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Acoustic Piano Tuning

Member for

21 years 3 months
I have heard that some people tune their pianos slightly different for recording...

For instance, where there are three strings(per note) they will tune 1 string slightly higher in pitch and one string slightly lower... not very much. but slighly (say 1-2 cents) This action would move up and down the octaves of the piano adhering to the regular equal tempered tuning scheme...(obviously stopping where there are not 3 strings)

I have heard that this creates slight phase cancellation making the piano sound huge!

Have any of you heard of this?

PS: I'm a guitarist/recording engineer...and piano owner! he he



Member for

20 years 9 months

realdynamix Fri, 09/26/2003 - 00:38
Originally posted by shredfit:
I have heard that this creates slight phase cancellation making the piano sound huge!...
...Have any of you heard of this?
:) Shred, I never did. But, to me a well tuned studio piano sounds huge to me. Even if some parts are just slightly out, it seems to take away a lot from the sound.

If you have a great tuner, you can always depend and expect the sound you want. I have had tuners that had to keep coming back for lack of holding a tune. One idiot even cracked the sound board thinking the pins were loose, pounding on it with a hammer and block of wood. Turns out it was inexperience in not setting the tension correctly.

After a while I found a tuner that had to travel some distance and was always great on the maintenance of the piano. It would hold up a lot longer too. If you find a good tuner you like, stick with him and your piano will always deliver.


Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Fri, 09/26/2003 - 02:56
Detuning the strings slightly would not cause a phase cancellation, but would create a harmonic beat that would sound more like a chorus effect. The honky-tonk piano is the extreme version of this effect. I think that phase cancellation (if it did happen), would make the piano sound tiny (tinny?), not huge.

Member for

6 years 8 months

Guitarman Tue, 09/30/2003 - 23:49
Hey Guys,

It has been my experience for the past two years touring with Raul DiBlasio (a cross between Liberace and Yanni) that a piano correctly tuned wll sound huge enough. I utilize three AKG 414's on his Yamaha 7' grand and have a hell of a time keeping the strength of the piano without feedback before I have to throw in the midi'ed module connected to the piano.

Our piano tuner travels with us worldwide to keep both pianos going as best he can considering they are cargoed everywhere. He tunes the piano to an Akai sampler with a sampled set of pianos. I can't remember the name of the samples but there are some strings that were sampled ever so slightly out of tune and it wreaks havock on my artist when I have to throw in the module heavy for support.

We use two pianos depending on what part of the world we are in. One is a white laquered piano which we are using here in Mexico. This piano is in need of a whole new set of strings because it is starting to really sound kind of dead. Not to mention that the different laquers involved also play a part in the sound. The white laquer is a bit duller to begin with. The black laquered piano has a much robust sound and timbre to it. (Personaly the black is my favorite sounding one.)

In closing all I can say is find someone who can really "tune" a piano and it will sound fantastic.

Best wishes,

JD( o}===;;;
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.broadjam…"]Some guitar stuff.[/]="http://www.broadjam…"]Some guitar stuff.[/]

Member for

20 years 9 months

Nate Tschetter Fri, 10/03/2003 - 07:37

Very interesting, JD. I once attended a rehearsal for Elton John and he had a similar rig. MIDI acoustic piano with a lot of modules. The level at the piano bench was deafening!

Tuning was a bit of a problem and to get around that (this was years ago) they were using modules that were closest in pitch rather than best in sound.

Love to see some pictures of that rig!