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Thread: Tuning and tuning cones

  1. #1
    ff Fortissimo Havoc's Avatar
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    Tuning and tuning cones

    I got a tuner, so I went tuning. Started with the 8' stopped and managed to get everything but the lowest octave tuned. I cannot reach the lowest octave, for that I need to move the whole organ. But now I have 2 questions:

    1: now the 8' stopped is tuned. But if I now start on the 4' stopped, I cannot be sure the temperature in the room will be the same. How do you handle that if you cannot tune by ear? I tought of sounding the A and then adjust the tuner frequency until that one is indicated as just and then tackle the 4' at that setting.

    2: the upper octave of the 4' stopped and the 2' open are cut to length and then cone tuned. I do not have tzuning cones. Can anyone give me the size and cone angle of such cones. Got materials and access to a lathe to make some but I cannot find sizes.

  2. #2

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    I got a tuner, so I went tuning. Started with the 8' stopped and managed to get everything but the lowest octave tuned. I cannot reach the lowest octave, for that I need to move the whole organ. But now I have 2 questions:

    1: now the 8' stopped is tuned. But if I now start on the 4' stopped, I cannot be sure the temperature in the room will be the same. How do you handle that if you cannot tune by ear? I tought of sounding the A and then adjust the tuner frequency until that one is indicated as just and then tackle the 4' at that setting.

    2: the upper octave of the 4' stopped and the 2' open are cut to length and then cone tuned. I do not have tzuning cones. Can anyone give me the size and cone angle of such cones. Got materials and access to a lathe to make some but I cannot find sizes.
    Their are a variety of sizes so their is is no definite measurements per see but i would mill a variety of them as i would need them.

  3. #3
    pp Pianissimo Piperdane's Avatar
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    My organ tech would tune the 4' Principal rank first. Then tuned by ear everything else to that 4' Principal rank.

  4. #4
    mf Mezzo-Forte m&m's's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piperdane View Post
    My organ tech would tune the 4' Principal rank first. Then tuned by ear everything else to that 4' Principal rank.
    That really is the best way to tune. The 4' Principal (or 4' Octave) is usually fairly easy to tune, and has enough overtones to allow most any other stop to be tuned with it.
    Mike

  5. #5
    ff Fortissimo Havoc's Avatar
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    Fair enough... but I cannot tune by ear and I do not have a 4' open. So does this mean I should not tune it because it cannot be tuned? The question is, how can I tune it with the means I have.

  6. #6
    mp Mezzo-Piano VaPipeorgantuner's Avatar
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    caution is advised

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    Fair enough... but I cannot tune by ear and I do not have a 4' open. So does this mean I should not tune it because it cannot be tuned? The question is, how can I tune it with the means I have.
    ALL tuning is done by ear (unless you cannot hear in the first place). There are tuners with visual indicators (virtual strobe, indicator needles, or what have you) but tuning is eliminating the beat between one sound source and another. You will find that even if you tune to the indicator, you might not like the result you get, as it is the tiny imperfections that give life to pipe organ sound.

    Setting the bearings (the reference pitch rank) is the most difficult to master (without an electronic reference a.k.a. tuning machine particularly) but is, like any skill possible to learn how to do. Once the reference rank is in tune throughout it's range, it is simply a matter of matching one pitch to another until there is no audible beat (wavering) heard.

    Cone tuning must be done CAREFULLY, as it is quite possible to damage the smaller pipes with too heavy an application of the tuning cones. Get a professional to show you how to do this!!!!

    Of course, I would caution you that if this is NOT your own personal pipe organ (i.e. it belongs to a church or school) you should be hesitant to do any tuning that is not a VERY minor touch up of a note here or a note there. I have had to repair pipes that were damaged by well meaning but inexperienced individuals, and that is not an inexpensive bit of work...if the mouth area of a pipe gets crushed by pounding on the top of the pipe, it is difficult to fully restore the speech of the pipe.

    Rick in VA

  7. #7
    ff Fortissimo Havoc's Avatar
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    It is my own organ, and it is minor work. Mostly due to the move of the organ years ago. But lack of finding a tuner forces me to do it myself. I really cannot hear the beats. I hear that when I use more than a single rank that they are out of tune. But not more than that. So I have to use an electronic tuner to do all pipes, by ear is no option as I do not hear those beats everybody keeps talking about. It doesn't sound right but there it stops for me.

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