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61 key piano #2843568
04/29/19 08:47 PM
04/29/19 08:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 49
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TimM_980 Offline OP
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I said it was a abomination and not to buy it. She bought it anyway. One string per note for 40 keys. Two strings per note for the other 21 keys. The sound was atrocious and was never tuned before. So many problems. Luckily she is treating the piano as a temporary alternative till she can get something better. I tuned it on Saturday and dreading her next call at any minute to retune it or make some repairs. She asked me if I could charge her half price since it was so small.

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Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843585
04/29/19 10:48 PM
04/29/19 10:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 236
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puremusic Offline
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I didn't know there was a space savers version of the acoustic piano like this. O.o


Roland FP-90 - Touchkeys - TEC BC - MIDI Expression
Kontakt - Arturia Piano V - Sonivox Eighty-Eight - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

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Re: 61 key piano [Re: puremusic] #2843589
04/29/19 10:56 PM
04/29/19 10:56 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,056
Michigan
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kpembrook Online content
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Yeah, there was a similar concert under the name of Melodigrand -- of later Aeolian lineage.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843590
04/29/19 11:04 PM
04/29/19 11:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,056
Michigan
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kpembrook Online content
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
I said it was a abomination and not to buy it. She bought it anyway. One string per note for 40 keys. Two strings per note for the other 21 keys. The sound was atrocious and was never tuned before. So many problems. Luckily she is treating the piano as a temporary alternative till she can get something better. I tuned it on Saturday and dreading her next call at any minute to retune it or make some repairs. She asked me if I could charge her half price since it was so small.


The way to clarify this kind of issue quickly is to inform the customer that this comes under your "extra charge" category for antique, square and generally-unorthodox instruments. If the customer has a fascination, they shouldn't impose the consequences of their choices and preferences on you the technician.

I'm known in my area as being willing to look at things other technicians won't touch. That emerges from my natural curiosity... as I said in another post, I'm still learning. But I'm not going to be an enabler for other people's weird choices, either.

The last time someone tried to pull the "fewer strings trick" on me was when I was still in college. I went out to a rural service call and found an old upright in unmaintained condition. After I got started, the lady asked me just to quit after tuning the middle area and she would pay me half price. I was so dumbfounded that I didn't know how to do anything other than just finish up pulling out the mute strip, collect my 1/2 fee and leave. It's funny now, but I really felt used at the time.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843594
04/29/19 11:26 PM
04/29/19 11:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 236
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puremusic Offline
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Lol about that middle tuning. The things people come up with..

Hmm.. I found a recording of a Melodigrand and actually.. it has an unexpectedly nice character to its sound.


Roland FP-90 - Touchkeys - TEC BC - MIDI Expression
Kontakt - Arturia Piano V - Sonivox Eighty-Eight - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

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Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843611
04/30/19 12:46 AM
04/30/19 12:46 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,659
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Decades ago someone gave me a cartoon where a woman is objecting to the price of a tuning and asks if the tuner could just do the white keys.

I tell people that my major expense is the cost of getting to the piano. But short keyboard pianos can be easier and quicker to tune. Except CP70s and CP60s.


Semipro Tech
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843622
04/30/19 01:23 AM
04/30/19 01:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,947
Bulgaria
PhilipInChina Offline
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By this logic a Bosendorfer Imperial should cost more. I suppose my Bluthner model 1 should cost more, too, due to the aliquots.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843692
04/30/19 08:09 AM
04/30/19 08:09 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,566
KZ, Uralsk
Maximillyan Offline
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Originally Posted by TimM_980
I said it was a abomination and not to buy it. She bought it anyway. One string per note for 40 keys. Two strings per note for the other 21 keys. The sound was atrocious and was never tuned before. So many problems. Luckily she is treating the piano as a temporary alternative till she can get something better. I tuned it on Saturday and dreading her next call at any minute to retune it or make some repairs. She asked me if I could charge her half price since it was so small.

[Linked Image]

Tim, what sound "cuterly piano" after your tuning? It's better now?

Re: 61 key piano [Re: PhilipInChina] #2843743
04/30/19 11:09 AM
04/30/19 11:09 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,659
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
By this logic a Bosendorfer Imperial should cost more. I suppose my Bluthner model 1 should cost more, too, due to the aliquots.


There are not that many extra strings in an Imperial, but the Bl├╝thners are a problem.


Semipro Tech
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843788
04/30/19 01:39 PM
04/30/19 01:39 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,900
Scotland
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David Boyce Offline
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Quote
After I got started, the lady asked me just to quit after tuning the middle area and she would pay me half price. I was so dumbfounded that I didn't know how to do anything other than just finish up pulling out the mute strip, collect my 1/2 fee and leave. It's funny now, but I really felt used at the time.


The nerve of some people! I can totally understand your being dumbfounded at the time, and not having a ready 'strategy'. I think if anything like that happened to me nowadays, I would immediately pack up and go, refusing any payment at all, on the grounds that I would not want my professional service to be associated in any way with a half-done job.

I've seen a few small pianos like that over the years, with the bichords.

Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843848
04/30/19 04:19 PM
04/30/19 04:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 167
Washington State
AWilley Offline

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Washington State
Honestly I do charge less for these "Tom Thumb" pianos because they're so quick and easy to tune. It takes less than half the time to tune one of these than a normal piano. 100 strings vs. 220 or whatever a normal piano has, and less than half the number of unisons as well. I typically take 1.5 hours for a normal appointment, but these tune up in about 30 minutes. You can't ignore the scheduling and driving time/expense, so half price is taking things too far, but even if they don't ask about a discount I'll still give one. *ducks and runs for cover* I charge less for harpsichords for the same reason.

Granted I usually run into the "Melodigrand" variety which is built more like a regular spinet with the ends chopped off than the toy piano you have pictured above.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843864
04/30/19 05:57 PM
04/30/19 05:57 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,900
Scotland
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David Boyce Offline
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I've always charged a bit less for those little pianos too, for the same reasons.

In Keith's scenario though, with the lady who only wanted the middle of her piano tuned, well, that's a different thing!

Re: 61 key piano [Re: David Boyce] #2843883
04/30/19 06:59 PM
04/30/19 06:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 498
Maine, USA
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Rick_Parks Offline
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Posts: 498
Maine, USA
Originally Posted by David Boyce
Quote
After I got started, the lady asked me just to quit after tuning the middle area and she would pay me half price. I was so dumbfounded that I didn't know how to do anything other than just finish up pulling out the mute strip, collect my 1/2 fee and leave. It's funny now, but I really felt used at the time.


The nerve of some people! I can totally understand your being dumbfounded at the time, and not having a ready 'strategy'....


How about a wealthy woman in DC area, with huge house, nice furniture and drapes saying to you (I was 21 years old)- would you consider coming back after your work hours and just tuning it for free? You could consider it your good deed for the day.

I was dumbfounded too-- told her I needed to think about that for a moment. Then told her that that would not be right, as it would be denying my employer his proper income for the job- that I would not think it a right thing to do to my employer.

Once in a blue-moon we'll get that client that can really surprise and try to throw us off guard.

EDIT: By the way, did tune "The Midget" once- can't remember who the maker of it was. Wasn't quite so small as the one in the OP. Turned out to be quite a surprise in its tone to me (quite nice all things considered). And it was faster to tune!... And, no, I did not change my charge smile

Last edited by Rick_Parks; 04/30/19 07:02 PM.

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Re: 61 key piano [Re: David Boyce] #2843906
04/30/19 08:36 PM
04/30/19 08:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 167
Washington State
AWilley Offline

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AWilley  Offline

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Washington State
Originally Posted by David Boyce
I've always charged a bit less for those little pianos too, for the same reasons.

In Keith's scenario though, with the lady who only wanted the middle of her piano tuned, well, that's a different thing!


Yes, indeed. It's hard to know what to say in the moment in those uncomfortable situations.

Every now and then I get a stark reminder of how much I (and piano technicians in general) undersell our own work. I recently had to pay for an HVAC technician to come replace a wire nut behind a thermostat in my house. (I would have done it myself but I was out of state.) His rate was $100 for the first 15 minutes and then $300/hr after that. Of course it took 45 minutes to diagnose the problem and load test it afterward, even though I had told him what the problem was before he arrived. I don't think I could feel right charging even half that hourly rate, although a $100 minimum for a service call isn't unreasonable.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843914
04/30/19 09:35 PM
04/30/19 09:35 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 789
Lincoln, NE
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That Guy Offline
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Lincoln, NE
I've tuned several of these mini pianos and charge my regular fee. They usually need a pitch correction anyway and are very unstable. I also usually put a CA treatment on them, so I think they're getting good value at my regular rate.


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: 61 key piano [Re: BDB] #2843919
04/30/19 09:56 PM
04/30/19 09:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,753
PA
daniokeeper Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
Decades ago someone gave me a cartoon where a woman is objecting to the price of a tuning and asks if the tuner could just do the white keys.

I tell people that my major expense is the cost of getting to the piano. But short keyboard pianos can be easier and quicker to tune. Except CP70s and CP60s.


I actually had this happen. A little girl was taking piano lessons and her father or grandfather told me, " Just tune the white keys. She doesn't know how to use the black ones yet."

I've also been told, "Just tune the middle. She doesn't play at the top yet."

Personally, I never minded tuning the small, 2-string unison pianos. One way to justify the full fee is to include some additional maintenance that really should be done anyhow, like a thorough cleaning of the interior of the piano.

You also don't know what you problems you might run into, like the piano needing a surprise pitch raise, or having missing or broken strings. You don't want to commit to a lower price and then find out you need to do even more work than usual. A customer that argues with you to lower the price will almost certainly argue with you to honor that price regardless of how much surprise additional work may be required.

Whether the piano has 2-string unisons or 3-string unisons, your expenses are still the same. The amount of time to drive there and back is the same.


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -Marcus Aurelius
Re: 61 key piano [Re: TimM_980] #2843953
05/01/19 01:21 AM
05/01/19 01:21 AM
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daniokeeper Offline
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Just to add a little more....

Some time ago, there was a discussion on this forum about just tuning and charging extra for additional work, vs doing a service call including tuning. After many years of the first approach, I decided to try the second. I raised my price a little and then provided a service call including tuning.

I benefitted. Most importantly, the customer benefitted. Before, when I would suggest small extra jobs that needed doing, like adjusting the lost motion, or voicing at the breaks, the customer would often defer the work, again and again. The work would never be done, leaving a lower quality result.

With service/tuning appointments, not only would the piano be tuned, but there would be incremental improvements made each time the piano was serviced.

If you explain that you do tuning plus service appointments, you are less likely to have a conflict over tuning fees. Just make sure to explain that a service call including tuning does not mean a free rebuilding job, bridge replacement, refinishing, etc. Materials also cost extra.

Last edited by daniokeeper; 05/01/19 01:22 AM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -Marcus Aurelius

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