Robert Conrad, Registered Piano Tuner/Technician, Tucson, AZ

4. Mapping A0

Mapping A0 can be done any number of ways.

A0 can be mapped however you like, but once you have it where you want it, it’s location must be measured using it’s 4th partial.  The LC Spreadsheet uses the 4th partials for A0 – A4 for creating the tuning.

If you want to tune A0 aurally, fine, just make sure when you’re done, you measure A0’s location using it’s 4th partial.

To measure A0 using it’s 4th Partial:
1.  In the TUNE mode, set the SAT to (A2 @ x.x)
2.  Play A0 and stop the lights using the cents buttons.

The number in the SAT’s display will be the location of A0 when measured using it’s 4th Partial.

Some technicians use the 6th partials for the 8th partials or whatever to tune A0.   Again, that doesn’t matter.    Find A0’s best location however you like, but just make sure when you’re done, you measure A0’s location using it’s 4th partial.


I have always liked using the 5th to help me find a good position for A0.   So I wanted to find a way to use E1 to help me find A0.

In order to use E1 as a reference note, I must first tune E1 in some way so I can us it.  The tuning of E1 here is NOT an exact tuning at all, it is just going to be used as an approximate reference note.   But, this will work and does help me get a good location for A0.

Either way, however, the location for A0 is going to be checked aurally, as are the rest of the mapped targets.   Doing it this way gets me close enough to A0 so that I can tweak it up or down if necessary based on the aural checks.

The first step is to tune E1 from A1.   Get E1 close enough so that it can be used as a reference note for the tuning of A0.

Tuning E1 from A1 is the interval of a 4th.   But of course, that low in the piano, tuning a 4:3 4th is no help at all.   Tuning a 4:3 4th would use E3 as the coincident partial.   That just doesn’t work because the beating there is just too slow.

But setting the SAT to listen to E4 and then tuning an 8:6 4th, it is very usable.   So instead of tuning a 4:3 4th, I use the 8:6 4th instead.

What I’m going to do is tune the E1/A1 8:6 4th, 4 cents wide.

1.  Set the SAT to (E4 @ x.x) play A1 and stop the lights (in TUNE mode of course).
2.  Once the lights are stopped, subtract 4.0 c. from display setting, and then tune E1 to that setting.

E1 is now tuned close enough for it to be used as a reference note for tuning A0.

Tuning A0 from E1:

Trying to use a 3:2 5th in this part of the piano won’t work.
Just like trying to use a 4:3 4th for tuning the E1/A1 4th won’t work.

The coincident partial for the A0/E1 3:2 5th would be E2.   Again, even though measurements can be made using that partial, using E2 as the coincident partial is really not going to work very well at all.

So, instead of using E2 and the 3:2,  I use E3 as the coincident partial and end up using a 6:4 5th. 

I tune this E1/A1 6:4 5th, 5.0 cents wide.

1.  In TUNE mode, set the SAT to (E3 @ x.x), play E1 and stop the lights.
2. Subtract 5.0 c. from the SAT’s display setting.
3. Tune A0 to that setting.

Now listen to this location using whatever checks you like.

Once happy with the location of A0, measure it’s location using it’s 4th partial.

To do that, set the SAT to (A2 @ x,x), play A0, and stop the lights.
The cents setting in the SAT’s display is the 4th partial location number needed by the LC spreadsheet to create the tuning.

Make sure you write down this A0 number.

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