Tuning a Gulbransen Upright piano for OneFiftyMusic
I had a good time tuning OneFiftyMusic’s Gulbransen upright piano for a friend and producer Josh Walker. He has just moved from Dallas to Houston and he contacted me to help tune his studio upright.
Tuning pianos is always a conscious process, whereby you are engaging in the alteration of potentially 236 strings. So that they sound harmonious when playing in different keys, across the twelve octaves. This is no mean feat, even for a seasoned piano tuner. I have spoken to and learnt from top piano tuners. And the word is that you can always walk away from a job thinking you could have done it better. In the case of a recording studio, every key, octave, unison, 3rd needs to be recordable. Ready to be played back time and time again. The tuning will be fixed in time as part of the music.
Being from Oxford England, I am used to German, English, Austrian pianos not American pianos such as this.So I take each piano at a time, mostly they are the same, in occasions they have quirks of innovation, sometimes causing trouble for the removal of parts, as was the case of the soft-fall mechanism here.
This Gulbransen was a nice tone. I was surprised that this piano was particularly well made, one of the best American pianos I am yet to see. Many are designed as parlour pianos, whereas this piano was designed as a studio upright. Far easier to work on than its smaller relative. A useful tip to know when choosing your next piano.
The pedal was very hard to play, as it was adjusted to the very bottom of the travel. A few simple screw adjustments made it have a bit more tread.
If you screw it too far, the dampers are pulled off the string without playing.
In addition, the keys are very jagged, still. This can effect your fingers when playing, especially stretching an octave, where the finger often lies beneath the front, and can cause scratching. For which I will remove them and replace them with
I can highly recommend Josh’s work, integrity and professionalism. See more on his website and social media www.onefiftymusic.com/
For a piano tuning quote please contact 832-993-1081 or email firstname.lastname@example.org