I have been tuning for 15 years and have tuned more than
experience level lets me listen more acutely to your instrument and
understand it's personality. I can provide references upon request (over
70 currently active clients).
A Piano Teacher of more than 50 years in her profession was my most
client: My mother. (1926-2013)
Her love of music has critically shaped my attitude of listening to all the
nuances of fine instruments.
Pitching is a relative type term. Most pianos have
the temperament tuned to A-440- which is standard pitch. This is the
A-key above middle C and is a good starting place to base the pitch
of the rest of the keys. Keep in mind, there is also a
characteristic stretch associated with making the piano sound
pleasing to the ear. Generally a lowering of the base keys (flatting-b) and somewhat higher than on-pitch of the treble (# sharping). Where this occurs is unique to each piano and it's own
resonance. See: (Railsback
From my experience every piano has it's characteristic
unfortunate that manufacturers of some of the less-expensive pianos
do not pay attention to resonance while building their instruments.
I have had some pianos that sounded horrible because of false beats
that creep in the high treble and can create a 'bell ringing' kind
of sound instead of a clear single tone. Also, the mushiness of the
bass can ruin the richness of mid range notes because of harsh
metallic sounds of the bass strings beating with the mid range.
If your piano is a short "spinet" or not a full size upright grand,
it might be prone to false beats making it sound out of tune with
itself. This is no fault of the tuner as the pitch is correct but
the strings have vibrations that don't mix well with the rest of the
These are difficult to tune. A professional
tuner will listen to your instrument before starting to tune and
learn it's voice before changing it into something you may not like.
If you are a music instructor of piano, or have students with
instruments with which you use your piano, this can be invaluable in making your piano sound
pleasing to you and your students. If you are a music
instructor, I highly recommend either an upright grand or a standard
grand piano- you and your students ears will be better in the long
run. The inharmonicity of these smaller pianos is a detriment
to all ears involved.
Many in the music industry enjoy
piano tunings from eras of long past. If you have one in mind, chances are
I can look up specific tunings or already have it installed in my 'tuner' and
Raising or Lowing
a pianos pitch is delicate work. It will depend on the age of the
piano, how far the pitch needs to change as to whether or not it can be
accomplished. Generally, Pianos manufactured before 1930 had very
brittle strings and cannot be brought up to pitch unless it has been done
regularly- as string breakage is common.
I listen to your instrument.
Granted, in order to be proficient in tuning, every tuner generally uses a
'pitching' device. A tuning fork or other instrument. I use a
III from Inventronics to measure the stretch that is inherent in each piano.
This stretch (Railsback
curve) is important to set correctly to the instrument. My hearing
is very acute, but I credit the Sanderson Co. for their professional instrument
that has proven itself by its accuracy and functionality in making excellent
tunings. Where my ear would be setting the pitch, is usually where the
says it should be!
This is the most common of piano
complaints. Keys stick, hammers double striking, pedals not doing what
they are supposed to do. If there is no serious damaged parts, generally
minor regulation of these items can be performed onsite. Be sure to talk
to your tuner if your instrument isn't performing as you would expect a
marvelously intricate machine is supposed to!