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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
I have a few extra rules, I would like to stress that they relate only to one specific tuner who I used only once.

1. If you have daughters, make sure that you send them out to the cinema for the afternoon or failing that, lock them in a bedroom.

2. Check the room beforehand and be sure to remove any small, valuable items, especially those which might get accidentally into his tool-roll.

3. Lock or better empty your drinks cabinet.

4. When he has finished DO NOT under any circumstances whatever allow him to play
his version of Für Elise to demonstrate the brilliance of his tuning as it will ruin for ever your appreciation of Beethoven.


Hmmm... sounds like my tuner from childhood moved to France! wink

Just kidding... my childhood tuner, Gordon Blomgren, was very good to me. He always took time to alk to me, listen to a piece I was working on, or to show me something cool about my family's piano. In fact, he and Ralph Onesti were two people that fanned the spark of interest in pianos in me.

Gordon passed away a short time after he met my daughter for the first time. I miss him.



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The sonic disruption most troublesome is a ceiling fan. The rotation creates a sort of beat because of the doppler shifting of the piano tones off of the moving blade surfaces. This destroy ones ability to hear the correct beats from the piano. The same is true of someone walking back and forth in the general vicinity of the piano. Absolute silence is not required as most piano are loud when being tuned. Singing along to the notes being tuned is also a bad habit.

For a grand piano there must be enough room to slide the action out of the cavity without hitting furniture. Usually about three feet in front of the keyboard is needed-more on a concert grand. The treble end of the piano should have room for the tuner to stand at the side of the piano for tuning the highest notes-if your technician tunes left handed the bass side need this room.

I enjoy my clients-they are some of the most interesting people I have ever met. I have clients that I have been servicing their piano for nearly forty years. You do get to know each other!


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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
I have a few extra rules, I would like to stress that they relate only to one specific tuner who I used only once.

1. If you have daughters, make sure that you send them out to the cinema for the afternoon or failing that, lock them in a bedroom.

2. Check the room beforehand and be sure to remove any small, valuable items, especially those which might get accidentally into his tool-roll.

3. Lock or better empty your drinks cabinet.

4. When he has finished DO NOT under any circumstances whatever allow him to play
his version of Für Elise to demonstrate the brilliance of his tuning as it will ruin for ever your appreciation of Beethoven.



what about sons?


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wow, ed. I new you were smart but not a child prodigy!

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Personally I get a little frustrated when a customer appears to be checking the tuning because:

1. I spent a lot of time and effort getting the tuning right and I am sure I did not leave anything that a layperson would be able to hear. It's my job to leave it as well tuned as that piano can be.

2. very very few people, professionals included, know what a good tuning is or how to really check it

It turns out to be just a show and a stab in the dark (I think this octave is a little out, could you fix it...)

If you have to check each note to make sure your tuner did the unisons correctly, get a new tuner!

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Originally Posted by shinegamix
Originally Posted by Jean Claude
I have a few extra rules, I would like to stress that they relate only to one specific tuner who I used only once.

1. If you have daughters, make sure that you send them out to the cinema for the afternoon or failing that, lock them in a bedroom.


what about sons?


I have no information about this. Probably best to lock them up too, just to be on the safe side.

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Originally Posted by BoseEric
Personally I get a little frustrated when a customer appears to be checking the tuning because:

1. I spent a lot of time and effort getting the tuning right and I am sure I did not leave anything that a layperson would be able to hear. It's my job to leave it as well tuned as that piano can be.

2. very very few people, professionals included, know what a good tuning is or how to really check it

It turns out to be just a show and a stab in the dark (I think this octave is a little out, could you fix it...)

If you have to check each note to make sure your tuner did the unisons correctly, get a new tuner!

Hmmmm ... Maybe it is not such a good idea to treat a tuner with respect, courtesy, and manners since tuners don't seem to feel the need to return the consideration.

I would like to add that if you receive pompous attitude from your tuner, find another tuner.


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If you are a professional musician-I will also add-don't start telling them about all the new business you can send them-making it almost obvious you seek a discount. Especially when you mention how wealthy some of the clients you can refer are and that you should "really stick it to them" when you service their piano. Especially when the technician knows you have rotated through several of the local and imported techs over the years. It also really doesn't help when you bad mouth the techs who won't play ball with you. I know it is tough to make a living in music-I am trying to do the same!

Piano service is a business and a profession-so trust and respect are at the center of the relationship. The prices for piano services have not moved much in the last decade, compared to inflation. There is not much room for technicians paying commissions to pianists!


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So I guess this makes me curious...I am sure my high profile Steinway tech charges other people more than he charges me based on my piano and my own social status if you want to call it something. Is that how it works? smile


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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Piano*Dad,

Would it be considered rude to offer the red wine in a sippy cup? Would lobster be considered passé for our north woods tuner? How 'bout Châteauneuf-du-Pape flavored with maple syrup?

David, any thoughts?



Hey, the wine is for for ME while playing, not for the tuner! Can't imagine what a boozing tuner might do.

Hmmm. That might be an interesting experiment. See what a full glass of wine does to the tuning ... unless s(he) is using one of those digital thingies.

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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad

Hmmm. That might be an interesting experiment. See what a full glass of wine does to the tuning ... unless s(he) is using one of those digital thingies.


Interesting idea. I just poured a glass of Merlot into the piano. I can't say that I hear much improvement yet.

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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Hmmm. That might be an interesting experiment. See what a full glass of wine does to the tuning ... unless s(he) is using one of those digital thingies.

I've had the delightless experience of performing on a piano which was tuned using the VSOP IV temperament. Not at all pretty!


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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Hmmm. That might be an interesting experiment. See what a full glass of wine does to the tuning ... unless s(he) is using one of those digital thingies.

I've had the delightless experience of performing on a piano which was tuned using the VSOP IV temperament. Not at all pretty!


You should have shelled out a bit more and gone for one of the XO tunings, much mellower.

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Canadian West Coast:

Many tuners tell more and more frequently that due to a changing customer base many of them being treated like servants.

Questions of "how much do you charge" to be followed by "how long does it take"...

Some businesses busy selling crated pianos directly from warehouses to satisfy the mis-conception about a "new" piano held by much of their customer base, often discourage any type of extensive service other than most basic.

After all and as they say "only bad pianos need working on"

Yes, still some very appreciative customers especially in top quality piano group. But not always...

Marty's points are excellent and wonderful to discuss under normal circumstances.

Of course when things were still a bit more normal.

P.S. West Coast is a beautiful place and otherwise sheer heaven to live in..

Norbert grin

Last edited by Norbert; 07/09/13 02:36 PM.

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Many years ago the title of the thread, "Yikes, the tuner is coming," had a particular resonance for me. My teacher at the time recommended a tuner, but warned me I'd have to up with his political rants.

The guy was an excellent tuner. He was also a chain smoker and a proud, proselytizing member of the John Birch Society. He would tune for about ten minutes, then take a cigarette break during which he would give a detailed account of how the international communist conspiracy was behind whatever was in the news that day. It did no good to go to another part of the house; he'd follow me there to bend my ear. And leaving the house wasn't an option since I had to watch out for the ashes he dropped on the carpet. (This was in the 70s and early 80s, before it was socially acceptable to tell a smoker to go outside.) His tunings seemed to take hours.

Thank goodness I finally got a recommendation for someone else!


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1. If your house already smells of cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke, please don't make it any worse for the technician by smoking while he/she is there working on your piano.

2. Stop smoking, and have the house professionally cleaned at least 1 year before the technician arrives. smile


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Remove the clock with the chimes that resonate.

Even if he says he likes cats, jail them in another room. Especially the one that is prone to jumping on people's shoulders.

Be home and awake so you can answer the door at the appointed time.



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This thread reminded me I need to call my tech for 24 years again for a tuning. So far he as not returned my call, maybe he's on vacation. I hope he hasn't decided to retire, but he has been working on pianos for 45 years!

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Well, if you haven't called him for 24 years, who knows what might have happened to him … grin

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Someone forgot to add when arriving to tune a piano sitting on a stage to make sure the venue tests all the stage lighting while the tuner is sitting there. Bringing the stage temp up to 400 degrees is paramount when tuning a piano. For added special effects you can also turn on the wind and thunder machine.


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