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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

Top
#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 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3701
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: 2464
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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#2131545 - 08/12/13 05:30 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: OperaTenor]
bkw58 Offline

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

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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
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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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#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
_________________________
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Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2132705 - 08/14/13 09:30 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
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.



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

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#2132791 - 08/14/13 12:29 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's the guy who upgraded from a spinet to a small grand piano. He acquired it from an individual who advertised in the classified section of the local newspaper.

Without calling upon professional help of any kind - neither technical writings nor verbal or on-site consult with a qualified tech - he examined the instrument thinking that spotting a problem would be easy. After all, he was a pianist.

After delivery to his home, the piano would not hold a tune - especially in the tenor section. So, he called a piano tech who, upon examination, revealed the presence of several cracks in the harp running diagonally from pin-to-pin about the space of two to three inches. The piano could not be tuned. Given that it was an older stencil piano, any viable attempt at repair would clearly be throwing good money after bad.

This is a perfect example of DIY. A purchase is made, or a repair is attempted, without seeking qualified professional assistance whatsoever: No advance recon. No reading technical writings. No verbal or on-site consult with a technician. He literally does it himself.

He's like the person who buys a product that requires rather involved assembly and doesn't bother to read the directions. Eschewing professional guidance in any form, he takes the plunge. Sometimes it works, others times it doesn't.

But, it is his prerogative to gamble with his own money.

On the other hand, as piano techs it is our prerogative to advise against it.


Edited by bkw58 (08/14/13 12:43 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2132833 - 08/14/13 02:44 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
The thing is that some DIY are really enthusiastic and so proud of being able to "do something" on their own instrument, that they may be reluctant to accept advise from a professional.
.

I have had that situation sometime, and I understand it as the person knows more or less how far he is from a professional quality, and is a little afraid to have some of his work pointed.

When I really could not understand it, is when it is proposed to learn how to tune a few unisons, and the person yet have a tuning lever and try to arrange some notes sometime.

One proposed explained me that all the piano work was sort of hobby, and he have more pleasure to discover things by himself.

As long as his interventions are only on his own instruments all is well for me.

But the enthusiastic that try to learn to tune and need more pianos to train himself will propose to neighbors and friends sometime. Then ask for a small fee...
Some are gifted when repairing and have enough intellect ability to obtain an adequate idea of what they do. I have seen a few total beginners without any formal training, who are know recognized as experts in a small market "niche" .

The level can be good, but I do not trust it can compare with a properly trained specialist.

Then I have also seen enough repairs done by "experts" that where a little frustrating for the pianist, so I understand that some want to do it themselves.

Unfortunately, when you have worked on concert pianos, you have tonal references that make you hear the defects in repairs, where others will find the job good ans satisfying.
A good musical sensitivity and experience will certainly help DIY and some can finish with some experience, but it is relatively rare in the end.
_________________________
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#2133264 - 08/15/13 10:13 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 thing is that some DIY are really enthusiastic and so proud of being able to "do something" on their own instrument, that they may be reluctant to accept advise from a professional.
.

I have had that situation sometime, and I understand it as the person knows more or less how far he is from a professional quality, and is a little afraid to have some of his work pointed.

When I really could not understand it, is when it is proposed to learn how to tune a few unisons, and the person yet have a tuning lever and try to arrange some notes sometime.

One proposed explained me that all the piano work was sort of hobby, and he have more pleasure to discover things by himself.

As long as his interventions are only on his own instruments all is well for me.

But the enthusiastic that try to learn to tune and need more pianos to train himself will propose to neighbors and friends sometime. Then ask for a small fee...
Some are gifted when repairing and have enough intellect ability to obtain an adequate idea of what they do. I have seen a few total beginners without any formal training, who are know recognized as experts in a small market "niche" .

The level can be good, but I do not trust it can compare with a properly trained specialist.

Then I have also seen enough repairs done by "experts" that where a little frustrating for the pianist, so I understand that some want to do it themselves.

Unfortunately, when you have worked on concert pianos, you have tonal references that make you hear the defects in repairs, where others will find the job good ans satisfying.
A good musical sensitivity and experience will certainly help DIY and some can finish with some experience, but it is relatively rare in the end.


Very good points, Isaac. Thanks smile
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2134120 - 08/16/13 11:27 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

This 40+ year old story comes courtesy of my late "mentor."

It's short.

The guy who thought old bass strings could be renewed by removing the whole set and cooking 'em in oil.

Don't recall what type of oil: motor, olive, vegetable.

Care to guess how that one turned out? crazy
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
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#2134142 - 08/17/13 12:24 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 are the folks who use a professional, but do not follow his instructions.

While tuning a church upright, the tuner discovers a serious problem with mice. The little pests are just about to destroy the innards.

Tuner suggests setting traps outside of the piano: kitchen, behind the instrument, etc, because you want to avoid putting poison in the piano, the critters dying in the keybed (a popular nesting place), stinking up the place, and having to pay to have keys removed to get to the carcass.

Six months later, and it's time to tune again. Tuner opens the lid and sees rat poison pellets scattered about the action, etc. Later, when he adjusts the trapwork, an open jar of peanut butter is found next to the bass bridge.

Why peanut butter? Guess they thought it would attract mice into the piano where they would feast on the poison too.

Guess they were also out of cheese.







Edited by bkw58 (08/17/13 12:31 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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Bob W.
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#2142752 - 09/02/13 10:43 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
From the archives:

Guy buys a Steinway grand for a piddling salvage fee. Been in a house fire. Totaled out by the insurance co. "Only smoke damaged with a little indirect spray" he's told by the adjuster.

He totes the instrument to a rebuilder along with a whopper of a check.

After all is said and done, several months later he decides that it's now time to call a piano tech.

Tech arrives. Glue joints are already giving way here and there. And there's no end in sight.

All of this could have been avoided by a simple free phone call to the piano tech (of his acquaintance) who condemned the thing in the first place.
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Retired piano technician
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#2143381 - 09/03/13 11:11 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
For a serious pianist on a tight budget-the most cost effective way to acquire a grand piano that plays and sounds like a performing piano should-is to collaborate with a tech who is fully skilled in tone-regulation and action rebuilding.

I have some clients who find (for example), a 20YO Samick 6' on CL from a home where it was not played much for around $6K. Piano still looks much like new. I then replaced the hammers, shanks, flanges; key-bushings; repined damper action and whippens; corrected action geometry and strike point; and re-shaped capo dastro bar for another $7K to $8K.

For some $14K they now have a piano that plays and sounds marvelous and is very easy to keep that way even when played several hours a day for many years.

For clients like these I do not charge to inspect prospective instruments.

Nashville might call this "up-selling"-my clients call it wonderful.
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#2144184 - 09/04/13 06:18 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
For a serious pianist on a tight budget-the most cost effective way to acquire a grand piano that plays and sounds like a performing piano should-is to collaborate with a tech who is fully skilled in tone-regulation and action rebuilding.

I have some clients who find (for example), a 20YO Samick 6' on CL from a home where it was not played much for around $6K. Piano still looks much like new. I then replaced the hammers, shanks, flanges; key-bushings; repined damper action and whippens; corrected action geometry and strike point; and re-shaped capo dastro bar for another $7K to $8K.

For some $14K they now have a piano that plays and sounds marvelous and is very easy to keep that way even when played several hours a day for many years.

For clients like these I do not charge to inspect prospective instruments.

Nashville might call this "up-selling"-my clients call it wonderful.



Great example, Ed. Thanks!
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Retired piano technician
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#2150991 - 09/16/13 12:46 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
As a piano Technician, I don't buy or sell pianos on Craigslist, but I love when people do. They call me to clean up the mess. My services don't come cheap either
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#2150997 - 09/16/13 01:02 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Gary Fowler]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
As a piano Technician, I don't buy or sell pianos on Craigslist, but I love when people do. They call me to clean up the mess. My services don't come cheap either


If anyone talks to me about getting a CL piano, I explain to them that whatever they get will almost certainly need work, and I try to give them a reasonable expectation of what it will cost them. I ain't cheap, either...
_________________________
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#2151284 - 09/16/13 12:33 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Minnesota Marty]
thorn_was_taken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 95
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.


I recently took this advice. However my tech (who has tuned & maintained my vertical for several years) is ... well, he has rather 'special' taste. And there were things he'd have missed, had I failed to ask specific questions -- like, 'how's the pinblock?' Plus: because my tech wasn't using a printed checklist, the seller was getting -- for free -- *most* of the information I was paying for. So the seller could have told me to take a hike, and added the good news parts of the info to his story for the next interested party.

I did buy the instrument and am happy I did, but my tech did not help my negotiating position very much, so I was essentially on my own.

I'm not bitter. And to cut my tech a little slack -- I don't think he gets called go do evals all that often, plus he may have been caught off-guard by how very present the seller was. I liked the sellers, think they were honest, and believe that the asking price was in the ballpark for what they knew when they priced the instrument. But if I ever have to do this again (I so hope my tech didn't miss anything major -- I do like this piano.), I will hand the next tech a checklist, and ask for checkmarks, notes -- and silence.

And yes, as much as I like my former tech personally, I learned some things about his approach that have led me to decide he will no longer be my tech.
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thorn

-- Sometimes I poke. Even if I like you.

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#2151293 - 09/16/13 12:56 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
thorn_was_taken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 95
Addendum: This was a CL piano. I had told my tech and four dealers -- two in other states -- that I was looking for a solid pre-owned instrument. Result? Crickets. Nothing.

Finding a good used piano may be easier said than done.
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thorn

-- Sometimes I poke. Even if I like you.

1920's Mason & Hamlin A

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#2151329 - 09/16/13 02:05 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: thorn_was_taken]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: thorn_was_taken
Addendum: This was a CL piano. I had told my tech and four dealers -- two in other states -- that I was looking for a solid pre-owned instrument. Result? Crickets. Nothing.

Finding a good used piano may be easier said than done.


Thanks, Thorn. Good points. The overriding question is really how to find a qualified piano technician. This too is easier said than done. Often, we suggest that one call the local PTG chapter and get a recommendation there. Though the risk of receiving bad work or ill advice is exceedingly minimized by so doing, such of itself is not a 100% guarantee. It's an imperfect world. We all make mistakes. There are many good techs in the MPTA too. Bunches of good techs belong to neither organization. Another good place to get a recommendation - though not necessarily 100% either - is the local Symphony or the music (piano) department of a University. Also, the better techs tend to be "full time" and booked a few months out.
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
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#2151358 - 09/16/13 03:01 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
This is interesting. For myself, I feel that being able to comprehensively assess a piano is almost as important as being able to tune the darned thing.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2151407 - 09/16/13 04:04 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
thorn_was_taken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 95
My tech is a competent person. As I said, I had used him for awhile. I think part of what was going on, is that he knew I was enthusiastic about the instrument. In fact, he was less critical of it than I was, when what I needed was more the opposite.

I am reasonably certain that my purchase is not a boondoggle, so things so far have turned out ok. I can't have the instrument tuned for another couple of weeks, but it's playable enough that I've been practicing on it. It was just weird to have to prompt the guy. Could be he's very easily distracted or something. I'm just telling the tale to get out there that the evaluation -- even if undertaken by a qualified pro -- can be a little more complicated, and maybe less technical, than one might hope. And seriously. Checklist. Like for a home inspection, just shorter.

I'm working on scheduling my second opinion/first tune. I'll report back on what the next tech says in a couple of weeks. The situation should be far more 'normal', because I now own the instrument. Maybe I'm completely out of whack. If I am, I'll be quick to admit it. I don't know anywhere close to everything.
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#2151450 - 09/16/13 05:09 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Sweet06 Offline
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Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
Whats funny is all these professional techs explaining what one should and shouldn't do before they buy a piano. Advice like, "just get a good one". As a total noobie, how does one find a good one? How does one identify a "good" technician vs a "bad" one? Isn't the point of someone calling BECAUSE they don't know what they are doing?
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#2151462 - 09/16/13 05:24 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: thorn_was_taken]
Olek Offline
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Loc: France
Originally Posted By: thorn_was_taken
My tech is a competent person. As I said, I had used him for awhile. I think part of what was going on, is that he knew I was enthusiastic about the instrument. In fact, he was less critical of it than I was, when what I needed was more the opposite.

I am reasonably certain that my purchase is not a boondoggle, so things so far have turned out ok. I can't have the instrument tuned for another couple of weeks, but it's playable enough that I've been practicing on it. It was just weird to have to prompt the guy. Could be he's very easily distracted or something. I'm just telling the tale to get out there that the evaluation -- even if undertaken by a qualified pro -- can be a little more complicated, and maybe less technical, than one might hope. And seriously. Checklist. Like for a home inspection, just shorter.

I'm working on scheduling my second opinion/first tune. I'll report back on what the next tech says in a couple of weeks. The situation should be far more 'normal', because I now own the instrument. Maybe I'm completely out of whack. If I am, I'll be quick to admit it. I don't know anywhere close to everything.


sometime I help to have a better price because some work will be necessary, sometime (rare)the instrument have been so nicely maintened I consider the price asked fair.

The tech is not paid to lower the value of the piano, but to assess its condition and to put a number in front of the job necessary to put it at the same level it would be in a decent (honest) professional place... (on that last I tend to say that chances are that the piano will be better prepped with a direct deal with a technician, but I tend to badmouth about "second hand specialized shops", with some reasons ...)

the tech is supposed to know the market value, but this really is worth for recent instruments , less than 30 years old for instance.



Edited by Olek (09/16/13 05:26 PM)
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#2151476 - 09/16/13 05:41 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Sweet06]
Olek Offline
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Originally Posted By: Sweet06
Whats funny is all these professional techs explaining what one should and shouldn't do before they buy a piano. Advice like, "just get a good one". As a total noobie, how does one find a good one? How does one identify a "good" technician vs a "bad" one? Isn't the point of someone calling BECAUSE they don't know what they are doing?


by exchanging, now most experienced techs have no much time to help someone top find a piano, but you do not need the absolute best one in town, all depend what instrument you are looking for.

WIth some experience a tech can instruct you minimally about pianos, and how to chase for them, so you avoid the gross mistakes, then, there is documentation and forums.

You need to have plenty of time in front of you, and the budget at hand.

After +- 6 months , generally the opportunity appears (sometime less, sometime more)
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#2151522 - 09/16/13 06:22 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

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"My tech is a competent person."

Thorn,

He may very well be a competent person, but with everything you have mentioned, he doesn't seem to be a competent piano technician.

Give my best to his wife and family.
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#2151599 - 09/16/13 08:33 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Minnesota Marty]
thorn_was_taken Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 95
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
"My tech is a competent person."

Thorn,

He may very well be a competent person, but with everything you have mentioned, he doesn't seem to be a competent piano technician.

Give my best to his wife and family.


What I think I actually learned about the guy in question, is that he may be the piano tech equivalent of the general dentist. Except that the general dentist would be expected to refer the patient to an endodontist for a root canal rather than undertaking to perform the procedure (and the billing) him- or herself.

PS. I do not intend to hijack this thread, which was plenty interesting before I got here. Carry on...


Edited by thorn_was_taken (09/16/13 08:37 PM)
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#2152176 - 09/17/13 01:20 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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Thanks, thorn. You raise a valid point. Piano techs do specialize. Some tune only (in which case they are not really techs). Others rebuild only. Some do everything. Some do everything, but not evaluations or appraisals. All the more reason to ask the tech about his/her services before we secure them.
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#2152316 - 09/17/13 05:02 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Gary Fowler]
bkw58 Offline

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Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
As a piano Technician, I don't buy or sell pianos on Craigslist, but I love when people do. They call me to clean up the mess. My services don't come cheap either


Thanks Gary: I like your slogan, "Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time..."
There's no better place to start than CL pianos.
Those pianos need help .


Edited by bkw58 (09/17/13 05:31 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#2152320 - 09/17/13 05:05 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: OperaTenor]
bkw58 Offline

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Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
This is interesting. For myself, I feel that being able to comprehensively assess a piano is almost as important as being able to tune the darned thing.



thumb
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#2152321 - 09/17/13 05:06 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Mr. Fowler,

Please identify yourself as professional which is required when using Piano World.
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#2152334 - 09/17/13 05:27 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

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Originally Posted By: Olek

the tech is supposed to know the market value, but this really is worth for recent instruments , less than 30 years old for instance.



True. I also believe that a prospective buyer tends to get a more realistic monetary appraisal from a good piano tech: what the piano is really worth considering above all, it's condition. Never, "what the market will bear" condition notwithstanding.


Edited by bkw58 (09/17/13 05:28 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#2152356 - 09/17/13 05:56 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Loc: France
Yes, that, plus being able to understand the expectations, customers are sometimes very precise explaining what they wish.

But those are the ones that contact piano technicians, they have yet done some homework, sometime surprisingly in deep.

Now a tech cannot propose a large choice, as it happen in shops, it is more like hunting on CL, so the choices have to be done intelligently.

As there are not so much good opportunities, it is sort of limited.

Also, for the best brands, the dealers also want to buy, sometime at a higher price as they can sell better in the shop, generally with less work done.

(generally)

So one need to be fast to decide when the good candidate is there.
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#2155428 - 09/22/13 08:53 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Detecting the counterfeits (1)

A pianist upgraded to an old "Baldwin M" and paid a local company a large sum to refinish it.

Then she called the tech who, after arriving, made the following observations:

1. Baldwin fallboard decal to match period present? Yes.
2. Baldwin medallion present and re-tacked to it's proper place? Yes.
3. Baldwin "look," ferrule legs, et al.? Yes and no.
4. Size okay? No. Too short for an M.
5. Baldwin indicated in raised letters on the harp? Nothing present at all.
6. Harp match any known Baldwin product? No.


What is it? A counterfeit via a Baldwin decal placed on a refinished, cheap ca.1930s knock-off.


*Clearly, the client came out on the losing end of the deal. This might have been avoided by calling on a professional piano tech to evaluate the instrument prior to purchase.


Edited by bkw58 (09/23/13 02:15 AM)
Edit Reason: *addition/typo
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#2155434 - 09/22/13 09:02 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Yes probably, but it relate strangely with the thread, as those may be "professional" job.

A similar thing happen when a brand piano is rebuild with a new soundboard made in a different wood, and with different methods than the original.
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#2155438 - 09/22/13 09:22 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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Originally Posted By: Olek
Yes probably, but it relate strangely with the thread, as those may be "professional" job.

A similar thing happen when a brand piano is rebuild with a new soundboard made in a different wood, and with different methods than the original.


Thanks, Isaac. Good point. I've added a sentence or two for clarity.
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#2155929 - 09/23/13 02:12 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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Detecting the counterfeits (2)

A customer visiting an estate sale upgraded to a vintage "Steinway" grand. Being a "Steinway," much money was paid for it.

After purchasing she called the tech who, upon arrival, made the following observations:

1. Steinway fallboard decal to match period present? Yes.
2. Steinway indicated in raised letters on the harp? Nothing present at all. The harp is plain.
3. Harp bears no resemblance to any known Steinway product.
4. Action is not Steinway.
5. Steinway manufactures no grand as small as this one.

What is it then? A counterfeit via a Steinway decal placed on an older refinish job.

Unlike most, this story has a better ending. Once it was pointed out to the estate sale person that the piano was a counterfeit, a full refund was offered. In this, she got lucky. That she was an attorney didn't hurt either.


Edited by bkw58 (09/23/13 10:06 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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#2159245 - 09/28/13 06:14 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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A grand piano moved into the State with the pianist in tow and with a "complete" humidity control system as well. He was quite proud having installed it by himself.

During my first service call I checked the pads. Beneath the beast something was clearly amiss. While asking about it, he said: "O, yeah. I wondered what that was for."

He left the room and returned with the moisture shield in hand.

I installed it and told the client that I'd be back to tune after the system did its thing.

About a month or two passed and I returned to tune.

Didn't have the heart to tell him of the crack now visible in the area of the board directly above the tank.
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#2160063 - 09/30/13 12:33 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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In the following incident, the piano owner is a teacher. The rebuilder is no more - at least not under the name on the receipt - but was of wide renown in the industry, which makes the incident all the more surprising. Renown doesn't always mean qualified. Locating a qualified rebuilder is much the same process as finding a good piano tech. Remarks on this are elsewhere in this thread. The following course of action was recommended. The present disposition of the piano in question is unknown.


Dear ____________Piano Rebuilders:

I am writing because my numerous phone calls have not been returned.

Once again, thank you for rebuilding my vintage Steinway. It is absolutely gorgeous. I only wish that it played as well as it looks.

Apparently you did not have the foresight to understand that rebuilding a piano brings a return to normal usage, and with this comes stress on old parts that you did not see the need to replace.

I am now on my third piano technician trying to determine why the piano action is not working correctly. Some keys do not repeat. Others no longer function at all. The reason, he tells me, is that the only parts you replaced are the hammers and key bushings. The hammer shanks, flanges and wippens are all original, that is over 100 years old.

Repetition springs are failing. The jacks are coming unglued. Buttons are splitting. The action cannot even be regulated correctly and what little can be done doesn't last more than a day or two. You have completely ignored the under-lever parts and the sostenuto.

Given the great distance between us, I urge you to send the necessary funds so my technician can replace the parts and regulate the action. Until such time as you see fit to do so, all that I have is an expensive piece of furniture and little else.

Sincerely,


__________

Piano Teacher






Edited by bkw58 (09/30/13 01:28 PM)
Edit Reason: typos
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#2160376 - 10/01/13 08:51 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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A vintage Grotrian grand was in need of rebuilding. Some hesitation ensued due to a crack in the harp.

The local piano tech advised against rebuilding.

When a rebuilder in another State provided assurance that the crack would be repaired and shot the owner a low price, the temptation to proceed was irresistible.

The tech well-knew the quality of work that this particular rebuilder was known for: fast and cheap. Once again, he advised against it.

Notwithstanding, off the Grotrian went.

Upon completion, it arrived back. The piano looked great!

A close inspection by the tech revealed a smooth repair to the harp. Too smooth. But the owner was happy and the tech just smiled and departed.

Fall soon gave way to winter and it was time to tune. The crack in the harp was back. Under the glass the tech could see no signs of repair - not even a dried spot of Elmer's.

Meanwhile, the rebuilder had passed away and his business was no more.

For months the owner pondered what to do. It was during this time that a new method of plate repair was receiving very good reports both here and abroad. And so, the Grotrian was shipped overseas. And another large fee was paid.

When it arrived back in the States, the repair was smooth and undetectable. But the diameter of the plate section was noticeably thicker. Characteristic of the new process.

The Grotrian went on to live a good life.



Edited by bkw58 (10/01/13 08:54 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#2160380 - 10/01/13 09:05 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: bkw58
A grand piano moved into the State with the pianist in tow and with a "complete" humidity control system as well. He was quite proud having installed it by himself.

During my first service call I checked the pads. Beneath the beast something was clearly amiss. While asking about it, he said: "O, yeah. I wondered what that was for."

He left the room and returned with the moisture shield in hand.

I installed it and told the client that I'd be back to tune after the system did its thing.

About a month or two passed and I returned to tune.

Didn't have the heart to tell him of the crack now visible in the area of the board directly above the tank.


I heard such bad reports befor the humidifier rods had a security and they do not warm if the pads are not functionning.

What I do not accept is that the humidistat have no security and can turn wild, humidifying or drying all times.

Thoses systems have to be under survey when they are installed.
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#2160394 - 10/01/13 09:24 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: bkw58
A grand piano moved into the State with the pianist in tow and with a "complete" humidity control system as well. He was quite proud having installed it by himself.

During my first service call I checked the pads. Beneath the beast something was clearly amiss. While asking about it, he said: "O, yeah. I wondered what that was for."

He left the room and returned with the moisture shield in hand.

I installed it and told the client that I'd be back to tune after the system did its thing.

About a month or two passed and I returned to tune.

Didn't have the heart to tell him of the crack now visible in the area of the board directly above the tank.


I heard such bad reports befor the humidifier rods had a security and they do not warm if the pads are not functionning.

What I do not accept is that the humidistat have no security and can turn wild, humidifying or drying all times.

Thoses systems have to be under survey when they are installed.


Exactly, Isaac. The DC system has evolved over the years improving every step of the way. Unfortunately, the piano owner installed a system without the "smart bar."

I do not know how the absence of the moisture shield had gone undetected for so long. Prior to my servicing it, apparently someone had been changing the pads. Perhaps the owner? Are there some piano supply companies that sell to those not in the trade? Yes. And sometimes with tragic results.

All DC systems need to be checked at least twice annually - especially those without the "smart bar" feature.
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#2160402 - 10/01/13 09:47 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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if the original circuitry had been redesigned to "do nothing" when moisture level is acceptable this would never happen.
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#2160762 - 10/02/13 08:23 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

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Registered: 03/14/09
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Originally Posted By: Olek
if the original circuitry had been redesigned to "do nothing" when moisture level is acceptable this would never happen.



I agree with your previous remarks, but not sure I understand this one. Thanks all the same.
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#2160938 - 10/02/13 06:05 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
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Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Olek
if the original circuitry had been redesigned to "do nothing" when moisture level is acceptable this would never happen.



I agree with your previous remarks, but not sure I understand this one. Thanks all the same.


I mean that the circuitry probably have only one relay so the humidifier is on, or in the other position that is the deshumidifier.
It may be because he system correct the RHslowly, they may have think it was not necessary to have a position where nothing happens.

But when there is an electronic glitch one or the other is on.
That is what I call "no security."
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#2161019 - 10/03/13 12:08 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Olek]
kpembrook Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/10
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Originally Posted By: Olek
if the original circuitry had been redesigned to "do nothing" when moisture level is acceptable this would never happen.



This is a deliberate design feature. The very low power of the system requires that it function continuously.
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#2161072 - 10/03/13 05:48 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Loc: France
I would not mind if the system stopped on the days where HR is between 45 and 55 for instance.
or even in a smaller plague.
As this is climate dependent, this also should allow for less power used.

I am not electronics designer but the logic tells me that independent relay (or one with 3 positions, does not look like rocket science) should do it and there is only 2 positions one in the box.

I did not hear much reports of failure, I changed a few hygrostats that where noisy or did not function properly,(and where graciously changed and fast enough) but I had to meet a piano that suffered from constant humidification for 3 weeks during humid season to begin to be cautious. It could have been much worse. That last report of crack due to humidifier with dry pads or without pads was more often told to me.

Due to the cost of pianos, I suggest those accessories should be absolutely foolproof.

I believe that it is not so difficult to design and realize a circuitry in 2013.

My initial guess that they did not like oure 60Hz 220 V power.


Edited by Olek (10/03/13 06:44 AM)
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#2161077 - 10/03/13 06:31 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
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Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Keith, could you explain further, please?

Why is there a need for the system to be operational if the rH is within specs? Why not have a separate control loop...
... for the humidifier (e.g. "on" at 40%, "off" at 43% or even 46%)
... and the dehumidifier (e.g. "on" at 50%, "off" at 47% or even 44%) ?


Edited by Mark R. (10/03/13 06:36 AM)
Edit Reason: corrected a number
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#2161109 - 10/03/13 08:56 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: kpembrook]
Robert Scott Offline
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Registered: 12/19/03
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I agree with Mark and Olek. There is no reason in principle why a humidity control system, even one operating on minimal power, could not provide a dead band of several percent RH where neither humidification nor drying was taking place. This would slightly enlarge the excursions of RH because of the dead band. But it could potentially save power and water, requiring less refilling when ambient RH is high. However the main reason for the design is cost. The existing design uses a simple 2-position snap action humidity-sensitive switch that routes power to one heating element or the other. There is no electronic sensor for humidity. There is no relay. To implement a dead-band would require a substantially more expensive control unit, perhaps with a micro controller.
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#2161113 - 10/03/13 09:10 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
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Loc: France
Thank you Robert

I cannot believe 3 position sensors could not be found.

I seem to have a simple hygrostat for my deshumidifier (with a long horse hair in a tube) and the switching allows for a neutral zone, (seem to me) without any electronics.



I see no mention of maintenance for the hygrostat. My system need to be dusted, and calibrated from time to time.



Edited by Olek (10/03/13 09:24 AM)
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#2161425 - 10/03/13 09:24 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Gary Fowler Offline
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Craigslist is where people go to get a piano on the cheap. That's exactly what they get. But sometimes they get a piano that's not worth hauling to the dump.
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#2161435 - 10/03/13 09:42 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
FWIW, the dehumidifier bars on the Piano Lifesaver systems I've installed are cold to the touch when it's dry. If there's current, it's not enough to create heat.
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Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2161953 - 10/05/13 12:06 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Robert Scott]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Robert Scott
I agree with Mark and Olek. There is no reason in principle why a humidity control system, even one operating on minimal power, could not provide a dead band of several percent RH where neither humidification nor drying was taking place.


Yes.

That's what i do for a living - I'm a mechanical engineer whose interests are HVAC and control.

NOBODY designs a system without a deadband. I was shocked to hear the DC doesn't have one. Even the cheapest "honeywell round" thermostat for your furnace incorporates one to forestall short cycling.

It would be dirt cheap to incorporate this feature.
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gotta go practice

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#2162909 - 10/07/13 08:58 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
From another PW Tech thread and germane to the issue addressed herein:

If nothing else, consulting a qualified piano tech might have prevented this:

"The DIY Crown Saver" (Patent pending) wow (With apologies to M&H.)

Can it be undone? Most anything can. But at what cost?

(Thanks to Jim for posting and his customer for the pic. This one is worth much more than a thousand words.)

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

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#2162920 - 10/07/13 09:17 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Robert Scott]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Robert Scott
I agree with Mark and Olek. There is no reason in principle why a humidity control system, even one operating on minimal power, could not provide a dead band of several percent RH where neither humidification nor drying was taking place. This would slightly enlarge the excursions of RH because of the dead band. But it could potentially save power and water, requiring less refilling when ambient RH is high. However the main reason for the design is cost. The existing design uses a simple 2-position snap action humidity-sensitive switch that routes power to one heating element or the other. There is no electronic sensor for humidity. There is no relay. To implement a dead-band would require a substantially more expensive control unit, perhaps with a micro controller.


Thanks to everyone who commented on the DIY DC installation: Mark, Keith, Jim, Isaac, Robert, Tim, etc. Good questions are raised with respect to a "dead band." No doubt, DC has addressed this issue in the past? If not, a response from DC is invited. (In a DC-specific thread would be ideal.)
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Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2162930 - 10/07/13 09:43 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
I seem to recall they pretend the system cycles in permanence due to small variations during the day, and also due to the slowness of correction obtained (the efficiency would come from a warm air cycling and circulating, they may have think a little to find that argument, the subject being not easy to defend wink.

Actually, when properly installed - in not too extreme conditions- and when everything works, the moisture is "regulated" (stay within a acceptable range at 15% variance if memory serves.

Eventually this is just not much "politically correct" to have the system using power when unnecessary, but I could accept that.

My main concern now is the humidistat, if not working properly, can leave one of the sytems on permanently. seshumidifier or humidifier.

I believe that a dead band would avoid that, as the system have to switch above and under a certain level , I suppose (?) it may suppress the danger of having something on "by default".

Now an attentive and educated customer could keep the system under survey easily, noticing if something does not go as expected. But experience showed me they generally are not very attentive and some of them do not understand the moisture levels well, or have not an external hygrometer.

And in institutional environment, who cares ?

Jim of course the dehumidifier say cold when unnecessary , if everything is working correctly and even in absence of humidifier.

If something was plugged on the over outlet it would be on, during that time.

I did not install so many system, that is why I was chocked to have those fails. It is presented as fool proof, with documents signed from piano companies saying their benefit.

I did not even envisage they could stay blocked in one position.

I suspect that the DC company lives on a "situation rent".









Edited by Olek (10/07/13 09:56 AM)
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#2163217 - 10/07/13 11:35 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
The problem is that the average person thinks that their child's piano teacher is a piano expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2163426 - 10/08/13 11:52 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Gary Fowler]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1847
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
The problem is that the average person thinks that their child's piano teacher is a piano expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Often, students will look to their piano teacher for expertise in recommending a piano tuner. This expertise we welcome, especially when it's our telephone that rings. It's when piano teachers recommend a specific piano that we must walk a fine line. The challenge for techs is in learning how to work with the teacher when we believe he or she to be wrong. Further complicating matters is when a finders fee is on the line. This is not to say that we should acquiesce to a bad recommendation. Truth is always right. It's all about tact. Offend one piano teacher in word or deed and be prepared to lose her business as well as students, families, friends and neighbors. The piano-chain can be far lengthier than we think.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2163477 - 10/08/13 01:43 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
Sometimes the involvement of the piano teacher is quite innocuous. What often happens is that a teacher is asked to play "some pianos" to help with selection of a piano. A decent teacher can certainly express an opinion about touch and tone. That can be very helpful to parents who are non-players.
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2163831 - 10/09/13 08:41 AM 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
Sometimes the involvement of the piano teacher is quite innocuous. What often happens is that a teacher is asked to play "some pianos" to help with selection of a piano. A decent teacher can certainly express an opinion about touch and tone. That can be very helpful to parents who are non-players.


Thanks, Marty. Exactly. To the best of my recollection, all of my experiences with piano teachers in this regard were favorable. Some were just more challenging than others. It got really interesting when the piano student, parents, teacher and piano tech were joined by the various salespersons, dealers, siblings, best friend, et al. I think that's called a committee?
help
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2163837 - 10/09/13 09:01 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
It got really interesting when the piano student, parents, teacher and piano tech were joined by the various salespersons, dealers, siblings, best friend, et al.



Now that, I'd love to see. (from a safe distance!)
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2168081 - 10/18/13 11:34 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
"Experts"

When doing the recon on qualified professionals we will often encounter experts: the real, the perceived, and the self-proclaimed. Therefore, is it helpful to remember the following:

1. Experts deal with both facts and opinions.
2. Experts in some fields are much more reliable than experts in other fields.
3. Experts disagree enormously among themselves.
4. Experts in every field are very unreliable when they speculate about the future, or (under some circumstances) the past.
5. A surprisingly large number of experts have been caught deliberately deceiving the public.
6. Experts have very frequently been led astray when their emotions have become involved.
7. Experts have a regrettable tendency to exaggerate their own importance, and to persuade the public that they know more than they really do.
8. Non-specialists very often can - and do - make better decisions than experts, once the experts have stated the facts requiring a decision.

If you have any doubts about a professional recommendation, do not hesitate to get a second opinion.


Edited by bkw58 (10/18/13 12:02 PM)
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2169091 - 10/20/13 07:41 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
Well, I've just about run out of old stories to tell.
[Hold your applause smirk ]

If any other techs have something to share, please do so. Otherwise, I leave you with this link to the FAQ section of the PW Tech thread.

"Live long and shop wise."

How to find a good piano technician.


Addition to post #2168081 "Experts": The enumeration is attributed to Alan Hayward (M.Sc. [Eng.] Ph.D.)


Edited by bkw58 (10/21/13 07:29 AM)
Edit Reason: Attribution added to post #2168081
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2169206 - 10/21/13 12:20 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Mark R.]
kpembrook Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1341
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Keith, could you explain further, please?

Why is there a need for the system to be operational if the rH is within specs? Why not have a separate control loop...
... for the humidifier (e.g. "on" at 40%, "off" at 43% or even 46%)
... and the dehumidifier (e.g. "on" at 50%, "off" at 47% or even 44%) ?


Sorry, I missed this for a while.

Here's the thing. Dampp Chaser actually employs engineers and has had a continuous product development, testing and research effort for years.

I've heard the explanation from Damp Chaser people, but don't have it all in my head at the moment. But the main takeaway is that the continuous operation is deliberately selected for a purpose -- not a failure in design scope or a cheapened approach driven by the sharp-pencil folk in the office.

If I recall, the function of the humidistat is to sense the operation of the system, not to relate directly to the ambient humidity in the room. The system is so low power that it must function continuously in order to be effective -- even at small variations of room humidity from the ideal.

Additionally, the system works on a cycling percentage where even in high humidity situations, the humidifier might come on and in low humidity situations the heater bar may come on. It may be 90/10% or 40/60% but it does cycle. It does not at all work by just operating the humidifier until there is adequate moisture or operating the heater bar until things are dried out.

I'm afraid this is not a very complete explanation, but is the best I can do at the moment for an explanation that made sense when I heard it.

What I have been impressed with over the many years I have been installing the systems is that it DOES WORK. That data point should be seriously taken into consideration before suggesting "improvements".

Hope this helps . . .
_________________________
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2169300 - 10/21/13 08:07 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: kpembrook]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Keith, could you explain further, please?

Why is there a need for the system to be operational if the rH is within specs? Why not have a separate control loop...
... for the humidifier (e.g. "on" at 40%, "off" at 43% or even 46%)
... and the dehumidifier (e.g. "on" at 50%, "off" at 47% or even 44%) ?


. The system is so low power that it must function continuously in order to be effective -- even at small variations of room humidity from the ideal.


Sounds good in theory, but humidistats are notorious for indifferent accuracy even when new, and quickly go out of calibration. Can a system sense small variations from ideal?

Quote:
Additionally, the system works on a cycling percentage where even in high humidity situations, the humidifier might come on and in low humidity situations the heater bar may come on. It may be 90/10% or 40/60% but it does cycle. It does not at all work by just operating the humidifier until there is adequate moisture or operating the heater bar until things are dried out


It's just an on/off humidistat, there's no microprocessor. I'd have to see this one to believe it. (and if you did have that kind of intelligence built in, it could have a dead band in the middle)
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gotta go practice

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#2169383 - 10/21/13 10:34 AM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: kpembrook]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 525
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
[quote=Mark R.]
What I have been impressed with over the many years I have been installing the systems is that it DOES WORK. That data point should be seriously taken into consideration before suggesting "improvements".


I've been impressed as well. When you check a tuning after 12 months and there's been very little change in the tuning, it's a pretty good indiction the system is working. I've seen this time and time again, piano after piano.
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#2169479 - 10/21/13 12:29 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: Jbyron]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
[quote=Mark R.]
What I have been impressed with over the many years I have been installing the systems is that it DOES WORK. That data point should be seriously taken into consideration before suggesting "improvements".


When you check a tuning after 12 months and there's been very little change in the tuning, it's a pretty good indiction the system is working.


Devil's advocate here, and this is not a slam on the system itself, but it strikes me that this is not a data point in support.

If you checked it after 12 months, you checked it in the same season, with likely the same ambient temperature and humidity that you tuned it in. You don't really know if the system did anything.

If you checked it after 3, 6, and 9 months, that would be evidence.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2169695 - 10/21/13 06:32 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: TimR]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 525
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
[quote=Mark R.]
What I have been impressed with over the many years I have been installing the systems is that it DOES WORK. That data point should be seriously taken into consideration before suggesting "improvements".


When you check a tuning after 12 months and there's been very little change in the tuning, it's a pretty good indiction the system is working.


Devil's advocate here, and this is not a slam on the system itself, but it strikes me that this is not a data point in support.

If you checked it after 12 months, you checked it in the same season, with likely the same ambient temperature and humidity that you tuned it in. You don't really know if the system did anything.

If you checked it after 3, 6, and 9 months, that would be evidence.


If the soundboard moves a great deal during a twelve month period but the pitch happens to find its way back to where it was 12 months earlier, the unisons will be out of tune to show it.

I used '12 months' lightly. I've noticed stability after two, three, six months as well. The systems work amazingly well, as long as the piano isn't being blown on by an air conditioner or heat source of any kind.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2169698 - 10/21/13 06:39 PM Re: It pays to use a qualified professional. [Re: bkw58]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21916
Loc: Oakland
Trouble is, I have tuned pianos that do not move much in 6, 7, or 8 years, let alone months, and that is without humidity control.
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#2169826 - 10/22/13 12:20 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
Absolutely. Also some that does move because too much humidity (near a river) despite 3 rods system and undercover.

It helps indeed but in light/moderate correction situation.

It is stupid that it hardly can be regulated when used in a place always on humid side or the opposite.

The goal could vary, I know the humidistat location can change a little the way it works, but a little intelligence in the box would be a must.

The ingenious Ingineers should think about that...

Notice that there is the mystics about it. Never techs note how the ih varies and customers seem to be discrete too.

Should be less marketing and more straightforward data.


Edited by Olek (10/22/13 02:59 AM)
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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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