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#1986997 - 11/15/12 09:12 AM Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a ..
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19350
Loc: New York City
very good one? In other words, if you work on a piano that will have poor tonal quality even after tuning or is not capable of being tuned well do you find this discouraging or do you just do the best you possibly can given the piano to work with? Do you still have pleasure in doing the best you can with a poor piano?

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#1987001 - 11/15/12 09:30 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1061
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Of course not, to the first question as posed. What pleasure can there be in working hard on something you know will not turn out well? Still one does the best one can. It is all the piano some people will ever have. I'm sure most mechanics would rather work on a Daimler product than a Kia too, but most can't afford the Mercedes Benz.

Kind of a silly question? What brought this up?
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1987008 - 11/15/12 09:52 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4940
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Depends if you view your work as servicing the piano or serving the customer. Those fine folk that have lower quality pianos usually appreciate the service more, if for no other reason than they have to wait longer to afford it and the piano needs it more. These are also often pianos that young students are using. And it is a thrill for all involved to hear them progress.

The tuning can be about the customer instead of about the piano.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1987018 - 11/15/12 10:16 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7563
Loc: France
I like then challenge but all depends of the customer.

Even a poor sounding piano can be made a little musical, with the use of tricks and much work, so if I see I can do it I will try too but only under certain circumstances.

Taking a piano from unplayeable to a little enjoyeable is at last rewarding for the help it provides to the pianist (often young)...
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1987023 - 11/15/12 10:26 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: UnrightTooner]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1061
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Depends if you view your work as servicing the piano or serving the customer. Those fine folk that have lower quality pianos usually appreciate the service more, if for no other reason than they have to wait longer to afford it and the piano needs it more. These are also often pianos that young students are using. And it is a thrill for all involved to hear them progress.

The tuning can be about the customer instead of about the piano.


Well said, Jeff.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1987024 - 11/15/12 10:26 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1712
Loc: London, England
& me 100% Jeff.

It's all about customer service and something to practice on. I honed all my skills on lousy pianos. Can't make 'em worse but you can make them a whole helluvalot better. I still find more satisfaction in that than anything else.

I charge a whole lot less for struggling families. It's my way of giving back to the community that sustains me.

Ps. I farm out a lot of work to struggling young tuners too.


Edited by rxd (11/15/12 10:33 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1987025 - 11/15/12 10:29 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
What Dale said.

I think most of us view our work as both servicing the piano and the customer.

Yesterday I tuned 3 Kawai's out of town. One was a Kawai console 803 M with a cracked sound board that also has lots of mechanical issues. One was a Kawai GE-1. The third was a Kawai GS-70 7'5".

This past year, we did some very major work to the GE and GS grands including major regulation and major voicing. The owner of all 3 pianos truly appreciates what he now has in these two grand pianos verses the comparison to what is not, in the 803 M.

He is so happy and thrilled with the difference in the way that the two grands now play and the over all tone that is now available in them that was not available before we did the work, that he wants me to do "what I can" with the 803 M piano too, knowing full well that it will not, and cannot sound, like these two grands. But, it can be made "better."

That said, he appreciates as much as any good technician, a quality instrument. Because, a quality instrument is one that gives us as a piano technician and the client that owns it, something "grand" smile to work with. Something with potential. Something that will actually come out as it should and can come out. Whereas with a poor quality instrument, that is simply impossible to do by comparison. So, an unequivocal YES and NO to the question.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1987040 - 11/15/12 11:11 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Of course not, but at the same time, the checks cash the same.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1987045 - 11/15/12 11:27 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
There have been some poor quality pianos that I have enjoyed more than some high-end mostly because the graciousness, and appreciation from the client. It can be very satisfying to make something that was a basket case, into something that can be played. The client treats you like a hero in these cases, especially if a previous technician made them feel bad about their piano.

One of my mentors used to say when clients asked about what he thought of their less-than-stellar piano: "Well it's not a Steinway, but then again you didn't have to pay $60,000 for it either!" It would get a chuckle and usually get him out of having to say anything more about it.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1987060 - 11/15/12 12:11 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: rysowers]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: rysowers
There have been some poor quality pianos that I have enjoyed more than some high-end mostly because the graciousness, and appreciation from the client.

This is an old piano was given as a gift. Max tryed make it the tuning for a modest fee. Customers happy, Max also
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYrv2950b44
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#1987086 - 11/15/12 01:20 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2378
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I think a tech could enjoy both types of pianos equally simply by having a different perspective for each. Junkier pianos have often had heaps of neglect thrown in on top, the differences in what we do with them are much more noticable over all. The repairs and tunings on these often go hand in hand with a smaller budget, so there is some creative thinking going on as to balancing things out for the biggest bang for the buck.

The nicer pianos allow us to measure ourselves at the extremes of what techs are capable of. They don't stand in the way of stellar tunings and function and someone who owns a 50K instrument usually doesn't mind paying for the time and expertise involved in keeping it sounding and working the way it was intended to.

BTW, most mechanics hate working on Daimler/Benz vehicles. This was the company that basically wrote the book on integration of simple parts inside more complex ones,manufacturing non servicable parts, and to put it in a nutshell...shoehorned huge engines into tiny bays. Its not comforting to hear your mechanic call you in the midst of a water pump change out and ask if you want the timeing chain ect done to while he's at it, because half the car is taken apart to get at it.

I find my enjoyment level noticibly depreciate on pianos which have some stupid complex "modern" design change used that makes a simple task a time consuming one.
Take for example something as simple as removing some muffler rails on some pianos to tune. There are the kind where you simply bend in a hinge arm off a pin and its done. Then you have these others you need to remove a bunch of tiny screws, disassembling a cable yoke ect... Things don't need to be service complicated to properly work and old school designs kept this in mind.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1987097 - 11/15/12 01:31 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: Emmery]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Things don't need to be service complicated to properly work and old school designs kept this in mind.

let's always so it
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#1987243 - 11/15/12 08:37 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 401
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Sometimes I get the biggest kick out of poor quality pianos that I can improve quickly and easily. An example is an old upright that I had tuned once before several years ago and they called me to tune it again last week. It had really gone wacko! The main problem was the bass section. The pins just were not holding anymore so I did a quick CA (super glue) treatment, took out the lost motion, tuned it and it sounded pretty good. They were thrilled that it could be saved. It was very rewarding.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#1987252 - 11/15/12 09:07 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: Dale Fox]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19350
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Dale Fox
Kind of a silly question? What brought this up?
Considering the variety, number and seriousness of replies not so silly, I think.

I have a five year old Mason BB. I don't really know where this level of quality fits in with all the pianos my tech works on.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/15/12 09:08 PM)

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#1987253 - 11/15/12 09:08 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: Dale Fox]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1712
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Dale Fox


Kind of a silly question? What brought this up?


Maybe it is more about liking people.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1987254 - 11/15/12 09:10 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: UnrightTooner]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Depends if you view your work as servicing the piano or serving the customer.


Are you saying the two are mutually exclusive? Can't we do both?
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1987265 - 11/15/12 09:59 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: That Guy]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1197
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: That Guy
Sometimes I get the biggest kick out of poor quality pianos that I can improve quickly and easily. An example is an old upright that I had tuned once before several years ago and they called me to tune it again last week. It had really gone wacko! The main problem was the bass section. The pins just were not holding anymore so I did a quick CA (super glue) treatment, took out the lost motion, tuned it and it sounded pretty good. They were thrilled that it could be saved. It was very rewarding.


+1
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1987272 - 11/15/12 10:20 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
If I can't get the instrument to sound and play better than a digital, I question my efforts.

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#1987287 - 11/15/12 11:54 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2378
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I have heard many poor sounding spinets and accoustics which the best of the digitals beat hands down. Not surprising considerring that the sound from the digitals are actually sampled off of high end concert grands.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1987293 - 11/16/12 01:17 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
It depends on the piano, and it depends on the customer.

As others have already said, working on a high-end piano can be like racing a thoroughbred, testing our expertise and finesse; working on crappy pianos is where I sometimes can effect greater change and astonish my client.

Anecdote: Yesterday, I went back to touch up a "Mendelssohn" (Aeolian) spinet (the one where I showed a photo of my bungee method of retaining drop action stickers in another thread), after pitch-raising it about a month ago. When I first worked on it, I resurfaced the hammers along with the pitch raise in hopes of giving it a little tone.

When I visited it yesterday, the owner, who is a fairly competent amateur musician, was practically in tears because, since I had worked on it, she could finally bear to let others even hear the piano. She told me about a friend being there and they played a duet on it, and the friend complimented the sound.

I made them happy, and the outcome exceeded their expectations. Kinda hard to do with a discriminating S&S B owner...
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#1987325 - 11/16/12 04:31 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Was not going to comment on this thread, but fortune has it that at this very moment I'm at a school tuning what used to pass for a small Knight Upright.
Once upon a time I'm sure Sir Knight was impressed with his creation...
... Right at this moment, I feel like shoving my tuning lever through the soundboard...or lack of!
I've managed to get through the bass, barely...
The treble right to the top C has false beats on each string that'll make the happiest of sheep shy to bleat... And I'm just about to get into my ex-temperament, ex cos I can't hear anything and TuneLab is denying any say...
Tuning old worn out pianos can surely be pleasing... But not right now.
This piano SUCKS!
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1987421 - 11/16/12 11:07 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
It's hard to screen the customers piano on the phone during scheduling. Most folks think very highly of their heirloom instrument. So, I will take the appointment and find (like I did at the last tuning of the day yesterday) a completely awful Kimball Consolette with no bench. 75 cents flat, extensive case damage and a dead soundboard. She is giving lessons for a friends twin girls. I'm there so I do the job. She is grateful and says it sounds wonderful. I have to be honest about her pianos shortcomings so I explain the issues so she understands. After she asks when to tune it again I tell her the usual "6 months to a year, however, I have done all I can to the piano and you will have to upgrade to a newer instrument or hire a technician that will perform repairs but I highly recommend you go piano shopping. Let me know if your looking at another instrument and I will check it out for you no charge". With that I can keep a good customer who respects my advice and maybe will find a better piano to teach on and I can possibly see more income than I did before with her students.


Edited by David, Las Vegas (11/16/12 11:08 AM)
Edit Reason: typos
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#1987986 - 11/17/12 10:57 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3867
In my experience, it can take several years of prompts to get a client to trade up. If the kids are there, I'll put the bug in their head about issues the piano has. When the kids start moaning, and I'm moaning, and the teacher is moaning, the client tends to finally trade up!

When a Client has a "starter piano" (which is my term for it) - I find out who is playing the piano and how advanced they are. If they are just starting out, I say the piano is fine for the time being, but may need to be upgraded later on, if the player progresses. If the player is already intermediate or advanced, I'll be much more direct, and persuasive.

I enjoy getting the best out of a "starter piano". a 50 cent pitch raise and a few stabs with a voicing needle, all in 90 minutes can do wonders. Besides, I get to charge more - and extra money is a good thing!
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1988410 - 11/19/12 07:33 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: Loren D]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4940
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Depends if you view your work as servicing the piano or serving the customer.


Are you saying the two are mutually exclusive? Can't we do both?


I think it depends on the piano and on the owner. With a good piano and an exceptional owner, there would be no difference.

But consider an old upright kept at 100 cents below pitch with a few broken/missing strings in an old folks home. To service the piano, you (or somebody) would rebuild it or more likely replace it. To serve the owners you tune it where it is.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1988423 - 11/19/12 08:19 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2101
Loc: Maine
A simple no esoterica, no ethics, no sensitivity answer to the original question is a resounding ... no. Tuning a good piano with a coherent scale and clean sound is satisfying. Tuning one that makes your stomach turn a bit even after your best effort is just not that pleasant for me.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1988524 - 11/19/12 12:36 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Ditto David.

I get a lot more satisfaction out of tuning something that is a valuable instrument; say a Yamaha C-7, Steinway D, B, etc., basically, a piano that we know that will tune well, will sound well, will play well because the client can take care of it and will and does, verses one that gets tuned once every 25 years and that's all that gets done to it.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2092480 - 05/30/13 09:47 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I approach every Customer's piano I come across as unique. I love a challenge. The worse it sounds, the harder I try to make a difference. I know what it's like to be struggling with 4 kid's mouths' to feed. The fact that the customer has a small spinet, and is a half step low, doesn't deter me. When I see a little kid try out the piano after I tune it, and to see the look on his /her face, It makes what I do worthwhile.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2092486 - 05/30/13 10:06 PM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: Gary Fowler]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2085
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I enjoy tuning a great piano, but I also enjoy making a musician happy with the tool they are tasked with using to make music.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2092588 - 05/31/13 01:46 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
Tunewerk Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Boston, MA
No.

But there is always something to enjoy in every piano. It's good to get to know an instrument and find out how to unlock its voice. One great thing I enjoy about poor instruments is they are seldom tuned with as much attention, so the improvement can be phenomenal.

But there's nothing else like a great instrument coming into alignment..
_________________________
www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.

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#2092596 - 05/31/13 01:54 AM Re: Techs: Do you enjoy tuning a very poor piano as much as a .. [Re: pianoloverus]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
As others said earlier, the most important part of my job is making my customer happy. If the vehicle to that happiness is a Winter spinet, then so be it.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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