The following write-ups on hammer technique come indigenous a an extremely long object on Pianotech in at an early stage 2014, licensed has been granted “What’s the mystery to going faster” (Somebody posed the question, and also the thread developed into usage of an ETD and hammer technique). From the thread, I have selected mostly write-ups by David Love and also londonchinatown.orgself, relenten what we perform in great detail – we room pretty lot in agreement. The full thread is at - bm104

There to be a much shorter follow-up thread in ~ - bm8 licensed has been granted “hammer technique.

You are watching: A hammer in an out-of-tune piano

Speed comes from efficiency. Efficiency method eliminating all that is extraneous and/or doesn"t add to acquiring to the goal. That includes listening only as much into the tonal envelope together is necessary, which might be various when tuning a unison than when tuning, say, a fifth. (ETDs remove this disparity, btw, as interval check is usually no longer a part of the tuning procedure except for, perhaps, a quick verification.) it also way eliminating unnecessary pin movements and reducing the number of pushes and also pulls to obtain to your target. Therefore hammer method does matter. Hammer method also contributes to stability since what is happening with the string is felt v the interaction between the hammer and the tuning pin.

How much to listen right into the envelope is really simply a matter of focus and eliminating the habit of hanging onto a note for as well long. Hammer technique takes practice however the ideal kind of practice. It"s not a issue of being much faster or much more frenetic in your movements, it"s a matter of making fewer of them. The start tuner overcorrects and/or undercorrects. Much more experienced tuners develop a more precise feeling for the relationship between pitch correction and also pin movement. That"s the goal. It renders the tuning not just faster however less physically stressful as well.


David Love RPT

ETDs deserve to be a very an useful teaching help to display you how to tune more directly to the target pitch. Less professional tuners tune a little high, a small low, a tiny less high, a little less low, a little less high still, a tiny less low and on and on till they lastly settle in ~ the target.

More skilled tuners get to the target quickly and also with fewer moves. The ETD can be advantageous for this kind of training since it gives you instant and visual feedback as it relates to pen torque, actual pen movement, false movement and stability. It"s this really refined and also subtle regulate over the pin, together with learning come recognize quickly where you space aurally, the really create efficiency and with that will come speed. Of food you have the right to do that v the best kind of focussed exercise without an ETD however a visual input deserve to be an extremely helpful--read an ext efficient.

Remember it"s not simply 10,000 hours, it"s how you practice throughout those 10,000 hours. Practice doesn"t make perfect, it just makes permanent.


David Love RPT

Here"s a simple drill you deserve to do through an ETD adhered to by an aural exercise.

On a cool piano choose a solitary string (mid range tenor is a great place to start) and tune it v the ETD so that the spinner, lights, every little thing it uses stops.

First ar the tuning hammer ~ above the tuning pen in the 1:30 position (the hammer pointing far from you would certainly be the 12:00 position). Now gently press down top top the take care of so the it tenderness flexes the tuning pin right down towards the strings. Notification that the crackhead moves in the level direction together you flex the pin toward the string). Let walk and an alert that the pitch slowly returns to wherein you started. Second, v the tuning hammer in the same position gently traction the take care of toward girlfriend on a horizontal axis without actually turning the pin in the block. Don"t press the manage up or down, just pull it towards you v the force directed top top a pure horizontal axis. An alert that together you flex the pen in this direction the key goes sharp together the pin flexes far from the strings and when girlfriend let walk of the manage it should return to where you started.Now integrate these two movements and also find a place such that the downward toward the cable pressure and also the horizontal, toward you pressure on the pin balance out each various other perfectly and the spinner remains absolutely stationary. Let walk of the handle and also the spinner should stay specifically where that was. Exercise this a few times to gain a sense of exactly how much downward press is required to be merged with the horizontal pulling of the pen to store the spinner stationary without the pen actually relocating in the block. Don"t overdo it.Now, while watching the spinner, find the allude at i m sorry you need to increase the twisting motion while simultaneously offsetting with pressing activity such that you deserve to feel the pin move in the block and the spinner moves to the spicy side together with it. Emphasis on feeling the pin move. Shot to carry out this through the the smallest incremental activities possible. Once you let walk of the take care of the spinner must stay exactly where that was.

You deserve to do the exact same drill on one upright. The hammer should also be in the 1:30 position. The pressing of the manage will be away from you as in the grand and will push the pitch sharp quite than flat. Pulling the handle in a pure rotational movement (downward) will often tend to flex the pin down toward the string and push the pitch to the level side. Work with offsetting this two forces the exact same as in the grand and also then gaining the smallest incremental motion of the pin and also an accompanying activity in pitch. When released, the pitch need to remain where it was.

After you have some sense of that tune two strings in unison beginning from degrees of displacement: 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents. Focus on the lot of movement you feel in the block and also how much pitch change is associated with that. Perform this practice aurally. Try to tune straight to the pitch.

After that try and track so that you hear the little swell come the sharp side of the keep in mind being tuned and then settle it right into place through a very slight amount of earlier pressure. The ago pressure compelled should no be sufficient to actually revolve the pin in the block, but just to placed it in a state whereby it will certainly be just fractionally flexed towards the string and held in stasis by the string anxiety itself.


David Love RPT

What David Love has defined is basically the same technique I use. Nice summary of an practice to find out that method, David! The services of the an approach are efficiency and also solidity, achieved at the very same time. The pin and also string are relocated the bare minimum, and also you understand where they space at all times. It is not an easy method to learn, yet it pays benefits down the roadway that make it precious every bit of effort you expended.

A few additional details: The tuning hammer problem a lot, specifically how stiff the is, how little spring and flex is constructed into that is design and construction. As soon as there is spring and flex in the hammer, the springy aspect acts as stored energy, and shoots the pin past the target as you get close. This is particularly noticeable as you hone in on specific clean unisons. Over there are fairly a few options the end there for hammers. I like Fujan londonchinatown.orgself, but I"m sure countless others job-related well. What does not occupational well is the style where the tuning head screws to the shaft, the shaft having actually a fairly small threaded end, and also the threads room the main interface in between the head and also the shaft. The Jahn design where the head and also shaft space one item with ample bracing is one that functions well. Nate Reyburn came up through a system where 2 surfaces lock with each other well. The Levitan hammer Pianotek selling (the cheaper one) appears to it is in well-designed. There room others, yet you get the idea.

David"s scenario is only one of a variety of possibilities. In his scenario, there is short friction at the bearing clues (string to capo and also over the underfelt, or everything the string requirements to cross from the termination to the pin) and also there is moderate torque/friction that the pin in the block. Due to the fact that there is not much friction at the bearing point, leaning the pin towards the speaking length makes the key lower, yet if over there is far-reaching friction, there can be no pitch change when you flex the pin. Similarly, if over there is short friction between the pin and also the block, there could not be sufficient twist of the pin prior to it move to result in a key change.

So the trouble is one of examining that specific string and also tuning pin for the 2 frictional elements, and adapting your technique accordingly. If there is a most bearing friction, it could be vital to flex the tuning pin away native the speaking length (pull increase on a grand, push in on one upright) to get pitch to move in sync through pin movement, as one example. Periodically the 2 frictional aspects are really nicely balanced, and also you don"t should do anything other than turn the pin, and also the pitch starts come move just as the pin starts to move in the block. And sometimes friend can acquire a nice adjustment of twist and also friction through adjusting the edge of the hammer, to speak from 1 o"clock to 3 o"clock.

But it can be nice confusing, and also you need to be on friend toes, not just going with a collection of learned physics behaviors. Pins and strings on the exact same piano have the right to vary a lot, and also the one the sticks out as various is most likely to it is in the one whereby the unison repetitively goes the end after you song it. How would I recognize that? If you space paying attention, you will pick that type of thing out. If you are going on automatic pilot, friend are likely to miss out on it.


Fred Sturm

Good points.

The bottom heat in every this is the to go much faster you have to be an ext efficient and also eliminate unnecessary steps. Efficiency originates from getting come the target quickly however not simply that, it likewise involves being able to leave the target quickly. Time is taken up not simply by the less professional hammer method that doesn"t obtain you whereby you are going quickly, but the time bring away waiting approximately to make sure that the key is walk to remain there. Far better and much more confident hammer an approach not just gets friend there much faster but enables you to leaving faster. That course unstable pin setting of the key will call for that girlfriend go earlier and retune that note again and, perhaps, any type of other note that used that together a reference. An ext wasted time.

The removed of unnecessary steps is likewise important. This have the right to be miscellaneous as an easy as how you usage mutes or whether you piece mute the piano. However all points being same the aural tuning will constantly be slower 보다 the etd tuning. The aural tuner simply has an ext steps. Many of those actions that the ETD user eliminates room the aural checks involved and also adjustments made as soon as the aural check reveals much more refinement is necessary. The ETD user doesn"t have that. Aural checks, if any, space cursory and quick. If the aural tuner is act a thorough job of it, climate aural checks exist in abundance through the temperament and also octave setting. More steps equals more time. Of course the aural tuner have the right to skip the aural checks but that will certainly on average develop a much less accurate tuning.

I"ve do situation previously around the speed benefits of ETDs in the key correction process. The is more accurate (given suitable calibration or programming the the device) and virtually eliminates second pitch correction in development of fine tuning. Last passes will certainly on mean come indigenous a point closer to the last target with only a single pass. This creates higher stability and also a an ext accurate good tuning remove the require for further corrections or "clean-up". I stand by that assertion.

ETD users do have to build a 2nd set that skills, namely hand-eye coordination come go along with the hand-ear coordination. However, I think about that a benefit because the shifting earlier and forth between modes (hand ear still required for unisons generally) help to get rid of fatigue.

Finally, the ETD can straight you more quickly on difficulty notes where pitch acknowledgment is complicated for miscellaneous reasons or in more complicated areas, such together high treble unison tuning and also stability.

So if rate or continually in tuning times for every piano is the goal, together with developing precise hammer technique, an ETD will certainly be a benefit.


David Love RPT

I"m not certain if i really desire to jump into this, but I will certainly anyway , with the idea that perhaps I can contribute a wee bit. Through respect come the video clip link Ed Sutton post (made clickable here), and also that some have commented on, I absolutely agree the is too "fast and sloppy" for taste - no sloppy every se, yet I have actually no idea exactly how clean or steady those unisons are, and also neither does the tuner as much as I have the right to see. But that was a an extremely fast tuning, 3:20 for 48 strings, or an average of 4 seconds a string. The would occupational out to something like a 15 minute complete tuning, if you invested that much time on every string that a entirety piano. So if your format calls because that a quick setup of pitch, complied with by refinement, specifically of the unisons, climate the method is more than likely fine because that the an initial pass.

The concern of doubts as to quality, v respect to what David Love has described: ns tune essentially the exact same as David, going by his description, and likewise agree essentially with whatever he has actually written in this thread. Well assumed out, fine presented, hard stuff. I believed briefly of doing a short video, but then ns realized that the convenient way to perform that would certainly be to use the same devise I use to track to take it the video clip - that doesn"t job-related too well. I"d have actually to carry in miscellaneous else v decent sufficient sound high quality to be worthwhile ( video clip cam through a kind mike), and jump v a couple of hoops to produce a format of video clip to share. Sorry, too lot work. Ns will, however, assert for what it"s worth that David"s cases are totally in line with experience. I also, like David, track for several concert venues and finicky customers, have for years (including 27 years and also counting in a music department). I"m not much of one for blowing very own horn, but I think I have a pretty solid reputation based upon the quality I have ceded over the previous 30 odd years. And I often tune a concert level tuning, where all strings need to be moved, in ~ 45 minutes. And it is concert quality. And it holds. I know since I monitor londonchinatown.orgself, following day, following week, a pair weeks later, etc. Over there is no guess occupational here, I understand for a fact that tunings space solid (with the caveat that there are constantly a couple of exceptions i can"t really define - ns don"t claim perfection, just a high level). And also unisons room crystal clear - several of them may become a tiny "fuzzy" after ~ a work of concerto competition, but nothing that stands out.

How can I tune that effectively at that level? specifically for the reasons David has actually been do the efforts to obtain through: I already have the tuning set up in the ETD memory. All ns am doing is tuning unisons. Hence, every little bit of initiative goes to gaining each and also every solitary string come a collection target, within an extremely fine parameters, and making certain it will remain there. Yes, i listen and also check intervals (6/4 chords in the mid range, octaves in the greater areas), and also once in a while I record something (usually a drifting string, or probably I carelessly brushed the screen and collection the maker octave up or down by accident), but it is just confirmation, no making decisions based upon listening come a number of test intervals. I understand from long, lengthy experience that I have the right to listen to every those intervals, and also I will discover that they space all whereby I decided I wanted them (when i made own changes to the tuning calculation by RCT, nearly entirely consists of elevating the key of the height two octave by a small amount increasing to a somewhat larger amount: IOW I want a bit much more stretch up there in maintaining with own taste).

Conversations about aural vs ETD repeat me of having the same kind that conversation between woodworkers who usage power tools versus those who don"t. Yes, friend can gain very good results using just hand devices (planes, chisels, handsaws), but a router, because that instance, as soon as you know exactly how to usage it, will certainly both rate up a variety of tasks and make it feasible to attain high levels of precision. As will making use of a straightedge together opposed to eyeballing a directly line, i beg your pardon is probably a far better analogy. That still take away skill and also knowledge to perform the work, however the "advanced tool" provides for a potential of higher quality and more efficiency. That"s all we"re talking around here, using a device to aid us in acquiring a task done, and done well. Because that some, that seems like we are talking about the an essential principles the life, radical deeply held quasi-religious beliefs. Hey, live and let live. If that"s what friend believe, and it renders you happy, do it. Same thing if the is much more pleasant to perform without the machine.

I guess: v I will certainly also include that plenty of who write based on some tiny amount of experience using an ETD space really much too inexperienced to have the right to a hard opinion. It takes job-related to learn to use an ETD, any kind of of them. Adjusting come a visual display, making muscle move in response to intuitive cues, learning to translate when the display is "jumpy," learning exactly how to use the devise to generate a tuning the meets your very own standards and also tastes, etc., room a issue of a fair invest of time. Some civilization are pretty fast picking that up, rather are very slow. Until you have learned the skills involved, you yes, really can"t judge how effective the ETD can make you, nor deserve to you referee the top quality of outcomes possible. The is very possible to tune really badly, and painfully slowly, making use of an ETD. Tuning proceeds to be a high level ability whether you usage one or not. ETDs perform not tune pianos. World do. The outcomes depend much more on the people and their skills.


Fred Sturm


First, thank you because that posting that. I appreciate you making the effort and also putting it out there.

Since we both tune unisons aurally ns think I can comment. Your an approach differs indigenous mine in one significant way. What ns hear is a regular flexing that the pen to move the pitch above the target and also then a stable back. If the key doesn"t settle back with the unflexing the the pin to whereby you want it climate you begin the procedure again either by advertise it under or pulling it ago up always with a fairly large move (relatively speaking because that goal) over the pitch adhered to by a settling ago down. If the key is over the target then you push it down listed below the target, flex the pen to relocate the pitch above the target and also then settle earlier down to the target. Currently that may not be an accurate description yet that is what ns hear. method of hammer pen manipulation doesn"t have practically the pitch activity away indigenous the target at any suggest (on average). In fact, the method I use allows me to tune much more directly come the pitch target making use of the basic method that I defined earlier and additionally which Fred has described. The control of the flexing that the pin avoids the ago and forth across the pitch motion until things ultimately settle in. There is more guesswork in her method--how much above the pitch execute I have to go for this reason that once I apply ago pressure ~ above the pen it fall to whereby I want it. Ns don"t want virtually that lot pitch motion away indigenous the target but rather deserve to feel the lot of activity in the pin which is straight reflected in the pitch movement itself. As soon as things are moving well on a an excellent piano v decent rendering, i feel prefer I have the right to tune straight to the pitch and also stop and also it stays. There is some wiggle the the pen at the end just come insure that I have actually not left any unreleased torque in the pin (or that i leave the slightest little bit of torque wherein I want it--this is an additional separate detail for an additional time), yet that mostly is a check.

I realize the after a key correction the 6-10 cent things may not be specifically where you desire them because that a starting point, yet to that finish I would say that i would favor that you were starting from a point closer to her pitch 보다 you space and likewise from a consistent starting point, either slightly over or slightly listed below but not a random combination of the two of varying magnitudes. That can compromise security of the currently tuned strings and also unisons where there are mutual lengths between notes, and make gaining into any kind of working rhythm more difficult. As I"ve mentioned, i think this is very daunting to execute accurately v an aural key raise, absolutely for me the is.

If ns can, ns will post a recording of unison tuning at part point.


David Love RPT

Again, I carry out really appreciate posting this and also I"ll shot and do something when I can. If done with an ETD together a demonstration tool it"s simple to visualize what is happening v the pitch as well as hear it yet the visual image is in many ways more telling. The presents part technical problems for me to get done.

Let me to speak a couple of things re stability.

Stability, or instability, originates from one of two things, or both. Either the pin itself is left in a place where it is not stable, meaning some flexing stays that will adjust over time, or the wire segments space left unequal. It"s one of those two.

With respect to the string, the an ext you move the string away from the target pitch, the an ext likely you are to leave the the segments unequal because, in fact, you are presenting a more comprehensive range of tension variability in each of those segments. If you might manipulate the pin in such a means that there to be no flexing (imagine a screw stringer) climate if you wanted to raise the pitch you would just turn the screw as you played the note and incrementally raise the pitch till you hit her target. Assuming that there wasn"t a major rendering problem you might over shooting or undershoot slightly based upon your aural skills or the slight delay in cable rendering but you would never need to take the pitch farther far from the target than your beginning point. Therefore you never ever introduce more deviation in the string segments from the target pitch 보다 existed in the first place.

The question, then, is deserve to you relocate the pen in such a way that the behaves prefer a screw stringer and also tune, in essence, directly to the key without presenting the earlier and soon pitch deviation that occurs through flag-polling. And the price is correct you can in the way the i described and that Fred corroborated by what quantities to a respond to flexing the the pin in order to eliminate the flagpolling impact on the pitch.

So climate the other concern is even if it is you can do that and also consistently leave the pin in a state that equilibrium since you are presenting a flexing to counter the twisting--two different stresses ~ above the pin. But due to the fact that the pen is much more closely linked to you via the tuning lever, a feel for the pen being in equilibrium is much easier to construct than if the wire is in equilibrium, the wire being as soon as removed, choose a distant cousin, as it were.

This is what is difficult to put into a recording since the forces being presented to achieve this space not heard. What is heard are much smaller key movements earlier and soon (if any), together I mentioned, it will sound favor you room tuning directly to the pitch required. In fact, you have the right to flex and move the pin in together a path that once you settle the pin the pitch will actually rise to the target pitch fairly than having actually to work out the pitch ago to the target. That an approach (getting to the pitch from under rather than indigenous over) has some benefits in that the former segment will certainly err top top the side of fractionally much more tension. Some arguments can it is in made that that has actually a slight benefit for stability yet that"s an additional discussion which i won"t embark on here.

Forgive the typos if any, i gotta walk to woik.


David Love RPT

John influenced me to go ahead and video clip a tuning, so i schlepped the camera right into the college yesterday. I did a nice video of a practice grand tuning, but, alas, no audio due to the auxiliary mike"s battery being dead (bang head against wall surface for stupidity). Having no various other grand that necessary tuning and was available, I simply did the next piano ~ above list, a 50 year old exercise Hamilton. Actually not a poor choice, as it is bottom that barrel, yet maybe middle of the roadway for many private clientele. This is together sloppy a tuning as I perform - unless under too much time constraints.

I did five videos: short tenor, high tenor section, low octave 6, high octave 7, and a last pass come clean unisons and also listen come the totality piano. The piano to be 10 - 15¢ flat, and I walk usual one pass, using offsets I entered londonchinatown.orgself (about 1/4 overshoot) rather than the key raise role (which generally leaves me past target). I supplied "standard good tune" once the key was past 10¢ below pitch, switched come "concert" setting when in ~ 10¢. Concert setting only mirrors 10¢ every side of the target pitch, and also has a an extremely sensitive display, so you can easily see transforms of much less than 0.3¢, instantly.

What girlfriend don"t view is what i am feeling, i beg your pardon is the tuning pin moving in the block. The is crucial element, in order to know where friend are. Ns am mainly pulling the hammer toward londonchinatown.orgself a little while turning it (flexing the pin toward the speak length), and also have the hammer mainly at 12 o"clock so the flagpoling is at appropriate angles come the speaking size (essentially out of the picture, no affecting pitch). Once I think I am there, I execute a very tiny wiggle up and also down (you can not have the ability to see it) and also want to see pitch rise and also fall just over and below target the same amount. I won"t hear the change, i will simply see the display start to move slightly in each direction (the pitch change due come the flexing i am doing might be as tiny as 0.1¢). This is enough to ensure the things are in a stable state - together with playing the note and also watching the display screen over some time v no hammer action.

I put the videos ~ above YouTube fredpianotech channel in a beat list.


Fred Sturm


Thanks because that doing this! beneficial to view what"s walk on. Ns didn"t watch all the videos, yet enough to see your method.

All I can say is that i wish I might be there and give those strings a great test punch to verify stability. That"s very first pause. However, I will say I"ve done comparable things with RCT, therefore I know stability is indeed feasible that way. However I always do a firm test blow to confirm.

The second pause is that it"s a larger pitch raise 보다 I prefer to execute in a single pass. Because that the most part, RCT walk a great job of key corrections. But I uncover there are constantly sections that necessary a slightly various overpull. YHMV (Your Humidity might Vary). ;-)


John Formsma, RPT


I kinda thought there would be doubters around the stability. Ns remembered to do some brutal check blows together demo when I walk original video clip on the grand (that turned out to be without audio), however when i did the upright, i forgot about that and also just tuned as I would normally do, and only walk some reasonably minor forte blows. The thing that I know while i am tuning, and also you don"t understand while watching, is what the pins feeling like, and the checks I perform as I strategy target pitch, young flexing that the pen in both directions with the hammer (jiggles) while play the note to see simply where i have got to, watching the tiniest changes of the display. Then I know how much the pin still demands to move, ns feel the pin relocate what i think is the far, I examine again with the wiggle and playing the note, the town hall for any pitch drift in the display. If there is any kind of drift, i react instantly and also nudge the pin a bit, etc. It is really much an interaction process, and also I know from lengthy experience that ns am mindful of exactly where i am at practically all time (once in a while ns overshoot, emphasis lapses, part pinblocks room nasty, etc. - I"m not claiming perfection).

I have actually done the check blow thing many, countless times to examine londonchinatown.orgself, and, with an extremely rare exceptions, the pitch and the unison stays right on, not a bit of movement. However I will certainly be sure to carry out that on video clip when I do a grand, possibly in the next couple of days (depending what the room accessibility allows).

When girlfriend talk about the flexing thing and also knowing just how to compensate, you space describing how I tuned because that years. You recognize how far the pin requirements to move, you have a memory of just how that feels, you rotate the pin what friend think is that much, skipping how much the key changed, then you clear up the pin and also string back. If you guessed right, cool! If not, carry out it again. It is as soon as you get into that last little nudge for really sleek unisons the this i do not care pretty problematic. Speak twisting the pin moves pitch 10¢, yet you only must nudge key 0.3 - 0.5¢. How countless times space you walking to have to experiment prior to you room sure you have moved the pin the tiny amount and also the wire is stable? Or execute you simply say, "That"s as great as it deserve to be tuned, I"ve spent sufficient time"?

Eric Schandall likes to present a technique, particularly for this form of tiny pitch change, where you flex the pin in the level direction (pitch goes a little bit flat, audibly) and turn it until you feeling it relocate the little amount, v no audible change in pitch, climate you flex the pin to pull the string end the bearing. It is that kind of technique that led me under the course that turns out to be one David Love has additionally pursued.

One thing I have observed end the years, through respect come stability, is that it is most likely to it is in a problem when the pin simply doesn"t desire to move that last tiny bit in the upward direction. It constantly wants come shoot past. It might move in lovely little increments appropriate up to the last 0.3¢ and also then it only wants to relocate a minimum the 1 - 3¢. So having actually shot past, you strategy it indigenous above, and it seems that you pond it (though if you space really observant, girlfriend might an alert that the pin has actually turned farther 보다 it really must have had actually to - but, hey, you obtained the unison beautiful clean so who"s complaining?). However, the reality is the that certain string is really likely to it is in the one that reasons embarrassment, drops 5 - 10¢ either during performance or over the first week in the house or various other location, since stabilizing a string from above is one iffy proposition. If the pen doesn"t want to walk to that spot indigenous below, the won"t really want to from over either, so friend will most likely shoot previous with the pen and very possibly not v the string. It will certainly be very feasible that there is sufficient friction that you leave an unstable situation - and a brutal test punch will really often not reveal this problem. It will certainly only present up slowly over time, being played plenty of times.

I have actually experienced this kind of thing many, many times ~ above the same strings the the exact same pianos. I have analyzed up and down and also around. customers don"t care that the is a difficulty pin/block/string, they want it in tune, no excuses, and to remain in tune. I"m an alleged to be the expert. What to do? I self-control londonchinatown.orgself to technique from below always, come make that last little bit of nudge through persistence and also patience, to bring the string follow me from below as well, not allowing it to go past target. If the string to be sharp, ns go level a bit (pin and also string) and also then traction pitch approximately target, never technique the target entirely from over unless i can give a an extremely minor flex of the pin and move the string simply flat, then settle it in ~ target. I find that if ns make it an absolute dominion (with the exemption just provided - but being an extremely sure the this is the case) that pitch is constantly approached native below, I deserve to count on stability, otherwise not. If over there is minimal wire bearing friction, and you have the right to flex pitch freely in both direction without moving the pin the in block, this is much less of one issue. However most pianos have some friction issues, and also they tend not come be completely consistent.

In any case, I absolutely make no claims that tuning technique is the only best one that everyone need to use. I merely put it out there, sharing whereby I have gained to after over thirty year of exploring with just about anything the seemed prefer it could work. I am happy through what I carry out now, as I never was till I come up through this method. So I describe it in information in case it might assist others.


Fred Sturm


What you contact a pumping/ratcheting activity is the basic element that own tuning style, has been native the beginning (I to be taught to be a "jerk" tuner through the incomparable R.L. Coberly at Grayson County university - among the best things he taught me). It permits for smaller activities of the pin, more control, and also I think the helps gain the strings throughout the bearing points better, and to break worked out friction as in rusty terminations. I gauge just how much force I have actually behind the jerk, do the efforts to add just sufficient to relocate the pen by the lot I want it come move. Sometimes this means a lot of jerks before I gain just enough to move it that small nudge that is needed. Gauging the quantity of force in minute increments is where the skill lies, and when ns am fatigued ns don"t have actually as lot of that skill. I know some civilization have success with a "steady pull/push" method. I never might do that properly with any type of control, though ns don"t quarrel through those who do.

I"m going to respond below to a later article of David Love, about his Harrison cool with quite a little of bearing friction. In a situation like that, I discover it is far better to it is in pulling increase on the hammer while turning it (adding flex pressure rather than subtracting it), make the efforts to have it in ~ the point where that additional flex the the pen creates sufficient extra traction on the wire so that pitch moves v the pin. It is well to revolve the pin, and then traction the string end the bearing points, but only when friction is low enough that you can actually pull the string utilizing flex and twist (and play the keep in mind pretty loud and also often when doing every this). When there is too lot friction because that that, so the you revolve the pin sufficient to create a 1 - 2¢ pitch change and naught happens and also flexing the pen nothing happens, it is much better to include twist and also flex while transforming the pin in the block, as the jerking motions plus the extra twist and also flex may be sufficient to obtain the wire to move in sync. Otherwise, you need to turn the pen more, till you deserve to pull to pitch, and also then you have undoubtedly turn the pin beyond where it should be, so friend might back the pin off in the block, estimating exactly how much, hope to leave it fairly stable. At the very least that is approach: adapting the flex of the pin I carry out consciously come the hammer come the conditions at hand. It functions pretty well. When frictional levels get beyond a certain point, the is simply a gambling game, and you perform your best.


Fred Sturm

I determined I should shot to set down a pretty in-depth account that thinking that led me come the tuning device I use, the I have actually been relenten (similar in plenty of ways come David Love"s, but with a couple of differences in detail). IOW, the theory behind the practice, the thoughts and experiences that have led me to construct a particular an approach and method to tuning the is rather different from what most people do. It"s a lengthy post.

First, i don"t think there is any issue through leaving the pin itself in an unstable state. Tuning pin steel is such the as shortly as you eliminate the twisting and flexing forces from the pin, the will return to its rest condition, essentially instantaneously. To test this id in actual life, take a piano v tight pins and really low string bearing friction. Simply barely touch the pin, and also pitch changes, that sort of piano. Flex the pin in either direction, then let go of the hammer. Pitch move away, then returns instantly when the hammer is removed, one of two people direction. Twist the pen (not sufficient to relocate it in the bock) in either direction, and also let go. Same thing happens. Try to leave an instability in the pin: perform your utmost to make it so the the string will stay temporarily sharp or level of its secure state ~ you remove the hammer. Can you execute it? i don"t think so. If girlfriend can, I believe it is due to there gift a wee little of bearing friction.

If over there is bearing friction, a little or a lot, the is quite possible to leave pitch over or listed below the stable point, in ~ will. The very same experiment ~ above a piano with far-reaching bearing friction will prove that this is so. Thus, the difficulty we confront when trying to attain tuning stability is centered in cable friction, no in pen twist or flex.

To separate things out, look in ~ tuning from the view of a screwstringer: In a screwstringer you simply turn the screw, there is no flex or twisted of the tuning pin involved. (BTW, Levitan"s C hammer emulates this. Therefore does a T hammer). Revolve it clockwise and also pitch rises, counterclockwise and also pitch falls. Over there IS bearing friction, and also the instructions inside the Mason & Hamlin tell you always to approach from below. If girlfriend overshoot and also go sharp, turn it back to flat and also come back up. Why? because experience mirrors that comes at key from over will leave much more unequal tension in between string segments than coming indigenous below, or at least an inequality that will an ext probably bring about instability, creeping end the bearing points later. If you track one, girlfriend will notification that the pitch lags behind the screw: rotate is a slight bit and also nothing happens, revolve a little much more and key starts to move.

In fact, if over there is a an excellent bit the bearing friction, coming up from below straight come pitch, you could find the the piano will tend to go spicy a bit after gift played a while, as the stress and anxiety equalizes over the friction points. However it will be much less noticeable than if you to be tuning downwards in pitch, due to the fact that the magnitude will certainly be less. (A "trick" is to ago off the pin simply a bit after you reach pitch, no an ext of a rotate than that took before the pitch started moving when you first started on that string - however it is guesswork). Among the troubles of the screwstringer design is the you have actually no means to compensate for the string friction other than playing the note difficult - usually great enough, however not always, and also in the tiny experience I have actually tuning one, it seems impossible to obtain a yes, really clean sleek tuning. The steel pin in wood block design enables you to compensate because that string friction by using pin flex and twist, and thereby obtain a an ext refined tuning - if girlfriend are professional at it.

Focusing in on wire bearing friction and also the difference between raising pitch and lowering it: when raising pitch, you add tension come the cable segment between bearing and the pin, and also you deserve to add an ext through the twisted of the pin and by flex. The differential friend can produce is nice large. Stress from the high stress and anxiety segment pulls across the bearing from wherein the tension is lower. If you room lowering pitch, the high anxiety segment is the speak length, so the speaking size is act the pulling, and you have actually no way to rise its stress and anxiety besides difficult blows top top the key. You are producing a lower tension in the bearing to pen segment, and also the higher tension the the speaking size is every there is to traction the string end the bearing (unless you push on the speaking length with a dowel or something - i m sorry is a beneficial thing to carry out in some circumstances, yet not very predictable as to eventual results). Come summarize, "it is less complicated to traction up 보다 to push down."

You have the right to test this on a piano with moderate come high bearing friction. "Push" the pitch level as lot as you have the right to by pen flex and also twist without relocating the pin in the block. Try to obtain the string to go earlier to pitch by playing the note loudly. Then try by flexing and twisting the pin (not sufficient to revolve it). Currently do the very same on the spicy side. In experience, I can usually traction up from flat quite a bit more easily 보다 I deserve to push down from sharp. Often I can"t push flat from the sharp side in ~ all, also with difficult blows and pin flex and also twist, however that doesn"t mean the key won"t go level over time, back to the original stable position.

The main driving variable in pianos going the end of tune due to unstable problem of the cable is the blows that the hammer ~ above the string, i m sorry momentarily advanced the anxiety in the speaking length (when the string goes right into its widest excursion) - therefore that action of hammer blows will tend to pull reduced tension cable from the non-speaking length, causing lowering of pitch. The won"t "push" tension right into a greater tension speaking length. It may facilitate key going a little bit sharp (by acquiring the cable moving) if the tension is unequal sufficient in the direction, but far much less than it will certainly facilitate pitch going flat when the contrary is true. And we hardly ever see a real problem unison due to a cable going spicy - maybe a cent or two in most cases. Flat, 5-10¢ or even more can it is in common. That is experience, at any kind of rate. Bottom line: it is far better to method from below, as you have an ext opportunity the control, specifically if over there is far-reaching bearing friction to overcome, and also you will leave the string in a more stable position.

As I see it, the fundamental problem that tuning is to gain the pin right into the specifically correct rotational alignment, the alignment that coincides to the string gift at the correct key in a secure state. Over there is a little window the leeway if over there is any kind of string bearing friction at all, as there will certainly be some degree of inequality of string segments that won"t cross the bearing allude readily, however that window is nice small. The job is first and foremost to have the ability to move the pin in the block by a tiny enough amount to obtain it to that precise alignment, and to have the ability to do that through a range of pin block cases (tightness, stickiness, sponginess, etc.). However then over there is the puzzle of learning when the pen is in the correct home window of alignment: the only reference we have to go top top is wire pitch.

So now we involved the actual heart of the issue: how to discover out once the pen is in its precise rotational alignment to attain a steady target pitch. In the typical course that intuitive tuning practice, we don"t manage things really much. Over there is twisted of the pin, there is flex the the pin, there is bearing friction, and also everything is somewhat chaotic in how it add to up. We may put the hammer ~ above at everything alignment come the pen is most comfortable come the body, resulting in a flex we don"t really know around or account for. Or we put it whereby some government told us to,, not really being aware of why and also how that effects the results. Pitch will generally go previous target (most frequently multiple times in both directions), and most frequently that will median going above target and also then being "settled back." us manipulate the hammer and also pin, guessing exactly how much to pull up and push back (or angry versa), and when it seems we might probably have reached the target nice closely, and also we are exhausted of wrestling, we contact it great enough. I am describing exactly how I learned to tune. Ultimately I began to take it some elements into account, yet not in any systematic way. I an ext or less advanced a certain set of tricks, consisting of the traction up/settle earlier "pin setting" theory. I constantly went past pitch and cleared up back. And it was always guesswork even if it is the pin really remained in the spot the should have been. And also I had actually stability issues, no so bad, but definitely a difficulty when you pertained to the high expectation I work-related under most of the time.

Putting all these determinants together, solution is a basic one: to track in such a way that the readjust of pitch of the string transforms simultaneously through the turn of the pen in the block (as close together I have the right to possibly achieve that), and always to strategy pitch native below. I"ve already described how I do that, so ns won"t repeat the here. The suggest is the I recognize where the target pen alignment is at all times (it"s in the spicy direction unless I overshoot, in which case I go back below target), I recognize when I have reached it, and also when I have reached that the wire is additionally in a stable state, due to the fact that I haven"t developed instability by actions. As soon as I with target pitch, i am there. The lot of added tension in the non-speaking segment to be just enough to pull the string end bearing, overcoming friction there, so as soon as I release the hammer, the included tension will certainly disappear, and the stress of that segment will be equal to the tension of the speak length. Nice theory - and also it functions (within the parameters of person frailty communicating with the physics world).

Re-reading this, I see it is pretty dense stuff, and also rather rambling. I have actually been rings with just how to define all this because that a lengthy time, and I finish up chasing tail and also becoming frustrated. I think ns will speak to it the finest I can do because that now. I hope I have succeeded in explaining some elements in a method that provides sense, and might be valuable in some means to others.


Fred Sturm

I think that"s a pretty good description, Fred, and also can"t uncover much come disagree v as it mirrors own approach and also for the exact same reasons and also results (re stability). Even if it is you can leave some flex or twisted in the pen or, perhaps, leaving the pin in such a method that that is not relaxing solidly against the front bearing surface of the pinblock is a question I"m not sure about. Also, because the pen is being pulled (and twisted) through the tension from the string, go the pin reaction to that after you"ve left it? Is there some "creep" of the pen either pulling it forward (toward the string) or twisting and if therefore does stable the pen simply median putting it in the position where this stresses indigenous the string will certainly inevitably take it? i can"t answer that question but it appears that over there is that opportunity in which situation addressing the flex and also twist that the pin is a part of afford stability.


David Love RPT


The tuning pin absolutely does relocate after the hammer pipeline it: the "untwists" and "unflexes." whatever you to be doing come it through the hammer is undone (and a large part of the is gift pulled through the string, both rotationally and also toward the speaking size by tension). Ns don"t believe, though, that there is any significant "wiggle room" for the pen to it is in left in an stormy condition, that there is any added creep ~ the early stage settling. The pressure of the string, along with the nature that the stole pin, don"t leave lot room because that an unstable problem - uneven the talk is so low the pen doesn"t hold in the wood.

That said, in an approach I will always do other of a "wiggle" "spring" motion, in both the flexing and also twisting modes, but the purpose is to check to check out that the string either doesn"t move or preferably move equally in both directions. It absolutely doesn"t it seems to be ~ that once I perform that wiggle the pin is transforming at all: i am moving it from a centered position in both directions. I could be wrong, but if so ns think that is negligible sufficient to be ignored. I think the big issue is in the string.


Fred Sturm

It has just occurred to me that ns was inaccurate in saying that Dan Levitan"s C hammer, along with the T hammer, emulates the screwstringer. It does in the there is no "flexing" or "flagpoling" involved (unless friend consciously present it), yet there is absolutely the factor of pin twist when using the C or T hammer (the peak of the pin twisting front of the bottom, causing the string gift pulled front of the rotation the the pin in the block.)

This is not just a minor quibble, the is critical factor to think about if utilizing the C hammer (or a T if anyone does, and also I gather there are at least a one or two out there, one creating on this list).In fact, pen twist is just one of the two significant factors in what I have been do the efforts to explain (the various other being wire friction). So it needs to be addressed one method or one more when utilizing the C hammer.

Flagpoling is taken out of the equation by the C hammer, yet when you song with a normal hammer put in line v the strings ("12 o"clock" or as close together you can get) you have actually taken flagpoling out of the equation also (the flagpoling that you can"t manage is keep going at best angles come the hammer, hence at ideal angles come the tuning pin, for this reason not a variable in transforming the key of the string). For purposes of what I have actually been describing, the techniques would apply just the exact same to a C hammer regarding a traditional hammer.


Fred Sturm


I have discovered I can use a 12 o"clock place comfortably, despite it take it me a when to figure out how to adapt. Ns sit with body nearly at appropriate angle come the piano, encountering the bass. I turn the bench so that it mimics seating view (this provides a large difference). And then I merely reach over and also hold the end (round knob) the the hammer, and shot to usage body load as lot as ns can, leaning contempt one direction or the other as needed. Periodically I wake up for a while. Ns do acquire as much as 2 o"clock sometimes, yet often the is problematic so i revert come 12. But depending on exactly what the relationship is in between pin torque and also string friction, other alignments have the right to work, at least for particular sections. I could only transition to 12 o"clock because that the final steps, if that seems to be needed.

I might include that the extra hammer length (13" together opposed to 11"), if it means that the arm is extended farther, actually renders it easier because of leverage, compensating because that the less straight arm angle. If the pins are an extremely tight, i stand mostly, and lengthen the hammer.

I have actually now done a grand video (actually a series of four), and also have uploaded to YouTube here. In this instance the piano is a Steinway B, 50 year old through its initial strings, so the is a little bit of a difficulty in terms of stability and fine tuning, an above moderate level of string friction. In the an initial two clips, short tenor and over the treble break, i did some tough test blows ~ above a couple of notes to present that they are, indeed, fairly stable as soon as I to be done. You deserve to see arm and also the hammer, and the edge is far better (than through the upright) because that seeing what i am act in regards to up/down and also the muscular activities of eight (which space transferred come the hammer, but you might not check out the hammer move).

I chose to present tuning end the break because it is quite a hard area come tune, specifically on this piano. I assumed I"d display own approach, which is rather slow and also patient, fairly finicky, insisting top top approaching pitch from below. This is no a 45 minute piano, though I can usually carry out it in 1:15 if the pitch readjust is fairly small, as this one was (all within 10¢).

The RCT is set to Concert mode, therefore the whole screen shows from 10¢ flat to 10¢ spicy of the target pitch - if girlfriend are exterior that range, girlfriend can"t view the rotating disc. The resolution is quite sensitive, so over there is obvious readjust in rotation/blush in the range of 0.3¢, and also it is still apparent in even closer parameters.

The final video clip is cleaning up unisons, climate listening come the piano. The whole procedure was simply a regular tuning, with the exception of throw in the tough blows together a demo.


Fred Sturm


Glad the method seems promise to you. A couple comments: the is important to salary close attention to the sync between feeling the pin move in the block and also the amount of pitch adjust there is. If you feel the pin move a pair tics, sufficient in your suffer to readjust pitch 1¢, say, and pitch hasn"t changed at all, you require to readjust what you room doing. strategy is very fluid, The norm is to flex the pin "down" (in the direction that will certainly make pitch go flat) while pulling up (turning the pin in the spicy direction), yet that is negotiable and variable. First there is "how much down" as a starting point. If I an alert that pitch is not adhering to the turn of the pin very closely at first, very first response is to spring the pin a bit, flexing and twisting (but not turning) to view if the pitch deserve to be coaxed up and also how easily. If i can regulate to get pitch to whereby I think that should have been by this means, I will certainly continue yet with less down flex.

If the springing doesn"t relocate pitch readily, i will readjust tack and shot turning the pin first with no under flex (neutral), then, if essential with up flex. I desire pitch to monitor the motion of the pin nearly at every times, slightly yet not considerably behind. I especially don"t want to get far behind once there is a the majority of friction in the string, because it will certainly be challenging to tell as soon as I have actually reached a secure point, and it will be more difficult to "spring" the string to exactly the target without overshooting. As soon as I am simply barely listed below target pitch, ns generally shot to nudge the pen without an altering pitch, then feather to pin in a controlled way to relocate the string the last little - regularly several make the efforts to gain it come happen.

There is a continuum of string friction versus pen twist. Once string friction is low and also pin talk (hence pen twist) is high, you would want to flex under the maximum, therefore flex will certainly counteract twist on a one come one basis (friction not entering in, or really little). Once string friction is high and pin torque is low, you should flex up the maximum: in this instance there is minimal pen twist to help pull the string end bearing poins, and maximum drag on the string, for this reason you are needing to get rid of those 2 factors. And then there is everything in between. It"s a issue of trying out with every piano and each string and also pin come come up v the right approach - sounds more complex than it is.

I have emphasized a preference for any instability ns leave in the device tending in the up direction, but that is rather more theoretical than practical: if true, it must be an extremely small. I emphasize the concept due to the fact that I have uncovered through very own bitter endure that it is very easy to perform what appears like really precise, refined tuning in the downward direction, when, in fact, the an exact result you achieved is very unstable. As I have analyzed various difficulty notes and also experiences where strings have shot 10¢ or an ext south (when I thought I had actually nailed the tuning), i have come to the conclusion that it happened most frequently when I had actually shot slightly past in the sharp direction, then settled back gradually, however wasn"t paying sufficient attention come what ns was emotion in the pin. The pen would relocate as lot as 10¢ worth before the cable would begin to lull slightly and also gradually down to target. I"d gain to a sleek target, I can pound and also nothing would certainly move, yet next day that string would be 10¢ or more flat. Various other times that happens once pitch was substantially sharp, and also the stringsseemed to be rending well, so ns was lazy and also didn"t make certain to go below pitch, because that sure below pitch, and also pull back up. That can take place when cable friction isn"t all the bad, on a five-year-old grand, because that instance.

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So ns am paranoid (with an excellent reason), and always tune in the increase direction, and constantly err on the side of the string wanting to go spicy - but as small as possible. It"s a technique that has served me fine over the past couple of years. It took self-discipline to find out the approaches - the is not automatically intuitive, however it does end up being habitual through time.