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#638663 - 04/30/03 02:19 PM Piano technician survey
DellLaa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 2
Loc: Maryland
I'm currently conducting a case study on a sole proprietorship piano tuning business as the final study project towards attaining my MBA. I'm having trouble finding out how many piano technicians and actual piano manufacturers there are in the United States. I've been to www.ptg.org, but have reservations as to whether they count "everyone" in the profession. Does anyone know if there is a book or site that talks about the history of the profession itself??

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#638664 - 04/30/03 04:15 PM Re: Piano technician survey
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
I do not believe there is a book or site about the history of piano tuning, from a business perspective.

I believe the PTG holds about 1/2 the practicing technicians as members.

Also people drift in and out of the business. And there are a lot of incompetents practicing, whom more competent types would resent being put in the same category with. It is hard to say if such incompetent practitioners are "really" piano tuners or not.

Many tuners are underemployed. Others do it part time, possibly to supplement another small or part time income they have. Some take it up in retirement years to supplement SS. Some report their income, others insist on cash and don't report it. It is actually kind of hard to define who should rightly be called a professional tuner and who shouldn't. As it is, pretty much anyone who wants to can say they are a tuner.

Point is, you chose kind of a "fringe" line of work for your MBA. You may not be ale to dig up the clear details you seek.

As far as manufacturers go, you need to define your terms. What do you mean by "in the United States"? Does that mean the company must be owned American, with offices in the U.S., and build their pianos in the U.S.? What if they do nothing but import foreign made pianos but stick their own name on the piano? What if they make one model in the U.S. but another model is made-to-order by a Japanese company with the American company's name put on? What if they buy low-end Chinese pianos but make major modifications to them in the U.S. and re-brand them? All these things are done, and more. So I think you need to define just what you mean by "a piano manufacturer in the United States". There are only a few that are actually made here.


Rick Clark
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

#638665 - 04/30/03 04:44 PM Re: Piano technician survey
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
www.masterpianotechnicians.org is another site that has list of piano techs, some who are also members of PTG.
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa


#638666 - 05/01/03 02:55 PM Re: Piano technician survey
DellLaa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 2
Loc: Maryland
I appreciate your responses. I agree that the subject matter may be a bit broad, the trade is also a bit archaic, and the information I'm trying to extract can be difficult to locate. The intent of my paper is to study a sole proprietorship and compare it to others of like ilk. The number of existing tuners and manufactures is strictly for background information at this point. I have some study materials and could problem use a little probability math to get close on the number of tuners. Australia and the UK both had this type of information readily available. I had not looked at the manufacturer problem in that manner until you brought it up, Rick. Thanks, Iíll back up and regroup before proceeding there. Iíll check out the masters web site too, Brian, thatís the first Iíve heard of it.
Thanks again,

#638667 - 05/02/03 01:46 PM Re: Piano technician survey
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City

I will caution you against making the rudimentary mistake of thinking that just because an answer is not apparent or satisfactory on the Web, the answer cannot be found (I know you did not say this, but I am just warning you against that assumption).
As an experienced business and economic researcher, I am 100% confident that you will be able to find an answer to your question you will be able to use for your case study.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census both compile detailed occupational statistics. I'm not sure off the top of my head about the Census Bureau, but the BLS probably has a classification for musical instrument repairers and tuners. OK, so it is a broader classification than piano tuners/technicians, but it is a starting point. Their numbers tend to be very low because they don't seem to count everyone.
Also, the best source for information will probably come from an industry expert. You should call up the associations that you cited, and talk to someone about their numbers. He or she will be able to varify the accuracy of their numbers, while providing a ball park estimate for what the total should be. Oh, and the BLS and Census also have help numbers you can call to talk to people who work with their occupational statistics.

Good luck.

#638668 - 05/06/03 11:00 PM Re: Piano technician survey
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
You may be able to get some info from Larry Fine's Piano Book. The US Dept of Commerce has info on piano sales between 1988 and 1999. I also remember a report somewhere that had detailed market info. I believe it is out in the forum archives but I am not sure under what topic. Some time back some university students where doing a business project on the industry. If I find it I will post a reply.
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