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How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
#2834228 04/02/19 10:33 AM
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Many forum posts have to do with finding the right piano. I think finding the right technician is equally important if not more so. I was watching an old Liberace video and he was talking about his technician being an unsung hero. I want to give a shoutout to Nathan Cook here in Austin who recently got my piano back in great shape.

I've been playing piano now for over 40 years and dealt with lots of different technicians. My biggest frustration were with those who always seemed in a hurry to finish and leave even when I wasn't satisfied with the results. I was like "Look I have money. I will pay you for your time. Please take the time to get it tuned or adjusted to satisfy me." I realize not every piano owner has this attitude but I do and I told Nathan this in my very first conversation with him. He understands that my highest priority is excellence in the results. I frequently tell him he isn't charging enough because I understand and appreciate the value of his expertise.

Nathan recently completed the following work on my 1985 Steinway B: new keytops, action reconditioning, regulation, hammer shaping and voicing, damper work and many other things including adjusting the key weights to match the current state of the hammers. It's like I have a new Steinway!

It plays so smoothly that certain pieces that I was struggling with now seem within reach. But the tone! The words that Nathan likes to use is that he got it to "open up." Whatever you call it, it now sings. In some pieces I was having trouble achieving a good balance between the treble and the tenor. Now it's so much easier to voice key phrases. I'm just amazed. I knew what my piano was capable of, but I bought it used knowing that even though it wasn't there at the time, if I could find the right tech, he or she could achieve what I wanted. The other benefit of a well tuned and regulated piano is that I just want to practice all the time. Even scales sound and feel good.

None of this is meant to imply that there are not many other great technicians here in Austin. I'm just happy that I found Nathan and that he understands me and is able to keep my piano in top form.

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Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2834236 04/02/19 10:45 AM
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George,

Thank you for posting this. You clearly DO NOT have the Wal-Mart mentality that so many piano owners do. It is always a pleasure to work for and with a person such as yourself. I love seeing the reaction of people when they say: "I never knew it could sound like this...its never sounded this good before...thank you!"

I often liken this work to learning a language. MANY learn just enough to "get by". Some though, decide to master, and learn and practice every nuance of that language so that they are indistinguishable from a native speaker. Sounds like you got one of those. He really gets it...and so do you.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2834430 04/02/19 04:22 PM
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Thank you George for being apparently an owner who is will to pay for something to be done.


Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2834560 04/02/19 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by George Smith
Many forum posts have to do with finding the right piano. I think finding the right technician is equally important if not more so. I was watching an old Liberace video and he was talking about his technician being an unsung hero. I want to give a shoutout to Nathan Cook here in Austin who recently got my piano back in great shape.

I've been playing piano now for over 40 years and dealt with lots of different technicians. My biggest frustration were with those who always seemed in a hurry to finish and leave even when I wasn't satisfied with the results. I was like "Look I have money. I will pay you for your time. Please take the time to get it tuned or adjusted to satisfy me." I realize not every piano owner has this attitude but I do and I told Nathan this in my very first conversation with him. He understands that my highest priority is excellence in the results. I frequently tell him he isn't charging enough because I understand and appreciate the value of his expertise.

Nathan recently completed the following work on my 1985 Steinway B: new keytops, action reconditioning, regulation, hammer shaping and voicing, damper work and many other things including adjusting the key weights to match the current state of the hammers. It's like I have a new Steinway!

It plays so smoothly that certain pieces that I was struggling with now seem within reach. But the tone! The words that Nathan likes to use is that he got it to "open up." Whatever you call it, it now sings. In some pieces I was having trouble achieving a good balance between the treble and the tenor. Now it's so much easier to voice key phrases. I'm just amazed. I knew what my piano was capable of, but I bought it used knowing that even though it wasn't there at the time, if I could find the right tech, he or she could achieve what I wanted. The other benefit of a well tuned and regulated piano is that I just want to practice all the time. Even scales sound and feel good.

None of this is meant to imply that there are not many other great technicians here in Austin. I'm just happy that I found Nathan and that he understands me and is able to keep my piano in top form.

Nathan is great. I have four old uprights to maintain and Nathan has helped me a lot. He sold me a tuning hammer he longer uses, he is always available for advice where I can do a lot to the pianos as DYI. When I got in trouble with a neighbors spinet -- a type where getting the action back in is a nightmare -- he was very understanding and said he had been there himself. Gave me pointers where I was able to get my neighbor's piano going again!

Don


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2834699 04/03/19 07:53 AM
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Greetings, fellow Austinites. George, I'm glad you found a great tech! I finally found one I can trust over the weekend. I've actually had a devil of a time with techs here in Austin. Consider the following experiences:

  • I have a tuner whom I trust completely, but he is getting on up there in age and couldn't physically handle the tight pins on my concert grand and doesn't claim to be a full service tech
  • One tech proved dishonest, and I had get my lawyer involved (regarding a different grand piano several years ago)
  • Another tech left one of my pianos (an upright) sounding much worse than before he came (about two years ago - now I just tune the !@#$ thing myself)
  • Another tech flaked out on me, claimed family emergency, and then stopped returning my calls (this was two months ago)
  • Another tech I contacted only does service calls during very limited time windows, during which I am not available (fair enough, no hard feelings) but he kindly referred me to another tech... (last month)
  • ...T Jarrod Bonta, who finally restored my faith in piano technicians by doing a beautiful tuning and tweaking my concert grand's action so that she plays like butter (this past Sunday)


T did a marvelous job on Kuroneko, my Baldwin SD-10 concert grand. He spent about an hour fiddling with the action, mostly realigning hammers and doing some conservative voicing. That was money well spent! She now plays better than I ever thought she could. One of my students was amazed at the difference - this student thought Kuroneko was the ideal piano before, and was shocked at how much better she is after a bit of tweaking.

FWIW none of the above techs were Nathan Cook; I actually have a list of techs that I was working down, trying to find one who is competent, honest, and available. Cook probably would have been the next one I called if T had not worked out. If T is ever unavailable, I'll probably give Cook a call.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2834720 04/03/19 08:54 AM
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Can't argue with results! 👍

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2835073 04/04/19 02:37 AM
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I am so fortunate to have found my technician. Good tech, good tuner, absolute gentleman and the the nicest guy you will ever meet.

Worth his weight in gold.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
PhilipInChina #2835076 04/04/19 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
I am so fortunate to have found my technician. Good tech, good tuner, absolute gentleman and the the nicest guy you will ever meet.

Worth his weight in gold.


For me, that would be more than $4,000,000. How much do you pay him? smile


Semipro Tech
Re: How Sweet it is to Find a Great Piano Technician
George Smith #2835341 04/04/19 03:40 PM
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Whatever he asks, plus luncheon and produce from the garden and orchards.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"

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