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#630795 - 01/17/09 04:04 PM A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
I must admit I have not read through the tuner / technician section of PW's forum. I also am sincere in hoping to not start any type of fights or arguments such as the unfortunate ones that are of a regular basis on the piano forum side.

Do you Techs that have been through the Theodor Steinway School ,at any level, feel that it supplied you with indespendable knowledge of techniques, tips, etc on rebuilding / voicing / regulating, specifically, Steinway piano's?

How did you feel about your knowledge level of Steinway prep / rebuilding before attending compared to after you went through the school?

What was your general feeling of the Steinway company, the techniques they tought and quality of the product they produce after going through the program?

I thank any who reply, greatly.
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#630796 - 01/17/09 04:41 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Hello Jonathan...
I have had the privilege of attending the classes in New York and am looking forward to sharpening my concert chops when I return in June.
Your questions are interesting and the answers you receive will depend a great deal on the experience each technician has/had when going in to the classes.
I trained at a prestigious school in England and had my own shop there before coming to the USA in 1998.
For me, it was a life changing experience to be in New York, talking and working with the folks who actually make some of the finest pianos ever created.
In my own arrogant way I felt very confident going in....and felt very humble coming out.
What I was taught there enabled me to create a business specializing in the tuning and prepping of the pianos made in that factory and I am very grateful.
Steinway and Sons rely on trained technicians out in the field and unfortunately the skills that are required are not always available in the volume that they would wish.....and we have all read some of the results of that fact in these pages.
The techniques they teach all come down from the traditions within the company and innovations emanating from Ron Coners and the concert department who are at the sharp end of things in New York.
I never failed to pick up valuable nuggets from the likes of John Patten, Eric Schandel and more recently, Kent Webb and David Kirkland....
I owe them big time...

Perhaps you are able to share with us how this information will be able to help you.

Best regards
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#630797 - 01/18/09 12:19 AM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
SuperTuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/07
Posts: 110
Loc: Manhattan, Montana
Bumping up the post. . .
_________________________
Elizabeth Heppler, R.P.T.
www.hepplerpiano.com

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#630798 - 01/18/09 01:15 AM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
Peter,
Thank you very much for your insight, time, and effort you put into your post.

To answer your question..

My family owns a Steinway dealership in the Tampa area and we take much pride in our business and in the fact that we represent such an amazing company as Steinway.

I found this forum about 2 weeks ago and at first I was very excited to find a place dedicated to providing like minded people the opportunity to discuss and express our love for the piano.

I have, however, been taken aback by the overwhelming dislike and very broad and singeing sentiment toward my beloved Steinway & Sons company.

I feel so inadequate in defending it's reputation against the majority of very active posters in the piano forum side. Because all I receive is its just "Steinway Marketing Jargon" when in reality there is a difference. I felt the same way as you when attending the William Steinway School for the retail end, It truly was a HUMBLING experience.

The only thing I find myself wanting to say is just visit the company, go on a tour, talk to the head officials..

Which Is why I asked the question I did to Techs that have visited and gone through Steinway training.

I suppose I'm at a loss of words and it's unfortunate because Steinway doesn't deserve the reputation that has developed on the piano forum side.

Anyway, regardless.. I really would love and be very thankful to all others who have experienced the Theodor Steinway School or have visited Oberlin for training, or any other experience they have had with the Steinway factory to answer the questions above.
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#630799 - 01/18/09 11:41 AM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4234
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
“I suppose I'm at a loss of words and it's unfortunate because Steinway doesn't deserve the reputation that has developed on the piano forum side.”

Hello Jonathan,

Welcome to the tech forum. It is unfortunate for you to discover so early in your membership, like I did, the ongoing and consistent problems that continue to permeate the main piano forum.

Many of the techs here just simply will not post there, and continue to show no interest in doing so, with good reason, one of the reasons is the one you just stated. Did that make any sense??….not enough coffee yet….

The other side of that statement would be the company itself. For many years this company has been at the top of the heap, so to speak, in the piano industry.

Just remember in order to be a leader, and remain a leader, you have to be able to withstand the shots from the minor leaguers……….. Any leader, or leading company, or group will tell you this. I know it is not much consolation, but unfortunately in our society this is true. Folks like to bash the leaders to try to bring them down to their level…

There will always be people that think that denigrating a leader in the industry such as Steinway, makes them look like their knowledge is superior, and they know something the rest of us don’t.

I find this forum much more a welcome place, where yes we argue, but mostly argue things of fact, or techniques, not pie-in-the-sky-ideas like who is better or worse than who. We tend to leave that pre-school mentality to the members of the main forum.

Oh and I have not had any chance to attend either place……maybe one day I might be fortunate enough…….

On another un-related note for Peter, who asked me last year about Eric Shandall. I heard from a colleague here Peter, that Eric has left New York, and now lives in Norway with his new partner, and freelances for Hamburg Steinway.

Cheers,

Dan Silverwood

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#630800 - 01/18/09 11:59 AM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Hi Dan
Good post....very well put....

I have been in touch with Eric and he seems to be thriving...the pictures he sent me of the area in which he lives are wonderful.

I believe he will be giving some classes in the UK sometime this year.

cheers
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#630801 - 01/18/09 12:59 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'll tell you a couple of "beef's that bother me about Steinway from a technicians stand point that has NOT attended that Steinway class mentioned.

1. I don't like dealing with the crap that we get FROM Steinway as if being any other tuner that has not gone through their program at the factory, including even being an RPT, we are still treated as a peon or something because we haven't taken Steinway's course. In Steinway's opinion, you have to be a "Steinway technician or you are a nobody" and they will not recommend you.

2. Many years ago, Steinway had problems with a lot of sound boards cracking. I've mentioned this before in another thread. At that time, their warranty was 10 years. I have no doubt, it cost them a lot of money over the years repairing sounding boards or replacing pianos.

After several years of this, the sounding board cracking problems remained. What did Steinway do? Dropped the warranty from 10 years to 5 years. Why? IMO, it was because 98 % of the cracks were developing after the 5 year warranty was over with. I felt that was a cop out. Instead of fixing the problem, they lowered the warranty. A good manufacturer, stands behind the warranty and solves manufacturing issues. They don't do away with it or cut it back on the warranty instead.

3. A good manufacturer, works with the technicians in the field. They don't argue with them.

4. As mentioned above, they are not always technician friendly. Steinway wants to use STEINWAY technicians over regular technicians which, is understandable TO A DEGREE knowing that so many technicians out there are not very good. However, no other manufacturer does this like Steinway does this.

I have open accounts with Yamaha and Kawai. Any problems or manufacturing defects gets resolved with no questions asked instead of arguments.

It isn't fair to other qualified technicians. That means, many times, if one of our clients buys a Steinway, Then, the dealership immediately, recommends their own Steinway recommended technician in that area, over one of us taking our client away from us.

If Steinway thinks for one minute, that when this happens to technicians in the field that we are going to recommend their product? They're full of it. Take away a customer of mine because of a stupid policy and I'll sell 20 Yamaha's or Kawai's before I recommend the sale of a single Steinway which will hurt them a lot more than it will hurt the technician.

Treat us as techs fairly, and we will do likewise.

Now, again, I realize that many technicians are not qualified but, come on, the Groot name is very well known in Michigan. I shouldn't have problems with Steinway over who should tune their customers piano... If it was my client, it should remain my client.

Oh, and one other thing? The "Preferred Steinway technician in my area" got called to a client of mine for a problem that HE couldn't fix. (This has happened several times now by the way) After 2 years of putting up with it, the customer finally called me back. I had the problem solved in less than 5 minutes... The action was not setting properly in the treble area. It was to far forward. Towards the pianist I mean. The cheek block screws were stripped out allowing the action to slide forward when the soft pedal was used missing the strike point. Consequently, there was very little sound in that area at all.

So, as I said, it's not that I hate the product, from a techs standpoint, I hate dealing with Steinway and some of their policies from a technicians stand point.

I'm not intentionally degrading Steinway's pianos here. I'm defying a long standing policy instead.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630802 - 01/18/09 02:02 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
Hey Jer....
Is there ANY chance that you would change your mind about any of the above if you had a chance to meet face to face, in the factory, with the guys that make the product....
Just a thought.
cheers....hope you're feeling better, I heard you were laid low for a while.
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#630803 - 01/18/09 03:14 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
One more thought...

"When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Not my original thought...stole it from someone....but it works for me.
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#630804 - 01/18/09 03:28 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
I can't speak for other dealerships, but we work with some techs that have not been to steinway for training. Obviously we have worked with them closely and know, personally, that they are qualified and would do a good job on pianos. For instance, our current belly man has never been to Steinway but he restores the belly area for our Steinway rebuilds. He has been doing this for many years and worked for our previous rebuilder who has been to the school and learned much from him about the specifics regarding Steinway products.

I do, after talking with many techs that have been to the factory for training, feel that that those who attend the school feel the same way peter does. It's an experience that is difficult to understand unless you visit the factory.

Again, I do not want to start a Steinway is the best fight, Thank you for your insight and experience Jerry.

I'm sure it is frustrating dealing with some of the policies set in your area but give some consideration to checking the factory schools out. I know in sales, which is my career, I am always trying to learn more about communication skills, product knowledge, etc to get continually better at what I do. Theres always more to learn \:\)

Please, anyone else who feels compelled to reply to the questions at the top please do..
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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#630805 - 01/18/09 04:23 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
It is no secret that Steinway has legendary arrogance in sale presentation and tech support. One can only review the decades of center pin bush felt issues and the "teflon" solution. I've spoken to more than one concert artist that loves the piano and hates the company and tech service. Yet S&S is the still the piano of choice on the concert stage.

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#630806 - 01/18/09 04:37 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Hi Peter and the rest of you,

Yes, I am feeling better. I was sick all of last week. Only tuned 2 on Friday. Was whipped afterward. Hoping for a full week this week again, thanks for asking... \:\)

Honestly, I will be the first to admit, that I do NOT know all there is to know about pianos, voicing etc... It's impossible to know it all and those that claim that they do are wrong. I probably forget, more than I remember! :-) Just because I am an RPT doesn't mean I know more than anyone else does.

There is always, something better, someone with more knowledge, a better way to do something, quicker ways, better tools and more knowledge to acquire.

Heck no! I don't care for an argument either. That defeats the purpose. A good discussion on anything is better and gets much further with an open mind.

I was just venting a bit on the policy... I don't dislike servicing Steinway's at all. Some uprights maybe! ;\) Some of those have rather jumpy tuning pins and creeping strings..

I'm sure anyone would be humbled to attend many classes at the convention (I expect it myself) or The Little Red School House classes or classes at Steinway.

Actually, I would love to tour Steinway and take their class. I'm sure it would be a fabulous learning experience. Especially in voicing. I've not been able to attend many seminars lately due to personal reasons but, I am hoping this changes in the future.

I suppose, if I attended that class, their policy would change then huh?

What does it cost Peter? Could my son attend as well? He's a true, REAL beginner... Or would they prefer people that are full time tuners instead?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630807 - 01/18/09 04:56 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
one questions.. do the numbers 1098 cause nightmares and anxiety atttacks???

=)
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

Top
#630808 - 01/18/09 06:21 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Interestingly, over in the Piano Forum, some folks seem to think a 20 year old 1098 is an amazing piano worth at least $12,000, if not closer to $20,000. After all, it comes complete with that magical "Steinway sound".

Wow. That is quite a contrast to what technicians seem to think. My opinion - if it didn't say Steinway on it, it could very easily be mistaken for a lower end Baldwin.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#630809 - 01/18/09 06:29 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
dschwoyer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 135
Loc: Williamstown,NJ
Is there a preference when it comes to factory training,such as an ex-number of years of experience in piano service?
_________________________
David Schwoyer
Dave's Piano service
Piano Technician

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#630810 - 01/18/09 06:52 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3896
I found the first Steinway class to be well worth taking. A different member from production or management ate lunch with us every day, where we expressed comments or concerns. I got the feeling they were listening to us. Eric is a fine technician and a good teacher. We learned the basics, but I learned more when I applied the training at an All Steinway University. Steinways are so sensitive, that small adjustments are easily felt and heard, and it's experience that allows techs work quickly, and thus make money. The wrong move on a Steinway costs time and money very quickly.

I have a love hate relationship with Steinways....I love it when they work well, and I hate it when they don't! As I get more and more experience with them, it becomes easier to make them work well!
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#630811 - 01/18/09 07:46 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
 Quote:
Originally posted by Supply:
Interestingly, over in the Piano Forum, some folks seem to think a 20 year old 1098 is an amazing piano worth at least $12,000, if not closer to $20,000. After all, it comes complete with that magical "Steinway sound".

Wow. That is quite a contrast to what technicians seem to think. My opinion - if it didn't say Steinway on it, it could very easily be mistaken for a lower end Baldwin. [/b]
Wow your experience on the piano forum side has been far different than mine. Anything with the name Steinway, Boston or Essex on the Fallboard comes with much disdain, dislike and anger.

I think the 1098 is a good piano, far from Steinway's best scale, but I have heard from many that they are nightmares to work on or even tune.

But back to the original questions if anyone else has anything else to offer. \:\)
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

Top
#630812 - 01/19/09 05:05 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
Any other experiences from the Steinway Factory?
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

Top
#630813 - 01/22/09 07:48 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
vince mrykalo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/23/04
Posts: 52
Loc: Utah
I attended the first S&S factory class in 1993 and finished up with the last one ten years later. I found that going through them helped a great deal particularly in understanding S&S damper regulation proceedures and getting acceptable results in voicing their hammers.

All in all, a very satisfying experience. Of course there were the little extras like spending time in the factory and enjoying some NY cuisine.
_________________________
Vince Mrykalo RPT MPT
Piano Technician University of Utah

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#630814 - 01/22/09 07:50 PM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
vince mrykalo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/23/04
Posts: 52
Loc: Utah
I attended the first S&S factory class in 1993 and finished up with the last one ten years later. I found that going through them helped a great deal particularly in understanding S&S damper regulation proceedures and getting acceptable results in voicing their hammers.

All in all, a very satisfying experience. Of course there were the little extras like spending time in the factory and enjoying some NY cuisine.
_________________________
Vince Mrykalo RPT MPT
Piano Technician University of Utah

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#630815 - 01/23/09 10:59 AM Re: A question for our most indispensable piano technicians
Diaphragmatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 422
Yes, I agree.. the wonderful NY cuisine is great. When I attended the William Steinway school, retail end, I looked forward to a great meal every night.
_________________________
Musically Yours,
Jonathan Hunt

Sales Professional:
Steinway, Boston, Essex, Kohler & Campbell

The Music Gallery
Clearwater, Fl.

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