor and have extremely good ears, and in my daily work am accustomed to being able to request real time changes and improvements in intonation.


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Originally Posted by RobAC
--harmonics that are even slightly out drive me nuts because
--I am a professional conductor and have extremely good ears, and in my daily work am accustomed to being able to request real time changes and improvements in intonation.

There is nothing the tiniest bit unusual about someone like yourself having standards like this... nothing.

The range of ears out there is truly vast. One person may not be bothered by how their piano sounds after six months, while another might be writhing in auditory agony a month since the last tuning.

The most extreme client I ever had (as far as frequent tunings went) was a lifelong pro composer and like you, a conductor.

At one point he was finishing writing a symphony he'd been working on all his life; it was to have its world premiere in a month, with him conducting, and it being recorded for an album.

I tuned it, but he called back in a week because a few unisons had gone *slightly* out, and I mean just barely. The piece had a passage that was brutal and sustained...

Tuned it again, but he called back the next day. ONE unison in the highest octave was slightly out, and it stopped him cold.

When I came back, he asked me what I would charge to show up every morning at 8am, and touch up every unison to super dead and a stable as possible under extreme playing, and do that every morning till the performance.

I gave him a figure, a four figures figure, he wrote me a check, and that's what we did.

More than half of the visits were more placebo tunings than not, but it's what he NEEDED.

It all went well and he was happy.

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Old Square,

👍👍

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Originally Posted by An Old Square
Originally Posted by RobAC
--harmonics that are even slightly out drive me nuts because
--I am a professional conductor and have extremely good ears, and in my daily work am accustomed to being able to request real time changes and improvements in intonation.

There is nothing the tiniest bit unusual about someone like yourself having standards like this... nothing.

The range of ears out there is truly vast. One person may not be bothered by how their piano sounds after six months, while another might be writhing in auditory agony a month since the last tuning.

The most extreme client I ever had (as far as frequent tunings went) was a lifelong pro composer and like you, a conductor.

At one point he was finishing writing a symphony he'd been working on all his life; it was to have its world premiere in a month, with him conducting, and it being recorded for an album.

I tuned it, but he called back in a week because a few unisons had gone *slightly* out, and I mean just barely. The piece had a passage that was brutal and sustained...

Tuned it again, but he called back the next day. ONE unison in the highest octave was slightly out, and it stopped him cold.

When I came back, he asked me what I would charge to show up every morning at 8am, and touch up every unison to super dead and a stable as possible under extreme playing, and do that every morning till the performance.

I gave him a figure, a four figures figure, he wrote me a check, and that's what we did.

More than half of the visits were more placebo tunings than not, but it's what he NEEDED.

It all went well and he was happy.
Bless you!

This is why I'm trying slowly and safely to learn to touch up unisons myself. I've only done 2 on my home piano.

There is a 50+ year old Yahama G3 at work that I feel a little more comfortable learning on (still careful but).


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I tune my piano at least 12 times a year. I see nothing odd or wrong with that. Both my wife and I are professional musicians, play our piano hours every day, do recordings, teach, and play chamber music in our house using our piano. Concert pianos used in recital and in recording are sometimes tuned several times a day. That being said, we sometimes let her go in the summer and the unisons become more aggressive without beating. Eventually she asks to quiet her down. What a sigh she gives when freshly tuned.

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Originally Posted by RobAC
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by RobAC
and said he enjoys tuning my piano because I have it tuned every two months (and a PLS keeps the pitch stable), so he can "really tune".

Greetings,
That is an awful lot of tuning! And, with a PLS keeping a stable pitch, in what manner does it go out of tune in two months?
Regards,
I think there are several things at play here:
--the PLS has to work overtime in a pretty unforgiving climate. It's an old house that isn't well-insulated with no central HVAC, in a region with highly changeable weather.
--the pitch has been keeping quite stable, though occasionally after substantial weather changes there has been a very minor discrepancy between the treble and bass bridges
--the piano has been in situ for less than a year so my idea, rightly or wrongly, has been to tune more frequently off the bat to help it acclimate. I can't see myself ever having it tuned less then 4x/year but hope to move away from 6x.
--harmonics that are even slightly out drive me nuts because
--I am a professional conductor and have extremely good ears, and in my daily work am accustomed to being able to request real time changes and improvements in intonation.

As a fellow conductor (orchestral), I'm surprised you can tolerate even well-done ET on your piano, since your orchestral musicians can get those thirds perfectly in tune, or much closer than any ET ever could. wink

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RobAC Offline OP
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Originally Posted by violarules
Originally Posted by RobAC
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by RobAC
and said he enjoys tuning my piano because I have it tuned every two months (and a PLS keeps the pitch stable), so he can "really tune".

Greetings,
That is an awful lot of tuning! And, with a PLS keeping a stable pitch, in what manner does it go out of tune in two months?
Regards,
I think there are several things at play here:
--the PLS has to work overtime in a pretty unforgiving climate. It's an old house that isn't well-insulated with no central HVAC, in a region with highly changeable weather.
--the pitch has been keeping quite stable, though occasionally after substantial weather changes there has been a very minor discrepancy between the treble and bass bridges
--the piano has been in situ for less than a year so my idea, rightly or wrongly, has been to tune more frequently off the bat to help it acclimate. I can't see myself ever having it tuned less then 4x/year but hope to move away from 6x.
--harmonics that are even slightly out drive me nuts because
--I am a professional conductor and have extremely good ears, and in my daily work am accustomed to being able to request real time changes and improvements in intonation.

As a fellow conductor (orchestral), I'm surprised you can tolerate even well-done ET on your piano, since your orchestral musicians can get those thirds perfectly in tune, or much closer than any ET ever could. wink
Actually I'm primarily a choral conductor. I work both with children in an intensive choral program and with professional adults. When singing with organ (or piano in rehearsal) we have to adapt to ET, but we aim for much closer to just intonation in unaccompanied music. I'm also an organist; I do not like ET but have resigned myself, more or less, to the fact that it's a reality of my life.


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Originally Posted by prout
I tune my piano at least 12 times a year. I see nothing odd or wrong with that. Both my wife and I are professional musicians, play our piano hours every day, do recordings, teach, and play chamber music in our house using our piano. Concert pianos used in recital and in recording are sometimes tuned several times a day. That being said, we sometimes let her go in the summer and the unisons become more aggressive without beating. Eventually she asks to quiet her down. What a sigh she gives when freshly tuned.
Thanks for helping me not to feel crazy!


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"So I expect every nuance of clicks, bings, rattles, etc etc - whatever you want to call them, should be
eliminated and tuning needs to be exact."

Just a word of advice:
Be careful not to drive away your technician. While I attempt to hold myself to a high standard, customers who demand an unrealistic degree of sonic perfection from their piano can be a technician's nightmare. Especially for an old and/or inexpensive or poorly rebuilt piano.

I have one customer that I have fired, and at least two more that are asking for it. In the first case, the piano is an old Mason and Hamlin that has an terrible amount of string path friction, including the agraffes. I've suggested he needs to get it restrung, and in fact, several other technicians have said the same thing. But he waffles and wavers, and the piano is practically untunable.

The other customer has a very nice German piano which is also very difficult to tune due to friction. But worse, the customer is a beginner who can only hear and obsess about any little fault, whether false beat or unison. So he lingers over my shoulder while I'm tuning it. I don't think he can really actually play it.

Customer #3 has an old, cheap grand with lots of funky noises. I've tried string leveling, but there is still noise that bothers her.

Recently, I struggled with a Steinway B at a church. It had been restrung, but with overly tight pins. I simply could not get the locked-in unisons that I want. The same applies to every Steinway vertical that I've tuned.

In fact, I would say that very few pianos are capable of absolute concert-level tuning and tone. People who have to have this and can't tolerate the minute imperfections of the typical piano are often better served with the sterile, "perfect" sound of a digital keyboard.

I always try to go out of my way to do my best for my customers, but sometimes enough is enough.

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Originally Posted by RobAC
Actually I'm primarily a choral conductor. I work both with children in an intensive choral program and with professional adults. When singing with organ (or piano in rehearsal) we have to adapt to ET, but we aim for much closer to just intonation in unaccompanied music. I'm also an organist; I do not like ET but have resigned myself, more or less, to the fact that it's a reality of my life.
The nice thing with ET is you can let your singers warble all over the place and it won't sound any worse than the ET M3s. wink

I say this in jest only. I tune my piano mostly in a nice stretched ET.

I once did a DFFT analysis of a King's Singers disc from the 1960s. Exquisite tuning, pure harmonics and false sub-harmonics. Wonderful sound. They sang in ET, almost perfectly when I checked interval widths. I was amazed that my ears/brain thought they were singing in just intonation. I think the answer is that the voice produces true harmonics with the resulting purity of pitch congruence, unlike the piano which has to fight with inharmonicity, making the tuner's job challenging, to say the least.

Last edited by prout; 12/03/21 01:01 PM.
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