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Maybe the answer is to have aliquot strings (like Bluthners) instead of duplexes?

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I have never needed to resort to stuffing soft materials into any of the various non-struck string segments of any piano I have outfitted with a Fully Tempered Duplex Scale.

It is common to see new Steinway's offered for rent to concert halls by Steinway with such materials inserted post manufacturing.

And other makers of pianos with open non-struck string segments can also receive this post manufacturing treatment for noises that arise from them. So it is not just a Steinway problem.


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Originally Posted by prout
CheckTheFacts,

...When I record classical music, the mics are almost touching the rim of the grand and peaking over it, one in the curve looking at the treble and one at the tail looking along the overstrung bass strings. With condenser mics in cardioid this gives a very wide soundstage the same as I hear when playing and there is essentially no room noise.

I too have been miking near the rim, but just at the curve, using the ORTF configuration. Maybe I'll try your idea next time.

Originally Posted by prout
The issue of rear duplex resonance is problematic. My M&H BB has individually tuned aliquots done in traditional 'organ mixture style' format with octaves, fifths and unisons starting at D#5. I am here to tell you that they are not perfectly in tune. The unisons are out slightly, which means they beat with the dead-on trichords. They add a lot of resonance and I mute them all for Mozart and his ilk. They are generally fine for later rep though Brahms was a conservative and too much resonance really ruins his piano music.

I see your point; duplex resonance might suit some composers better than others. Your M&H sounds fascinating.

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OE1FEU, interesting video, many thanks. For me, it was fascinating and somewhat disconcerting (no pun intended) to see and hear the tech overpull way more than 100 cents in some cases.


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Originally Posted by CheckTheFacts
Originally Posted by prout
CheckTheFacts,

...When I record classical music, the mics are almost touching the rim of the grand and peaking over it, one in the curve looking at the treble and one at the tail looking along the overstrung bass strings. With condenser mics in cardioid this gives a very wide soundstage the same as I hear when playing and there is essentially no room noise.

I too have been miking near the rim, but just at the curve, using the ORTF configuration. Maybe I'll try your idea next time.
I've used the ORTF config as well with very good results. The thing I like about the open config is that, when you record a chromatic ascending scale of all 88 notes, on playback it really does sound as if you are sitting at the piano bench. The bass notes come predominantly out of the left channel. The proximity effect on the mic enhances the bass response a bit as you know, and that adds to the realism of sitting at the bench where you sense more than hear the fundamental pitches below about 60Hz.

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OE1FEU, thanks for the video. It has given me some ideas, and some courage, to tackle the top octave duplex tuning.

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Originally Posted by prout
OE1FEU, thanks for the video. It has given me some ideas, and some courage, to tackle the top octave duplex tuning.

I had done this some time ago on my ancient A1. Just checked the duplexes now - they are still pretty much in tune both to each other within the tri-chord and the correct interval with respect to their speaking lengths. After doing this, the tuning ended up being more stable (this was a piano that had been fully restrung and before I did this duplex adjustment, there was up to a semitone difference between the strings in a typical duplex in some cases).

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Originally Posted by pyropaul
Originally Posted by prout
OE1FEU, thanks for the video. It has given me some ideas, and some courage, to tackle the top octave duplex tuning.

I had done this some time ago on my ancient A1. Just checked the duplexes now - they are still pretty much in tune both to each other within the tri-chord and the correct interval with respect to their speaking lengths. After doing this, the tuning ended up being more stable (this was a piano that had been fully restrung and before I did this duplex adjustment, there was up to a semitone difference between the strings in a typical duplex in some cases).

Interesting. My fear, and maybe someone here can inform me, is how far can I overpull a note before I exceed the elasticity of the steel and destroy the tone, break the string, whatever?

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If you can access the CAUT archive in the PTG forums, there is a helpful thread titled "Tuning the Back Duplex", beginning May 27, 2007. Included in the discussion is the concept of using a string hook as one method of manipulating tensions in the backscale. Enjoy!


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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by pyropaul
Originally Posted by prout
OE1FEU, thanks for the video. It has given me some ideas, and some courage, to tackle the top octave duplex tuning.

I had done this some time ago on my ancient A1. Just checked the duplexes now - they are still pretty much in tune both to each other within the tri-chord and the correct interval with respect to their speaking lengths. After doing this, the tuning ended up being more stable (this was a piano that had been fully restrung and before I did this duplex adjustment, there was up to a semitone difference between the strings in a typical duplex in some cases).

Interesting. My fear, and maybe someone here can inform me, is how far can I overpull a note before I exceed the elasticity of the steel and destroy the tone, break the string, whatever?

In the video the tuner was going about a semitone high ... my tuner also was doing the same in the high treble. I didn't go quite that high, but coupled with some strong blows, it was enough to increase the tension in the rear duplex. Obviously you don't want to go too high as you don't want the tension there higher than it needs to be otherwise it will affect tuning stability as it will eventually equalize over time I would think. Of course, there's a lot of friction on the bridge pins up there which is why I assumed after a restringing the duplexes hadn't equalized themselves quite.

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Originally Posted by Floyd G
If you can access the CAUT archive in the PTG forums, there is a helpful thread titled "Tuning the Back Duplex", beginning May 27, 2007. Included in the discussion is the concept of using a string hook as one method of manipulating tensions in the backscale. Enjoy!
Thanks. I'll check that out.

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Thanks pyropaul. i'll check out the CAUT archive for additional ideas, but I like the possibility of bringing the high treble NSLs closer to unison through pitch change alone rather than my original idea of banging on the half-cylinder terminations with a wooden stick to move them. I'm sure each bang would be multiple semitones.

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I honestly cannot hear any improvement in tone after all that monkeying around in the high treble. The duplex section certainly changed, but I'm not hearing any enhancement. Maybe it's just me...

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The risks of permanent deformation to piano wire by placing the pitch too high can vary with the design of the piano.

The biggest variable would be the speaking length. If the speaking lengths are on the long side of safety, (which places the tension of the wire when at intended pitch at relatively high percent of break point), raising the pitch a semitone above intended pitch could damage the wire.

Another variable would be if the string termination is hard enough to deform the wire where it contacts it, and if the string termination has a more abrasive surface. These conditions can be found in pianos with V-bars that have been case hardened or if the cooling rate of the iron the frame is made from is rapid enough to produce a harder grade of grey iron that what traditional piano building has used.

The string fatigue generated by these conditions may take years to manifest into string failure. But other problems including poor tuning character and a very difficult tuning stability nature are generated by the too hard and abrasive V-bar.

More frequent tuning will also result in quicker string fatigue in pianos with this type of V-bar.

I don't recommend the duplex tuning techniques shown in the video. If the duplex lengths are not exactly the same speaking length as the struck portion, the tension in the two segments will not be equal if the pitch is. So over time the tension will equalize across the bridge so the intended consonance will not be long lived.


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Originally Posted by pyropaul
In the video the tuner was going about a semitone high ...


Initially, for G#7 and A7, yes. But at 3:45 and 4:10 he pulls A#7 almost to C8, which is the better part of 200 cents. (And what's more, then pounds that 180+ cents speaking length to get its tension past the two bridge pins.)


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Thanks for all the cautionary advice. Perhaps I'll just live with the slight errors.

To sum up for me, three things:

the errors in the NSL unisons only cause a problem when I tune from C7 up. I find muting the nsl segments makes for quicker and easier tuning;

for most repertoire, the piano sound is rich and resonant and performs as designed;

for some earlier repertoire, muting the nsl segments is an amazing improvement, clearly audible to my chamber music companions.

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The video horrified me


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