Piano Tuning eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 135 pages of information about Piano Tuning.

We have said nothing about which hand to use in striking the keys and in wielding the hammer, but it is customary to handle the hammer with the right hand and it is always advisable for two very good reasons:  It gives the tuner a much more favorable position at the instrument; and, as the right hand is more used in ordinary every-day operations and is more trained in applying degrees of force and guiding tools, it is more easily trained to manipulate the hammer properly.  Training the hand in the skilful use of the hammer is of the utmost importance and comes only by continued practice, but when it is trained, one can virtually “feel” the tones with the hammer.

At first, the young tuner is almost invariably discouraged by his slow progress.  He must remember that, however fine his ear and however great his mechanical ability, he has much to acquire by training in both, and he must expect to be two or three times longer in finishing off a job of tuning at the outset than will be necessary after he has had a few months’ practice.  You can be your own trainer in these things if you will do a little rational thinking and be content to “hasten slowly.”  And as to using the left hand, we would not advise it in any event.


As stated in a previous lesson, the mutes should be so placed that only two strings are heard at one time:  the one the tuner is tuning, and the one he is tuning by.  It is true that this is an easy matter, but it is also true that very few tuners know how to do it in a way to save time and avoid placing the mutes two or more times in the same place.  By using a little inventive genius during early practice the author succeeded in formulating a system of muting by which he accomplished the ends as stated above, and assures the reader that a great deal of time can be saved by following it.

After removing the muffler or any other instrumental attachment which may be in the piano in the way of placing the mutes, the first thing to do is to place the continuous mute so that all the outside strings of the trios are damped.  The temperament is then set by tuning the middle strings, of the twenty-five trios comprised in the two-octave temperament as demonstrated in a previous lesson.  After satisfying yourself by trials or test that the temperament is true, you then remove the continuous mute and proceed to bring the outside strings in unison with the middle one.  Now, your 1C is sometimes found to be the first pair in the over-strung bass, which usually has two strings to a key, while in other pianos, 1C is the first trio in the treble stringing, and in many cases it is the second trio in the treble.  For illustration, we will say it is the second in the treble.  In speaking of the separate strings of a trio we will number them 1st, 2d, and 3d, from left to right, as in foot-note, page 89, Lesson IX.  Setting the mutes in bringing up the unisons in the temperament is exceedingly simple.

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Piano Tuning from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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