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tuning prices varying according to brand?
#1320423 12/07/09 04:13 PM
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As a German, I was happily surprised that great tuners are available for a fair price in the U.S., generally a bit cheaper than what I was accustomed to in Germany. My German tuner who was quite good but didn't have a far-reaching reputation as a concert tuner, has been charging EUR 100 in the past two years. While that is still an acceptable price, I have found an outstanding tuner/technician in the U.S. that charges $100 and does splendid work, far superior to my German tuner in my view. Also, he tunes for professional pianists and services concert grands and has great experience in these areas. In general, I found technicians/tuners in the U.S. more creative and more responsive to player input. But that is only based on my narrow window of experience with only a handful of tuners/technicians in both countries. I don't want to suggest that this can serve as a generalization.

Anyway, while recently doing some research on German websites, I stumbled on a Pianohaus that, naturally, also offered tunings and service. They had the following two different price categories on their site:

a.) tuning of a Steinway piano and

b.) tuning of all other brands.

I don't remember the exact prices nor do I want to possibly malign a dealer that nobody on here knows anyway (me included). I just remember that tuning a Steinway commanded a surcharge of EUR 25 as opposed to tuning other brands. Is there some reason to this? I highly doubt that Steinways are harder to tune as they are high-quality pianos that usually satisfy technicians who work on them. Also, Steinways don't have more strings than other pianos. So, why the surcharge?
If I were the owner of a Steinway, I'd be wary to call these guys for a tuning.

Last edited by SeilerFan; 12/07/09 04:14 PM.
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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
SeilerFan #1320446 12/07/09 04:43 PM
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I've heard of technicians that don't like tuning Steinway uprights (and may charge extra for that), but never have seen an "upcharge" for Steinway grands just because of the name. Why not a Boesendorfer upcharge, too?


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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
terminaldegree #1320462 12/07/09 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
....Why not a Boesendorfer upcharge, too?

If I had one, I'd sort of expect it.
(Really!)

P.S. I recently paid to have one tuned for a recording (the one below). I think he did charge a bit extra but I wasn't sure if it was because it was a Bosendorfer or because he thought I was stupid. Either way worked for me. smile


Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
terminaldegree #1320472 12/07/09 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I've heard of technicians that don't like tuning Steinway uprights (and may charge extra for that), but never have seen an "upcharge" for Steinway grands just because of the name.....

But seriously folks..... smile

I can see it depending on how much work and expertise and care are required in the job, and I can imagine it might tend to be more for a "higher" brand -- because it sort of "matters" more, being a more valuable instrument. If that's the justification for higher prices, I think it's not necessarily unreasonable.

I can imagine that sometimes a "lower" brand might be more difficult to bring into tune or to repair, because it's of lower quality -- and then that piano might cost more.


Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320498 12/07/09 05:29 PM
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They may rationalize the upcharge in the assumed higher expectations of top tier piano owners and dispatch more experienced and more expensive tuners to these jobs.


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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320512 12/07/09 05:42 PM
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I've never heard of this for a Steinway, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear of a surcharge for Bluethner, Borgato, or any piano with more than 88keys.

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Marty Flinn #1320526 12/07/09 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Marty Flinn
They may rationalize the upcharge in the assumed higher expectations of top tier piano owners and dispatch more experienced and more expensive tuners to these jobs.


Well, then they must think that Steinway is the only top-tier piano. If I had a Bluethner or Fazioli, then I wouldn't have to pay the extra amount. Makes no sense to me.

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
SeilerFan #1320540 12/07/09 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SeilerFan
.....Well, then they must think that Steinway is the only top-tier piano. If I had a Bluethner or Fazioli, then I wouldn't have to pay the extra amount. Makes no sense to me.

Agreed.
But I wonder if they just don't see enough of those other pianos for them to be worth mentioning. I've seen thousands (literally thousands) of pianos in my lifetime and I've never come across a Fazioli except in a piano store, and never across a Bluethner at all anywhere.

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320555 12/07/09 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by SeilerFan
.....Well, then they must think that Steinway is the only top-tier piano. If I had a Bluethner or Fazioli, then I wouldn't have to pay the extra amount. Makes no sense to me.

Agreed.
But I wonder if they just don't see enough of those other pianos for them to be worth mentioning. I've seen thousands (literally thousands) of pianos in my lifetime and I've never come across a Fazioli except in a piano store, and never across a Bluethner at all anywhere.


MarkCannon,

Not that you have done anything wrong, but a requirement of posting on Piano World is that any "industry professional", past or present, identify themselves as such in their signature.

You appear to be a tuner, yet you do not mention that in your sig, and your profile indicates an different profession.

Are you an industry pro?


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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Steve Cohen #1320564 12/07/09 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
...You appear to be a tuner, yet you do not mention that in your sig, and your profile indicates an different profession.
Are you an industry pro?

I'm not.
Sorry if my posts made it seem that I was.

I'm aware that my opinions on various things (and how I argue them) might sometimes make it seem as though I'm in one camp or another, but I'm usually not. I just have opinions. smile
My posts on this thread have been purely from the standpoint of a customer, involving a wide range of different types of pianos over the years; plus perhaps as someone who understands that some kinds of things in any given field may require more work and/or expertise than others.

Very sorry for the wrong appearance.

P.S. As I've mentioned a few times (but not loudly), I'm a psychiatrist and serious amateur pianist and piano lover.

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Steve Cohen #1320567 12/07/09 07:20 PM
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P.S., btw, and for-what-it's-worth: I did used to know Larry Fine, but I assume that didn't necessarily need to be stated anywhere, and I mention it only as a curiosity.
In fact, I thought it would be "name dropping."

(And since it was 40 years ago, it probably is.) ha

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320600 12/07/09 08:27 PM
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Maybe it's the same reason an oil change on a Mercedes Benz is more expensive than on my Toyota yaris. It's the same process of dumping the old oil and adding the new oil but if I'm paying twice as much it stays in line with the prestige of owning a "superior" product. Seems like bs to me-especially considering that it's probably an easier and more straight forward job to tune a Steinway (or any high end piano) than it is to tune an old clunker.



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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320620 12/07/09 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
...You appear to be a tuner, yet you do not mention that in your sig, and your profile indicates an different profession.
Are you an industry pro?

I'm not.
Sorry if my posts made it seem that I was.

I'm aware that my opinions on various things (and how I argue them) might sometimes make it seem as though I'm in one camp or another, but I'm usually not. I just have opinions. smile
My posts on this thread have been purely from the standpoint of a customer, involving a wide range of different types of pianos over the years; plus perhaps as someone who understands that some kinds of things in any given field may require more work and/or expertise than others.

Very sorry for the wrong appearance.

P.S. As I've mentioned a few times (but not loudly), I'm a psychiatrist and serious amateur pianist and piano lover.


Thanks for clearing that up.



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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Steve Cohen #1320655 12/07/09 10:17 PM
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No problem. BTW my first post on this thread (i.e. the second reply) pretty much indicated that I'm not a tuner, but I felt your question meant others might have gotten the same wrong idea and so I figured I'd better give that full answer.

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
AJF #1320656 12/07/09 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by AJF
Maybe it's the same reason an oil change on a Mercedes Benz is more expensive than on my Toyota yaris. It's the same process of dumping the old oil and adding the new oil but if I'm paying twice as much it stays in line with the prestige of owning a "superior" product.

I thought of that analogy too.
Quote
Seems like bs to me-especially considering that it's probably an easier and more straight forward job to tune a Steinway (or any high end piano) than it is to tune an old clunker.

....and that as well. smile

Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320761 12/08/09 12:38 AM
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Most technicians that I know, do not charge more to tune one piano verses another but, we do charge additional if it is a concert tuning. So what if it has some extra notes?


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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Jerry Groot RPT #1320893 12/08/09 07:57 AM
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I find it odd that there would be a surcharge within the same service/shop.

Using the oil change analogy, if you go to a "quick" lube sort of place, you would expect the cost to be the same for a BMW as it would be for a Ford. If you go to a "high end" specialy shop, you would expect the prices to be higher, even for the Ford.

In just the last few days I have scheduled a tuning with an unfamiliar, though highly recommended, tuner. When I called to request a tuning, the first question was available dates. After that I asked about price and the tuner gave me a quote on her fee. It was only after those discussions did she ask about the piano. Though it is a S&S, the fee didn't change.


Marty in Minnesota
Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320898 12/08/09 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I've heard of technicians that don't like tuning Steinway uprights (and may charge extra for that), but never have seen an "upcharge" for Steinway grands just because of the name.....

But seriously folks..... smile

I can see it depending on how much work and expertise and care are required in the job, and I can imagine it might tend to be more for a "higher" brand -- because it sort of "matters" more, being a more valuable instrument. If that's the justification for higher prices, I think it's not necessarily unreasonable.

I can imagine that sometimes a "lower" brand might be more difficult to bring into tune or to repair, because it's of lower quality -- and then that piano might cost more.



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Simply stated.

And, True for everything, not just pianos.


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Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
Mark_C #1320899 12/08/09 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
I've seen thousands (literally thousands) of pianos in my lifetime and I've never come across a Fazioli except in a piano store, and never across a Bluethner at all anywhere.


Remember, this is in Germany. There are lots of German pianos around. Maybe the Italian Fazioli is a rarer sight, but quite a few people actually own Sauters, Schimmels and Seilers, Bluethners and Bechsteins...

Last edited by SeilerFan; 12/08/09 08:34 AM.
Re: tuning prices varying according to brand?
AJF #1320901 12/08/09 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AJF
Seems like bs to me-especially considering that it's probably an easier and more straight forward job to tune a Steinway (or any high end piano) than it is to tune an old clunker.


I thought about this as well. This was the only tuner that I've ever encountered that has this sort of staggered pricing.

If I were the owner of a Hamburg S&S D grand and I were to call that tuner and schedule a tuning, I'd argue with him about paying me as the owner some money for being granted the privilege of working on a world-class grand. grin

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