How to Tune a Piano (Part 5)

How to Tune a Piano (Part 5)

Sep 20, 2023

How to Tune a Piano - Part 5: Tuning the Midrange (Piano Tuning and Repair)

Welcome to our Series on Piano Tuning and Repair.

In this 5th video of our video series "How to Tune A Piano" we begin the process of actually tuning the piano starting in the middle section. Inside this video we go through the process of tuning one note per string for the entire middle section.

If you want to see more of our Piano Tuning and Repair Series, click here to access the entire playlist.

Video Transcript:


Welcome to our next video on our how to tune a piano series by Howard Piano Industries. In this video we're going to get into the meat and potatoes here of actually tuning the piano.In our previous videos we showed a little bit about electronic tuning devices, the tools that you need and how to manipulate the hammer.

So here we're going to start at the actual tuning process. Generally, what you want to start with is this mid-range section. we've already gone through and set the stretch on our electronic tuning device, so that's set for this particular piano, but we know that this piano is fairly close to tune. If it's five to ten cents flat or sharp or more, then you want to do a pitch raise or lower before you go through and do the fine tuning, which is what we're going to be doing here. We're going to do this middle section, and I'm going to use a temperament strip here, which is a good thing to use and makes the job a lot easier.

What I do is, I take this and just use a long blade screwdriver, flat head of course. Don't use the one with a Phillips head because it won't work very good. What I'm going to do now, when you put the temperament strip in you want to make sure that you lift the dampers by pushing down on the damper pedal, which on a piano, that's the pedal all the way to the right. You push that down while you're putting the dampers in, and what I do is, I go through and I'm putting it between each set of strings so that by the time I'm done, for most of the strings, they have just the center string or one string per note that's able to be sounding. I'm going to do this for the whole section so that I can tune this one note, or one string per note for the whole section then we'll go back and tune the other strings and we'll show you that in our next video. Here we've got, every note has only one string that's not muted.

As you get down here with two strings per note, obviously, go between here because if I did it on either side of the two strings then both strings would be muted ,so I'll do it on the right of this two string note and then over here on the left of this two string note. They call them bi-chord notes. Then, by the time, if you've got an even number, like say you've got four, it won't work out quite as good but you just have to use a rubber mute on the last one then, excuse me the only exception to what I said about only one string per note is being this last one, and obviously I can't get the mute in here on the treble end, so what I'll use is the rubber mute to mute off that rightmost string, and that top end of the top string of your top note of this middle section.

Once I've got that okay, and we our using our electronic tuning device, their software is going to tell us where the notes should be, I'm going to pull that over so that we can see that, and hopefully it can be seen fairly well there, and put it in at an angle that we can see it, there we go, without the glare. We're going to start out here withA4. Now you can't see the spectrum in the middle but you can see those black bars. You can see they're staying fairly still. We've got that one where we want it to be. We'll go down to G#. You can see that's flat. Those black bars are moving pretty fast. We're going to, again, we're going to come up above the pitch and then drop back down to it go down to G sharp sometimes they just double check to see how my intervals are sounding D# middle C now when you're tuning you want to hit the note fairly hard because what that does is that settles the string I'm tuning. What you've got here is a pressure point that the string runs across and if you don't hit the string hard enough it won't settle the adjustment over the whole portion of the string. We go down to A3, which means we've tuned a whole octave. We're going to go back down.

Keep going down to the bottom of this section I've double-checked my octaves. Once I've gone beyond an octave just to make sure it sounds good I check the octave, especially on this, these bottom few notes in this section, if you've got a few wound strings here in the tenor section, you can find that the tuning, that the electronic tuning device doesn't give you. perfect results in the end. It might be a little, sometimes it's a little bit flat of what sounds good, so sometimes you have to make a little bit of adjustment in those bottom few notes if they're wound, depending on the piano. this one sounds fairly decent in that section but some you have to bring up a couple cents from what the software tells you and then you can do it kind of by ear.

You listen and you couldn't try to get a spot that sounds good octave and then double check it with your fourth fifth in the octave for what sounds good. Now we'll go back up here we started a so we're going to go to a sharp A#4 above middle C. I don't know if you hear that clicking noise in the video there, and know what that is. We do a video on how to diagnose clicking noises, but this one, this hammerhead, is a little bit loose so as I can go to here, I can make and feel a little bit of wiggle, and that means the joint between the hammer shank and the hammer head is a little bit loose so it needs to be glued. to have sharp which is the last note in the middle mid-range and there we've tuned the whole one string per note for the whole middle section.

My mute came out here, so what we'll do in our next video is go through how to tune a unison and go through tuning the unisons for this whole mid-range section. Basically, that's how to tune, and sometimes I'll check it with the fifth. Sounds fairly good.