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#2121286 - 07/21/13 11:20 PM Piano Tuning Run In The Family?
benny428 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Pennsylvania
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if your family members were piano tuners / technicians? My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were both professional technicians. Even certified Steinway Technicians at one point in their lives. My great-great-great-grandfather actually delivered pianos on a horse and buggy way back in the day. I've been fortunate enough to pick up the trade of tuning from my great-grandpa. We spent a little bit of time together and he taught me what he knew. So I'll ask you all; any piano tuners run in your family?
_________________________
Wurlitzer Studio Upright Piano- Built in 1963
Manager
Tuner / Technician
Kenyon Piano Service

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#2121332 - 07/22/13 01:27 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1510
Loc: Michigan
I'm a second-generation piano tuner-technician. My father learned tuning as something to do in the summer when he taught school (in the days before year-round checks for teachers). Eventually it grew to the point where he quit teaching to tune pianos full time. He also sold pianos as well.

I started in elementary school doing "slave labor bridle straps" -- but actually it was pretty good pay for a kid. I think I used to get $1.25 for a set in the late '50s. Sometimes I would go with Daddy to tunings -- like during summer, he'd take me out for a day. I might be reading a book with him tuning in the background, so I was exposed to hundreds of tunings at the subliminal level. Then, he would have me sit by him and have me pull out the temperament strip one note at a time as he was ready for the next note. I learned to recognize when the previous note was in tune and pulled out the strip for the next note without him having to tell me.
Then, he would leave me at one customer's home and have me tune it while he went to one nearby. He would finish his tuning and return and I would be finishing up. Then he would check it over and correct any mistakes. (Or re-tune the whole piano if necessary). So, I never had that sense of exposure that many tuners do who are suddenly out alone tuning for a customer the first time. As I recall, I was thirteen when I collected my first fee -- although I'm not sure it was entirely deserved. I'm sure the piano did sound better. That was 50 years ago, and I'm still learning. Just came back from the PTG Convention/Institute where there were some excellent classes.

My brother and sister also learned to tune. My sister has done it for a customer once or twice -- but no longer is into it. My brother (a university music professor in piano and theory/comp) has tuned his own piano as well as a small clientele and some of the tuning at his university.

None of my children tune although the one who majored in music dabbled a bit. Another son who is now an engineer was a superb re-stringer when he was in high-school and during college vacations. He was quick and about as good as me. All of my children have done bridle straps (and got more than $1.25, too). My daughters weren't into it that much. I have one son now who hasn't found employment after college who is doing some work in the shop like hammer hanging and stringing. But he doesn't really enjoy it and will be glad to get into something else when the opportunity opens up for him.

I have warm memories of going on Daddy's tuning trips. I remember one summer he had a number of customers along a famous canoeing river in northern Michigan so he rented a canoe and we paddled to several tunings that day. He also tuned for people that lived on islands and they would come and pick us up in their boats. I still tune some of those pianos and there are a few pianos that have tuning dates in them from Daddy, my brother and myself.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
Editor, Piano Technicians Journal
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2121335 - 07/22/13 01:43 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
Originally Posted By: benny428
So I'll ask you all; any piano tuners run in your family?


Only when I'm running late to an appointment. wink

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#2121337 - 07/22/13 01:46 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
In Memoriam -

Our dear friend Jerry Groot was a third generation tuner. It was not unusual for him to find a scrawled hello note from his father in a piano. He said that his grandfather had done the same for Jerry's Dad.

I miss him very much.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2121339 - 07/22/13 01:52 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24053
Loc: Oakland
Someone doing research on Titanic passengers said that my great-grandfather worked for a piano factory in Boston, but I had not heard of from any of the family.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2121378 - 07/22/13 05:24 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2547
Loc: PA
Nope, first generation tuner here. My parents were beauticians by trade, though my dad hand crafted violins, violas, and cellos for the last 35 years of his life.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2121427 - 07/22/13 09:29 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1348
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
I'm a second generation tuner/tech. My father (who goes by A441 on Piano World) owned a music store from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. He learned the trade from the man who used to come to his store to service the pianos...and that person learned from his father. Every once in a while, I'll open up a piano, and there are all of our initials from previous tunings.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2121428 - 07/22/13 09:32 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2547
Loc: PA
I apprenticed stringed instrument making and repair under my dad, and the plan eventually is to transition from pianos to that. Once I get sick of driving. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2121526 - 07/22/13 01:43 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: Eric Gloo]
benny428 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Pennsylvania
It's funny because my gg grandpa Floyd owned a piano factory in Hickory, NC that burned down in the early '20s. He later opened up a music store in the same city, for almost 8 years. His factory also made benches for Wurlitzer organs, and pianos.
_________________________
Wurlitzer Studio Upright Piano- Built in 1963
Manager
Tuner / Technician
Kenyon Piano Service

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#2121528 - 07/22/13 01:48 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
benny428 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
In Memoriam -

Our dear friend Jerry Groot was a third generation tuner. It was not unusual for him to find a scrawled hello note from his father in a piano. He said that his grandfather had done the same for Jerry's Dad.

I miss him very much.


I miss my grandpa Kenyon very much too. )': I only wish I was able to get more experience with him
_________________________
Wurlitzer Studio Upright Piano- Built in 1963
Manager
Tuner / Technician
Kenyon Piano Service

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#2121580 - 07/22/13 04:45 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2535
Loc: Maine
'Second generation.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2121853 - 07/23/13 09:56 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 2006
Loc: Conway, AR USA
First generation. Perhaps the last. My children were not interested. No one to pass it on to. "The business" retired to a corner of the attic.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2122042 - 07/23/13 06:59 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3708
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
I'm second generation as well. I doubt any of my kids will follow, that is a good thing and bad thing. I sometimes stress what will happen when I am gone. Running a busy shop, I would love to have family take it over.
I can’t imagine retirement. My father passed away 10 years ago Aug 9th. I loved working with him.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#2124302 - 07/28/13 04:12 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
KJLien Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas
My grandfather tuned, rebuilt and sold refurbished pianos. His son, my uncle, learned from him and has turned his part time hobby into a retirement job. I have been interested in tuning for the past 10 years or so and I finally began taking a course. So, I hope to become a 3rd generation tuner-technician very soon!

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#2127141 - 08/02/13 08:41 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
mupianotech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 39
Loc: Huntington WV
I,too, am a second generation piano technician. I just retired after 43 years as tech for Marshall University. My 2 sons showed no interest in going into the business but my five year old grandson loves tools and being in the shop with me.

We'll see.
_________________________
Paul E. Dempsey, RPT
Piano Technician Senior, Emeritus
Marshall University
Huntington, WV

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#2130574 - 08/10/13 12:16 AM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: benny428]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I think it is so cool for pianos to run through the veins of family members. I am a lone wolf though. I have 5 grown children and none of them have expressed an interest in servicing pianos. I still sign the keys when I tune, thinking maybe a grandchild someday will see it.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2132033 - 08/12/13 09:13 PM Re: Piano Tuning Run In The Family? [Re: mupianotech]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2535
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: mupianotech
I,too, am a second generation piano technician. I just retired after 43 years as tech for Marshall University. My 2 sons showed no interest in going into the business but my five year old grandson loves tools and being in the shop with me.

We'll see.
It's interesting how traits so often skip a generation.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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