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Anyone experience tuning... A PIANO???

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Tbirdbassist, Oct 8, 2005.


  1. After my great grandmother died a couple of years ago now, my mom and I aquired her piano, Which she (my Great G ma) bought sometime in the 60's. Its a Wurlitzer, Its a wall piano (I think thats the correct name for it, It only about 1ft and a half deep).

    I think its made of Rosewood, as it resembles my Ibanez fretboard much. it came with a bench with built in storage spce for music, Which I think is also made of Rosewood.

    I cant really play piano, but I want to and well, from what I can hear, its about one step out of tune. I did a google search and have some some good websites, but just wanted you're input's.

    I also have some other questions...

    What is the lowest and highest note on a Piano In tune?
    How much do you think a 40 year old Werlitzer wall piano is worth(not that were going to sell, just for reference)?

    Is paying $200 plus dollars to get it professionally tuned, worth it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Having done a bit of piano and harpsicord tuning back in my college days, I can tell you that it is worth every penny of the $200.

    Very tedious!!!
     
  3. fenderx55

    fenderx55

    Jan 15, 2005
    NYC/Queens
    yeah it's not something you could tune yourself, and i believe you mean upright piano...not sure though. but it's DEF. worth getting it done professionally.
     
  4. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    +1K on the pro job. Piano Tuning is a science.

    Think of it this way, imagine yourself tuning your bass using a wrench to turn the tuners. :confused:







    Now imagine yourself doing it without an electronic tuner. :(










    Now imagine doing it with Gary's 12 string. :crying:










    Now multiply that by 7. :bawl:
     
  5. eric234

    eric234 Guest

    Mar 11, 2005
    philadelphia
    yea it's definetley worth it
     
  6. Get a pro to tune it for you. Old pianos can get pretty tricky tuning.
     
  7. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong

    ... and they will be out of tune 3 months after they are tuned ... you need several tunings and time to settle in before the piano is stable.

    If you do want to tune it yourself (I've tuned a piano, and if you play clubs which I did at one time, you need to be able to tune the club's piano ... unlike a bass, you can't bring your own) then get one of the Peterson tuners that offer piano tuning (~500) get a wrench, and a rubber wedge. This will make doing the whole range of the piano doable yourself ... otherwise, you'll end up calling the tuner eventually
     
  8. I thought I heard, that if you tuned up a piano to a normal tuner, it would sound like crap anyway. They tune by ear, knowing the "secrets", to make it sound good.

    Its the same sort of thing they use to justify the Buzz Feiten tuning thing for guitars. Some notes have to be tweaked away from their "mathematical" freqs so that the chords sound right. And the end result favors certain key signatures at the expense of others.

    Randy
     
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    IIRC, it's called tempered tuning.

    Get a pro to do it. Don't put yourself through that agony.
     
  10. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    The lowest note is supposed to be A and the highest C.
    I remember that cuz those are my initials.

    However, you really shouldnt be doing this yourself. Although 84 or wahtever the other guy said s ounds like a lot of strings hes not even close to the right number...Most pianos have upwards of 200 strings or so considering many notes have two or three strings all of which must be in perfect tune with the rest in the pair/trio in order to sound the correct note. Consider this and the fact that youll be sitting at the piano for four hours or so tuning long, tight strings with a wrench and a good musical ear, and I think you'll be glad to spend the 200 bucks. Find a good tuner and it will be well worth it. Some of the great ones can breath life into an old piano with only a few hours worth of work.
    Good luck!
     
  11. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I was just aproximating the nubmer of tunings using the analogy I started. 88 can't be evenly divided by 12 (I suppose I could have used his, Jean's, or Al's 11's)
     
  12. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Pianos are 'enharmonic' ... their harmonics get higher and higher as you go up the keyboard, and the fundamentals themselves get progresively sharper (so each octave is 2+ times as high a the octave below)

    So you need a tuner that will handle piano stretch tunings ... the Peterson Strobe Center SC-5000 II does this

    BTW ... the 'secret' is just counting beats per second ... it's extremely tough to do when you are starting out (and I was always getting it wrong) but experienced tuners can do each note in a second.
     
  13. westland

    westland

    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong

    More than that .. equal temperment just spreads the disonnance equally over the notes of the octave -- great for modern instruments with lots of harmonics. In addition, pianos are 'enharmonic' ... their harmonics get higher and higher as you go up the keyboard, and the fundamentals themselves get progresively sharper (so each octave is 2+ times as high a the octave below). In adition to equal tempermemt, you neec to handle piano 'stretch tunings.' Bass frets are generally equal temperment.

    +1 (been there, done that)
     
  14. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Just remember that you can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish.
     
  15. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    no worries it was a good one!

    i was just pointint out that there are more than 200 strings considering most notes on teh piano require more than one string to sound them with an equalish volume to other notes.
     
  16. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Not only are the notes higher than middle C progressively
    sharper, the notes lower than middle C get progressively flatter.

    See this article.

    This picture from above article displays the concept well.
     
  17. What about tuning a bass to play with the piano that's been 'stretch'-tuned? Should I tune to middle C or to the lower range, where the bass's open notes are?
     
  18. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    +1 on the Pro Job...

    sure it may take a few times to get it right, since a piano that's been out of tune for a long period of time will settle, it'll be worth it.
     
  19. I would tune everyone to the same note, around middle C. The piano should stay out of your range anyway in a band situation, so its stretch doesn't matter on notes that aren't played.

    Randy
     
  20. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Another vote for getting a pro to do it.

    Tuning a piano can also be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. If you break a bass string by putting to much tension on it, then you're out one bass string. If you break a piano string, you could be out one head.