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#2244239 - 03/10/14 12:27 PM Apprenticeship  
Joined: May 2012
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JoelW Offline
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JoelW  Offline
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USA
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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#2244302 - 03/10/14 02:29 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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OperaTenor Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
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
#2244305 - 03/10/14 02:33 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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JoelW Offline
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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.

#2244319 - 03/10/14 02:48 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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David Boyce Offline
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David Boyce  Offline
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Scotland
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.
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#2244362 - 03/10/14 04:04 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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JoelW Offline
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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!

#2244367 - 03/10/14 04:17 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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accordeur Offline
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Québec, Canada
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
#2244409 - 03/10/14 06:27 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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Rockford, IL
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.
#2244414 - 03/10/14 06:45 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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beethoven986 Offline
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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.

#2244451 - 03/10/14 08:25 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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Posts: 118
Spot Offline
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Australia
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
#2244492 - 03/10/14 10:30 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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David Boyce Offline
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David Boyce  Offline
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Scotland
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.
#2244529 - 03/11/14 12:03 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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accordeur Offline
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accordeur  Offline
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Québec, Canada
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
#2244695 - 03/11/14 11:42 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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Tuneless Offline
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AZ, USA
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.
#2244870 - 03/11/14 05:59 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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David Boyce Offline
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David Boyce  Offline
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Scotland
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.

#2244912 - 03/11/14 07:25 PM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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Forrest Halford Offline
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Bowling Green, KY
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
Bach BWV 874
My beliefs are only that unless I can prove them.
#2245168 - 03/12/14 03:13 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: JoelW]  
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Mark R. Offline
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Mark R.  Offline
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Pretoria, South Africa
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.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.
#2245198 - 03/12/14 06:40 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: David Boyce]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2245757 - 03/13/14 05:40 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: Forrest Halford]  
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JoelW Offline
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JoelW  Offline
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USA
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.

#2245774 - 03/13/14 07:35 AM Re: Apprenticeship [Re: Spot]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014
bkw58  Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
Conway, AR USA
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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