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#2186653 - 11/22/13 02:07 AM Piano Tuning Discussion  
Joined: Oct 2013
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Florentin Offline
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Florentin  Offline
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Chicago
How often do you tune your studio piano? I know that it all depends on the instrument and the studio environment, but still, on average...

What is a fair price for someone that does it for you 3-4 times a year, and they are a certified tuner?

Anything else related to piano tuners and piano tuning in general would go here.

Thanks

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#2186686 - 11/22/13 03:58 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Around here $150 is fairly normal rate.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2186737 - 11/22/13 08:08 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I tune about 3 times per year. I'd probably do 4 if I stayed in FL over the summer. I think I pay roughly $120 total to get both pianos tuned (an upright and grand).

Something about your question implies that if you get your piano tuned more often you should get a different rate than if you do it once in a while. Now, of course, if you don't ever tune your piano, the first tuning may be more costly an you might have to do a series of them to actually get the piano to hold its tune. But as far as I know, having more frequent tunings than say once per year doesn't mean there should be a discount. Not sure if that's what you were getting at, but just thought I'd mention that.



private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2186800 - 11/22/13 10:48 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Florentin, there are some tuners who give a discount to piano teachers, either as a professional courtesy to a colleague or - more likely - in the hope of student referrals.
I've never asked for such a thing, but occasionally it has been offered to me.

But I don't think a tuner would offer you a discount simply because you had your piano tuned 3-4 times a year. My answer would be different if you were running a school, and you had several pianos needing regular tuning and maintenance. Then you might be in a position to negotiate a lower fee for a year of service.

As Morodiene and Musicpassion have shown, tuning rates different wildly. Sixty dollars is low, while $150 is pretty high. Prices, in my experience, have little correlation to quality, but are somewhat related to the cost of living in one's region.

#2186805 - 11/22/13 11:01 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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The principal certifier in N. America is the PTG (Piano Technicians Guild). If a tuner uses their logo in advertising and is a full member, you can trust his or her skill level, because the exams to be accepted are formidable. However, only a minority of piano tuner/technicians in either Canada or the US are registered members.

And many fine tuners simply *aren't* members of the PTG. Maybe they can't be bothered, or they don't like their colleagues in the local branch, or they resent the yearly dues, or whatever.

My advice: ask around to other musicians for some referrals.


#2186904 - 11/22/13 03:21 PM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Florentin Offline
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Florentin  Offline
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Chicago
what I was getting at with the discount mention, was that some tuners will offer you a little break on the price if you always use their services.

For our church piano (grand Samick) I used to pay $80. Then it went to $100, and now it is $120. It is the same tuner and we had him for at least 10 years. He is certified.

just wondering what people are paying for regular tuning

#2187137 - 11/23/13 01:54 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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Barb860 Offline
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$100 for a standard tuning here in NorCal, per piano, same price for a grand or an upright. I do get a discount because I call the same tuner every time (several times per year, at least 3) over the past 25 years. Tuner does give a discount for referrals and repeat business. I think his typical rate is $120 for a standard tuning, no pitch raise or other extras.


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#2187195 - 11/23/13 08:20 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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My tuner doesn't give a discount as far as I know, but h does do things for free, so I'm really happy with him. But even if he didn't, I'd keep him because he doest a quality job and I trust his abilities.

If I were you Florentin, I'd call around to get an idea of what the going rate is for your area. It's possible that your tech is raising rates to get within the norm for the area, but that would be good to know.


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#2187202 - 11/23/13 09:00 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Morodiene]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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If your studio has multiple pianos to tune, you should ask for a discount. After all, the tuning process takes from 90 to 120 min, but the tuner must add travel time and transportation costs to that. Also, there is equipment setup and tear down time involved. When he or she is tuning multiple instruments, those are not expenses on the 2nd or 3rd instrument being tuned.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2188170 - 11/25/13 05:36 PM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Florentin Offline
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Florentin  Offline
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Chicago
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
If your studio has multiple pianos to tune, you should ask for a discount. After all, the tuning process takes from 90 to 120 min, but the tuner must add travel time and transportation costs to that. Also, there is equipment setup and tear down time involved. When he or she is tuning multiple instruments, those are not expenses on the 2nd or 3rd instrument being tuned.


great point!
thanks

#2188193 - 11/25/13 06:13 PM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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CJ@Perfectlygrand Offline
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Johnson, VT
Morodiene~
Just so you know - as a former PTG Chapter president I can tell you that getting 2 pianos for $120 is more like a charge out of the mid-1990s. If this guy does a good job you should keep him for life (and maybe even a Christmas tip). In my local area the average charge is $120.

Charles Flaum, RPT
Perfectlygrand

#2195847 - 12/11/13 01:43 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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rysowers Offline
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Olympia, WA
I just finally noticed this thread and thought I would make a few comments since I associate with a number of piano teachers, some of whom have multiple pianos, and/or have them serviced multiple times per year.

From my perspective, part of the issue is coming up with a maintenance plan for the pianos. An important thing to keep in mind is this: Tuning is not good maintenance. Tuning is adjusting strings tensions, and often technicians do not include regulating, voicing, cleaning, or friction control as part of a tuning service.

We try to emphasize the difference between piano tuning and piano service to our clients, and I promote myself as a full-service technician.

With my teachers pianos I see a wide range of wear and tear. My best clients invest in humidity control systems for the instruments so that the tunings stay much closer to pitch from season to season. This also can help free up some of my time to maintain other aspects of the instrument.

Having a working relationship with a full service tech can really improve the quality of your instrument/s and also provide the best value.

Be careful when looking for a "discount". What the tech may hear is that you want him/her to spend less time on your instrument. The reality is that teachers pianos often need more attention than the average piano, so it doesn't really make sense to pay less to maintain it. Also, the best technicians are usually quite busy, and don't feel the need to promote themselves with discounts.

That being said, I have had certain situations where teachers with multiple pianos, who have them serviced 3-4 times per year, and have invested in humidity control, get a "by the hour fee" instead of a flat fee. These fees can sometimes be on par with the bulk discounts we give school districts and colleges.

Lastly, remember that maintaining the piano is a business expense, and should be factored into your cost of doing business. Teachers can easily justify a small piano maintenance fee in their contracts. With 25 students, if each student chips in $7 a quarter, your maintenance is covered. (assuming your tech charges $175 for a full service appointment. That may be high or low depending on your location)



Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#2195857 - 12/11/13 03:13 AM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: rysowers]  
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Originally Posted by rysowers
Tuning is not good maintenance. Tuning is adjusting strings tensions, and often technicians do not include regulating, voicing, cleaning, or friction control as part of a tuning service.

I THINK you are saying that tuning BY ITSELF is not good maintenance. smile

You might also stress that any piano, even it sounds as close to perfectly in tune as you can make it, will sound like it is already going out of tune a couple hours later if there is a large change in temperature and humidity due to unisons going out out and other weird things that happen in registers - and so on.


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#2196302 - 12/11/13 10:25 PM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: rysowers]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Olympia, Washington, USA
As Ryan points out, maintenance and tuning are two separate animals. When I take my car into a car wash, I don't expect maintenance, although I would appreciate it if they saw something needing work, and pointed it out to me.

If you do tuning once a year, there's a pretty good chance that there'll be minor maintenance to be done as well. A combo approach makes sense. If you're tuning every three months, perhaps the tech could notate any problem areas, and then an appointment set up for maintenance followed by a tuning.

I like the idea of a fee per hour! I'll have to ask about it.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2196306 - 12/11/13 10:31 PM Re: Piano Tuning Discussion [Re: Florentin]  
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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Ryan, I'm not a teacher but I am very fond of my piano (even though it's only a workhorse upright with a brash tone), so thank you for the idea to talk to my piano technician about maintenance in addition to tuning.


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