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#1232416 - 07/16/09 11:14 AM Some advice on hiring a piano technician
koala Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 11
Loc: New Jersey
Hi all, I'm looking for a pre-owned grand and I went to see a $7500 yamaha C1 yesterday. I was a little bit surprised that it looks older than I expected. The inside looks very dusty. I don't know if it's because I looked too many clean piano pics on ebay or from dealers that I was surprised that the Yamaha logo as well as the serial no. were fading. I checked up the serial no. and it was manufactured in 1998. They put the piano on the ground floor, and there is a pool outside. I wonder if the humidity is too high. They said they seldom turned on the dehumidifier. I feel that a few keys were a little sluggish. I need to press harder than the rest to hear a sound.Just by reading my description, can you tell if something is seriously wrong with this piano?

I was looking for a technician on the Guild list as referred by someone in this forum. The technician I talked to told me that I should find the same technician who will be tuning this piano if I get it. Since I live 2 hours away from the seller and where he works, he is not going to tune my piano. He referred me to someone else, but that person told me she wouldn't take the job as she was about to move. She referred me to another two people who I couldn't find their names on the list. She said they might not register, but they are very experienced. I'm in a dilemma whether to trust the list or trust this lady I never met. Is it better to hire RPT, or someone who is referred by a professional in the same field?


Edited by koala (07/16/09 11:17 AM)

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#1232459 - 07/16/09 12:41 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: koala]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1533
Loc: Old Hangtown California
Koala,
Serious problems with any piano are very difficult to diagnose at a distance.
When you play harder than pp to get a sound it usually means that the action is out of regulation. In this case it sounds like friction is also an issue - all should be easily resolved by a competent tech - nothing serious here.
Use an RPT. Trusting relationships are earned and you may need to try more than one tech.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#1232520 - 07/16/09 02:40 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gene Nelson]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
You can also find a competent tech whom you may establish a trusting relationship with by asking for referrals from local institutions of music, university music departments, musicians, ect. Many techs are graduates from quality schools that even deal with rebuilding and issues that go beyond tuning/regulating and simple repairs. As stated in the Behavior in Technical Forum posting... "There are plenty of good techs who do not belong to any organization."
Be prepared to ask questions (write them down beforehand) and ask for any clarifications if something remains unclear; the specifics with pianos can get complicated at times and same goes with the terminology which us technicians get used to. A good tech should be able to convey to you what you need to know and always bring his/her "A" game when working on your piano.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1232586 - 07/16/09 04:59 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Emmery]
Denis Ikeler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 3
Loc: Grand Blanc Michigan
Koala,

If you live near a big city, try calling Yamaha themselves. There tele. is 800 854-1569. They know all the really good techs around the country. The techs who they would use to do warrantee stuff. 7500.00 is a good price for that piano.

Good luck
Denis Ikeler


Edited by Denis Ikeler (07/16/09 05:02 PM)
_________________________
Denis Ikeler, RPT

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#1232932 - 07/17/09 12:13 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Denis Ikeler]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
The above adivce is good...

You've stumbled, in part, onto the age old controversy regarding using an RPT or not, whom is more qualified etc...its been a hot topic here in the past, and of late has been settled respectfully between both camps...

The upshot is this: the PTG list of qualified technicians generally will insure that you receive somebody who can do a great job.

However, there are many professionals who do not belong to the Guild (and will not show up on the list) who ALSO have deep knowledge and obtained their qualifications through apprenticeship, or a degree from one of the few colleges who offer piano technology courses.

A flat answer to "always" use an RPT, or to "never" use so and so, is perhaps a bit narrow.

Always search out the best technician you can find, based on reputation, recommendations from local colleges, teachers, and yes the Guild. You will also find (as we have) that many within the Guild will actually refer business to some of us outside the Guild. Respect and goodwill knows no boundaries.

There is a high-minded discourse that goes back and forth among the best in the industry...and in that spirit I wish you best of luck in your search.

RPD (my initials, not my title LOL)
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1232945 - 07/17/09 01:00 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: RPD]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
".....generally will insure....."

Care for some syrup with that waffle? smile
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1232989 - 07/17/09 02:35 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
OK...it WILL insure...

I have no truck with the Guild...so, please pass the maple... smile


Edited by RPD (07/17/09 02:37 PM)
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1232993 - 07/17/09 02:42 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: RPD]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Sorry, all I have is molasses. But, will it insure somebody who can do a great job?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1233039 - 07/17/09 04:33 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
zissr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 63
Loc: north jersey
Dear koala,
If you are in north jersey, I may be one of the two techs not on the rpt list. I know a female rpt who is moving and she is referring her clients to me. I ve done Yamaha dealer warrantee work for 20 years.

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#1233591 - 07/18/09 09:49 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: zissr]
koala Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 11
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks all for your advice. I have found a technician in the area of the seller. I will follow your advice if I get this piano for a tuner/tech in my area. I really hope that I can get this piano, as I have been looking for so long. I'm crossing my fingers.

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#1233993 - 07/19/09 09:05 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Sorry, all I have is molasses. But, will it insure somebody who can do a great job?


Jeff, I think you're probably going at this tongue in cheek...and as everybody probably knows, I'm not a PTG member...but because I'm not, my sentiments may mean more since I'm basically still recommending the Guild as a good resource. But honestly, I've been doing that for years anyway; referring people on occasion to Guild techs (locally Yat Lam Hong, one heavyweight example) and I can say with all sincerity that the Guild members are, as a matter of course, qualified to do excellent work. There are exceptions, as there are in any field, I am sure. But, if I were flying blind and didn't have a tuner/tech, and no referrals from any other trusted source (as in this post) then I think its very appropriate to list the Guild as a great place to start.

For me to fail to list that resource for my clients or friends would be depriving them of a very important resource within the piano industry.

I don't think PTG is the ONLY resource, but why not admit that its a great organization? ...certainly doesn't hurt me in my efforts to service my clients to have them as aware of the landscape as possible...

FWIW

RPD wink




Edited by RPD (07/19/09 10:28 PM)
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1234129 - 07/20/09 08:15 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: RPD]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
RPD:

Some, but not all, was tongue in cheek. I would recommend a Guild member, also. (I used to be one…) Chauvinism (and waffling) irks me, though.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1234142 - 07/20/09 09:18 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: koala]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3324
Loc: Madison, WI USA
"As stated in the Behavior in Technical Forum posting... "There are plenty of good techs who do not belong to any organization." "

I have always viewed that "behavior" post as bad behavior itself. It implies that there are just as many or more good and reliable technicians who are not RPTs as there are RPTs. The post is very patronizing and should be removed. In private communication from one of the meddling moderators, I was told that non PTG members found the mere mention of PTG and RPT to be offensive.

Well, I find what that "behavior" post says to be offensive. I find the implication that PTG and RPT are essentially meaningless to be extremely offensive.

Yes, there are very good technicians who do not belong to PTG or who are not RPTs but how do you find them? How do you distinguish between them and all of the others who have limited knowledge and skills? Sure, you can get a referral from a source you trust just as you can get a referral to an RPT.

RPTs are all a part of a network. Not all have the same skills but any who cannot do the kind of work that is requested will know of others who can and will readily recommend another RPT who can do the job.

When I say on this forum that I only recommend and hire other RPTs, I mean it and I have the right to say that and I have the right to hire and refer the people whose skills I know and trust. In my local area, I do not know any technicians who are not RPTs whom I would hire or recommend. It may be possible that there could or would be "As stated in the Behavior in Technical Forum posting... "There are plenty of good techs who do not belong to any organization." " but I don't know of any around here.

I also know of countless numbers of very fine technicians across the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe. The only ones I would recommend with very few exceptions are RPTs.

So, if there is anyone who finds that offensive, it is their problem, not mine. I find the offense they take to be personally offensive. PTG and particularly its RPT members have made far too much of a commitment to improving knowledge and skills in the piano industry to accept restraint from those who have not made that commitment.

The piano owner's best choice when searching for a technician is clearly to hire an RPT.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1234152 - 07/20/09 09:51 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
…..In private communication from one of the meddling moderators, I was told that non PTG members found the mere mention of PTG and RPT to be offensive……

Well, so much for private communication. And your use of the alliterative “meddling moderators” shows your disrespect for the owner of this Forum, who has the prerogative to operate it however he chooses.


Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
….. So, if there is anyone who finds that offensive, it is their problem, not mine. I find the offense they take to be personally offensive……


And I am offended that you find it offensive that someone is offended…..
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1234168 - 07/20/09 10:19 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4234
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada


Quote:

“When I say on this forum that I only recommend and hire other RPTs, I mean it and I have the right to say that”……………….

And because this is a privately owned forum, not a public forum, the owner has a right to ban you for a period of time if you insist on keeping up with this nonsense. The owner can choose whatever content he would like to appear on his forum……..

The meddling moderators as you have so aptly described them do what they are told to do by the owner. Get it straight.

You can attract a lot more members to the PTG with honey rather than vinegar…..
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1234170 - 07/20/09 10:24 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Dan:

"You can attract a lot more members to the PTG with honey rather than vinegar….."

I agree. I think Mr. Bremmer is trying to be martyred. (Again?)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1234193 - 07/20/09 11:21 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
"As stated in the Behavior in Technical Forum posting... "There are plenty of good techs who do not belong to any organization.""
Emmery N

"...It implies that there are just as many or more good and reliable technicians who are not RPTs as there are RPTs."
Bill Bremmer

I does imply no such thing; it is simply your inference that makes it so, for you. There are no comparisons of quantities or numbers and the word "plenty", for lack of possibly a better word like "sufficient", implies that there is often an "adequate" amount in many locations. I would agree with this from my observations and have talked to other techs that share this view, but then again I don't live in Madison WI and would not dare venture a guess as to its validity there. It is also erroneous for you to do the same for other areas, as you are but one man and this is a vast globe. There are different ratios of members vs non members everywhere, even areas where there are no RPT's servicing whatsoever. Your statement Bill, is an inference, not an observation and coming from an RPT, obviously biased. The fact that being member in the PTG or having RPT status is not mandated by the public, government or any other body in itself is the only negative implication I can see you complaining about because IT does imply to the public there are viable, comparative alternatives. The Behavior in the Forum posting is appropriate in the sense that it protects the integrity and validity of those techs who have spent much money, many years of schooling, apprenticeships or even self study, have acquired enough expertise to have a continually growing client list of happy customers, and offer (and honor) guarantees of satisfaction that remove or reduce risk for the customer. In fact, a guarantee of this kind is better than any assurance the PTG can give since they may address a complaint against a member but they will not reimburse the customer $$, will they? As I learned as a child, saying "I'm sorry" does not carry as much weight as removing the loss or righting the wrong.
Finding a tech with a good reputation, who is recommended by others and offers a satisfaction guarantee is just as worthy of a suggestion as looking up a name on an organizations list. I think its fine to list both options. Being exclusive in either case because of a few bad apples is simply wrong and unjust. It is the "spirit" in the Behavior in the Forum posting that you should gleen...acknowledging one another. It is designed to keep things civil between people who do not share the same views.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1234200 - 07/20/09 11:30 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4234
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada


I don’t presume to know any longer here Jeff. There is no issue of free speech here. There is material content on this forum. The owner can choose the content that he likes to have here, and remove the content he finds to be inflammatory or argumentative.

Everyone here, for months now, has cooperated with the very pleasant and accurate assessment in the behavior thread posted by the owner. As we can all witness, these simple rules of conduct do not apply to a certain members, they are above the rules apparently.

You want free speech? Start your own blog; start your own forum, link it to your web site, good luck, have fun, and all of that. BUT when you post to a privately owned forum, I guess you will have to acquiesce with the rules here…. And I believe that means everyone including myself.

Martyrdom? I would prefer to not characterize the behavior in this way. For some this would denote a religious connotation that has no place here either.

In the end it doesn’t matter if you learned from the tooth fairy. Where you learned and how you perform the task is not the point. I don’t care if you wear a lamp shade on your head while you work.

Can you do the work? Does the instrument work in a satisfactory way? Is the customer satisfied? Do they recommend you to other prospective clients?

As the behavior thread also states: this place is for technicians to discuss pianos, piano repair and for the rest to ask us questions. Let’s all get back to that and leave this issue to die on the vine.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1234209 - 07/20/09 11:57 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I think the term martyred is appropriate because Bill is fanatical. For that reason, I do not plan on getting in any more serious discussions with him. (I now wonder if any were serious…) His reliance on anecdotes and hearsay to make a point is ridiculous, not to mention his building of straw men to knock down.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1234212 - 07/20/09 12:04 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3324
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thank you all for your opinions but I stand firmly with what I said. As far as I know, there is no rule as such against answering a question that someone has with information which I firmly believe to be the best. If someone asks how to find a technician or how to become a technician, I or anyone else should have the right to answer that question. The question regarding advice on how to hire a piano technician was raised here and it has been answered.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1234220 - 07/20/09 12:26 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4980
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I do not consider bashing a post made by the Piano World's Founder as answering the question.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1234262 - 07/20/09 01:25 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
I think the best one can do, if one doesn't know a good piano technician, is to search in the PTG list for an RPT.

And I am not biased by being an RPT myself.

I wish there was a PTG Chapter in Mexico City.
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1234286 - 07/20/09 02:09 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Let’s all get back to that and leave this issue to die on the vine.


Yes, please.

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#1234287 - 07/20/09 02:11 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gadzar]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
So what does one do in Mexico City Rafael, ask around from pianists and such for a referral, or just look in the yellow pages of the phone book? Are there techs that travel over to the US (or possibly other parts of Mexico) to get their RPT status and then go back to the big city?
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1234462 - 07/20/09 07:53 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Emmery]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3324
Loc: Madison, WI USA
It just may happen that a PTG Chapter will soon be established in Mexico City and you can be sure that I will have a role in its establishment. It has been a goal of mine since 1990. It is about time it may finally come to fruition.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1234531 - 07/20/09 10:42 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Emmery's question was not addressed to me, but I think I can tell something about how things work in a smaller city in northern Mexico.

I hope Rafael will tell us more about the DF.

Sorry for the long, unsolicited rant, but I think it could help putting some things in perspective.

In Mexico, people in general are clueless about pianos, piano teachers aren't doing much better in the hardware department.

Not many new pianos are sold, and apparently it was more common in the past to own or play a piano. Things have gotten a little better in this place during the last 10 years, because a growing number of people who take lessons at better schools (in this city, and perhaps some others, I'd dare say most of the country is doing worse).

Most of the piano for sale ads I see (which are few and far between) make me sad. Based on those, I'd say most pianos here are junk.

I've heard of people calling to the school where I teach to ask for a number to get a piano tuner. All the musicians who play at the orchestras or study in a music school know each other, and they know the 2 tuners most people know.

Speaking of orchestras... A pianist friend told me he was going to play a concerto at another city, and the piano was horribly out of tune (he can tell when a piano is not in good shape). He complained about that, and was told the piano had just been tuned. The tooner approached him and checked A4 with an electronic device (I don't know of what kind) and said "see? 440, this piano is in tune". The pianist asked him "what about this octaves? and what about this chords, it's a mess". The tooner showed him again the device... 440, all 3 strings... his work was done.

Piano teachers will tell their few students about those 2 tuners (or tell them about the one they use). For what I've seen, most piano teachers have pianos in bad conditions.

For the few churches and grade schools with pianos... The people who play/teach there know of these 2 guys, and probably work at one of the orchestras or are related in some way to one or more of the music schools. The same for the very few restaurants with pianos. It's a very small ecosystem here.

I just checked the yellow pages and there is just one piano tuner listed. That's new, there were no techs listed years ago. This guy lives in a city about 70 miles from here. I understand he started with the Randy Potter course and WAS a PTG associate (he doesn't seem to be anymore). I've heard good things about his work, he does tuning, regulation, installs humidity control systems and refinishes pianos. I guess he is trying to expand his market, but to be honest there's no market to get here. I think the other two I mentioned have more clients because they live here and have worked for several years (both are part time tuners).

One of these guys is the local Yamaha tech (self-taught). For what I have seen, he is not up to the level of the average tech visiting this forums. His tunings are improving, and can do some repairs, but that's all. He's one of the busiest persons I know, because he works in MANY different things, pretty much at the same time.

The other guy is older, and the last time I saw him, he was using a very old strobe. He is one of the pluckers (by the way, I think I might have traced the pluckers heritage back to one guy, who died about 20-30 years ago).

I've heard some people say these two guys are real top notch professionals. Sadly, I don't agree. I think they do the best they can, but can't see beyond their nose.

There are a lot of quacks.

I was approached the other day by a guy who teaches at the same school where I work. He says he tunes pianos.

He asked me how to extract a box of cigarettes that was swallowed by a hungry grand piano.

At first, I didn't want to tell him. I was seriously worried about what he could do (yes, now I know how you techs feel when people ask for instructions to mess with their pianos). Why didn't I want to tell him?

He mentioned the piano was an S&S of middle size, recently rebuilt. The piano was at one of the most expensive restaurants in town, owned by some of the richest people here.

This guy asked how difficult it would be, because he had just tuned it and didn't want to get in trouble with this piano. He said he tuned it a couple times but it will need some more tunings to hold... he plucks, and uses a guitar tuner... and swears it works great. He says he found a nick in a couple strings, and a bad temporary repair in a shank (he actually had a hard time explaining what he found). Since he can't fix things, he didn't want to get in trouble.

I politely tried to tell him he should not attempt to do piano work if he didn't know what he was doing.

I showed him how to remove a fallboard, and he was surprised. He told me he knew how to replace strings, and had welded a harp. However, he is affraid of tuning a piano because he won't be able to replace a string if it breaks, and won't touch an action because, unlike tuning, it's very specialized work. He had never heard of voicing, and thinks aural tuners are all quacks, because it's impossible to precisely tune a piano by ear. Oh yes, he though he had to remove strings to repair a shank.

He taught his piano students they could do some kind of "vibrato" on the piano by moving his wrist. I know because one of their students started taking lessons with me, and I immediately told her it was nonsense. I opened the piano and showed her why that was impossible, and then sent her a video of a clavichord performance where bebung was used.

Now, THAT guy told me he had seen all kind of QUACKS doing piano work. I had a very hard time trying not to laugh. He told me all kind of terror stories: people using vice grips to tune, about pianos so rusty they seemed to be part of a coral reef, all kind of weird repairs.

People have asked me to work on their pianos. I've told some of them I'm nowhere close to ready to do that, I've helped some evaluate their situation, though. I've told some people about some details to take care of when inspecting a piano, etc.

I have been too busy getting in other kinds of trouble, I've read a lot about piano work, but I know what I can't do without the practical knowledge. I seriously need to start doing instead of keep reading.

I told the school's principal about some problems with the pianos. Maybe it's me, but I think a 2 years old grand should not have rusty strings. Maybe it's me, but I think a 10 year old piano (under 12 hours a day of institutional use) needs some work done on the hammers and action. The principal told our tech about that, but I don't know if it's a money problem or a knowledge problem.

He said he'd check what could be done about the rust and what could have caused that. It's been 2 years now since I reported that. The last time I played that piano, I saw a perpendicular crack in the treble bridge. I took some temp/humidity measurements, it was saddening, really.

I have heard of some techs living in the north of the country, who travel to the states for PTG meetings (but I don't actually know of any case first hand). I have also heard of techs from the US coming to Mexico when needed. Not all techs in Mexico are quacks, I've been told there are real technicians in the centre and south of the country.

I don't intend to become a technician, but I don't want to be one of those ignorant quacks. I still haven't found the time to put my ass to work and start doing practical piano work instead of reading about it. Perhaps I am losing my motivation, I don't know... But it's very sad to see how things are here.

I understand Rafael became a technician because he wasn't satisfied with what the techs could offer him. He took the Potter course and started working.

I think PTG presence could be a very good thing for us in Mexico. Some PTG members have tried to improve things in Mexico in the past, I really appreciate their efforts. I would certainly like to help Bill with this project.

It'd also be lovely to have some decent piano technology programmes (as far as I know there's none). However, that will take time.

I wanted to attend to last week's convention. But the depreciation of our currency, and some personal/work issues just didn't allow me.


Top
#1234559 - 07/20/09 11:44 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Peace my brothers....we'll all get there together if we listen to, respect and regard each other as all having high motives and ideals.

There is not one person I've encountered here who would intentionally offer bad or careless work...regardless of training or background.

Lets deep breath and let this old tired argument submurge again...

RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1234566 - 07/21/09 12:07 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
Erus is right.

In 2006 I bought my piano, a Petrof studio. I have it tuned four times by different tuners and I was not satisfied of their work so I decided to learn to tune myself. After a few unsuccessfull tries with Internet courses and reading some books I decided to take Randy Potter's course and I also bought the Verituner Pocket PC. I bought a practice piano, a Melodygrand console and I began to tune my two pianos.

When I was satisfied with my tunings I began to tune for my relatifs and friends for free. And when I felt confident I could do a decent work I began to offer my services as a tuner for pay. Now, I tune for a living. I have also learned some repairs and regulation.

At first I tuned using the Verituner, now I tune by ear, thanks to Bill Bremmer's articles and teachings in this forum. Although I still use the Verituner for pitch raises.

Now I know more of the tuning business and I know several good tuners in Mexico City. But they all are self taught or part of a family tradition. They make good tunings but they don't tune ET. They believe they are tuning ET but in fact they tune Well temperaments based on fifths sequences. They don't use ETDs.

When one wants to contact a good piano tuner one must ask a piano teacher or a pianist-friend for a referal.

There is no one single school of piano technology. There is no association like PTG, there are no appreticeships. The only way to learn to tune is by taking a correspondance course or going to another country to study.

I know no mexican RPTs. And I believe for me it is not a big deal to join the PTG as I can not assist to the meetings and nobody here knows what an RPT is.

Recently I was in contact with the manager of the service department of Yamaha de Mexico. He invited me to take the Yamaha course. Until last year the course was given by japanese technicians but they are not coming this year to Mexico because they complain that every year they have to start from zero because there is no continuity with the people taking the course.

They want to form tuners to service their pianos with the support of Yamaha de Mexico, but apparently they don't find eligible candidates.

They use an ETD developped by Yamaha and the people taking the course is "invited" to buy the software at a reduced price. Business are business.

I am very interested in taking this course but they have had no enough quorum until now.


Edited by Gadzar (07/21/09 12:09 AM)
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

Top
#1234570 - 07/21/09 12:11 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gadzar]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21924
Loc: Oakland
You should contact the other tuners in your area and see if you could just get together to talk. Perhaps something could come out of it.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1234583 - 07/21/09 12:39 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: BDB]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
I've tried several times to work with other tuners/technicians but until now it did not worked.

They are too jealous and I feel like they fear me as if I wanted to put them out of business.
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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