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#2130466 - 08/09/13 03:34 PM It pays to use a qualified professional.
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Some posts serve as reminders of a few horror stories when piano owners attempt to "do-it-yourself."

One case comes to mind where a pianist wanted to move his grand piano from the den to the living room. With an open floor plan it looked easy enough. He even called the piano store that sold him the instrument and asked if it could be done without having to pay piano movers. "Sure," the salesman said. "Just roll it in there."

And so, he did, leaving some 20 feet of ruts in his brand new hardwood floors.

If it pays to use a qualified professional, it doubly pays to first call the right one.


Edited by bkw58 (08/09/13 03:35 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2130489 - 08/09/13 05:09 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA

Then, there is the prospect who purchased a used console. It looked great. The antique dealer thought it was a good piano as well. So the person laid out almost enough cash to buy a new one.

Later, when the piano tuner came by to service the instrument, he, too, couldn't believe how nice the piano looked. It was as if the thing had been in a time capsule. That is, until he looked inside.

Was something wrong? It would be easier to ask if anything was right. Nothing was right. Nothing. Yes, it looked like a piano. Sure enough, it even had 88 keys. But that was about it.

The cost to make the piano tunable exceeded the price of a similar new instrument. Add this to the money already invested, and there is only one word to describe the situation: Sad.

For this prospect the lesson was hard-learned. It doesn't have to be so for others.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2130549 - 08/09/13 09:55 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3895
A "FREE" piano is never free. A "great deal on Craigslist" often means more money for me! I love Craigslist - it's the biggest piano store in town, and I don't have to discount my prices!
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2130711 - 08/10/13 10:03 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Stealthy DIY costs University big bucks.


At some point in time between the annual maintenance visits on a Fazioli F308 - regulation, voicing, et al. - someone sneaked into the supposed-to-be-locked storage room off stage, removed the fallboard lock, and spent considerable time filing the Abels. In all of its badness, however, there was a certain consistency to it. A call to RB confirmed suspicions. He, too, had seen it a time or two. DIY reads someone's poop on filing Steinways and, well, the short story is: Too much had been filed off to save 'em. If the University wanted the sound for which it paid handsomely, the piano would need a new set of hammers.

The head of the music department suspected Someone in Particular, but how that turned out is another story...

In cases such as these, it pays to keep the door locked. Perhaps placing the key in a safe with armed guards posted around the clock would be good too. (Both keys, that is.)




Edited by bkw58 (08/10/13 11:17 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2130717 - 08/10/13 10:23 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Bob]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Bob
A "FREE" piano is never free. A "great deal on Craigslist" often means more money for me! I love Craigslist - it's the biggest piano store in town, and I don't have to discount my prices!


Curious as to how often, if ever, do prospects call you to ask about a pre-acquisition evaluation or appraisal on these.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2130726 - 08/10/13 10:44 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Curious as to how often, if ever, do prospects call you to ask about a pre-acquisition evaluation or appraisal on these.

That is a very interesting question.

Over on the Piano Forum, we often get questions about how to proceed with CL purchases. The standard advice is to 'have the piano fully inspected by a qualified piano technician.' I wonder how often this advice is taken.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2130756 - 08/10/13 11:56 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Then there was the guy who removed the action from his old Smith & Barnes thinking it would make the piano lighter and easier to move from one room to the next.

Knowing nothing of bridal straps* and the functions thereof - much less the consequences that would ensue in their absence- he pulled the action not noticing that these had mostly turned to dust.

After the move he put the action in, only to realize that the keys "were all froze up." Later Mr. Tuner arrived, explaining that (1) it was not necessary to remove the action, and (2) the functions of bridal straps* - one of which keeps this very problem from occurring (when properly regulated, of course).

DIY turned what would have been a $75 move into a bit more. But, he also received an education and, I suppose, that has value. Maybe DIY, in effect, came out okay on this one?

*Correction: "Bridle straps." (Thanks to Mark R. smile



Edited by bkw58 (08/10/13 05:22 PM)
Edit Reason: *Spelling error
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2130900 - 08/10/13 04:46 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
"It pays to use a qualified professional."

So, if I want to hire a qualified professional, do I have to ask him how to spell "bridle straps" first?

(Somehow, "bridal straps" always conjures up images of garter belts in my mind...)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2130917 - 08/10/13 05:17 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Mark R.]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
"It pays to use a qualified professional."

So, if I want to hire a qualified professional, do I have to ask him how to spell "bridle straps" first?

(Somehow, "bridal straps" always conjures up images of garter belts in my mind...)



eek Homophones! homonyms! heteronyms! homographs! Jeez!


Edited by bkw58 (08/10/13 05:32 PM)
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2130927 - 08/10/13 05:37 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Minnesota Marty]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Curious as to how often, if ever, do prospects call you to ask about a pre-acquisition evaluation or appraisal on these.

That is a very interesting question.

Over on the Piano Forum, we often get questions about how to proceed with CL purchases. The standard advice is to 'have the piano fully inspected by a qualified piano technician.' I wonder how often this advice is taken.


Pre-CL experience: Most buy first and ask questions later. Now? Don't know. Anyone?
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2130934 - 08/10/13 05:50 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Bob, your avatar photo shows a horsey with lovely bridal straps!

Onomatopoetically and alliteratively,
I am,
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2130939 - 08/10/13 05:53 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
P.S. - The DIY project that I'm good at is using memory dial to call my piano tech. I'm good at using my phone, but I sure wouldn't try to fix it!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2130945 - 08/10/13 06:05 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Minnesota Marty]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Bob, your avatar photo shows a horsey with lovely bridal straps!

Onomatopoetically and alliteratively,
I am,


Hmm. Could be metonymy confused
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2130948 - 08/10/13 06:11 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Minnesota Marty]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
P.S. - The DIY project that I'm good at is using memory dial to call my piano tech. I'm good at using my phone, but I sure wouldn't try to fix it!


Think I need to pick up the homophone and call an English teacher. help
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2130985 - 08/10/13 08:13 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Pre-CL experience: Most buy first and ask questions later. Now? Don't know. Anyone?
Now everyone knows it all because they spent 20 minutes reading all about it on the internet laugh
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2131237 - 08/11/13 01:30 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 389
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
You cannot really blame craigslist shoppers for trying to get a better deal, after all you have the internet now so people can be better educated. If a family is on a budget of lets say 400 dollars then paying a technician 300 dollars for an assessment is out of the question so they are taking their chances. Industry norm for assessments in my area are 195 to 400 depending on the piano. Personally I think that is pretty steep for a working class family.

If the person is a former piano owner the biggest complaints I hear from them are the constant up-selling of tunings and maintenance work every time the tuner was in the home, making their instrument un-affordable to own.

Two years ago we took 2 pianos into court in TN along with the state attorney general. The plaintiffs who were suing a piano tuner claimed they were charged thousands of dollars to do routine maintenance and then told to get rid of it and buy new. When we took the same piano into court along with two others that had no regular maintenance schedules the " experts" could hear no difference in either piano.

The defendants lost badly. The recession should have eliminated these up-selling practices some but they still are an issue which costs tuners revenue. Lots of posts on these boards about why no one is calling them in.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2131247 - 08/11/13 02:00 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Supply]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Pre-CL experience: Most buy first and ask questions later. Now? Don't know. Anyone?
Now everyone knows it all because they spent 20 minutes reading all about it on the internet laugh



Isn't that the truth.

It is hard to know how to take some of these "how to" piano service videos. On the one hand, we can look at the things as parody and laugh. On the other, we can look at 'em as sheer stupidity and laugh even harder. It's short-lived though. Laughter soon turns to mystified. Is the public really buying into this DIY stuff? If so, then to what degree? Even worse, are they implementing some of the ridiculous assertions of certain self-appointed "experts"?

There are certainly good piano service videos on the Internet. These are all but lost in the plethora of foolishness.

Maybe the reason why an unprecedented number of pianos are ending up at the city landfills isn't entirely as thought by conventional wisdom.

All signs point to a new enemy that may be beating, bending and twisting The Grand Old Instrument to extinction.

Something to ponder. whistle
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2131279 - 08/11/13 02:53 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Nash. Piano Rescue
You cannot really blame craigslist shoppers for trying to get a better deal, after all you have the internet now so people can be better educated. If a family is on a budget of lets say 400 dollars then paying a technician 300 dollars for an assessment is out of the question so they are taking their chances. Industry norm for assessments in my area are 195 to 400 depending on the piano. Personally I think that is pretty steep for a working class family.

If the person is a former piano owner the biggest complaints I hear from them are the constant up-selling of tunings and maintenance work every time the tuner was in the home, making their instrument un-affordable to own.

Two years ago we took 2 pianos into court in TN along with the state attorney general. The plaintiffs who were suing a piano tuner claimed they were charged thousands of dollars to do routine maintenance and then told to get rid of it and buy new. When we took the same piano into court along with two others that had no regular maintenance schedules the " experts" could hear no difference in either piano.

The defendants lost badly. The recession should have eliminated these up-selling practices some but they still are an issue which costs tuners revenue. Lots of posts on these boards about why no one is calling them in.


It does seem rather steep. There is no reason why a good tech should need any longer than an hour to thoroughly inspect a piano locally. In some cases, less. Of course, if the tech's rate is $300 per hour/labor, then maybe the prospect needs to shop around for a more reasonably priced technician.

I don't know what works in other areas. Here, to avoid nickel-and-diming a prospect to death - inspecting this piano and that one, etc - I'd ask him what he's looking for specifically, put him on my list, and call when I ran across something that appears suitable. In our line of work we do see lots of pianos for sale - or about to be - here and there, and without going out of our way. It only takes a phone call, and if that's the piano he wants, then that's the one I'd charge to inspect. Unless, of course, I already know very well the piano and it's history. Then, there is no charge to the prospect whatsoever.
The whole process typically moved along quite speedily.

Sure beats a crapshoot on CL. smile


Edited by bkw58 (08/11/13 02:54 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2131280 - 08/11/13 02:58 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3703
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Pre-CL experience: Most buy first and ask questions later. Now? Don't know. Anyone?
Now everyone knows it all because they spent 20 minutes reading all about it on the internet laugh



Isn't that the truth.

It is hard to know how to take some of these "how to" piano service videos. On the one hand, we can look at the things as parody and laugh. On the other, we can look at 'em as sheer stupidity and laugh even harder. It's short-lived though. Laughter soon turns to mystified. Is the public really buying into this DIY stuff? If so, then to what degree? Even worse, are they implementing some of the ridiculous assertions of certain self-appointed "experts"?

There are certainly good piano service videos on the Internet. These are all but lost in the plethora of foolishness.

Maybe the reason why an unprecedented number of pianos are ending up at the city landfills isn't entirely as thought by conventional wisdom.

All signs point to a new enemy that may be beating, bending and twisting The Grand Old Instrument to extinction.

Something to ponder. whistle


There is merit in what you say, Bob, but I have to wonder: how many of you techs out there are actively engaged in the process of teaching young people about the craft? I know from my recent enquiries that the overwhelming majority of piano techs have no interest in mentoring younger people. They don't have the time, the inclination, the interest. It is getting nigh on impossible to receive training in piano servicing in most parts of the world. Most techs are simply biding their time until they retire and their knowledge is lost to the world - with the exception of sharing ideas on fora like this one.

So, is it any wonder that people feel tempted to attempt DIY repairs in the light of all this? I am a very capable person with tools, I have very strong mechanical aptitude and I have a background in physics. I am also prepared to pay a tech to show me how to do various things properly. But do you think I can get much interest? No way! I may as well attempt DIY on my own 60's Yamaha U3. What do I have to lose? I read up on the technical issues here on Pianoworld, I ask questions if I'm unsure, then I get the tools and have at it. I haven't had any disasters. I treat my piano with care and caution. In a couple of instances, I did a better job on certain things than the person I paid to do it for me - simply because I am more motivated to care for my piano than they were, and if they are bored with their job/life etc, paying for these services is not necessarily a blessing or a privilege.

My advice to techs who are scornful about DIYers: at least make sure you are willing to teach those who ask for your help. Don't treat people like they can't learn anything about your craft or like they want to render you obsolete. The future of pianos are dependent on you guys sharing your very precious knowledge and skills.

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#2131295 - 08/11/13 03:27 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
$300 to go look at a piano for a customer? An hour to inspect it? It takes like 15 minutes to let them know if it's worth buying or not. In that amount of time I can inspect the soundboard and bridges, look at the condition of the strings and coils, check torque on the tuning pins, get a feel for the regulation and whether there are any action problems, check the condition of the hammers, and look up the age. There's no reason why it should cost more than around $50-75.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2131335 - 08/11/13 05:02 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
$300 to go look at a piano for a customer? An hour to inspect it? It takes like 15 minutes to let them know if it's worth buying or not. In that amount of time I can inspect the soundboard and bridges, look at the condition of the strings and coils, check torque on the tuning pins, get a feel for the regulation and whether there are any action problems, check the condition of the hammers, and look up the age. There's no reason why it should cost more than around $50-75.


Precisely, Loren. It is not unreasonable at all for a really good, fast tech to inspect a piano in short order. (I was giving some of us from The Hot Sunny South cool a little extra time for our s-l-o-w movin' - especially in dealing with a grand piano.)
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

Top
#2131341 - 08/11/13 05:16 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Loren D
$300 to go look at a piano for a customer? An hour to inspect it? It takes like 15 minutes to let them know if it's worth buying or not. In that amount of time I can inspect the soundboard and bridges, look at the condition of the strings and coils, check torque on the tuning pins, get a feel for the regulation and whether there are any action problems, check the condition of the hammers, and look up the age. There's no reason why it should cost more than around $50-75.


Precisely, Loren. It is not unreasonable at all for a really good, fast tech to inspect a piano in short order. (I was giving some of us from The Hot Sunny South cool a little extra time for our s-l-o-w movin' - especially in dealing with a grand piano.)





Exactly! Remember that in this situation, all we're really doing for the customer is telling them whether it's a piano to avoid moving, etc. Now, if we're called to appraise a piano for rebuilding or repairs, then yes, a much more thorough inspection is called for so you can give the customer accurate information and also make sure you don't end up eating costs you didn't count on.

If I called an appliance guy to see if it was worth buying a used washer, and he charged me $300, I'd be pretty upset!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2131483 - 08/12/13 12:29 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2466
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Indeed. A purchase assessment is pretty straightforward.

I discuss CL pianos with a lot of people. I tell them if they want to shop on CL, let me help pick a piano and go with them to inspect it. We also talk about what it would take for one of these pianos to be put into decent condition if they do buy it.

It's good for my business, and people find functional pianos that will last them, that they can afford.
_________________________
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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#2131516 - 08/12/13 02:08 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
the French name of the operation is "aller voir" meaning "going to have an eye on" (as when movers come to see the stairs)

It can be done very fast - indeed some action problems may pass unsuspected, but if the piano is in an acceptable fair condition it is seen very soon.

Nothing really dismounted unless a problem is detected and repairs are to be priced.

The cost is a little less than a tuning.

I prefer to help the customer to find something in their budget, than going on his own selection, with a selection on the CL, a few phone calls, it is easy for a professional to have an idea of the instrument. I get paid for that indeed. I have no much time to do so those days but it happened enough.

Those days when selling a second hand piano, it is not so rare that the customer ask to come with his tuner, or piano teacher.

Well accepted in the trade, but many avoid the situation.

Today home prep, and first tuning is a part of the price negotiation , while yet under evaluated.





Edited by Olek (08/12/13 02:11 AM)
_________________________
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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#2131527 - 08/12/13 04:00 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: ando]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Pre-CL experience: Most buy first and ask questions later. Now? Don't know. Anyone?
Now everyone knows it all because they spent 20 minutes reading all about it on the internet laugh



Isn't that the truth.

It is hard to know how to take some of these "how to" piano service videos. On the one hand, we can look at the things as parody and laugh. On the other, we can look at 'em as sheer stupidity and laugh even harder. It's short-lived though. Laughter soon turns to mystified. Is the public really buying into this DIY stuff? If so, then to what degree? Even worse, are they implementing some of the ridiculous assertions of certain self-appointed "experts"?

There are certainly good piano service videos on the Internet. These are all but lost in the plethora of foolishness.

Maybe the reason why an unprecedented number of pianos are ending up at the city landfills isn't entirely as thought by conventional wisdom.

All signs point to a new enemy that may be beating, bending and twisting The Grand Old Instrument to extinction.

Something to ponder. whistle


There is merit in what you say, Bob, but I have to wonder: how many of you techs out there are actively engaged in the process of teaching young people about the craft? I know from my recent enquiries that the overwhelming majority of piano techs have no interest in mentoring younger people. They don't have the time, the inclination, the interest. It is getting nigh on impossible to receive training in piano servicing in most parts of the world. Most techs are simply biding their time until they retire and their knowledge is lost to the world - with the exception of sharing ideas on fora like this one.

So, is it any wonder that people feel tempted to attempt DIY repairs in the light of all this? I am a very capable person with tools, I have very strong mechanical aptitude and I have a background in physics. I am also prepared to pay a tech to show me how to do various things properly. But do you think I can get much interest? No way! I may as well attempt DIY on my own 60's Yamaha U3. What do I have to lose? I read up on the technical issues here on Pianoworld, I ask questions if I'm unsure, then I get the tools and have at it. I haven't had any disasters. I treat my piano with care and caution. In a couple of instances, I did a better job on certain things than the person I paid to do it for me - simply because I am more motivated to care for my piano than they were, and if they are bored with their job/life etc, paying for these services is not necessarily a blessing or a privilege.

My advice to techs who are scornful about DIYers: at least make sure you are willing to teach those who ask for your help. Don't treat people like they can't learn anything about your craft or like they want to render you obsolete. The future of pianos are dependent on you guys sharing your very precious knowledge and skills.


Thank you, Ando, for your kind remarks. Your questions and observations have great depth and deserve no less in response. They not only speak to the present, but reach far beyond to an uncertain future of two allied industries linked in decline - one in virtual free fall and the other not far behind. To do proper justice would easily constitute a volume.

There are no easy answers. Our industry is anything but monolithic. Comprised of virtually all Chiefs and few Indians, there are almost as many opinions as there are mouths. Consequently, answers that will satisfy everyone usually prove elusive.

I can only speak from one perspective. My own. Others will weigh in. You'll have to determine what is germane.

The answer to your first question is: I do not know the number of techs who are able and willing to teach. Couldn't even hazard a guess. There is much more to teaching than possessing requisite knowledge of tuning, repair and running a business. What few times I have agreed to help one learn the craft have met with failure. I am a technician, not a teacher. No one is helped by me pretending to be a teacher. And, yes, it takes all of my time and energy just to run my business. Only in retirement have I found time to participate in the PW forums.

The consequence that you predict for our industry could be on target. If, for whatever reasons, techs do not pass the art and science on to the next generation - if they do not find creative ways to generate enough interest and desire in young hearts and minds to embrace it as a career - such would in all likelihood die with them; were it not, however, for the unprecedented number of schools and colleges that now teach piano technology. If this system works well for learning other professions, there is no reason why it cannot work well for ours. The future of our trade is not wholly predicated upon a declining number of techs who are willing to "teach."

With respect to your second question, we all have a tendency to view the world in our own little box. Consequently, we err greatly in thinking that educational and career opportunities are universal. In certain quarters, there are little to none. Accordingly, one who desires to take up the Tuner's Mantle, either as a career or a hobby, faces formidable challenges. However, with the spirit and desire that you manifest, I have no doubt that you are the kind of person who can learn this trade even if you have to teach it to yourself via proper books, instructions, etc.

Your presence and comments here on PW suggest that you are no "DIYer." At least not as I understand and use the moniker. You are on a professional forum because you want to learn first, and do second. You are a student. The only question that remains is: Will you see it through?

Thanks again, and best wishes.






Edited by bkw58 (08/12/13 05:23 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2131545 - 08/12/13 05:30 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: OperaTenor]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Indeed. A purchase assessment is pretty straightforward.

I discuss CL pianos with a lot of people. I tell them if they want to shop on CL, let me help pick a piano and go with them to inspect it. We also talk about what it would take for one of these pianos to be put into decent condition if they do buy it.

It's good for my business, and people find functional pianos that will last them, that they can afford.



Good point. And it is not unheard of for a tech to do some of this gratis knowing that such kindness is often rewarded with a lifelong customer.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2131551 - 08/12/13 05:57 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
the French name of the operation is "aller voir" meaning "going to have an eye on" (as when movers come to see the stairs)

It can be done very fast - indeed some action problems may pass unsuspected, but if the piano is in an acceptable fair condition it is seen very soon.

Nothing really dismounted unless a problem is detected and repairs are to be priced.

The cost is a little less than a tuning.

I prefer to help the customer to find something in their budget, than going on his own selection, with a selection on the CL, a few phone calls, it is easy for a professional to have an idea of the instrument. I get paid for that indeed. I have no much time to do so those days but it happened enough.

Those days when selling a second hand piano, it is not so rare that the customer ask to come with his tuner, or piano teacher.

Well accepted in the trade, but many avoid the situation.

Today home prep, and first tuning is a part of the price negotiation , while yet under evaluated.



Piano purchase prospects are sometimes surprised to learn from a professional tech important info like: the used piano at the store priced at $800 is really a better buy than the same piano on CL for $495. In my area, at least one dealer would add: 1) free delivery, 2) one free tuning in-store and 3) one free tuning later, in-home, 4) a full one year warranty, 5) full price trade-in on an upgrade to a new piano (if done within, I think, one year), 6) financing with little-to-nothing down, and 7)lots of good advice on placement, etc.



Edited by bkw58 (08/12/13 06:00 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2131614 - 08/12/13 09:03 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Indeed. A purchase assessment is pretty straightforward.

I discuss CL pianos with a lot of people. I tell them if they want to shop on CL, let me help pick a piano and go with them to inspect it. We also talk about what it would take for one of these pianos to be put into decent condition if they do buy it.

It's good for my business, and people find functional pianos that will last them, that they can afford.



Good point. And it is not unheard of for a tech to do some of this gratis knowing that such kindness is often rewarded with a lifelong customer.


+1! Often times I've done it for long-time customers and churches, etc.
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
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#2131950 - 08/12/13 05:58 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Olek
the French name of the operation is "aller voir" meaning "going to have an eye on" (as when movers come to see the stairs)

It can be done very fast - indeed some action problems may pass unsuspected, but if the piano is in an acceptable fair condition it is seen very soon.

Nothing really dismounted unless a problem is detected and repairs are to be priced.

The cost is a little less than a tuning.

I prefer to help the customer to find something in their budget, than going on his own selection, with a selection on the CL, a few phone calls, it is easy for a professional to have an idea of the instrument. I get paid for that indeed. I have no much time to do so those days but it happened enough.

Those days when selling a second hand piano, it is not so rare that the customer ask to come with his tuner, or piano teacher.

Well accepted in the trade, but many avoid the situation.

Today home prep, and first tuning is a part of the price negotiation , while yet under evaluated.



Piano purchase prospects are sometimes surprised to learn from a professional tech important info like: the used piano at the store priced at $800 is really a better buy than the same piano on CL for $495. In my area, at least one dealer would add: 1) free delivery, 2) one free tuning in-store and 3) one free tuning later, in-home, 4) a full one year warranty, 5) full price trade-in on an upgrade to a new piano (if done within, I think, one year), 6) financing with little-to-nothing down, and 7)lots of good advice on placement, etc.



yes; certainly. It is more useful when you chase for a good piano and have a decent budget/ Then the tech collaboration is really a must.
_________________________
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#2132704 - 08/14/13 09:28 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Loren D
$300 to go look at a piano for a customer? An hour to inspect it? It takes like 15 minutes to let them know if it's worth buying or not. In that amount of time I can inspect the soundboard and bridges, look at the condition of the strings and coils, check torque on the tuning pins, get a feel for the regulation and whether there are any action problems, check the condition of the hammers, and look up the age. There's no reason why it should cost more than around $50-75.


Precisely, Loren. It is not unreasonable at all for a really good, fast tech to inspect a piano in short order. (I was giving some of us from The Hot Sunny South cool a little extra time for our s-l-o-w movin' - especially in dealing with a grand piano.)





Exactly! Remember that in this situation, all we're really doing for the customer is telling them whether it's a piano to avoid moving, etc. Now, if we're called to appraise a piano for rebuilding or repairs, then yes, a much more thorough inspection is called for so you can give the customer accurate information and also make sure you don't end up eating costs you didn't count on.

If I called an appliance guy to see if it was worth buying a used washer, and he charged me $300, I'd be pretty upset!


thumb
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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