CyberTuner Basics Part 2: Understanding Tuning Modes

By Sofia de la Peña, RPT

Editor’s note: This article is Part 2 of a multi-part series on CyberTuner’s wide range of uses for both beginner and advanced technicians. By the end of this series, you should be able to use this tool fluently whether you are tuning for a concert, or doing a pitch-raise on a thirty-year-old console.

Now that you know how to perform a basic tuning in CyberTuner, let’s explore the different tuning modes. There are a few different modes that you can use depending on how far off-pitch the piano is.

A couple of things to note before getting started:

If you want to change your pitch standard to something other than A440, go to CyberEar, and in the right-hand corner, press the A440.0 button:

To access the different tuning modes, press the tuning mode on the right hand side:

This button looks different in portrait mode:

This will lead to a menu that shows the main tuning modes:

If you would like to adjust your CyberEar preferences, click the little gear in the right hand corner. You can press the "?" beside it for a brief summary of each mode and its appropriate use:

Tuning Modes

The first mode is the Fine Tune function. This mode should be used when the piano is no more than 1-3 cents flat overall. Unlike the other modes, Fine Tune does not overpull the notes. The spinner ranges from -25 cents to +25 cents:

This means that if you are on the correct note and you can’t see the spinner, it means the note is more than 25 cents flat or sharp.

Fine Tune mode uniquely allows you to alter the pitch of the tuning file and save your aural corrections. If you made an aural correction and want to save it, tap the Left Ear Listening button:

Play the note and allow the spinner to completely fill in to auto-measure your note. Then press the Save Cents button.

By pressing the Right Ear Listening button, you can then see how your aural correction is different from the CyberTuner tuning. Once the spinner fills in, your offset will appear in the blue Offset Box.

The reading in the offset box will remain until you clear it. If you want CyberTuner to auto change the pitch of a couple notes by a few cents, press the offset box and enter the pitch offset. This offset will stay until you clear it, or switch to a different tuning mode. You should not alter an entire tuning’s pitch with this method. Instead, switch your pitch standard to something else besides A440.

The next mode is Smart Tune. Within Smart Tune there are two modes: standard and large. Standard mode is used when the piano is between 3 to 20 cents sharp or flat, with the spinner ranging from -25 to +25 cents. Each note’s overpull is automatically measured and customised in order to eliminate the need for a second pass. By the end of the tuning, each note is generally where it should be, but you should still make sure that the notes have fallen to their correct places. Because this method is fast and accurate, most CyberTuner users will use this mode as a default.

When you use this mode, you will be taken to a different page and instructed to input certain notes specific to the piano you are working on:

You will be asked to enter a few strut notes (strut notes are the notes directly to the left of the plate strut.) For uprights with no second treble strut, enter C8. Then enter the first treble strut note, the lowest trichord note, and finally, enter the lowest tenor note (the last note before the bass section). You will know if you input this correctly when the number of tenor bichords matches what is in your piano:

Then press Start New at the bottom of the page. Above the keyboard, colored flags will appear, to indicate all the previous notes you entered.

You can either tune starting from A0, or you can start at the tenor break, tune up to C8, then go back to the tenor break and tune down to A0. In this mode, you can see how many cents the note is being over-pulled, and how off-pitch the original note is relative to the tuning created:

Keep in mind, the reading will sometimes seem wildly off. This typically happens whenever you accidentally pull the note too high or two low which causes the spinner to go off-screen and read the next note. If this happens, press the erase button and play the note again to continue tuning.

Large mode, on the other hand, deals with pianos that are 25-50 cents off. The spinner ranges from -50 to +50 cents:

If the piano is this far flat, you will need to do two tuning passes. Large mode still overpulls and creates a custom overpull for each note, however because the piano is farther out of tune, it will not be accurate enough to do the tuning in one pass. Therefore, a second pass is still needed. When you do your second pass, resample the piano in chameleon and go back to using Smart Tune Standard.

The next feature is Concert Mode. This isn’t a setting by itself, but rather a sub-setting used alongside either Fine Tune or Smart Tune. This mode increases the speed of the spinner and decreases the spinner's overall range just -10 cents to +10 cents:

This should only be used if the piano is very close to pitch. This mode will help you get the most accurate final pass.

Finally, you can use Pitch Raise Mode for when the piano is extremely out of tune. There are two modes, standard and large. Standard should be used when the piano is between -100 cents to +100 cents while Large is used for pianos -200 to +200 cents. The overpull in this mode functions slightly differently than Smart Tune. Its goal after the tuning is for the piano to be 2-3 cents sharp instead of exactly at 440. When you are in this mode, you will be asked to input the lowest plain wire string. As you tune, make sure the entire spinner fills in and records the note before moving the tuning pin. On Pitch Raise large, there is no spinner – just a hovering ball. You will have to do 2-3 passes before the piano is stable. I will go into more detail about how to effectively pitch raise with CyberTuner in the next article.

As you may have noticed I did not address, AI mode, RPT Exam, or Aural Temp’t. Each of those will be addressed in later articles.

This article is a condensed version of the official CyberTuner instructions. If you would like a more in-depth explanation of how CyberTuner works, I would highly recommend reading the official user’s manual that is included with the app.

Next month: CyberTuner Basics Part 3: Using the Pitch Raise Function


Sofia de la Peña, RPT, is a graduate of North Bennet Street School, class of 2020. A lifetime piano player, she is currently a full-time technician servicing homes and institutions in the Northern Virginia area.

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