Pianotech

Subject: What's the secret to going faster?

1.  What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 21:46
It takes me two and half hours to tune a piano.  I'm certain others probably don't take that long and I'm assuming there must be some little tips and tricks for going faster.  Do you have any?

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Gary Howell
Melbourne FL
[http://www.cranecreekpianos.com/]
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2.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 21:55
The same as learning to play a piano, a whole lot of practice and a little bit of lessons

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Thomas Black
Decatur AL
256-350-9315
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3.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 21:55
The same as learning to play a piano, a whole lot of practice and a little bit of lessons

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Thomas Black
Decatur AL
256-350-9315
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4.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 21:59
They same as learning to play a piano a whole lot of practice and a little bit of lessons

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Thomas Black
Decatur AL
256-350-9315
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5.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 21:02
Challenge yourself continually. If yo have your own piano or a practice piano all the better. Get a stopwatch and time various parts of your tuning.  Eg  Start with unisons.  Time the length to so an octave of unisons. Then try to better your time the next time you tune. Do the same with temperament, bass, high end etc..  Push yourself to better the times until you reach the efficiencies you are looking to achieve.  Same thing applies to every aspect in solo service piano work.  Key leveling, Hammer Hanging, Regulating, Stringing, and on and on.  
As solo workers, keep in mind that you are your own critic. For better or for worse.   If you want to achieve high level efficiencies the secret is simple, and here it is...."there ARE no secrets"    

Set your sights high and you will soar!
Best regards,

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Gerry
Gerald P. Cousins, RPT ~ Director of Piano Service and Resources
West Chester University of PA
gcousins@wcupa.edu
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6.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 22:18

Gary

As Tommy said, other than practice, practice, practice, there is no real short cut to getting faster or better at what your doing.

But one tip I tell students is: stop listening and start tuning. Whenever I've observed young and inexperienced tuners work, I see them spending too much time listening to an interval before they try to change the pitch. As soon as you hear that a string is out of tune, (or see that it's out of tune on your ETD), do something with the string, even if it's wrong. At least your making a change. It won't take you very long to learn which direction you're supposed to go. But in general, when the piano is flat, even a little bit, you know you're going to have to pull the pitch up. So do that, right away. Then when you're close, listen to the beats, and bring that baby home.

Maybe I learned fast, but my first piano took me 8 hours. My second 2 hours, and by the time I did my 4th or 5th piano, my time was down to a little over an hour. Now, I've been told that I have a "fast ear". That I hear an out of tune interval and know what to do with it faster than most people. But then I know a lot of very good tuners who can tune in less than an hour. This is for run of the mill, in home pianos. Obviously a concert tuning will take a little longer, not counting regulation and voicing.

So just keep at it, Gary, and maybe start doing what I suggested. Stop listening and start tuning

Good luck.

PS. If you're going to Atlanta for the convention, I would suggest you sign up for a tuning tutoring session. He or she can give you some tips.
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Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
Mililani, HI 96789
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7.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 23:45
Practice speed tuning on pitch raises. Don't forget to first drop the tension, very little - just enough to hear the ping, to break the friction at the termination before pulling it up; it will save a few broken strings. Even if you don't hear the 'ping', it usually helps the string to render better. No more than 2 cps is necessary, if that much.

I've heard one great tuner advise not to dwell on some pianos because they won't sound any better after a three hour tuning than with only a thirty minute tuning.

The trick is to develop hammer technique. That takes practice and paying attention to the overall tuning at the end or at the next tuning. Tuning is an ever diminishing series of moving the tension sharp and flat of pitch to ascertain pin torsion. The last effort should be to nudge the pin slightly sharp to pitch (just enough to neutralize the torsion in the pin), to cause the front string segment to be slightly higher in tension than the speaking length. If you come down in tension to pitch, then the front segment is lower in tension than the speaking length and on a firm blow the tension will leak across the termination going out of tune. Higher tension in the front segment won't leak. This is using the friction in the front bearing points to your advantage. Fine tuning does not involve turning pins so much as it is addressing the torsion in the pin.

If you are changing pitch, don't try to be too picky because it will change to the degree that the tension is changed. You are shoveling sand against the tide and fighting a loosing battle. With a minor pitch change you can be left with an appreciable tuning with a solid hammer technique. Subsequent tuning can refine the tuning. Remember, not all pianos are on the concert stage and a concert tuning is performed on a piano that is already in tune.

Don't worry about pin torsion, or setting the pin, on a pitch change, go as fast as you can. Once you develop a solid hammer technique, your p/r will become more solid too.

To recap, pitch corrections require speed; tuning requires accuracy. One day you'll reach speed with accuracy, just keep the accuracy in the tuning and the speed will follow.

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Regards,

Jon Page


8.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 22:23
Gary, I have 2 suggestions:

1- work faster
2 - tune more pianos

I know that sounds pretty simple, but that's what worked for me when I was starting out.

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Phil Bondi,RPT
Bondi's Piano Service
www.philbondi.com
239-949-3688

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9.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 15:51
Here's my tip. Plan on going through the tuning twice. Step one: set a good solid temperament. Then mark your time. Step two: first pass, don't get fussy but try your best to be accurate, and go AS FAST as you can Step three: see how accurate you were and correct your mistakes Make a game out of it. Before you know it, you will be zipping through tunings like a center pin on protec. ------------------------------------------- David Estey, RPT www.EsteyPiano.com Piano Tuners Sales Tips for the week. FREE! Sign up here: http://coolstuffformusicians.com/fine-tuning-your-salesmanship Creating Harmony in a World filled with Discord. 1-800-ON A PIANO (662-7426) dave@esteypiano.com -------------------------------------------


10.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 22:53
On 1/27/2014 8:45 PM, Gary Howell via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
> It takes me two and half hours to tune a piano. I'm certain others
> probably don't take that long and I'm assuming there must be some
> little tips and tricks for going faster. Do you have any?

Tune in the attack, not the decay. Everything of any importance happens
in the first half second. Listen faster. You'll tune faster, and with
better stability.
Ron N




11.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-27-2014 23:49
I don't provide service to any dealers these days, but used to do quite a bit of this work - subcontracting for a dealer and doing lots of "floor" tunings. "Piece work" did not pay very well so there was really no choice but to tune faster. The alternative was starvation wages. Nothing like having an incentive...

Go to meetings and talk to more experienced technicians. If possible, watch experienced tuners work. Pay attention to every single movement you make. Over time you will learn to listen and work more efficiently. All of the other advice given here has been very good.

I once heard Franz Mohr at a seminar say that he had seen many instances where a tuner spent so much time trying to achieve a perfect temperament that there wasn't enough time to tune the rest of the piano. Please, I am NOT advocating hasty, sloppy work. But, we can have a tendency to "over test". George Defebaugh used to say that you can test yourself out of business. The lesson? Find a few tests that work well for you and stick with them. Don't use every test you ever read about in an attempt to achieve a 100% perfect tuning - it doesn't exist anyway.   
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Gerry Johnston
Haverhill, MA
gj@gjpianotuner.com
www.gjpianotuner.com
(978) 372-2250
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12.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 00:57
Lots of good suggestions already.

A few other ideas -- if the piano is more than slightly out, multiple passes can save time. Make the first pass very fast, but as accurate as you can manage without slowing down. There's no point in getting the accuracy of the first pass greater than the changes you will make in the second pass. Always know where in the process you are, and which sections of the piano will move the furthest, and pay attention and dole out time accordingly. A slight overpull in the middle treble when you know the first tuning is going to sag downwards can save time, but only if you do it very quickly, almost subliminally. I don't like major overpulls -- I think that they are risky. A broken string can throw your total time right out the window.

As a general principle, try to make minimal movements and changes. The less far a pin has to move, the more stability will be retained.

Over time, you can make the repetitious motions, such as moving the tuning hammer from pin to pin, extremely neat and quick.

If you wonder whether a string which is extremely close is sharp or flat, instead of testing it, just nudge it downward a very small amount. Then you know that it is flat.

If you tend to take each string through the same process, doing it the same way, you have a little more built-in stability ... assuming your way is appropriate for the particular piano.

Do your planning and allot your time according to your aim for that particular instrument. If it is a gross pitch raise, there is a limit to how much polishing is appropriate. If it is a concert tuning from close to the right pitch, then stability and a fine polish should be the aim, and the needed time should be devoted to it. If the piano is capable of taking a really good tuning, then I want to give it that. If it is false as a three dollar bill, I just want to get it to do what it is able to do. I think I'd probably spend less time than I do here on a tuning in a difficult climate, because here a decent tuning can sound quite presentable years later if conditions are good -- but in parts of the country where pitch can shift a semitone during seasonal changes, I can understand that customers wouldn't want to pay top dollar for a tuning which might only sound good for six weeks. And if the money isn't there, then the tuning time would probably have to be shorter. I try to remember this, and not react with shock when people talk casually about half-hour tunings.

I often spend two and a half hours on a good piano, because I like the results I can get that way. Most of the time is in the final phases, and I take a litle time for voicing if needed.

In an emergency concert situation, I can put on a good burst of speed. It's not a bad idea to try the burst of speed on a routine tuning, and then go back and polish. That way the speed will be there when you need it.

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Susan Kline
Philomath, Oregon



13.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 06:00
It is my experience that if you tense up while trying to hurry I get sloppy in even putting my tuning hammer on the tuning pin. When that happens, I pause and take a few deep breaths, and try to bring my tension down. Then I can usually proceed at a quicker pace. The point is that your body needs to be relaxed in this procedure or else one will feel in it in the future with sore shoulders, sore tendons in the elbows, etc...
Then I go along with the good suggestions with lots of practice, and not to stay on a tone for too long.
Try to time yourself in a pitch raise to try to do it in 15 min. Then try to time yourself on a temperament, unison, trichord, one octave. Try  tuning with only two  mutes instead of a muting strip.

All these will help in cutting some time and not being too tired to proceed.

I hope this helps
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Victor Belanger
Belmont, MA
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14.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 07:39
By removing my posts on futurism from my postings, the PTG has decided speed is a valid marketing tool, but assiduousness, is not. The people who want us to go faster generally do not care about piano technology. Instututions look for faster tuners, not real piano technicians. The notion that so and so takes such and such an amount of time to tune a piano is nothing but a fradulent marketing hook, and if sincerely propounded, a display of incompetence. Rather, it is the piano that that takes such and such an amount of time to tune, not the technician, if we genuinely have understanding of the profession. Generally speaking, a lot depends on bearing. You can grease it all you want, some pianos are designed with tight bearing, some, loose. Obviously I am not talking about flattened bridges and loose pin blocks. Complain all you want, if a piano is bearing tight, there is nothing necessarily wrong with the piano. Take the necessary time climate permitting and you will have a piano that will stay in tune twice as long if you stop saying, "I take this long to tune," and start saying, "This piano takes this much time, to tune." Generally tuning for institutions goes faster, because there is a lot of it, not because of the tuner. Taking the time to fix off unisons discovered aurally whole tone tuning, and fixing temperament problems discovered beyond the temperament octave does pay sometimes. When I do, I get tips. Figuring out how to do this without screwing up the temperament takes more time. Ghosting impresses clients. I am guessing you aren't tuning 20 a week. It starts going faster then, slows down with slower tuning weeks, at least for me. There is no substitute for optimism. If you don't want to be there, it takes longer. ------------------------------------------- Benjamin Sloane Cincinnati OH 513-257-8480 -------------------------------------------


15.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 10:07

Dear Gary & list,

Earlier, like, much earlier this morning, I was going to post to this thread, but I couldn't quite decide which of the many thoughtful contributions  to 'launch' from, since my particular view took a somewhat different tack.  Enter: Benjamin S, who has introduced the question I was going to pose, albeit, not in his way:

Why faster?  Are you so busy already, as a recently full-time, that you have trouble fitting all your client calls into the day, or week?  How strong was your initial training? (This, and most of the others are 'thought' questions, not requiring actual responses).  How many hours have you spent 'slow' tuning... either patiently struggling to solve a problem, or understand (and develop) the kinesthetic process...many of the previous posts refer to subtle muscular control that simply takes time (different for each of us, except Wim!) to develop. 

Who, as Ben suggested, is pushing you to be faster?  What about the ability to experience the mini-moments of fulfillment every time you 'solve' a unison, or an octave?  (Note: not implying you should do shots after each unison - unless it's after 11:00AM) Who could do this kind of work, for this many hours, days, years of their lives, if there weren't some part of the process (other than getting paid) that gave us fulfillment?

Whenever I'm about to use the word 'duality',  I inescapably make a mental nod to David Anderson, who, somehow, managed to get through to me at a presentation he did a few years ago, in NYC.  The duality that comes to mind here is embracing the presence of the 'clock', while still being unaware of it. As Ron said "Clock watching is the enemy".   In his example, he advised practicing by getting into a rhythm, which I agree with... (practice sprinting is also good).  This means you'll be spending time practicing tuning without getting paid... so maybe you can find a venue... a church or school.. that would allow you access.  Still, and apart from Ron's extremely useful advice regarding listening (and responding) to the attack, there are things to be learned (and experienced) by just allowing yourself to become immersed in the sound, especially on a better piano.  If you never feel like you have the time for this, something is wrong. 

The other point, that Ben also touches on, is that, apart from quality of sound, pianos will tune as differently as (theoretically) snowflakes.  If you're over-focusing on speed, you're unlikely to be allowing your body to perceive the differences. And yet, as with developing a solid piano technique, (and for, yet again another duality), we strive to develop a tuning technique that both acknowledges the differences and then, transcends them.

As Ben said: There is no substitute for optimism.  I'm not sure it's true, but it sound promising.

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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Original Message:
Sent: 01-28-2014 08:17
From: Benjamin Sloane
Subject: What's the secret to going faster?

By removing my posts on futurism from my postings, the PTG has decided speed is a valid marketing tool, but assiduousness, is not.
The people who want us to go faster generally do not care about piano technology. Instututions look for faster tuners, not real piano technicians. The notion that so and so takes such and such an amount of time to tune a piano is nothing but a fradulent marketing hook, and if sincerely propounded, a display of incompetence.
Rather, it is the piano that that takes such and such an amount of time to tune, not the technician, if we genuinely have understanding of the profession.
Generally speaking, a lot depends on bearing. You can grease it all you want, some pianos are designed with tight bearing, some, loose. Obviously I am not talking about flattened bridges and loose pin blocks. Complain all you want, if a piano is bearing tight, there is nothing necessarily wrong with the piano. Take the necessary time climate permitting and you will have a piano that will stay in tune twice as long if you stop saying, "I take this long to tune," and start saying, "This piano takes this much time, to tune."
Generally tuning for institutions goes faster, because there is a lot of it, not because of the tuner.
Taking the time to fix off unisons discovered aurally whole tone tuning, and fixing temperament problems discovered beyond the temperament octave does pay sometimes. When I do, I get tips. Figuring out how to do this without screwing up the temperament takes more time. Ghosting impresses clients.
I am guessing you aren't tuning 20 a week. It starts going faster then, slows down with slower tuning weeks, at least for me. There is no substitute for optimism. If you don't want to be there, it takes longer.

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Benjamin Sloane
Cincinnati OH
513-257-8480
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16.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 05:33


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William Truitt
Bridgewater NH
603-744-2277
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What Ron says.  You may think that he is being hasty and sloppy, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.  This is how I have trained myself to tune.  Endless repetition through practice will get your brain to zone in on only that which you need to hear, nothing more, and make the decisions quickly.  That same repetition refines the movements of the tuning pin with your hand and you build in efficiencies.  You will start making accurate movements of the pin quickly. 

Half a second is a long time, and enough to hear what you need and move on.  Most pianos are full of "junk" noises that add to the confusion and manifest themselves after that initial attack phase.  They do nothing to bring clarity.  You can always fix your mistakes anyway.  And they are not mistakes.  It's target practice.  It never stops being target practice.

Set yourself time goals.  If you check a piano before beginning and estimate it will take you say 2.5 hours.  Set your goal for 2 hours and get moving.  Even if you do not achieve it, you will find your times dropping.  When you get to that 2 hour mark, drop your times again and aim for that.  My guess is that, with diligent practice along suggested lines, you can drop 1 to 1.5 hours off your times AND do a more accurate and solid tuning.  I think you are going to surprise yourself.

Will Truitt







17.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 08:42
Adjust the tip on your lever so the handle aligns with the pins flat or corner. Look at the next pin before you get off the present one

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Larry Messerly, RPT
Bringing Harmony to Homes
www.prescottpiano.com
larry@prescottpiano.com
928-445-3888
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18.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 08:44
On 1/28/2014 4:33 AM, William Truitt via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:

> Set yourself time goals.

I'm sorry, but I must disagree here. Clock watching is the enemy, and
will just slow you down and make it harder on you. When new techs have
asked about how to tune faster, I recommend they find a piano they can
use (their own, or whatever), and try an experiment. THROW a tuning at
the piano. Don't make 73 checks per note, don't listen through ten
seconds of decay. Hit it, move and settle the pin (string), move on.
Don't look for trouble or perfection, just move as fast as you humanly
can, but don't bypass settling the string. This isn't a pitch raise,
it's a tuning. Don't stop or slow down to get philosophical, MOVE, keep
moving, and don't look up or at a clock until you're done. Then when you
finish - do it again.

You know you've done a lousy job, because you blew through it so fast
and didn't agonize over the minutest details in the process, yet when
you check over the tuning after the second pass you find something you
don't understand. It sounds pretty good. It sounds way better than you
would have guessed, and you have made two passes in much less time than
your "normal" tuning. You have just experienced the difference between
spending time where it does the most good, and not wasting time on the
junk you can't fix no matter how long you sit there. Do this exercise
(one pass) a half dozen times during the next few weeks, with scheduled
tunings when you have the time to touch up the results if necessary
before you leave. Very soon, you'll be tuning in an hour, and doing a
better job than you did before at three without hurrying or being
stressed. Then, it's time to work on stability without giving up what
you've learned about speed and efficiency.

That's everything I know about tuning.
Ron N




19.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 10:02


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William Truitt
Bridgewater NH
603-744-2277
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Ron, I think we are more in agreement than not; perhaps I have not framed my remarks with sufficient clarity. 

I will speak from my own early experience, sometime back in the Stone Age.  When I was digging ditches practicing tuning before I foisted myself on the unsuspecting public, it would take me 4 to 4 1/2 hours to plod through a tuning. And for a while, I kept plodding through my tunings at those times.  I can't say they were all that good, given my investment of time.  My mentor told me ok, now you have to complete this tuning in 3 hours.  Then he would come in and check my tuning.  Of course, I never got to those top 2 octaves, so he would tear apart the poor quality of treble tuning.  The next time he came back, it was the last octave left undone.  And so on.  By the time I left his tutelage, my times were down to 2 hours and lower, and the quality dramatically better.  These days, I can do a pitch raise and a fine tuning in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  On those days when my fastball is hitting the mark every time, it can be as little as 50 minutes for the two passes.

The important thing to understand here is that the time was not the goal, forcing me learn to work efficiently and effectively was.  That goes straight to your remarks to keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.  What is happening as the practice builds is that we are driving our hand moves used for tuning into muscle memory, and our listening and mental processes into mental muscle memory.  The net result for you and me after so many years of tuning, 20,000 pianos, and a million movements; is that we don't need any more than that half second most all the time.  I don't tune to the clock at all, unless I am under the gun in concert work, I look at my watch when I am done.  It takes what it takes, but it takes a lot less time than it used to, with no loss of quality.

I doubt if you think that taking only 1/2 second to listen and hear all you need to hear means that you are rushing.  I certainly don't believe that.  It simply means that you are highly skilled and, like any good craftsman, very economical and efficient.  You have pared away anything that does not need to be there, so you do not waste time on things that bring no benefit to the quality of your tuning. 

For me, I find that my tunings are more accurate and stable when I work quickly.  I find that my octaves and unisons "drop into place" and the checks confirm what I already know.  Doing a pitch raise, even when the piano is close, gets me into that frame of mind where I am quick and very accurate.  If I slow myself down, the tuning is not as good or as accurate.  They are more solid than when I work slowly.

For others who dispute that one CAN work more accurately at speed, I say don't extrapolate your own experience onto mine, and then condemn me for it.  All I am saying is that a lifetime of experience has taught me that this is what works best for me.  I am not claiming that it will work for everybody.  But there are many others who work similarly and with continual success.  So I offer it to our the gentleman who posed the question.

Will Truitt







20.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 11:27


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Charles Belknap
Belknap Piano Service
Enid, OK 73703
580-541-5902


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I have to absolutely agree with Mr. Nossaman.  I tuned for 15 years and always took 2 hours to do a good job.  I read his post several years back about rapidly striking the note and tuning on the impact.  I tried it for a while, and then one day I tuned a piano and realized that it was only 45 minutes since I had started.  It happened just as quickly as that.   Now, I am unhappy with myself if a tuning takes an hour and 15 minutes. to complete even with the ever present pitch adjustment.  However, some pianos just seem to require that.

By focusing on the impact, you quickly can hear when the 2 strings come together.  This will give you beautiful, solid unisons, that go one for ever without a roll, (on a good piano). and the rapid striking adds tremendously to stability issues. 

I do not strike hard on any of these and keep a good relaxed wrist.  No problems with fatigue, and thanks to ear plugs, no mental fatigue, as I have little of that to spare anymore.

Mr. Nossaman, I am your neighbor across the border here in God's country, and if we ever get to meet, dinner is on me.  Your ideas have helped me tremendously, especially on your method of tuning and speed.

Yours,
Charles Belknap
in Frozen Enid, OK






21.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 17:12
This.

I read the same post by Ron Nossaman several years back and it was an
epiphany and the single most helpful piece of advice I've ever received
about tuning. Cut my average tuning time down from 1 1/2 hrs. to about an
hour almost overnight.

I don't remember his exact words but I think he mentioned something too
about "knowing" when you've got it and "knowing" it within milliseconds and
moving on. It's that "knowing" that builds confidence.

But what helps too, as many have mentioned, is experience: tuning lots and
lots of pianos, getting to know the range of pianos out there, and knowing
within the first couple of unisons what you're dealing with, i.e., what does
a well-tuned unison on this particular piano sound like?

Gary Hodge
Warrenton, VA




22.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 13:34
On 1/28/2014 10:27 AM, Charles Belknap via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:

>
> I have to absolutely agree with Mr. Nossaman. I tuned for 15 years
> and always took 2 hours to do a good job. I read his post several
> years back about rapidly striking the note and tuning on the impact.
> I tried it for a while, and then one day I tuned a piano and realized
> that it was only 45 minutes since I had started. It happened just as
> quickly as that.

That's precisely why I disagree with setting and working toward time
goals. It works so much better as a surprise when you suddenly realize
you're doing it easily, comfortably, and naturally without ever having
to "work" at it.


> By focusing on the impact, you quickly can hear when the 2 strings
> come together. This will give you beautiful, solid unisons, that go
> one for ever without a roll, (on a good piano).

There's a reason for this. A not quite clean unison will pull together
by itself after a second or so and not really cycle, but will always
sound ratty in the attack because it's not in tune. Tuning in the decay
guarantees unisons like this, and I've heard plenty of them in fresh
tunings.


> and the rapid
> striking adds tremendously to stability issues.

It certainly does, as you said, without pounding.


> Mr. Nossaman, I am your neighbor across the border here in God's
> country, and if we ever get to meet, dinner is on me. Your ideas
> have helped me tremendously, especially on your method of tuning and
> speed.

Thank you Sir. I appreciate it.
Ron N




23.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 14:22
Just to clarify a point, tuning in the attack applies to unisons and octaves, not the temperament where you need to hear the beat speed over a period of time. Test blows are not for settling-in the string but to verify stability. Hammer technique produces stability.

As for speed tuning/pitch corrections, a realistic expectation at this early point would be 30 to 45 minutes.

This morning I tuned a U1 which had the tenor and treble about -10c. I started at the end of the long bridge and tuned w/ overpull. That took 20 minutes. Retuning on the long bridge took another 40 minutes and the bass about 15 minutes; 75 minutes overall. I work at a comfortable pace and do not try to break land speed records. I don't tune all day, every day these days.

Back when I was tuning aurally, I realized that setting the temperament took one third of the tuning time. A 20 minute temp. ended with an overall 60 minute tuning time.



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Regards,

Jon Page


24.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 17:04
You know what gets you fast at tuning.  Get only 1 hour in a classroom between 9 and 10am to tune something 10cents flat.  That'll teach you in a hurry. Oh yeah, All the stinking time.

I remember before coming to UNL for an interview, Steve Brady and I met at Sherman Clay in downtown Seattle on a quiet afternoon.  He pointed randomly at a piano and said, "the class starts in an hour, do what you can do".  Great eye opening on at least how music schools work.  Made me appreciate how to make things work in a short time.  Of course, when actually tuning a client or stage thing, it's different, 2 hours is max on a concert tuning for an important concert:  1 hour 10-15 minutes is about my average for regular tunings. 1.5 hours with minor pitch raise.  Fly through the pitch raise and don't listen to much other than what Ron said.  just bring up to close and move on. no decay is needed.  Just get close to there and then you'll be fine on the second pass. 

I don't recommend trying to make a one pass tuning if more than 5-10 cents sharp or flat. 

-------------------------------------------
Paul T. Williams RPT
Piano Technician
Glenn Korff School of Music
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
pwilliams4@unl.edu

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25.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 14:46
On 1/28/2014 1:22 PM, Jon Page via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
> Just to clarify a point, tuning in the attack applies to unisons and
> octaves, not the temperament where you need to hear the beat speed
> over a period of time.

You can pick up beat speeds in the temperament very quickly as well, and
should. The point is to do your tuning early in the tonal envelope.


> Test blows are not for settling-in the string
> but to verify stability.

This has always been the case, however you tune.


> Hammer technique produces stability.

No, awareness of what the string is doing, accommodating it consciously,
and providing enough energy input into the string at the right rate
while you're tuning is what produces stability.


> As for speed tuning/pitch corrections, a realistic expectation at
> this early point would be 30 to 45 minutes.

I don't do times. Whatever works. The point being to not sweat arbitrary
benchmarks, but rather to improve the approach and see what happens.

Ron N




26.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 16:34
A somewhat similar thread on tuning is on Piano World and is off on the wrong foot:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2221719/Tuning_at_the_Beginning_of_the.html#Post2221719
-------------------------------------------
Regards,

Jon Page


27.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 17:30
See this http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_8bWuzKXcSY&list=PLE5BB14563A809336&feature=plpp ------------------------------------------- Ed Sutton Editor Piano Technicians Journal ed440@me.com 704-536-7926 -------------------------------------------


28.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 19:35

<from Ed Sutton

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_8bWuzKXcSY&list=PLE5BB14563A809336&feature=plpp

Alright...finally something to watch and listen to rather than all words about a non-verbal question. These threads are begging for audio/visual materials.

What are we watching here?  Is this a first pass, or what, because precious few of those unisons are what I would consider unisons.  I don't think its a first pass, because the 2nd & 3rd strings are already pretty close.

Perhaps an assumption check is in order, as this is an upright and perhaps he doesn't think it will matter. But this is not how I would like to proceed unless it were a pitch raise or first pass. I certainly wouldn't leave a piano like this. I had the same impression watching Alan's Z's fast tuning on the recently released Virgil Smith DVD...the amount of unison movement, even, in that case on a good Bosendorfer grand, were, to me, unacceptable and unmusical, and Virgil insisted they needed to cleaned up before a top notch, musical tuning could be had.

The assumption that needs to be clearly stated is, what musically is to be expected in the sped up tuning...or, is musicality is not in the end game. Given David S's well stated mention of dualities, musicality and speed may possibly be had together, but I ain't see'in it in this video. Its professional and workman-like but it is not to my thinking musical.

As a slow tuner, and someone who considers himself a student of tuning, this is the point which hangs me up regarding the lickety split advice. I simply don't trust the musicality of the outcome...I only see speed. I have tuned in a fashion similar to this listen quick, bump and move. While the tuning time decreased, I abandoned it because the results were merely acceptable. The quality that I had already achieved in my slow track tunings went significantly south. As well, the enjoyment of the process vanished.

Is the musical result a central defining assumption of the suggested speeding-up techniques or not? ...although, even getting a clear reading on what one or another considers "musical" is in itself fraught...which is why audio/video back-up the suggested techniques would be helpful in this regard. 

Jim Ialeggio

 
-------------------------------------------
Jim Ialeggio
grandpianosolutions.com
Shirley, MA
978 425-9026
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29.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 10:02
Speed comes from efficiency.  Efficiency means eliminating all that is extraneous and/or doesn't contribute to getting to the goal.  That includes listening only as far into the tonal envelope as is necessary, which might be different when tuning a unison than when tuning, say, a fifth.  (ETDs eliminate this disparity, btw, as interval checking is basically no longer a part of the tuning process except for, perhaps, a quick verification.)  It also means eliminating unnecessary pin movements and reducing the number of pushes and pulls to get to your target.  So hammer technique does matter.  Hammer technique also contributes to stability because what is happening with the string is felt through the interaction between the hammer and the tuning pin.  

How far to listen into the envelope is really just a matter of focus and eliminating the habit of hanging onto a note for too long.  Hammer technique takes practice but the right kind of practice.  It's not a matter of being faster or more frenetic in your movements, it's a matter of making fewer of them.   The beginning tuner overcorrects and/or undercorrects.  More experienced tuners develop a more precise feel for the relationship between pitch correction and pin movement.  That's the goal.  It makes the tuning not only faster but less physically stressful as well.

-------------------------------------------
David Love RPT
www.davidlovepianos.com
davidlovepianos@comcast.net
415 407 8320
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30.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-28-2014 22:36
Give yourself an hour and a half to tune for a concert, then have the stage manager come and tell you you only have 25 minutes.  Go!

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Zeno Wood
Brooklyn, NY
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31.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 00:27
You may need to work smarter. If you are tuning by 4th's and 5ths you are waiting too long for those pulsations.
Adding the ability to make use of 3rd's and 6th's (where the beat speeds are evident during this first split second) will move things right along.
But wait! You must be using an ETD. You can still speed things up by learning more about tuning by ear to go along with the ETD.

Go to conventions. Invest in knowledge now and the payoff will follow.

---Tom Gorley RPT




32.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 06:31
Make sure you simulate musicians and stage hands walking on stage while you're trying to listen.
25 minutes? Lots of time!

-------------------------------------------
Phil Bondi,RPT
Bondi's Piano Service
www.philbondi.com
239-949-3688

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33.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 12:56
A very good point!

Other work order habits I've gradually realized are a good idea:

1. When tuning for a concert, get the muting strip out early in the process.

2. When tuning for a concert (and not a bad idea all the time), fix any really bad notes first.

You never know when the artist will walk in and need access, regardless of what planning took place beforehand.

It's not that hard to rough in something acceptable and stable very quickly, and then pick nits and polish to a fine sheen with any time which is left.

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Susan Kline
Philomath, Oregon



34.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 03:44
IT IS VITAL to learn to LISTEN to the harmonics! It takes me about 3/4 hr. to tune a piano I have tuned within 6 months. I expect to take approx an hour normally. To pitch Raise takes me, maybe, 90mins to 2 hrs. How is this achievable? You CAN do it - if you really concentrate on listening to those harmonics. First thing is to 'set the bearings' accurately. For this I use my TLA (E.T.A) From here I'm on my own and tune by ear. Bearings set, examined and tweaked (if necessary) I progress downwards from the B below mid 'C tuning first the 8ve and checking the 4ths, 5ths.,and, once you get to 'G' below mid 'C', TENTHS - most important this - and is my 'invisible tool'. First, though,go to a well tuned piano and listen to it when you play 10ths. chromatically  up and down the keyboard. Listen most carefully and accutely to the beats the 10ths produce. Note how they get gradually faster as you go UP and slower as you go DOWN. Listen.... and REMEMBER what those 10th. beats sound like. BY thus training your ear you CAN DO IT!! Any questions please ASK!  Michael (UK)

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Michael Gamble
semi retired
Brighton
01273813612
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35.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 08:07
On 1/28/2014 4:30 PM, Ed Sutton via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
> See this
>
> http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_8bWuzKXcSY&list=PLE5BB14563A809336&feature=plpp


What on earth for? This bears no resemblance to what's being discussed.
Explain.
Ron N




36.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 08:24
Nossaman <What on earth for? This bears no resemblance to what's being discussed.


Ron, it seemed to me, at least from the words you were using, that this did illustrate at least some of what you were describing...less the rapid fire strikes. Could you explain?

Jim Ialeggio  

-------------------------------------------
Jim Ialeggio
grandpianosolutions.com
Shirley, MA
978 425-9026
-------------------------------------------





--








37.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 09:07
On 1/29/2014 7:24 AM, Jim Ialeggio via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
> Nossaman > being discussed.
>
>
> Ron, it seemed to me, at least from the words you were using, that
> this did illustrate at least some of what you were describing...less
> the rapid fire strikes. Could you explain?

Probably not, by all evidence.

I wasn't talking about tuning a string in a half second, however lousy
the unison is when you're done. I'm talking about just what I said,
however it's butchered by interpretation. Tuning in the attack does NOT
preclude listening, nor does it mean finishing in a half second with a
couple of strokes, nor does it mean not finishing by stabilizing the string.

The video showed someone tuning way too softly, hitting the string way
too few times, and not stabilizing the string. Does that sound like what
people who have tried what I suggested and found it to work are
describing? Do you really believe I'm advocating the kind of hack crap
the video shows as a tuning technique? So you don't hurt your intuitizer
trying to imagine it out, I'll tell you. No, I'm not.

Read the descriptions again as they were written without interpreting
them into what you think I might have meant or to fit what you were
taught or believe, and the information is there for anyone with an open
mind who might be interested in learning something surprising.

And no, I'm not going to make you a video.
Ron N




38.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 09:41


-------------------------------------------
William Truitt
Bridgewater NH
603-744-2277
-------------------------------------------
"Tuning in the attack does NOT
preclude listening, nor does it mean finishing in a half second with a
couple of strokes, nor does it mean not finishing by stabilizing the string."

What Ron says above is my everyday experience in tuning over many years.  Just because others who tune differently dispute my technique without ever having given it a chance or enough of a chance, does not make it any less true for me.  It simply means that their prejudice does not allow any other point of view.  If it didn't work very well, I would not do it.  Period. 

I submit that I am listening in that half second with as much focus as anyone out there.  The difference is that I get all the information that I need to to decide whether or not I need to move the pin and by how much in that period of time, so I dont waste my time or tire myself unnecessarily by continuing to listen.  And if I am not accurate, I move the pin again.  But I don't find that I am chasing my tail by slovenly and rushed hand technique because this method of working is well integrated with my particular hand technique.

That is where I drop the pitch quickly and then slow drag it up to the drop point.  I am able to do this in such a way that I can often drop the pin where it needs to be on the first or second try.  The pin is not twisted on its axis, so it is stable once set in place.  My sensitivity to what is happening in my movements of the pin by hand is refined enough that 90 to 95% of the time I know whether the pin is going to be stable before I do my test blows.  The net effect is that I am able to listen very efficiently and move the pins effectively, so the reduced times are a natural byproduct.  What is wrong with that?  I can do as many or as few checks as anyone else.

 Will Truitt











39.  RE: What's the secret to going faster?

Posted 01-29-2014 09:22
On 1/28/2014 9:02 AM, William Truitt via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:

> Ron, I think we are more
> in agreement than not; perhaps I have not framed my remarks with
> sufficient clarity.

I wasn't aware that I had disagreed with you.

Ron N




40.  RE:What's the secret to going faster?