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#28737 - 10/21/04 10:36 AM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
Ginger Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 277
Loc: Indianapolis, Indiana
When I was at college, I had a friend that tuned the practice pianos for us. She had the tools to do it, but she admitted that she wasn't very good at it. She mainly did it in between visits from the real technician that came only about once every 2 years. (Well, he was at the university all the time, but I guess that the practice pianos were last on his priority list) Those practice pianos really get a workout being played all day and all night long. Some keys especially the high notes would go out of tune very easily! (I remember a time when the high C and D both sounded like the high E!) I was once practicing a Chopin Ballade and I broke a string- and the technician didn't come to replace it for months!

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#28738 - 10/21/04 11:24 AM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
There's much more to tuning than simply adjusting the strings to meet a regulated tone. I believe a good technician is worth their weight in gold. My techinician is forever explaining (I don't listen all that hard) about adjusting it up or down slightly because of impending dryness or humidity in which case it'll end up just right. My father is always wanting to give me his old strobes from the organ tuning business but I know from experience that you can tune every string to match the tone on the strobe - but it won't necessarily sound exceptional - like we want. It like a choir - you don't want all perfect pitch singers. You need the riff-raff (that was my spot) in there to generate harmonies. A kit won't do it. Training won't do it (although it'll help.) Experience, talent, a good apprenticeship, and probably a love for the instrument all combine to make a great technician.

[ 10-21-2004: Message edited by: Lilla ]

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#28739 - 10/22/04 07:00 AM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
Lisa...I thought we already beat that one to death not long ago? I guess you can look at it two ways.....I was thinking I would not charge as much if I was not certified and "green". I was thinking I wouldn't be worth as much as another. HOWEVER...if that would upset the apple cart for other more experienced tuners then I guess I should charge as much. ??? Would they then not say, "How can she charge what we do with all our training and experience?"
As far as teachers the same holds true. Are we more comfortable with them charging less because they are green or do we get mad because they charge as much? Personally I feel any teacher should charge what they think they are worth and what also what their area will bear. I know for a fact that I charge more than some teachers around here who have more education than I. I do not feel I am charging too much and plan to raise rates next year. I have all the students I want and no one complains. I KNOW those other teachers could charge more. Some do. Many don't.

As far as tuning...there are schools you can attend but I'm not sure where. There is an article in the latest Clavier magazine about being a piano technician. At the end it has an ad for a 1 year and 2 year program. I know there are correspondance programs. I may look into that.

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#28740 - 10/22/04 10:53 AM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
Beat to death or not - the fact is, the market place sets the price. Does the surgeon charge you less because it's his first operation? Does the plumber charge you less because he's only 25? Do they not go through training and school, and then gain experience? Compare your rates to demand in the marketplace vs the activity within local piano studios, and you'll know your rate. Period.

[ 10-22-2004: Message edited by: Lilla ]

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#28741 - 10/22/04 01:32 PM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
OK. When the time comes I will think about that.

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#28742 - 10/22/04 08:13 PM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
My tuner was here this afternoon returning the action for one of my pianos. It is a very old piano and he reshaped the hammers for me to get the grooves out. It sounds SO much better. Anyway...I asked him about new and "green" tuners and how he felt about them charging a lower price or the same. He said to charge lower would be bad for the rest of them. He said to charge high would not be good. He thought a new tuner should charge the average going rate. Around here that's about $75 / $80.
He also told me that there is a 2 day school in Sacramento that you can go to to be trained as a technician and the kit is included. I do not know the price. He himself was trained by his father. I don't know how soon I can do all this, but I may look into the Sacramento two day training.

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#28743 - 10/28/04 12:05 PM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
Ginger Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 277
Loc: Indianapolis, Indiana
I just wanted to say that my piano technician came on Monday to tune and fix my pedal. While she was here, she made sure that she had my phone and address correct so that she could refer people to me who are in need of lessons. She says that so many people buy a piano and get it tuned and ask her for some teachers in the area. Great! Thought that I'd share this interesting way of getting your name out there!

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#28744 - 10/28/04 02:42 PM Re: Piano Tuning Issues
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
It's a GREAT way. My tuner/technician and I have been referring for eachother for years now. He is in a ton of homes asking for a teacher and of course my students ask me for a tuner. We've had a great thing going for quite awhile. He carries my business cards and I have his. When new students start I give them his card along with their copy of the policy etc.

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