Welcome to the Counting to 100 Pianos series. I am blogging my way through my first 100 tunings. For previous pianos, check out these:
Tuning # 8 was an Otto Altenburg piano, manufactured by the Everett Piano Company. Often piano manufactures would make "private label" or "stencil" pianos. Essentially, the same piano sold under different names. So, while the Altenburg name has little meaning now, the Everett Piano Company was once a well respected company.
This piano was in good shape inside, nice looking felts and stings, however the fall board was broken. I didn't have tools with me to do woodworking, so I just examined and suggested how to fix the fall board, but didn't do any fixing myself. I'm really not a cabinetry person, but I may try more in the future.
Anyway, this piano did have a new problem for me (which I suppose isn't saying much because pretty much everything at this point is new). It was almost a full 1/2 step flat! This means that an A on this piano would sound like an Ab on any other piano. It disparately needed a pitch raise.
When piano strings are stretched far beyond what is normal, they tend to pull back, so when a piano is really flat the strings have to get stretched several times before they will stay at the new pitch. There are basically two ways to do this, but one way involves a tuning device that I did not have, so I had to do this the long way. First, I tuned the piano once as quickly as I could. I didn't worry about everything being perfect, I just went through and pulled all the strings up to pitch. After the first tuning, many of the notes were still significantly flat because they had relaxed back close to their norm. So I tuned the entire piano again. This time the strings held better and I was able to do a "fine tuning" (meaning, taking care to make sure that everything sounded good this time). This process of tuning a piano multiple times to get it back up to pitch is called a "pitch raise". Since I was already a slow tuner, the entire process took a long time, but in the end I was happy with the result. First pitch raise, done!