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Apprenticeship
#2244239 03/10/14 12:27 PM
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JoelW Offline OP
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I'm planning on asking for an apprenticeship with my local piano shop in the next couple of months. What are some good things to research beforehand?

Thanks

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Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244302 03/10/14 02:29 PM
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Good luck in your venture! I hope everything is a good fit for you.

Have you met the owner/rebuilder yet?

Be prepared to make a substantial investment in tools and some supplies. Your future mentor will most likely have recommendations along those lines.

When I was 16, my parents found a rebuilder for me to apprentice. He essentially gave me a job interview before he assented to taking me on.

Depending on how your mentor will run your apprenticeship, be prepared to do a lot of scut work before you get to tackle the meat & potatoes of piano rebuilding. And, someone has to keep the shop clean - YOU. wink



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244305 03/10/14 02:33 PM
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Definitely willing to keep the shop clean. wink

But are there any technical things that I should read about so that I'm not totally in the dark when I get there? I know the names of many parts, but not the functions. And I sort of have a grasp on how tuning works.

Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244319 03/10/14 02:48 PM
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JoelW, you could do a lot worse than to buy a copy of Arthur Reblitz's book, which is an excellent introduction to tuning, repair and rebuilding. It explains the functions of parts, and it has a very good introduction to tuning.

If you want to find out about other books, I have reviews of technical books on my website.

Last edited by David Boyce; 03/10/14 02:52 PM.
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244362 03/10/14 04:04 PM
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I will check it out, David. Thanks.

Does anyone have advice about tools? Specifically types of tools and brands, and where to buy them. Much appreciated!

Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244367 03/10/14 04:17 PM
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Mario Igrec's book is worth every penny. Just bought my copy 2 weeks ago and it's the most complete book that I have ever seen.


Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244409 03/10/14 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JoelW
[...] Does anyone have advice about tools? [...]


1) Sometimes, brand new tools need to be modified before they will work.

2) Metal is unforgiving.

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244414 03/10/14 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JoelW
I will check it out, David. Thanks.

Does anyone have advice about tools? Specifically types of tools and brands, and where to buy them. Much appreciated!


If you're working in a shop, my advice is to use your mentor's tools, and find out what tools you like and what tools you don't... you will often come across several versions of the same tool, and some work better than others.

I like Pianotek Supply Co., Pianoforte Supply, and Wessell Nickel & Gross. Sometimes Schaff. When you're ready to buy a tuning lever, I recommend the Levitan "Classic", available at Pianotek. I also strongly encourage you to buy Igrec's book, recommended above. This is the best one stop shop for information.

Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244451 03/10/14 08:25 PM
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Hi,

I decided to get started on my own so I might build up some basic skills and perhaps have a better chance of finding someone who would take me on and teach me things.

I bought the books mentioned.
I scrounged up some giveaway pianos.
I took Marks beginner tuning course.
I began sourcing some second hand tools.
I am now practicing.

However, the best advice I was given before all of this was to
- buy Reblitz or Pianos Inside Out and read it "cover to cover".

I bought both and began reading. This was challenging, interesting, and sounds obvious, but in the beginning I was just flicking through trying to pick out bits of useful information to learn.
then it dawned, yes, you should learn it ALL.

ben


Last edited by Spot; 03/10/14 09:09 PM.

Trainee tuner/technician
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244492 03/10/14 10:30 PM
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Quote
Mario Igrec's book is worth every penny. Just bought my copy 2 weeks ago and it's the most complete book that I have ever seen.


I totally agree Jean. I didn't mention it above, as i thought Reblitz might be better as a STARTING point, since it's much less expensive, and is at a more basic level.

But indeed yes, Pianos Inside Out is the best textbook there is. Up to date with all the latest thinking and materials, and pulling stuff together to a comprehensive degree that no other book approaches.

It is an even greater leap forward from what has gone before, than Reblitz was in the 70s.

You know what though? For anyone in the UK I would really recommend the Haynes Piano Manual. The only piano technical book in full colour, and with a greater focus on uprights, reflecting the UK market. And it's relatively inexpensive.

Last edited by David Boyce; 03/10/14 10:32 PM.
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244529 03/11/14 12:03 AM
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Having read Reblitz some 30 years ago, I cherish my copy. My mentor was not the reading type, but he had many books. Reblitz at the time being my favorite.

But Pianos inside out out takes the whole idea to a new level.

I bought my copy from Jurgen at pianoforte about 3 weeks ago. I then proceeded to replace a pin block in a Steinway grand. Something I have done many times before.

Just going thru the motions while reading the book, it was so cool. Plenty of practical approaches, tricks and logic.

I believe this pin block is the best I have ever done, and many that I have done are still being tuned today.

So.... buy the book.


Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244695 03/11/14 11:42 AM
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I read Reblitz and most of Igrec (tho skipped some sections on grands), and then read the Haynes Piano Manual and didn't think very much of it, not to mention the error in the names on the diagram in my copy that could be very confusing.


Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano yet but getting there.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244870 03/11/14 05:59 PM
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Tuneless, the errors in naming are indeed an unfortunate proofreading oversight on the part of John Bishop. Hopefully they can be corrected in any future print run.
The nature of the Haynes manuals has to be appreciated - they are aimed at a mass-market 'lay'. Economies of scale therefore allow for full colour reproduction throughout - the only piano technical book to have this. There is a weighting, I think, towards the UK, in the greater focus on uprights.

Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2244912 03/11/14 07:25 PM
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Joel,

Are you fascinated with the innards of a piano?

Will you bring love to the craft?

Forrest


PTG Associate Member
Haydn Hob. XVI: 23 in F major
Debussy Arabesque #1, Reverie
Bach BWV 874, 883
My beliefs are only that unless I can prove them.
Re: Apprenticeship
JoelW #2245168 03/12/14 03:13 AM
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Reblitz (2nd Ed.), as much as I like the book, also contains some errors, e.g. cross-referencing to a wrong diagram, and wrong wording in the grand regulation section. While I'd happily be proved wrong, I wouldn't be surprised if Igrec's Pianos Inside Out isn't completely error-free either.

Igrec's book is consistently recommended on this forum (at least by those who've parted with $80, which I can understand), but I keep wondering, especially for someone entering the craft, whether it gives four times the "bang" compared with Reblitz, seeing that it costs four times the "buck".


Autodidact interested in piano technology.
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
Re: Apprenticeship
David Boyce #2245198 03/12/14 06:40 AM
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IMHO, Reblitz is not the best for tuning. It is missing information like, how to hear beats, how to mute the piano, tuning using a skeleton or CM3's, understanding elastic deformation for stability, how check notes work, harmonic spectrum, how to tune the treble unisons melodically, how to use harmonics to tune the bass, the treble temperament, the P4 and P5 windows, the white anchor, the black anchor, using pair comparisons to make unisons better, philosophy of perfection, what to do when you can't tune a unison, etc.

I may be wrong about some of these things; it was a while ago when I read it cover to cover, but when I started teaching, I decided not to use it for the tuning course. The repair, however, is excellent.

I have not read Igrec's book so I can't comment.

One question though. You say you are thinking of asking this rebuilding shop to apprentice you. What makes you think they will say yes, or be good at it? Have they done this before? Do you know the owner? Have you talked about it to them yet? It would seem to be quite a let down if you worked yourself up to imagine this wonderful experience without any indication from them that they are even interested, and then they turn you away.

I would suggest to try and be realistic about your own abilities, concentrate on your strengths, and find and develop your passion.

There are many different ways to learn this skill and you can get information from many different sources. The more; the better.

Good luck.

Last edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT; 03/12/14 10:01 AM.
Re: Apprenticeship
Forrest Halford #2245757 03/13/14 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by woodog
Joel,

Are you fascinated with the innards of a piano?

Will you bring love to the craft?

Forrest

I'm fascinated with every aspect of the piano.

Re: Apprenticeship
Spot #2245774 03/13/14 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Spot
Hi,

I decided to get started on my own so I might build up some basic skills and perhaps have a better chance of finding someone who would take me on and teach me things.

I bought the books mentioned.
I scrounged up some giveaway pianos.
I took Marks beginner tuning course.
I began sourcing some second hand tools.
I am now practicing.

However, the best advice I was given before all of this was to
- buy Reblitz or Pianos Inside Out and read it "cover to cover".

I bought both and began reading. This was challenging, interesting, and sounds obvious, but in the beginning I was just flicking through trying to pick out bits of useful information to learn.
then it dawned, yes, you should learn it ALL.

ben



Sounds like you're off to a good start. Next is the very best and honest presentation of yourself for the apprenticeship; that is one of an eager learner/listener/doer, not a pontificator.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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