Adventures in the Field, entry 2

Posted by Adam Schulte-Bukowinski on January 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Some days are spent working on humble spinets and old consoles.  Competent instruments in their own right (... mostly), but there's a reason you don't see many concerts where the pianist is seated at a spinet.  Then there are days when I get to work on a fine concert instrument.  These are the kinds of instruments where a good tuning brings the piano and the music played on it to life.  Where one is tempted to play a little longer after the tunings are done - you know, to thoroughly enjoy the piano evaluate the tuning.  

Friday was one of those days.  And I was lucky enough to tune not just one, but two fine concert instruments.  My first was a Shigeru Kawai SK7:  

As a pianist I've had a soft spot for Shigeru Kawai's ever since playing an immaculately prepped and seemingly telepathic SK6 in a showroom 5 years ago.  This was my first opportunity to tune one, and it was a pleasure. 

The second instrument was a Yamaha CFIII concert grand:

This happened to be my first opportunity to tune a concert grand, and it was a rewarding and eye-opening experience (even though I did have to do a pitch raise first)!  The clarity in the low bass was a revelation, coming from my experience solely on pianos under 7 feet in length.  In many shorter pianos, even as a technician it's hard to hear the actual pitch of the lowest 3 bass notes with any real clarity.  There are tests and checks we can use to verify the pitch, but it's still not a very clear tone when played on their own.  In this Yamaha it was wonderfully clear. 

The bonus with both of these pianos is that once I was finished, I got to evaluate the tuning by playing a few quick pieces - on a well prepped, well tuned (if I may be so bold) concert instrument, on stage in a recital hall.  

It's a rough life. :)

Categories: Field work