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#2027793 - 02/06/13 12:41 AM how much does it cost to tune a piano
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
a upright, and a grand, and how often for each. trying to get an idea of the total cost of ownership for an acoutical piano.
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#2027799 - 02/06/13 12:47 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
Costs vary according to local economics and the policies of the tuner. Usually grands and uprights will cost the same. Frequency will vary according to the temperature and humidity conditions, usage, pickiness of the person who makes the decision about when the piano is tuned, and the quality of the piano tuner.
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#2027802 - 02/06/13 12:56 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.
_________________________
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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#2027812 - 02/06/13 01:29 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


Edited by adak (02/06/13 01:30 AM)
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#2027814 - 02/06/13 01:34 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
kpembrook Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1294
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: adak
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)

As far as what regular service to do for the piano, the Piano Technicians Guild website has information for piano owners. www.ptg.org
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2027837 - 02/06/13 02:33 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: kpembrook]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: adak
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)


This last paragraph is self contradictory. The Internet has websites and email. Is there an echoe in here?

Contact your local tuners the way you like best.

_________________________
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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#2027842 - 02/06/13 03:04 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1248
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: adak
a upright, and a grand, and how often for each. trying to get an idea of the total cost of ownership for an acoutical piano.


If you just want ballpark numbers, figure tuning will be $100 - 150, and you'd need to do it 3 or 4 times a year. This is for typical private home use.
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-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
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#2027844 - 02/06/13 03:11 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
What area are you in? maybe someone situated in your particular economy is on this forum.
_________________________
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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#2027938 - 02/06/13 08:00 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: JohnSprung]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
$100 - $150 per tuning IS a realistic range, BUT...

Many, many owners who play occasionally and casually get by tuning once per year. Many others get by with twice per year. In my area of moderate temps and tight budgets, this frequency of service seems much more common.

(However, I wish many of my customers would go four times a year!) grin
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Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
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#2027981 - 02/06/13 09:39 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
kpembrook Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1294
Loc: Michigan
Quote:
The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)


This last paragraph is self contradictory. The Internet has websites and email. Is there an echoe in here?


I was indeed unclear. What I meant is "Forums like this on the internet may not b a good place to find out". crazy

Thanks for pointing this out. smile
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2027985 - 02/06/13 09:46 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Tooners and tuner/technicians all know what they are worth and each one charges accordingly.

In my area, crappy tooners charge around $60. Good Tuner/technicians charge including pitch raises which pianos like yours probably needs, closer to $150-$200, plus repairs.

But, seriously, plan on apending at least $1,000,000,000!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2027989 - 02/06/13 10:00 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

That’s a lot of zeros there Jerry…

For a grand piano I would think $3-500.00 in maintenance annually depending upon the rate of use. For an upright probably similar figures maybe a little less.
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www.silverwoodpianos.com
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#2027995 - 02/06/13 10:13 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 163
Loc: South Jersey
I think it is a little ironic that we complain in one thread that there are too few people using acoustic pianos, and then when someone wants to make the switch, we encourage them by saying they will need to shell out $100-200 multiple times per year.

I don't know where you live, adak. Prices depend a LOT on where you live. Particularly city vs. country, although even then there are anomalies. You also get what you pay for, like Jerry says. At least, usually you get what you pay for.

I live in a rural area of New Jersey, and most tuners charge under $100 for a basic tuning. In Philadelphia and Delaware things are higher.

It is also important to note that my customers in rural south Jersey are not shelling out $1,000 a year to maintain their piano, and are never going to. Sure, I'd love for them to, and yes, of course, it would be good for their piano. But I'm happy that they just HAVE the piano and USE it and keep it tuned even if it's just once a year. Most of my customers would laugh (seriously) if I told them their piano needed to be tuned every 2-3 months like many manufacturers and technicians recommend (I didn't say it's a bad recommendation). They don't have that kind of money, not for their 10-year-old daughter to take beginning piano lessons. Or for that retired grandmother who just likes to sit down and play once in awhile.

I believe even an average upright piano tuned once a year is a FAR better instrument than the digital piano that would be their other alternative if they couldn't afford the maintenance.

/stepping down from soapbox
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2028028 - 02/06/13 11:26 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Most people that have decent pianos can afford to tune it once or twice a year. Fortunately, I live in an area where I can, and I have, built up my cliente on those kinds of people that can and will take care of their pianos. Especially my churches, schools and my college. Most tune them more often than twice a year because they use them with other instruments. They are designed to be tuned because of weather changes, at least twice a year and that's what they should do if they can.

Most people piddle away that much money on fast food, cigarettes, pop, beer, movies, movie rentals, iPads, iPods, junk food, you name it. If they want to maintain it, they really could in most cases. They choose to spend it in other areas. We're all guilty of doing that. So be it.

As techs, what many are not taking into realization and consideration at all is why are they asking how much it costs? It is because in most cases, they haven't had the piano tuned in eons. Or, they just acquired the used piano. Otherwise, they would have some sort of general idea.

So, today's cost with a pitch raise of say, a total of $150 divided by 10 years is $15 a year on a 10 month year. (10 months - easier figuring) Not having it tuned in 20 years is about $7.50 a year give or take if that's what it cost them now. (right? If I figured right)

Well, horror of horrors because it now costs them $150 or $200 to have the piano tuned? I don't think so... That's cheap..... Compared to what they saved! They just saved themselves at least $500 to $1,000 or more by not tuning it all of those years.

Now, in cases such as this one, your basic fee probably no longer applies because there will more than likely be a fairly large pitch raise involved, possibly keys that are not working or sticking and that too, will more than likely all cost more.

Plus, many people figure that a tuning includes everything. Repairs, whatever. Minor things maybe, but many things are not included and we, as self employed persons do deserve to make a nice living like anyone else does.

Sooooo like I said. $1,000,000,000 outta cover it! I'll split it with ya Dan! hehe. smile smile smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028030 - 02/06/13 11:28 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: JohnSprung]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
If you just want ballpark numbers, figure tuning will be $100 - 150, and you'd need to do it 3 or 4 times a year. This is for typical private home use.
3 or 4 times a year is absolutely not typical. Simply not true.
Originally Posted By: BenP
... Most of my customers would laugh (seriously) if I told them their piano needed to be tuned every 2-3 months like many manufacturers and technicians recommend (I didn't say it's a bad recommendation)....
Can you please show us "many" manufacturers who recommend 4 to 6 tunings per year (with the possible exception of the first two years after purchase)? Again: not true.

All this is way off the mark. If each one of my clients would have their pianos tuned even 2 - 3 times per year, I would have to work nights and weekends. Yearly is more the norm, in some instances less frequently. Much depends on the instrument and the area's climate. In my case, the climate is very forgiving.

Much also depends on the tuner.
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Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

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#2028113 - 02/06/13 01:30 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 376
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

That’s a lot of zeros there Jerry…

For a grand piano I would think $3-500.00 in maintenance annually depending upon the rate of use. For an upright probably similar figures maybe a little less.


It's in Binary. That's $512 to us base-10 folks.

Forrest
_________________________
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(A WORTHY RESOURCE!)

--------------------
current studies:
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Beethoven Op. 78
Bach WTC 1, C# Major (#3)

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#2028175 - 02/06/13 03:18 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
There was a time when 4 times a year was the norm, it has only died out here in the past 30 years. My first job in pianos was like that. Company car, 6 high quality pianos a day in the city, 4 might be in the same street, somebody was home all day, the company ran 15-20 tuners covering the whole country and 2-3 technicians. The piano could be kept in first class shape in 25 minutes, the rest of the time was a social call or a quick cup of tea with the servants, we were instructed. Ever to use the tradesmens entrance, always the front door.
We were gentlemen of leisure. it had been that way since old John Broadwoods' days. The work was probably not quite so easy in his days, the pianos probably did need attention 4 times a year. Although some of the pianos were. Dry old and didn't need anything extra.

A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.

When I moved to the states, i told all my clients," give me a call when your good n ready, try not to leave it longer than a year". I could still be a gentleman of leisure and keep everything at or above pitch by always tuning a piano with the ease of the next tuning in mind. I grew a business quickly every time I moved. The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).
_________________________
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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#2028213 - 02/06/13 04:11 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
So the new business model to aim for is tuning one piano per year, and charging $1,000,000,000 to tune it. I'd be willing to give up my company car for that.
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www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2028221 - 02/06/13 04:24 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
I once considered hiring Jerry to tune one of my pianos.

When I heard the cost of the tooning, the requirement of the chartered jet, his valet, his tool carrier, the limo, aaaaand the catered dinner prepared by Emeril Lagasse, I called my mechanic to come and hammer it! He toons-up my car, so why not?

_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2028224 - 02/06/13 04:34 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.


I've never heard of anyone here in the states that got the private use of a car for tuning pianos for a store.

Milk wasn't the expense that it is now either, nor was coffee, or sugar, or candy, or gasoline or the cost of health insurance or anything else.

Quote:
The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).


Some probably do bully people. There's a bully in every bunch. However, most technicians that I personally know, do not do that at all.

If you're talking the "average home" once a year is fine. If you want your "average home piano" on pitch and in tune more often than that, then once a year is not enough.

So, yeah!!!, what am I talking bout Willis? Pay up dudes specially you Marty!!! The price is going up by the second!!! SO HURRY HURRY HURRY HURRY!!!! smile To late.. Marty, it just cost you an extra 0.... smile



Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (02/06/13 04:39 PM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028323 - 02/06/13 07:28 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 206
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
A lot depends on the placement situation. I tune for a Cirque show twice a week. It is parked under the stage next to a A/C vent, brought up on the elevator under the warm lights at showtime for a while and back down in front of the A/C vent. Twice per show two shows a night. I always do a full tuning. The pianist is very particular as he plays with the live band listening through a ear bud and pitch has to be right on. I charge under 100 but more than 50. String breakage is a bit extra.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#2028352 - 02/06/13 08:32 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
There was a time when 4 times a year was the norm, it has only died out here in the past 30 years. My first job in pianos was like that. Company car, 6 high quality pianos a day in the city, 4 might be in the same street, somebody was home all day, the company ran 15-20 tuners covering the whole country and 2-3 technicians. The piano could be kept in first class shape in 25 minutes, the rest of the time was a social call or a quick cup of tea with the servants, we were instructed. Ever to use the tradesmens entrance, always the front door.
We were gentlemen of leisure. it had been that way since old John Broadwoods' days. The work was probably not quite so easy in his days, the pianos probably did need attention 4 times a year. Although some of the pianos were. Dry old and didn't need anything extra.

A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.

When I moved to the states, i told all my clients," give me a call when your good n ready, try not to leave it longer than a year". I could still be a gentleman of leisure and keep everything at or above pitch by always tuning a piano with the ease of the next tuning in mind. I grew a business quickly every time I moved. The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).


Listen to this fascinating interview with Ted Sambell, who received the Golden Hammer award in 2012. He tuned for Glenn Gould, but started his career in war time England. Listen to how he describes the life of a tuner in those days. Just fascinating. I know those days are gone but it is still interesting to hear him speak about it. Maybe I should get a real job, like playing on a cruise ship or something.

http://youtu.be/1Wmp2X7lgvA
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2028422 - 02/06/13 10:38 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Thanks posting Teds' interview, Mark, a legendary tuner, fascinating life.

The soft pedal story reminded me of the value of having players talk about their piano before doing anything other than tuning. One piano had a magical sounding shift pedal. Not really a true piano sound, nevertheless, magical. This was because the hammers were very worn. In the normal position the piano didn't sound too good. What do you do without destroying the one aspect of the piano people loved it for. I looked after that piano for the 10 years I was there. Was I going to be the one who goes down in history for destroying the magic??? Just have to give people what they want......sometimes.
By giving people the choice of how often they get their piano tuned works out fine. Most will call every few months, some every few years. The amount of work to be done varies, so does the price. I am very insistent on pitch, knowing its value to students and musicians and how professional musicians use it. After some regular conciencious tunings, the annual pitch variation decreases over time in most pianos. Now, I rarely have to move the pitch of a piano more than a Hz or two either way every now and again. I figure I've paid my dues and earned it. Of course it took a lifetime of experience and carefully chosen circumstances to get it that way.

I refered to 4 times a year as " the wisdom of the ages". Plus stories about the 2-3 times a day for important concerts. It leaves an idea in the clients mind about ideals. It is possible to educate people with anecdotes and still give them their basic human freedoms to do as they please. Ultimately, it's their piano, not mine. I am more than willing to give them the best service they want or can afford as and when it suits them. The reason for not leaving the piano more than a year is , if I have raised the pitch, if it is tuned within a year I won't have to do it again, with the accompanying extra expense. Thats a quiet incentive, too.
I used to hear stories of tuners telling their clients off for not being more regular. What's all that about? Hopefully the world is more enlightened now

Funny you should mention real jobs and cruise ships, Mark, I gave up that company car job to play on a cruise ship.

There is still one.company here that still provides a company car for all its outside tuners. I gave that job up, too for something else that I wanted to do.


Edited by rxd (02/06/13 11:54 PM)
_________________________
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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#2028472 - 02/07/13 12:24 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
One thing that has not been mentioned in this thread yet is that tuning is not maintenance. From time to time I come across pianos that have received lots of tunings over the years but no maintenance and they play/sound lousy. The owner claims that they have taken terrific care of the instrument and have it tuned regularly.

We don't sell tunings. We sell maintenance appointments. A first appointment usually runs $228 and often includes some amount of cleaning, friction reduction, voicing, and regulating. The worse off the tuning is the less time I have to service the whole instrument.

At least once in your life hire a real piano technician so you can at least get a sense of your pianos potential. Life's to short to put up with a poorly playing instrument.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2028548 - 02/07/13 05:16 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.
_________________________
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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#2028582 - 02/07/13 07:51 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1099
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: rxd
Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained.,

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.
Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


Greetings,
The keywords here are "Including action maintenance with tuning", "minute", and " nickle and dime". I sell my time, and encapsulating "tuning" as a stand-alone sale helps in selling it most efficiently. An adjustment here and there is a minute here and there is a dollar here and there, I am loathe to toss them away.
It is more of a marketing decision, in that the beginning tuner has to demonstrate their abilities if they hope to get work, and those of us that have been swamped for a number of years can feed our tool kit the whole action at once.

I do better selling complete regulations if I haven't gradually removed the most egregious impediments to response. If there are several notes failing, and a general dilapidation, yes, I will make sure all notes play, but I sell them a regulation after I do the band-aid repair to get it playing. It isn't difficult, since I tell them that if there is not a night and day difference in the way their piano plays, they don't have to pay. I do have to pick my customers for this to work, but practiced professionals know the difference between night and day and I have never had to eat a job. (well, there was one 30 years ago,but I deserved it).

It is easy for any of us tuners to fall into the habit of "giving" work away. It is more difficult to make sure that it pays.
Regards,

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#2028594 - 02/07/13 08:08 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


I agree with Ed and Ryan. How foolish can we be to give away a service that only a FEW of us can provide properly to our customers? Oh, that only took 10 minutes, no charge... X 100 times of doing that.... Adds up to a lot of no charge time. Ever set down and figure it out? Try it once, you'll be amazed at how much you're giving away for free.

Another thing I wonder, is how much time does one have on his hands to set at one piano for possibly hours at a time anyway adjusting this, adjusting that, oh and, no charge...? Personally Ed, Ryan and I are all booked weeks and months ahead at a time just for tunings only. What does that include? I'm not going to get into that because that isn't my point. But I will say that I most certainly did not study my butt off and I did not get into this business to give away my time for nothing.

Most piano technicians, tuners/tooners whatever you wish to call them have NO CLUE whatsoever about how to properly run a business. Those are the ones that are generally barely making a living of around $25,000 to $35,000 a year if that! They think giving away services makes them look like some kind a hero to everyone in here. To a good business owner, it makes them look the opposite.

I wish to be paid for the tens of thousands of dollars that I have personally spent out of my own pocket learning this trade, attending classes, attending PTG functions and other things.

Those of us who have built up a huge clientele like Ed, Ryan, myself and many others don't have the time, we do not have the desire, not do we have the need to give it away. People want us. Why? Because they know when they call us, we will always be honest with them and give them good quality work. They are not calling us because we toss in a bunch of free stuff.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028600 - 02/07/13 08:20 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
How much doe sit cost to have my car put in good condition ?

This is a similar question.

A good question could be : "what is a tuning" ?

How much a piano technician charge by the hour

What time window is necessary to optimize my instrument at a musical level that correspond to :

Its possibilities
My pianistic level
My budget

My first visit to a new customer will be 4 hours minimum for a decent vertical

If the customer want an ideal tone, he can call me for a second tuning in the year.

Most dont unless they are professionals.

Once enough regular tunings have been done, a piano in a decent place can stay "playeable" for a year (or much more)

Then it should be the technician job to send a reminder to the customer. The customer must be aware that the technician visit is what allow his instrument to stay in shape for decades, and that is because some time is spend out of tuning.


I for one dont worry if a customer call me after 2 years, or even 3, he will pay for the extra work, it is just known from the start, and he have a price once I see the instrument condition.
On old pianos I can even spend 4 hours every 3 or 4 years and keep the piano in shape until we decide to really repair it.

FOr instance I have seen a small Vertical build in 1955, the first time 3 years ago :
Pitch raise, tuning, all screws tightened, a few hammers placed in front of strings, the capstan screw turned, a few balance punchings, some rough regulation. took me 3 hours. (vacuuming also)

I have seen the same instrument now :
Again pitch raise (only a few Hertz that time)
No need to tighten the screw or change regulation
I sanded the hammers (they have to be changed but it will not be done since a few years)
Tuning
hammer mating
Voiced (prevoicing and evening of tone)

Took me 4 hours all in all for a good musical result.

The same situation occur with many customers. They know that beforehand, if they want "only" a tuning we agree on that before I work.

Some also have called a tuner, a colleague, and call me back because they noticed the tuning does not stay put as long.

The cost is between 2x and 3x a tuning cost. I am sure I could call any of those customers at tuning time just to remind them, they would accept to have more tunings , but I am enough occupied as it is, so I dont provide them that service, (but I am so perfect in other ways that I can support that flaw in my organisation wink












Edited by Olek (02/07/13 08:22 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2028613 - 02/07/13 08:48 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Originally Posted By: rxd
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


I agree with Ed and Ryan. How foolish can we be to give away a service that only a FEW of us can provide properly to our customers? Oh, that only took 10 minutes, no charge... X 100 times of doing that.... Adds up to a lot of no charge time. Ever set down and figure it out? Try it once, you'll be amazed at how much you're giving away for free.

Another thing I wonder, is how much time does one have on his hands to set at one piano for possibly hours at a time anyway adjusting this, adjusting that, oh and, no charge...? Personally Ed, Ryan and I are all booked weeks and months ahead at a time just for tunings only. What does that include? I'm not going to get into that because that isn't my point. But I will say that I most certainly did not study my butt off and I did not get into this business to give away my time for nothing.

Most piano technicians, tuners/tooners whatever you wish to call them have NO CLUE whatsoever about how to properly run a business. Those are the ones that are generally barely making a living of around $25,000 to $35,000 a year if that! They think giving away services makes them look like some kind a hero to everyone in here. To a good business owner, it makes them look the opposite.

I wish to be paid for the tens of thousands of dollars that I have personally spent out of my own pocket learning this trade, attending classes, attending PTG functions and other things.

Those of us who have built up a huge clientele like Ed, Ryan, myself and many others don't have the time, we do not have the desire, not do we have the need to give it away. People want us. Why? Because they know when they call us, we will always be honest with them and give them good quality work. They are not calling us because we toss in a bunch of free stuff.


Both of you have invoked in image of an imagined 'typical' technician here. rxd describes a penny-pinching "nickel and dime" technician always looking to extract as much money as possible. Jerry talks of the clueless businessman who doesn't know how to value his own time.

I'd invite both of you to look at the caricature pictures you are drawing. You're using these extreme examples to paint other, reasonable, skilled and competent technicians who happen to take a different approach to their business from yourselves in a very bad light. Both examples you give are of bad technicians, but they are extremes, and do not represent the majority. There are obviously two philosophies at work here, both seem valid, there's only really a cultural difference between them. Both probably make about the same money in the long run. But in painting the opposite view in such emotive and exaggerated language does nothing to further the profession as a whole.


Edited by Phil D (02/07/13 08:49 AM)
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2028627 - 02/07/13 09:10 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
On a regular tuning, you charge 1;00 to 1:15 for tuning that leaves 15 minutes paid to do elsewhere on a 1:30 time frame window.

But then don't try to compete with the Japanese techs , they spend 3 hours on a visit , globally (doing some unnecessary things also, just because that is the official procedure they are supposed to follow. )

PS As a result I rarely have seen Japanese pianos with hammers all around the place or uneven wear.


Edited by Olek (02/07/13 10:07 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2028646 - 02/07/13 09:56 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 163
Loc: South Jersey
My how far we have strayed from the original question. I'll take partial responsibility for that - I shouldn't have brought out the soapbox.

I wonder if we have scared off adak or if he's still debating the acoustic vs. digital decision?
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2028706 - 02/07/13 11:49 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
You could be right, Phil. Although its purely academic any more, I haven't done home tunings for some time now ( the reason being I can't be bothered with the scheduling) but I always left the pianos the best I possibly could and if doing something that really belongs on a separate bill accomplishes that then...

I used to joke, when I was asked to play, "I'll have to charge you a separate rate for that". For me to divide up my skills in what seems to me an arbitrary way seems just as much of a joke.

There was a thread about how a concert tuning differs from a home tuning. My answer has to be, "it doesn't". The object is the same, to produce the best results, with the circumstances given. If this brings my profession into disrepute, maybe Its a good idea for me to limit my practice to working for professionals only.

This is about fees and what they include.

I also used to joke that most of my fee was for getting here and getting home. I might as well tune your piano while I'm here. Just to get across that the time spent traveling is sometimes longer than the time spent tuning. Ollie Braymer used to say. Bring your piano to me and I'll tune it for a few dollars but if you want me to come to your place...

Different rate for driving? My time is my time whatever I spend it doing. This could get ridiculous.


Edited by rxd (02/07/13 12:26 PM)
_________________________
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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#2028709 - 02/07/13 11:56 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
No we weren't Phil. I'm trying to point out, that the vast majority of piano technicians have not clue how to run a business as a business should be run. Do you think I say this from lack of experience? I've read countless books on the subject, attended countless classes. Given classes on the same topic and of course knowing hundreds of piano technicians and having talked to just as many, it becomes obvious in the course of a short conversation which ones do and which do not.

My example represents the technician that has attended dozens of courses, has read dozens and dozens of books on the subject. A technician that is continually upgrading his knowledge on the latest voicing techniques and putting that into practice. A technician that is on a regular basis doing something to upgrade his skill to a better level.

That my friend, does not represent the majority of technicians. It should but it does not. Most technicians do not bother to increase their knowledge in the piano field and many charge according to that given knowledge.

As I've said before, each technician knows their value and each one charges accordingly.--as they should.

You have to realize, not all piano owners are poor and not all of them have to have the cheapest instrument available nor do they want the cheapest tuner on the block. If that is all of the clientele that certain people can get then so be it. Maybe that's the area they live in.

I know all of the tuners in my area. I certainly wouldn't want one of the lowest ones tuning my piano! I know their quality of work and it ain't pretty! frown

The tuner that has the least amount of work generally charges the least amount of money. They can come within one or two days notice. That has been my experience for the past 40 + years of being in this business.

This was a question of how much does it cost to tune a piano RXD. You're thinking of the other thread... smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028754 - 02/07/13 01:09 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
"The vast majority"?

I know exactly what you're saying, and you've said it many times before, and I agree - technicians need to be better businessmen. The only reason I commented is that, in a discussion about charging policies, and the inclusion of general maintenance or not with a tuning appointment, you automatically seperate technicians into two types - the successful ones, who run their business like you; and the 'tooners' who are failures who not only can't run a business but don't know how to tune either.

You're obviously very good at what you do, as you seem to leave no opportunity to let us know how busy you always are. But there seems to be no room in your view just for a different way of doing things. There are choices, there are different paths to take. I'm just trying to invite you to acknowledge that there are many ways to be successful as a technician.

It must be philosophy Thursday or something! smile
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2028758 - 02/07/13 01:10 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: woodog]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2418
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: woodog
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

That’s a lot of zeros there Jerry…

For a grand piano I would think $3-500.00 in maintenance annually depending upon the rate of use. For an upright probably similar figures maybe a little less.


It's in Binary. That's $512 to us base-10 folks.

Forrest


You guys crack me up.

I'm a basically normal person with a normal piano.

I have it in mind that it costs about a hundred dollars for a tuner visit. (bonus points if you say that in a Rainman voice) Usually it is a bit more, because the DC gets new juice and padded as needed, and this or that gets adjusted.

I schedule whenever the intonation starts to sound bad, which is 3 or 4 times a year. It is likely that we are on the picky side of normal, maybe even one and a half standard deviations into the picky side.
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2028792 - 02/07/13 02:05 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
There was a thread about how a concert tuning differs from a home tuning. My answer has to be, "it doesn't".


I agree. I tune for myself and as long as the piano is not too far off, I spend my time practicing and trying to get as close to a concert tuning as I am currently capable of. Let's face it, most residential customers don't know the difference between a good tuning and a great tuning anyway. So I don't expect accolades.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2028794 - 02/07/13 02:10 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
No we weren't Phil. I'm trying to point out, that the vast majority of piano technicians have not clue how to run a business as a business should be run.


According to Michael Gerber, self proclaimed Small Business Guru, and author of "The E-Myth", most small businesses fail because the owners spend too much time being technicians and not enough being entrepreneurs and managers.

I've often felt that if good piano tuners were not so much in demand and rare, it would be a different story. How many of us could stay in business if we were running a restaurant, for example? Not me, that's for sure. I would be spending too much of my time on RestaurantWorld.com! Ha ha. (Back to work)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2028818 - 02/07/13 03:18 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Phil D]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Originally Posted By: Phil D
"The vast majority"?

I know exactly what you're saying, and you've said it many times before, and I agree - technicians need to be better businessmen. The only reason I commented is that, in a discussion about charging policies, and the inclusion of general maintenance or not with a tuning appointment, you automatically seperate technicians into two types - the successful ones, who run their business like you; and the 'tooners' who are failures who not only can't run a business but don't know how to tune either.

You're obviously very good at what you do, as you seem to leave no opportunity to let us know how busy you always are. But there seems to be no room in your view just for a different way of doing things. There are choices, there are different paths to take. I'm just trying to invite you to acknowledge that there are many ways to be successful as a technician.

It must be philosophy Thursday or something! smile


I like that Mark RPT!!! Great points! smile

EDIT: I misread what Phil said so, I deleted and changed it. I wasn't trying to lump everyone into the same catatory. Good business = good quality although, that may be true. I recently ate in several restrauants. The ones that gave good quality also had excellent food. Those that had less than desireable quality, had food that was "so so." smile

SO, basically, what's my point? If you know how to run a business, you will be busy. You will be successful. Or at least, you should be anyway. wink That goes both ways on quality too. At least for a while anyway.

Growing up, I knew this horrible piano "tooner" that was one of the worst tuners around yet, he knew how to run a business. That made him one of the busiest tuners (among many) around town when I was a kid.

I tire of the questions of "how much do you charge." Call around and ask in your area if you want to know.

And, yes, I am very busy, as are many other technicians like Bob Maret. Or, Dan Silverwood. So is Ed Sutton. So is Loren DiGiorgi and lots of others that are in here. smile

There are simply not a lot of tuners that are good technicians and good businessman at the same time.

What some stimulation? Read the next two things.

http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-news/commentary-analysis/give-yourself-a-raise-in-2012/

Here's one that I started quite a while back.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...ite_id/1#import


Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (02/07/13 05:29 PM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028840 - 02/07/13 04:11 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Because we don't have "company cars" here, an issue can be the travel charge. Someone says their Prius "makes them money", simply because it gets 60 mpg. They can write off more than the cost of driving it on their taxes. That's true enough. That person drives all over gods country, not thinking of the labor cost of sitting behind the wheel.

I often get called to drive a 3 hour round trip to tune one piano. After they hear my travel charge, on top of the tuning fee, the client usually finds a local tuner instead. In the three hours behind the wheel to reach one client, I can easily tune 2 pianos here, in town. In my mind, the client needs to pay me for at least two piano tunings...maybe three ....PLUS my vehicle expense to drive up there. I allow 60 minutes drive round trip, before some type of travel charge kicks in. It's expensive to drive around. Both in labor expense, and car expense.
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#2028843 - 02/07/13 04:13 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Mark is right. I cannot muster any interest in business classes. I'm a bit of a spoiled brat in that I've never done anything I don't want to do. I did, however, hire a business manager and a few employees for several years. I got bored, sold the business and travelled for two years. I'm now drawing a small pension from those years.

I am not a slave to my work, I let my work work for me. I've cut my workload in half and yes, I can cover the tuning somebody forgot to book. I don't charge more but there are hidden perks that can't be bought.
I can also get up in the morning and go to the south of France if it feels a bit chilly. I can equally just go back to bed. I have to stay on top of my job, however, so that I can take off almost any time I please.

Jerry, you and I know that we are different people from opposite sides of the spectrum. That never got between us before. You have chosen what you are justifiably proud of, I have let this life of freedom and abundance unfold before me. It just is.
It took me half my lifetime to find out how and the other half to learn to put it into practice.

We have done totally different things with what basically amounts to the same skill set. Don't let others force that between us.
_________________________
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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#2028890 - 02/07/13 05:31 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I kind of figured as much RXD. Retired, semi retired, not working hard, not tuning for homes etc., with you... grin

I wasn't spoiled. I had to work my tail off to get myself where I am at today. Anyone that has done that should be proud of themselves, including you in your other ventures.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028923 - 02/07/13 06:31 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Originally Posted By: rxd

I can also get up in the morning and go to the south of France if it feels a bit chilly.


This is the best part of Europe. My cousin and I sat in Cambridge England one Friday night, wondering what to do for the weekend. We decided to visit Paris. We found a cheap flight out Sat morning, stayed in a hotel right by the museums. We saw the Mona Lisa, and other landmarks, drank some great wine, ate some great pastries, and flew back to England Sunday evening.
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#2029858 - 02/09/13 12:06 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
I kind of figured as much RXD. Retired, semi retired, not working hard, not tuning for homes etc., with you... grin

I wasn't spoiled. I had to work my tail off to get myself where I am at today. Anyone that has done that should be proud of themselves, including you in your other ventures.


Sorry, I missed thIs one.

Retired?, Good heavens no. I must have casually ambled through 35-40 tunings last week, most of them on an all night session I pulled yet i still had a 3-4 days to myself.

Let me explain, The trick is this, selecting the kind of work I like to do. I now never tune a piano that hasn't been seen by me, one of my assistants or colleagues sometime during the last few days. Sometimes seen during the last few hours.

Having the diagnostic skills to spot a potential problem and deal with it while it is still small so there is never accumulation of error, (this harks back to including anything necessary in a tuning). And staying on top of the job.

You mention pride. Well, I never let anybody get the idea that I am the only one that can tune their piano. Gratifying as it is, for me to be the only one when they want me, drastically interferes with my freedom. there are only 3-4 people that I allow to think this way and that's for purely political reasons.

I have never inherited any tunings. Quite the opposite , because of my love of travel and new places, I have set up a tuning business from scratch 5 times, so far. Sometimes I have sold the business, most often I have continued my phone line for 12 months after I leave an area with the numbers of the tuners I have shared work with and befriended. It's never about money, that looks after itself.

This morning, between tunings, I walked past a line of people halfway round the block for a special exhibition in an art gallery. I casually ambled in there Thursday morning and had the place almost to myself. Give me them unsocial hours anytime.

Anyway, over the years I have learned to work smart, not hard. Ditch digging is hard work, piano work isn't. I do, however, do a lot of work but the concept of putting in the hours is foreign to me.

I simply took the road less travelled. Anyone can do it.

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#2029861 - 02/09/13 12:10 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Here is the thing, Before the economy tanked not many consumers were really doing their homework on what anything was really costing them but today that has changed and not just merely changed but people are smarter when it comes to being duped or up - sold things they don't need.

I can tell you this. I personally have been to court with state officials who wanted to regulate my prices as in doubling them and charging me tax on services that we have never charged for. They wanted to send appraisers in here to tell me what to charge for used pianos and services. Well they are now funding my retirement plan when they lost that case.... very badly.

I give it another 5 years and you will see state regulated pricing on all used merchandise sold by dealers and services. When we owned our Moving agency in Michigan it was heavily regulated and we were only allowed to be about 10 dollars cheaper than any other moving business. If we wanted to change toilet paper brands we almost had to get permission from Lansing,

I'd say what you are paying for a tuning depends on what they are doing and how thorough they are. If you are watching a supposedly experienced tuner doing his work and you go in there and he has a subway sandwich laid out on your keyboard and charging you 95 dollars an hour then I would be questioning that.

In my area 80 - 150 depending on what is involved. If they whip out an I phone with a tuning app I would be scared though
_________________________
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Nashville Piano Rescue
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Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
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#2031498 - 02/11/13 10:04 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
plns Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/12
Posts: 59
Don't know about being scared if someone shows up with a tuning app. I'm tuning for a high end piano store, tuning big money grands and have nothing but rave reviews and requests to tune at other stores as well as in home tunings. I use nothing but Tunelabs. Of course, I program in the IH turn solid unisons and set the pin.

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#2031503 - 02/11/13 10:25 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Originally Posted By: Nash. Piano Rescue


I give it another 5 years and you will see state regulated pricing on all used merchandise sold by dealers and services. When we owned our Moving agency in Michigan it was heavily regulated and we were only allowed to be about 10 dollars cheaper than any other moving business. If we wanted to change toilet paper brands we almost had to get permission from Lansing,



How in the world could the state regulate pricing on all used merchandise? If I owned a trucking company, I'd be $10.00 more expensive, and blow the competition out of the water with better service. Better service beats a lower price over the long term.

Oh....and those funny things called ETD's don't scare me much either.........just like a tuning fork, they are a good tool in the right hands.
_________________________
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#2031637 - 02/12/13 04:31 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: plns]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: plns
Don't know about being scared if someone shows up with a tuning app. I'm tuning for a high end piano store, tuning big money grands and have nothing but rave reviews and requests to tune at other stores as well as in home tunings. I use nothing but Tunelabs. Of course, I program in the IH turn solid unisons and set the pin.



Then you are not listening to the sympathetic resonance of the piano while you tune , are you ? ETD can provide you a perfect smoothing of the tuning curve at a given partial level
Tuning by ear only is a really different thing in the end,(in my experience) because you allow yourself more pleasure and have a more resonant/sonorous instrument in the end.

The model in the end will be " a hair" different, I believe because you hardly can listen to intervals and tune with ETD at the same time, (auto recognize note mode) you are obliged to trust the ETD.

I also suggest that temperature changes are not detected by the EDT, and can happen during the curse of a tuning.
_________________________
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#2031638 - 02/12/13 04:32 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Bob]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bob
Originally Posted By: rxd

I can also get up in the morning and go to the south of France if it feels a bit chilly.


This is the best part of Europe. My cousin and I sat in Cambridge England one Friday night, wondering what to do for the weekend. We decided to visit Paris. We found a cheap flight out Sat morning, stayed in a hotel right by the museums. We saw the Mona Lisa, and other landmarks, drank some great wine, ate some great pastries, and flew back to England Sunday evening.



THank you wink
_________________________
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#2031700 - 02/12/13 07:59 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: plns]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Farmington, MO
Originally Posted By: plns
Don't know about being scared if someone shows up with a tuning app. I'm tuning for a high end piano store, tuning big money grands and have nothing but rave reviews and requests to tune at other stores as well as in home tunings. I use nothing but Tunelabs. Of course, I program in the IH turn solid unisons and set the pin.



I have had a similar experience with Tunelab (using the iPhone app). I am not a "veteran" tuner by any means, I've only been doing this about five years now, but have had "rave" reviews too. I now have a database of several hundred customers, 100% of them have been pleased with my tunings. The owner of the local music store (who have been in business since the 1940's) has used several technicians over the years. After he had me come in to tune a couple of pianos for him, he told me that he really liked the way I tuned and he would only be using me form here on out.

There is a term in the computer world, "garbage in, garbage out" If you don't thoroughly read the manual and understand exactly how the software works, then yes, you will have mistakes in your tunings. However if you follow the directions and know how to "tweak" the program you will get excellent and consistent results.

Case in point... A local church started using me a couple of years ago. Their previous tech tried to tune by ear, but was not very good at it. They called me in for a second opinion. I have been servicing their piano ever since. On two different occasions while I was at the church tuning the piano, one of the pianists thanked me for doing such a good job. He said, "The thing I love about your tunings is that they are consistently good." Just the other day, while tuning the piano, another one of the musicians there saw that I was using my phone to tune and said, "Thank you for using that!"
_________________________
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Hassell's Piano Tuning
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#2031704 - 02/12/13 08:25 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
Only if you have a musical ear, you can adjust an ETD curve,

And then other things may arise, as partials that are not exactly at the same pitch that expected.

A friend that tune with ETD because it get no particular reflex ions in the end, tells me he know he would tune otherwise but as he discovered the ETD provide an acceptable tuning it is easier for him to use it.

What I recall is that at the end of the tuning you have the surprise : is the piano sounding nice ?

I hate that distance it installs between the piano and us

(but it is an excellent backup tool for special situations)


Edited by Olek (02/12/13 08:25 AM)
_________________________
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#2031723 - 02/12/13 08:58 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Olek]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Originally Posted By: Olek

What I recall is that at the end of the tuning you have the surprise : is the piano sounding nice ?

(but it is an excellent backup tool for special situations)


Absolutely, is the piano sounding nice? Oleck, I tune more by ear than with an ETD - so for me, an ETD is just one of my tools. I quickly learned when tuning an entire piano with ETD to check things as I went along, to avoid the "end of tuning surprise". Tunelab does a really good job on raising pitch via overpull. That's the feature I use most. Once overpulled, I go over the piano by ear.
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#2031752 - 02/12/13 10:32 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Olek]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1099
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Olek



Tuning by ear only is a really different thing in the end,(in my experience) because you allow yourself more pleasure and have a more resonant/sonorous instrument in the end.
The model in the end will be " a hair" different, I believe because you hardly can listen to intervals and tune with ETD at the same time, (auto recognize note mode) you are obliged to trust the ETD.
I also suggest that temperature changes are not detected by the EDT, and can happen during the curse of a tuning.
[/quote]

Greetings,
I am curious how the strictly aural tuner deals with a piano that is 3 cents flat in one section, 5 cents in another, and dead on in another. My ETD allows me to make the fractions of a cent correction as I progress. Is your ear able to progressively tune .3 and .6 cent corrections as you go? I have never seen a tech that was able to do this.

I have used a ETD tuning for years. Artists from John Browning to Renee Fleming, and numerous others have commented on how resonant the piano was. The same ETD has carried me through decades of major recording studio work at the highest prices in this town with excellent reviews.
I was trained by Bill Garlick, and he and I both thought my aural tuning was capable of meeting the demands of the most stringent customers in the world, and he was right. That said, after 17 years of aurally tuning, the ETD made me a better tuner, simply because it can correct off-pitch beginnings as I progress through the scale instead of tuning every piano twice to hit the performance level.
The machine is a tool, and used by a hack it is only marginally effective. Used with experience and knowledge, I think it will produce a superior tuning to the ear 99% of the time. There are very few that inhabit that last 1%.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (02/12/13 10:34 AM)

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#2032628 - 02/13/13 06:40 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
plns Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/12
Posts: 59
I've had nothing but great response using Tunelabs but I do understand how someone would be inclined to continue with the aural method and prefer it. The learning curve is harder and longer, no pun intended, than using a device and it's a small crowd that can do this.

And probably, the tuning can be more natural or inclined for each piano.

It's hard to want to learn the aural method when one is getting smiles all the time from customers but I do intend to learn it slowly over time as it is a respected skill.

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#2032734 - 02/13/13 09:36 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
I use an ETD some of the time also. However tune aurally some also as not to get "rusty". My reasoning is from a business standpoint I know electronics fail. I can't imagine it would look to professional to show up to a clients home or a concert tuning and not be able to tune their instrument because your ETD fizzles out. As far as which sounds better, it's all in the "ear" of the beholder.
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Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2032882 - 02/14/13 07:13 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
I agree with you, pianotune,

What I noticed is that the machione driven tuning modify slightly the way you install justness, and in the end the way you listen.
Possibly because for instance the 3d partial is used for the display, one tend to grasp on it more than usual.
This is a very thin effect, indeed in the end the progressiveness can be very good, but I feel that the "consonance" job, is not taken in account as much as with aural tuning.

AT worst I could say that the etd make too much compromising;
The tuning gets "perfectly" even and sound just of course, but I feel the type of justness lacks a little "meaning" .

Yes it is a big help to check the drift or evolving of a piano, while the FBI gives you similar information (as the octave quality, and many other tests)

The problem in aural tuning is that it is easy to obtain some unbalance at some point, due to spectra change or more or less rich notes, then it is reflected to the top if not detected soon enough.
But the level of "impreciseness " I could measure in concert tunings (that where mostly due to the use of slow beating intervals consonance in priority to FBI progressiveness) where really low , around 1-2cts not really much more . (and there where 2 ETD users and 4 aural only , so the tunings in the end where a mix of both approaches)

But there was a clear choice for one kind of interval, not tweaking them much in order to keep a FBI progression even.

Some other tuners used all FBI tuning generally more enlaged than what the ETD propose as a medium tuning.

the fact is that someone robbed my ETD at some point, then I discovered I did not need it, I could do a faster job without it, and have more pleasure.

but it helped me to obtain very minimal pitch increments, some of them barely noticeable by ear.

The fact one cannot really use checks while tuning with an ETD is what annoyed me the most.


Edited by Olek (02/14/13 07:39 AM)
_________________________
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#2032909 - 02/14/13 09:18 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
A Client with a Steinway 45 wanted an electronic tuning. He said the last tuner forgot his ETD, and tuned the piano by ear, and he didn't like the result. I found an inaccurate temperament, so the last guy didn't know how to tune by ear, and normally relied on his ETD. He was out of his comfort zone without an ETD. That's the danger of relying on an ETD.
_________________________
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#2032914 - 02/14/13 09:36 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Olek]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Olek

....The fact one cannot really use checks while tuning with an ETD is what annoyed me the most.


There is nothing inherant in the ETD itself which prevents a tech from doing checks. I do hybrid tuning and most aural tuners who have picked up an ETD to help them in their work do the same. The ETD's work so well that you only need to run checks and small adjustments when the piano is near finished.

One of the best advantages of the ETD is to allow total freedom to initially tune whatever note one wants to without relying on other notes to be tuned to do so. The ETD will also prevent compound errors from occuring as the base referance does not shift as the soundboard gets loaded. You can load the structure with tension in the best possible way, either for safety, or to bring worse sections up to reasonable tension before continuing. This would be in cases where a full pitch raising cycle is not warranted.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2032916 - 02/14/13 09:42 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7220
Loc: France
Yes Emmery there are som advantages, (and if you maintain a lot of pianos you can raise the stability faster possibly) but you don't go "within" the piano justness as when tuning aurally (the small moment where you take the measure of the sound the piano can produce, and tune accordingly)

SO I always have felt that I had top please the piano on one side, and the ETD on the other, and sometime it is in contradiction .

You may have seen me with the VT100 located far from me, so not to fight too much together wink
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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