Pianotech

  • 1.  Intolerable unisons?

    Posted 20 days ago

    Little Hobart Cable console I've serviced now for several years.  Every time I tune it, I cringe trying to tune unisons in the upper 2 1/2 octaves or so.  Doesn't sound like the "normal" false beats you get in these little pianos.  Almost sounds like clashing upper harmonics!  I just cannot seem to get these unisons to sound right.  Is it possible to have such inharmonicity within unisons?   Or is it possibly something adjacent being excited when played?  This customer isn't interested in investing much $$ in this piano.  It's in a little bed and breakfast, and just there for the patron's amusement, but I'm curious about this situation (for possible future reference).   Just drives me nuts. 



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    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    (740) 517-7636
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  • 2.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago
    Tim

    The problem is most likely the strings not seated on the bridge. You can try to seat them without removing the action by taking a drum stick with the tip broken off and running it up and down each string. The broken off tip should give you enough roughness on the end of the drum stick to keep it on the string. Or you can cut a little grove in the top to fit on the string. 

    Wim





  • 3.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Posted 19 days ago

    Thanks Wm.   I actually have a tool for just that, but for some reason it just never occurred to me that it could be the problem.  I've encountered the "buzzing" bridge pins before, but either never encountered this, or else never recognized it as such.  

    -- Tim



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    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    (740) 517-7636
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  • 4.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 19 days ago

    Tim, Wim's advice sounds helpful. You might consider a bit of voicing of the hammers too. If you happen to be using an ETD such as CyberTuner you might be able to get them cleaner. Using an ETD (or even your ear) you may find plucking the string may help you to focus on tuning the strings better. Good luck! Can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but we always try! 



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    Patrick Draine RPT
    Billerica MA
    (978) 663-9690
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  • 5.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 19 days ago

    Just because you are not satisfied with the tuning you are putting on this piano doesn't mean that the customer is not pleased with the results. They keep calling you back, yes? You keep doing the best you can, yes? They may not know they have a t**d, but your visits keep making it sound better to their ears. They're happy. Don't try to polish it to meet your expectations. (Wim's suggestion could help, though, and probably would be worth the try since it's easy and inexpensive to do.)



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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 6.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 19 days ago

    Timothy,

    You'll find this is due to  bad down bearing -- either inadequate  or reverse. Those conditions set up an independent high pitch vibration within the flat space between the two bridge pins. Option # 2. The entire string is not in a neutral straight line from tuning pin to hitch pin.

    Roger



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    Roger Gable RPT
    Gable Piano
    Everett WA
    (425) 252-5000
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  • 7.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Member
    Posted 19 days ago

    I would also try shaping the hammers if they have string cuts or flat strike points. A little voicing will help but I also think you should follow Wims advice to seat strings. 



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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 8.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 19 days ago

    Agressive sugar coating with a wide angle sharp point like a compass point needle in the groves can work wonders.  A low angle angel shot method works well as is quite safe. Doesn't take much time and the effect sweetens the tone and makes unisons much more easy to tune.    I wish I had figured out this method 45 years ago when I started tuning!



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    David Stanwood
    stanwoodpiano.com
    stanwood@tiac.net
    508-693-1583
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  • 9.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Posted 19 days ago

    Thanks to all for the help.

    David --- what is "A low angle angel shot "?   I'm assuming it's a low angle prick with a single needle, but what is the "angel shot"?

    -- Tim



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    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    (740) 517-7636
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  • 10.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 19 days ago

    Hello Tim,

    Click on 'Online Journal Search' from the My PTG homepage, and type Angel Shot. Find the Dec 2021 issue, page 13. It's a great Voicing method.




  • 11.  RE: Intolerable unisons?

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago

    HI Tim,    Angel shot is a method of coming at the felt with your needle at a low angle instead of straight down and in.  It pushes up the compacted outer  felt layer and creates a soft impact surface without disturbing the lower layers that drive volume.  Refer to PTJournal article December 2021 by Larry Lobel and Zhiwei Huang.  My variation on the method is to use a wide angle sharp pointed needle.



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    David Stanwood
    stanwoodpiano.com
    stanwood@tiac.net
    508-693-1583
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