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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: 1464
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: 2356
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: 4908
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: 4908
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: 4908
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 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
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: 4908
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: 4187
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: 4908
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: 2356
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: 4187
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: 4908
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 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
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: 4908
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 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
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: 2356
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 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
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.


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#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 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
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

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#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: 21302
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 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
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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#1234614 - 07/21/09 01:42 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: BDB]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
As far as I know there are no RPTs living in Mexico, but there are some of mexican origin who live in the US. I know of one tech from Oaxaca who is on pianotech's list.

Many years ago when I started playing, a tuner offered to teach me (for a reasonable fee) and buy tools for me. I was young then, and lost track of him. He assured me he had some training at the S&S factory in NY, and had met/been tested by Franz Mohr. If I remember correctly, he didn't use a 5ths based sequence (I can't say if that's common or not). For what I recall, it could have started just like the Defebaugh F-F sequence. He was an aural tuner and believed ETD's were useless.

What I've heard in local pianos doesn't match the description of ET. Sounds acceptable (in some cases), but it is not ET. These people have no theory knowledge of tuning.

I've heard of several people here who toone their pianos. They are all pluckers and use guitar tuners, and use no mutes at all. They were "taught" by the old guy with the strobe.

I found this organization (which I don't know anything about) on the PTG's website:

Mexican Association of Piano Tuners
President: Francisco Chavez-Silva
Lago Constanza, No. 150
Colonia Anahuac, C.P.
DF 11320
Mexico

Rafael, do you know anything about them?

Since there are no chapters in Mexico, it makes no sense to join the PTG right now. Flying for meetings could get expensive, it could be easier for people living in the border, but for us that are not within what is considered the border, it's more complicated.

Many are part time, perhaps occasional tuners. In that case, it is not a reasonable investment to attend conventions or look to attend to a formal training programme in the US, Canada, or Europe. Even for a full time tech, it would be expensive and I am not sure the market could justify such investment. If I had the money, I'd enrol at a piano tech school, among other things, but that's not the case.

To be honest, I think there's no external pressure/motivation here for tuners to really improve. There aren't that many pianos, there aren't that many good schools, there's no piano tradition, the market is small, people can't pay much, people don't know much...

Of course some people care about what they do, but I think it's for personal reasons. Rafael is interested in that Yamaha course, and maybe one of the locals is interested too, but there are many quacks who wouldn't care to invest in it at all. Apparently Yamaha is having trouble to find people.

I contacted Yamaha to get their materials on grand piano regulation, and they told me they didn't offer those, but mentioned that course (didn't give me any details). Apparently they are looking for people with field experience, and not beginners. At least that's the impression I got from the questionnaire they sent to me. It sounded like the training programmes offered by software vendors (which is not my kind of thing, I think that model is offensive and can tell you it has harmed the computer industry).

As Rafael mentioned, the RPT title would not mean anything here to most people. If a mexican tech wants to become an RPT, it'd have to be for personal reasons, as a way to try to improve. Which I think is the best reason to do ANYTHING. But it is an investment, and for many, it's unjustified.

For some in these forums the RPT standards aren't high enough (I am not qualified to discuss that), but trust me, there's no way the tuners I know would pass it (not even the tuning section).

The situation is very different here, so please don't continue this train of thought if talking about the RPT vs non-RPT in the US discussion.

For me, trying to get the local techs together wouldn't be an option. All of them do this part time, and VERY busy in their other activities. Also, I don't think they would be interested. I'd be worried about a blind guiding another.

I think that idea could have better chances in the centre of the country.

I know there was an attempt to start a piano tech programme at UNAM, but once the RPT who started it got back to the US, the people who had taken classes just disbanded. I understand that also happened with the efforts of other RPTs.

I don't understand why there's a luthiers programme at UNAM and not a piano tech one.

I thought about starting an internet community for mexican (or maybe spanish speaking) tuners and techs (terminology would be a very big problem, for starters). I think I mentioned this idea to Rafael, but I got involved in some other things and just put the idea on hold. Such a community could at least help people getting together, people who could be interested, and then it could be easier to start from there.

It's hard for us to get resources (specially if you can't read english), so I was thinking about translating some of the info I've found, and start a forum like this or something. I don't know if the techs might be interested, but I am sure it would help the wannabes and beginners. So far the only thing I've found in spanish is quacks, and one guy in Argentina who has something very similar to the Potter course (but doesn't look as complete). It looks like all the spanish speaking tuners and techs are self taught.

I am sure this looks like cave age madness to many of you, but that's how things are.

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#1234723 - 07/21/09 10:09 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
Gadzar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
Loc: Mexico City
Originally Posted By: Erus

I found this organization (which I don't know anything about) on the PTG's website:

Mexican Association of Piano Tuners
President: Francisco Chavez-Silva
Lago Constanza, No. 150
Colonia Anahuac, C.P.
DF 11320
Mexico

Rafael, do you know anything about them?




No, I don't but I can check if they still exist. Don't you have their phone number?
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1234791 - 07/21/09 12:49 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gadzar]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
I don't have a phone number.

I was searching for the president, and found a person with that very same name who is now an RPT in Austin. If both are the same person, I suppose there's no organization left.

I have just emailed him, let's see what I find out.

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#1234875 - 07/21/09 03:10 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Francisco Chavez-Silva who prefers to be called "Paco" was one of the people I met 20 years ago at the conferences which were held in Mexico City. At that time, Ramon Ramirez RPT (from Michigan but who is of Mexican descent) was teaching piano tuning in Mexico City and he continued for several years after that. He now lives in Austin, TX.

At that time, Danny Boone RPT (now deceased but who wrote excellent material for grand action preparation and regulation)was interested in forming a Mexico City Chapter. It seemed to be a possibility at that time. There was an excellent technician at the university. We set up a Master tuning and gave exams. An American woman who was living in Mexico City took the exams and became an RPT. She now lives in Portland, OR.

There were many attendees at the conference of differing skill levels. One of the first things they did was to have a nomenclature session because people had varying names for different parts of the piano. Although everyone spoke Spanish, they often had difficulty communicating with each other because they used different terminology. The terms offered in the book called "Nomenclature" which offered translations in six languages including Castillian Spanish were often laughed at because they were about as foreign sounding as English. Indeed, many Mexican technicians had learned some American English nomenclature and used those words.

Ultimately, there was not enough interest in forming a PTG Chapter. Some of it was for the reasons Rafael stated. There was professional jealousy. Those who knew more did not want to share for fear of competition. The local piano stores were patently against the idea. They did not want tools and supplies to be brought to Mexico City for sale at the prices technicians can buy them here. They wanted to be the sole source. Anyone could buy anything the wanted from supply house catalogs but the piano stores wanted to make a profit from that. They said that forming an organization would create problems, not solve them.

I was invited to the home of a wealthy attorney to service his Hamburg Steinway model O. It was a beautiful home, filled with art treasures. The piano was in a pitiful state, however. I worked 8 hours on it over a two day period. The attorney paid me with a check in US dollars from a bank in Beverly Hills, CA.

When I finished working on the piano, it sounded and played so beautifully that he was overcome with emotion. From my point of view, I had only done what I considered to be basic piano technology. There had been a spill in the piano. With the action removed, I was able to clean the residue which had ruined the tone in that area of the piano with some anhydrous alcohol that the man had procured for me. He had been told it would have to be restrung but no one had offered to do that.

He asked me to speak to the local Steinway dealer about what I had done. I told the dealer that all I had done were what I considered to be the very simplest procedures. The spill had softened the hammers and left sticky residue on the strings. I cleaned the strings and reshaped the hammers. The tome was still too soft but I was able to restore it by procuring some acetone in which I dissolved a plastic flange I happened to have with me. It did the trick.

I reshaped the hammers, aligned them, tightened the screws, set a hammer line, let off, drop, jack positions and springs. I touched up the key level and dip. I tuned the piano to pitch in a mild well temperament that was a precursor to my present EBVT. When I spoke to the Steinway dealer, I asked why there could not have been a local technician who could have done the very same things. His answer was that no one in the city that he knew of had that kind of knowledge and skill. He said that most technicians were afraid to try to remove the action or do anything with it. The only person he knew of that could do those things was the American woman who lived there at that time and the university technician.

From what I have read and already know about conditions in Mexico, the conditions in the USA were more like that when I first started learning piano technology 40 years ago. When I relocated to Madison, WI in 1976, there was a newly formed Madison Chapter. When I tried to join it in 1978, they were reluctant to let me. No one wanted to share any knowledge. I was told that I shouldn't be in the business unless I went to a school for piano technology or had some kind of formal training, not just the correspondence course I had learned from (whose name I won't mention).

I attended my first PTG convention 30 years ago in July, 1979 in Minneapolis. The tuning class I attended was teaching contiguous M3s. I didn't understand it at the time but I did manage to improve my 4ths & 5ths tuning well enough to qualify as an examiner trainee just three years later. No one would help me. I had to do it all myself. Fortunately, PTG seminars and the Journal were enough for me to get the knowledge I needed because I continued to receive only scorn from other local technicians.

That has all changed now. Anyone who wants help gets it and I had to work hard to be a part of making that happen locally. In 1979, the Chapter had only 5 or 6 RPTs but now there are 18; more than at any time in the past. There are 3 Associates, one of whom is highly qualified and will take the exams in due course. The other two are part timers but who express the intention to eventually take the exams. All of the other tuners there were 30 years ago who scorned and mocked PTG are now out of business. All of them. There are a handful of tuners in the area who are not PTG members who do not work full time and have very little business. I could add some comments to the above but as it is, those are the facts.

I believe that the piano service profession in the USA and Canada would be far more like it is in Mexico today had it not been for PTG. Yes, there is a significantly different culture in Mexico of which the piano does not hold the same importance as it does in the rest of North America. However, there are concert halls, music schools, hotels, restaurants and wealthier people who do have pianos.

There are poor areas in North America as well, to be sure. I chose to remain in Madison after graduate school because it is a very nice place to live and approximately 1 in 10 homes have a piano in them. In the nicer neighborhoods, 1 in 5. If I travel west from here only about an hour, the situation is far different. It is much more like what Erus and Rafael describe and there are no PTG members. No one could make a living there as a full time piano technician.

One of the big differences there is now from what there was 20 years ago is the ability to have audio and/or visual communication conferences via computer and such messenger services as Yahoo messenger, MSN messenger and Skype. I have already helped countless individuals in the USA via that technology. There is no reason why it cannot also happen across the boarder into Mexico.

PTG is working to compile a library of visual instruction material which virtually anyone, anywhere in the world will eventually be able to access. But for the time being, Erus, I can help you learn what you want to learn by such means. All you have to do is set up the equipment and the piano, be sure that I can see and hear you and that you can hear me and we can take it from there. You can also invite anyone else who may be interested. You can help me learn to teach piano tuning and other technology just as well in Spanish as I can in English.

I believe that it is possible to improve the substandard conditions in Mexico. Where there is the will, there is a way.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1234903 - 07/21/09 04:01 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
Bill,

I'm wondering if I met Francisco when my wife, Jean and I were living in Mexico for about 6 months back in 1994. We were living in Xalapa Veracruz and I had been studying piano tuning with Mitch Kiel for about a year or so prior to our trip. We were on a tour of the famous Anthropological Museum when I hear in the distance the distinct sound of a piano being tuned!

I followed the sound and found a man tuning a piano in a recital hall. I stood behind him and watched for a while. He finally paused and turned around. Between my broken Spanish and his broken English we managed to have a nice chat! I learned that the Spanish verb to tune is afinar - the same verb that also means "to sharpen" which I thought was interesting.

I was very surprised when he showed me his card and he was a Registered Piano Technician! I'm not sure I can remember his name but it very well may have been Francisco. I can't think there were very many guild members in Mexico at the time. He was doing piano work for the University of Veracruz. They had all sorts of intense humidity related problems there. I don't believe he is a guild member anymore - at least I haven't seen him in the directory. Sandy at the home office may have a record somewhere.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1234937 - 07/21/09 04:48 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: rysowers]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Ryan:

Afinar is indeed the word we use, however, it doesn't mean to sharpen, that would be afilar, with an l instead of an n.

The word comes from "fino", which means fine, delicate, refined, subtle.

So, afinar can mean "to refine", "to perfect".

Afilar comes from "filo", which means edge. So, afilar means to create an edge or fine point.

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#1234954 - 07/21/09 05:19 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Bill:

The skype idea sounds indeed interesting. I thought the audio quality could be a problem, but if you think it could work, it's an interesting alternative smile

I have had similar experiences to what you mention about people not wanting competition or tools/materials easily accessible. Believe it or not, a similar thing happened with sheet music and classical music recordings here. In the last years, the internet has ended that madness.

I think the woman you mention is Linda Scott. She tried to start a piano tech programme at UNAM, but once she left, the project was finished and people disbanded.

We seriously need proper uni education in this area, too. I think that could help us fight the mob mentality we have described.

The problem is there's not a market for this in most cities. If graduates would also be interested in performance, or become scholars or teachers, it could work just like for most art graduates (not an easy life in Mexico). But if they want to be full time field technicians, concert techs, or rebuilders, it could get uglier.

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#1235068 - 07/21/09 08:41 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Erus]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Erus, yes it was Linda but I thought better of mentioning her name. She was also a student of Owen Jorgensen who at the convention, received PTG's highest honor, the Golden Hammer Award. Owen has helped me immensely to create not only a workable description of how to tune the EBVT but also the ET via Marpurg. He said that he is now composing music which is intended to be played on a piano tuned in 1/4 Comma Meantone. For a man of the quiet demeanor that he is, that is about as radical as it is possible to get!

Thank you for straightening out the misconception Ryan had. You got to it before I could. All of the various European languages have their own way of expressing what we call "tuning" in English. I often think of the Spanish "afinación" as "refinement" in English. German is interesting in that it uses the verb, "stimmen" which would translate to "voicing" in English. French and Italian use the word which means to "agree". French: accorder, Italian: acordar.

I particularly like the Spanish word for "out of tune": désafinado. There was a popular song many years back with that title. One quote by a man I heard talking 20 years ago in Mexico City was about "désafinación" rather than "afinación". He said that each regional musical group had its own particular out of tune sound (désafinación) that identified it through its own characteristic sound. Since then, I have noticed this kind of distinction when listening to regional music from Mexico.

That can be carried further to what both you and Rafael have noticed and that I have long noticed among tuners who use a 4ths and 5ths temperament and firmly believe that they are tuning Equal Temperament. The system simply does not work for them and they each end up with their own characteristic "désafinación" rather than what is actually intended. As I have said often, I have witnessed it from Los Angeles to New York City and from Montréal to México. Virtually everyone who uses the Braide-White system has their own version of it and hardly any yield a true ET.

Ryan: Francisco Chavez-Silva (Paco)is indeed an RPT and now lives in Austin, TX. He is a rather heavy set man. He has learned to speak English but it is still a bit funny sounding. He became an RPT when he went to a PTG regional seminar in Lubbock, TX one year and passed his exams. He made a very long and hard trip through the heat of Northern Mexico, across the border into Texas to do so.

He has a teenage son who is very talented with the violin and of whom he is very proud. He apparently has no intention of returning to Mexico to live. He gained much inspiration to improve his skills from the three PTG sponsored conferences which were held in Mexico City in 1989, 1990 and 1991. I recall him very excitedly and proudly showing me the results of his tuning exam.

The many lives and careers which have been affected by the existence of PTG and its mission: the continuing education of piano technicians is a story without end. How can this compare to the condescending remarks I received from the yes, meddling moderator and that ugly "behavior" post to which no one can respond, no one can offer a different point of view? There are "other paths", there are "other organizations" there are schools (and I suppose this means the ones who DON'T prepare the students to pass the PTG RPT exams), there are apprenticeships, there are such an infinite number of OTHER ways a person can learn to be a fine piano technician without ever bothering to join PTG and take its exams. That is what that post says and it should be removed. I am tired of seeing it and no, I have no respect for the opinion it expresses.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1235072 - 07/21/09 08:52 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
Guys,

Thanks for straightening out my verb usage!

The tuner I met in Jalapa was not heavy set, of course that was about 16 years ago (I wasn't so heavy set 16 years ago either, but I've been struggling with the old tire around the waist syndrome!)so it still may be the same guy.

I'll have to send him an email just to find out!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1235074 - 07/21/09 08:58 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Quote:

“The many lives and careers which have been affected by the existence of PTG and its mission: the continuing education of piano technicians is a story without end. How can this compare to the condescending remarks I received from the yes, meddling moderator and that ugly "behavior" post to which no one can respond, no one can offer a different point of view?”

No one can offer different point of view? Well, you just did.

Quote:

“There are "other paths", there are "other organizations" there are schools (and I suppose this means the ones who DON'T prepare the students to pass the PTG RPT exams), there are apprenticeships, there are such an infinite number of OTHER ways a person can learn to be a fine piano technician without ever bothering to join PTG and take its exams. That is what that post says and it should be removed. I am tired of seeing it and no, I have no respect for the opinion it expresses.”

Then purchase this forum from the owner, and you can have it removed. This forum is for the inclusion of all technicians from all walks of life, and their opinions, not just yours.
_________________________
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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#1235116 - 07/21/09 11:02 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Bill:

I'd be certainly interested in listening to Mr. Jorgensen's music. Scholars' music can be very interesting, some times more in an intellectual way, but still. I wonder what kind of compositional language he uses (meantone suggests me triadic chords, but it hasn't to be so vanilla, has it?)...

In spanish, we only use one accent per word, and only use the accute accent.

"désafinación" would be french styled :P, it's desafinación, with only the last mark.

What you mention about desafinación is a very interesting thing. Tuning is a complex matter, specially when timbre gets in the way. Have you listened to some of the modern pseudo band stuff people listens to in Mexico? I think they are, unknowingly, aiming at some kind of "pitchless" musical language. It's getting seriously weird, yet people don't seem to be aware of that (or I am just getting crazier).

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#1235125 - 07/21/09 11:36 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
The post also says in big type: STOP RECRUITING! That really draws a line in the sand, if you ask me. I have never recruited anyone to PTG. I have never "advertised" PTG. I have only given the best advice I can give based upon my own personal experience AND the experiences I have seen from so many others. "There are many fine technicians who don't belong to any organization". Well, there are so many more who belong to PTG and are, in fact, RPTs. Shall we make a count of the many, many, many "fine" technicians who don't need and would NEVER condescend to joining PTG, much less take the exams versus those who have?

I'll put it in writing just to satisfy the ridiculous notions of a few and the ugly post from Frank, yes the owner, which should be removed:

DON'T join PTG! DON'T even think about taking those STUPID exams! You can learn piano technology all on your own. There are OTHER organizations, dozens upon dozens of them. There are schools whose standards are their own, hundreds of them, all MUCH higher than PTG's. There are apprenticeships far and wide, one right in your own neighborhood. You can learn everything you need to know and far better without PTG and be better than all the rest. Go ahead, beat the odds, show everybody and get everybody to follow your path. Learn from a book written a hundred years ago, nothing else has ever been better or says anything more that you will ever need to know. Do the math. Make sure you include triangles and square root signs.

Inharmonicity has no effect on beat rates. It's a scientific fact! The Braide-White tuning is accurate to within 1/8 of a cent. Minor 6ths are the most useful tuning checks. The M3-M6 tests are far more accurate than CM3s which are useless. Find your own way; talk to no one; learn from no one; keep it all to yourself; you may only encourage competition. Never compare what you know to what anyone else knows because you know it all already.

Do I need to say it again? Never even THINK about joining PTG or taking those useless, substandard exams. They are wrong, you are right. The tuning exam is measured electronically. Only YOUR ear knows what is right!

Put that in the first post that people read with all responses locked out. That's what the "rules" are for this forum: let's all get along, no recruiting, no advertising, let's all be nice, no nasty comments or put downs. We all agree that PTG is a "fine" organization but so many, many technicians, so many very fine technicians do not belong to any of the dozens of fine organizations there are at all. They don't need or want to. They all have done just fine on their own with no help or communication from anybody else. The mere mention of PTG is offensive. The mention of exams is condescending. The suggestion to attend a seminar or convention is an outright violation of civil rights!

Let's ban PTG members from this forum! They have ruined it! They have offended beyond any possible remedy all of the many, many, many fine technicians who don't belong to any organization at all!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1235131 - 07/21/09 11:46 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Erus, thanks for the accent lesson, I wondered about that. I would like to hear some of what you are talking about "getting seriously weird". If you have some sound files to send of that, I would appreciate it. Maybe it is "nouveau" or maybe it is just substandard tech work. I have heard Latino bands with very interesting "desafinación". I liked the way they sound just as they are. I have heard Cajun musicians from Louisiana that also have their own kind of Pythagorean tuning type of sound. None is necessarily more right or wrong.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1235360 - 07/22/09 12:04 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

Would you care for some cheese with your whine?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1235389 - 07/22/09 12:56 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Bill, the idea of an open forum is steeped in the tradition (and yes, rules) that encourage all to feel comfortable to engage the discussions. There is nothing wrong with being proud of ones achievements, however you wish to measure that; be it qualified membership in an organization, accreditation from a school or correspondence course, or even learning alongside a mentor or in factory trained environment. These options DO exist for technicians and I would not be so bold to compare the end results of any to another. The worst case techs from any of them would probably not measure up to the best techs of another and vice versa. Factor into this the aspect of having a good or a bad day as we all do, our ability to forget, ignore, or lose over time what we had been tested on, and measurement itself loses much of its weight unless it is continued on a regular basis. Much of this also has to do with honesty, diligence and other (meaningfully untestable)attributes of people. The forum owner and moderators recognize that you cannot paint everyone with the same brush and that we don't need the vast plethora of options other than the PTG (which you sarcastically refer to) to validate this policy. One sole tech walking his own path that holds his own is enough to blow your highly polarized views on this out of the water; it would be unfair to call him/her less than what they are based on their choice of belonging to an organization or not. Some things in life are not black or white and reside somewhere in the gray area. This happens to be one of them and the forum owners statement is neither "ugly" or inaccurate... it keeps things civil and respectful in a medium that tends to occasionally attract people who are neither.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1235454 - 07/22/09 03:36 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Emmery]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Emmery, with all due respect, I completely disagree. The "Behavior" post does exactly what it says for us not to do. It is inflammatory, accusatory and condescending. Furthermore it locks out all opportunities to challenge it or refute it. If we are all supposed to be comfortable, then why are PTG members being told NOT to offer the kind of advice they would naturally be inclined to offer?

I'm afraid your example of the one guy who did it all by himself and is the best is a one in 10,000 type of example. To tell everyone they don't need to investigate PTG membership just because a few exceptional people have succeeded without it is to very frankly give bad advice. Advice can be taken or not as any individual chooses.

I strongly object to the "Behavior" post characterizing such advice as "recruitment" or "advertising". It is neither. No PTG member has any particular interest nor has nothing to personally gain by persuading any other individual to join PTG or take the exams. That kind of advice is offered to a person in that person's interest, not in the interest of the person giving the advice.

The PWF owner would do well to take down that post and replace it with a "guidelines" post and not engage in the very behavior he seeks to quell. From what I can see, the complaints he refers to are from people who feel threatened somehow by PTG. PTG does not have any interest in taking away business from any piano technician. It is interested in the very opposite of that: providing continuing education so that its member technicians may better be able to excel in their business.

The unfortunate response to the mere mention of PTG or the suggestion that any individual may better him or herself by seeking membership is by all too many, is defensive anger. That makes me uncomfortable. The "Behavior" post makes me feel uncomfortable. Do I not have the same right to feel comfortable as anyone else? So, I disagree with you completely, in my opinion, the post is quite ugly and quite inaccurate.

I have the right to express that. I have the right to give the kind of advice I believe to be the best and so does everyone else, no matter what that advice is. Everyone also has the right to debate and point out the perceived flaws in the logic of another. From my point of view, I see rules broken all the time. Tooner just broke one of the Behavior rules in his last post. I don't respond to that kind of nonsense. That you, Emmery for your opinion and for the opportunity to respond to it.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1235591 - 07/22/09 07:49 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Bill, I don't believe the responses to the OP actually contravened the behavior posting. Somebody gave advice to go to the PTG listings and I simply added that there are also other viable choices too, if looking for a competent tech. If your neck of the woods doesn't bear this out because all the non RPT's went out of business, it could be coincidence or a multitude of other reasons. I know of a large city in the USA with more than 10+ techs, all men. Several female techs have come and gone over the years....would you like to comment on why that was?....I didn't think so.
My analogy of even one guy walking his own path was only to show that respect is due to all on their own merits, lest we easily digress to the same level or manner of thinking that racists, bigots and discriminators do...jumping to conclusions based on shallow, limited, often convoluted reasoning.
When you express your opinion about all the non PTG members going out of business in your area and such generalizations as as to imply their universal incompetence, fear of testing ect..you invite responses in kind that reflects unfavorably on the very organization you belong to.
As for the owner of PW being condescending...your still posting here so I wouldn't say its out of line, after all, the one who pays the piper gets to call the tune. I myself agree with his sentiments because it strives to be fair to all, protects him from legal problems, and allows the forum to continue. Policies, rules and things such as the behavior posting are not intended to keep us all "comfortable", that is an impossible task. They are there to keep people/businesses from actually getting hurt (I'm not talking about emotions). In reality, you have a right to express yourself the same as throwing a punch; when generalizing, that right stops at the end of another persons nose, even a non RPT nose...regardless of how much you think they deserve it.
You may respond, and I'll read it, but I am done with this and hope we get back to basics as the last paragraph in the Behavior in the Forum advises us to.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1235767 - 07/23/09 07:20 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Emmery]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Bill:

Clean up your own act before criticizing mine. The post of yours that I responded to is disgustingly sarcastic, disrespectful of other opinions (while you demand respect for yours) and really just shows that you are a sore loser. In other words: Stop whining like a baby!
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1238610 - 07/28/09 01:35 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Gadzar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
Loc: Mexico City
Isn't it curious? The only guys I have learned something from are all RPTs! I can mention: Randy Potter, George Defebaugh, James Coleman Sr., Arthur Reblitz, Bill Bremmer, Virgil Smith, Larry Fine, Kent Swafford, Dave Carpenter, Dean Reyburn, Albert Sanderson, Rick Baldassin, Delwin Fandrich and many others.

People that has no title or certification from a recognized or well reputed institution is not able to teach others what they know. Either because they don't want to or because they can't even if they want to. Sometimes they are too jealous to reveal their secrets; sometimes they are not sure of what they know and are afraid they can be caught in an impasse and it is understandable: they don't have any certification other than their own; sometimes even if they try to transmit what they know they can not because their knowledge is not well structured. Sometimes because simply they have nothing to teach.

And, "au contraire", people able and disposed to teach, always searches to join such organizations (like PTG), to be in contact with people commited with their profession and willing to evolve and make technology and science advance.

I am not, myself, a certified technician, so I strive to carefully listen and read what people like the ones mentioned above have to say or write. And I try to learn all I can from them.

But I must be aware of people that say they know everything and are not able to give a clear answer to simple questions like the ones I posted to UnrightTooner and he refused to answer.

See my post:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1222912

Instead he launched a new topic that was an insult to Bill Bremmer, in which Tooner wanted to highlight the "errors" in Bill's post. BTW, Tooner was not able to point out any of those supposed "errors".

So, I disagree with those that say that one can become a fine technician without joining any organization. Piano Technology has evolved to a point where it is impossible for someone to discover it all by himself! And it is not by reading books that one can learn it all. So an organization like the PTG is necessary to anyone who wants to become a skilled piano technician. Even a forum like the Pianoworld Tuner-Technicians Forum is a great resource for all of us. So why deny the obvious? PTG is a great organization. And RPTs are great technicians. They are not unique, they are not the only ones, but they are great.


Edited by Gadzar (07/28/09 05:28 AM)
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1238705 - 07/28/09 07:33 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gadzar]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Gadzar:

I am reluctant to answer questions that are not made “in earnest.” It doesn’t seem that you want to know the answer. It seems that you want to make the point that not getting the answer has some greater meaning. That it is a proof that folks that belong to the PTG are inherently better in some way.

I used to believe that CM3s had to be the key to setting an ET. It just makes sense. But I could not make them work as well as they ought. Then I looked at tuning theory deeper. I now know that CM3s are not everything that they are advertised as being, regardless of how popular they are.

If you want to continue the debate of RPT/PTG over non-RPT/PTG go ahead (without me). If you want to seriously discuss tuning theory, that would be great! Starting a new Topic would be appropriate.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1238847 - 07/28/09 11:56 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3187
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Thank you for your comments Rafael. I would like to comment about women "coming and going". The Madison Chapter has three women technicians, all RPT's. Two of them for more than 25 years, one for nearly 20. All of them have supported themselves and their families in a full time business. There have been a few other women in the area I have seen come and go but fewer women than men.

I also know of many prominent women RPT's around the country. Concert technician types. The chairperson of the tuning division of PTG's Examination and Test Standards Committee is a woman. Two of the most highly regarded instructors at the North Bennett Street school are women and both are RPT's. They both also strongly encourage their graduates to join PTG and take the exams.

I know an individual who attended a well known piano tuning school. He briefly joined PTG but could not pass even the written exam. I gave him a trial tuning exam and that failed too. He used a 4ths & 5ths temperament sequence, believes in ET and ET only, says HTs make him "cringe" but offers only Reverse Well as his version of ET. It makes me cringe. He does happen to be a personal friend because I know him from a singing group I was in at one time. I don't hire him when I need help and I don't give him referrals because I consider his work to be substandard. He does nothing to try to improve his skills and has to work at another kind of job to support himself. He tunes one or two pianos a month for "extra money" and now uses an ETD.

On the other hand, I know of an individual who took a correspondence course, the one that teaches 4ths & 5ths. He joined PTG and went to its training sessions and took tuning tutoring from me. He learned how to incorporate CM3s in the sequence he was used to using and passed the exams and is now an RPT. He got to go to the convention that year free because he earned a scholarship. The chapter paid his expenses to go to the PTG home office for training. He works full time, supports a wife and growing family on his income as a full time piano technician. I hire him when I need help and refer work to him regularly.

The people who went out of business here is not an opinion, it is a fact. They scoffed at and put down PTG, said they didn't need it and would never join. They mocked the exam process. They said their own standards were higher. Two of them committed fraud. They went out of business. Those are all facts, not opinions. Whatever implication anyone may take from that is in their own mind. It is also a fact that the ONLY full time piano technicians there are in this area are all PTG members. The only one who isn't an RPT is well qualified and is in the process of taking the exams.

By saying this, citing these facts, it does not imply that all non PTG members and all PTG members who are not RPTs are incompetent, under skilled and underemployed. It merely denotes a trend. It does suggest however, that if a person is looking for a competent technician, there is a better chance of finding a good one if that person is an RPT. That is the subject of this thread.

Am I to have to say, "Anyone who has a piano tuning business is just as likely to provide good service as not"? Am I NEVER to suggest that contacting an RPT is a good and reasonable course of action because it may offend someone who has chosen not to have any affiliation with PTG? Am I NEVER to suggest PTG to someone who aspires to becoming a piano technician because it may offend someone who has not made that choice? Are those the "rules"?
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1238858 - 07/28/09 12:15 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
.....

Am I to have to say, "Anyone who has a piano tuning business is just as likely to provide good service as not"? Am I NEVER to suggest that contacting an RPT is a good and reasonable course of action because it may offend someone who has chosen not to have any affiliation with PTG? Am I NEVER to suggest PTG to someone who aspires to becoming a piano technician because it may offend someone who has not made that choice? Are those the "rules"?


You will probably not get an answer. Straw men don't post.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1238878 - 07/28/09 12:55 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

The rules are posted up top of this forum. There is plenty of information about this place in the information sections. If you would like to discuss forum rules, or changes, speak with the owner.
Preaching to the choir here, well you are lamenting to the wrong people.
This whole subject is done a long time back for all of us. I guess you will just have to learn to live with it. Or make another choice.
_________________________
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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#1238881 - 07/28/09 12:56 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: UnrightTooner]
Gadzar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1610
Loc: Mexico City
I see it this way, It works on three paths simultaneously

1. Good techs are willing to join an organization like PTG, so they become RPTs.

2. PTG forms good techs, via chapter meetings, conferences, conventions, books, the journal, etc...

3. Bad techs don't become RPTs because they fail at the exams or don't take the exams.

The end result is that good techs are RPTs and RPTs are good techs.

There is a little, very little, chance for an RPT to be a bad tech.

So when someone is looking for a good tech he better searches in the PTG listings.



Edited by Gadzar (07/28/09 01:02 PM)
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1239238 - 07/28/09 09:36 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: Gadzar]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Originally Posted By: Gadzar
3. Bad techs don't become RPTs because they fail at the exams or don't take the exams.


I think there are many examples of "good techs" who choose other paths, in spite of your thesis to the contrary...and more importantly, there are also many exmples of "good techs" who may have initually failed, but then ultimately passed the exams to become a RPT.

RPT status is a very honorable goal. My hat is off to anybody who aspires to this status.

Lets not devolve into bickering over professional standing, again...please?

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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#1239287 - 07/28/09 10:45 PM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: koala]
PinTwister Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/09
Posts: 4
Try getting a referral from your local music store. These people have pianos tuned very frequently by good tuners. they know all the tuners in their area. They also know who is good and who isn't.
_________________________
Bob Duncan
Piano Lessons
Piano Tuner

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#1239481 - 07/29/09 08:41 AM Re: Some advice on hiring a piano technician [Re: PinTwister]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
RPD:

It's a tar baby, just stay away from it. The Pope will learn this when word gets out that he did not use a RPT.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1240031 - 07/29/09 09:11 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
grin Oh Jeez...now the POPE is in the mud here!



Edited by RPD (07/29/09 09:14 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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