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When playing with an accoustic piano...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by aborgman, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Everyone tunes to an electronic tuner

    3 vote(s)
  2. Everyone tunes to the bandleader

    0 vote(s)
  3. Everyone tunes to the piano

    25 vote(s)
  4. Free-for-all with everyone tuning to whatever they'd like

    0 vote(s)
  1. What does the band tune to?
  2. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    The piano. Or tuners if the piano is for sure in 440 tune.
  3. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    I did a bunch of duo dates with a piano player and the pianos at different venues were all tuned to 440. So I used my tuner.
  4. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Piano. Many tuners leave the factories off by a few hz either direction. Plus the 440 A on most pianos is 3 strings - they are never EXACTLY in tune with each other. Intentionally. Part of the charm to their sound. Most tuners have a trimmer on the PC board so they can be tweaked.

    BTW: Your atomic clock isn't really that accurate either it just has the benefit of resynchronizing each night. Get a couple and see how far off they get during the day - but they are dead-on in the wee hours of the morning.:D
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    To the piano, or at least calibrate your tuner to the piano. Best thing is to play a fretless with an acoustic piano, it's a LOT easier!

  6. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Have you ever tuned a piano? It takes the better part of 3 hours.
  7. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    Even better, play a regular bass with a fretless piano. Yeah.
  8. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    But if you need to transpose, where do you get a piano capo?
  9. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Liquor store.
  10. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Then tune my bass accordingly. If the piano is a few cents sharp, that's how I tune my bass, if the piano is flat, I tune flat. If I need to ret une later in the gig, I don't need to bother the pno player (or the audience).

    I play gig with old timers who did all of their gigs with the house piano. Once the piano was more than a 1/4 step flat.
    The piano player did everything up a half step and the horn players tuned accordingly.

    The nightmare gigs for those guys was when the band had a piano and accordion on the same gig.
  11. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    You're on the money there. Regarding tuning, how you attack a note and how you set up your instrument -viz. action + fret height affects a note envelope and its pitch.

  12. Cabazon


    Jan 20, 2009
    The piano.

    Tuning to anything else, unless it's in tune with the piano, means that things are out of tune.
  13. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    Why can't pianists just take time to tune during setup? :spit:
  14. Cabazon


    Jan 20, 2009
    They could, if setup started at least six hours before the gig on a good day.
  15. I saw Bruce Hornsby play, (great show btw) and he had a piano tuner come out mid-set and tune his piano while Bruce told a short story.
    Never seen that before!
  16. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    They often do, at least the classical and jazz shows tend to have a tuner come out pre-show at many venues.
  17. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Wow--- that beats the time I saw him.

    He opened for Bonnie Raitt in New Haven, CT, the piano was being tuned about a half hour before the show--
    mid set?, sounds anal, but some folks with perfect pitch can feel disturbed with the slightest variance.
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Sometimes a piano can go out of tune during the show if it hasn't been acclimatized to the room.

    But even under normal circumstances, tuning to the piano is one of many reasons to learn how to tune your instrument by ear.
  19. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Anybody that plays a fretless piano with lines sucks.
  20. I'd tune to the piano, unless the piano is out of tune with itself. If that is the case, I'll tune with a tuner. It's good to check the piano with the tuner too, to be aware of it, and to be able to silently retune during the breaks using the tuner and an approximate +- compensation.

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