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$100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
#2859456 06/17/19 06:11 AM
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Something of the norm, these days eh?

If you don't work for a showroom, or the professional concert
circuit, or universities.

grin


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Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859529 06/17/19 11:07 AM
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You don't think there are $50 pianos in universities?

smile


Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859562 06/17/19 12:35 PM
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Our university tech tunes some of these Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace "free/$50/$100" pianos from time to time. As do showroom/dealer techs.

It's been my experience that these "$50 pianos" will need more than a basic tuning, 99% of the time. Pitch raises, broken hammers/strings, loose tuning pins, messed up dampers, sticking keys, sluggish actions, often multiple items from this list at once.

I don't enjoy working on these types of pianos (usually 40+ year old consoles and spinets of marginal initial quality), but I can almost universally guarantee that I'll be getting paid more than my basic tuning rate when I do accept these sorts of jobs.


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Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
terminaldegree #2859601 06/17/19 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
It's been my experience that these "$50 pianos" will need more than a basic tuning, 99% of the time. Pitch raises, broken hammers/strings, loose tuning pins, messed up dampers, sticking keys, sluggish actions, often multiple items from this list at once.



SSUSHHH.....don't tell anybody but that's where the money is found.....tuning is one thing but fixing it too.....now you are talking about my income....I sound like a shyster but in reality I am totally honest with customers before I begin by telling them what I "think" will happen when I take this or that off etc. so, $50 pianos usually are a challenge but it isn't long before you start making some sounds the customer likes and after that big smile comes on their face they open up their wallet......I wish it was that easy but it's something like that I find.


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Duaner #2859633 06/17/19 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Duaner
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
It's been my experience that these "$50 pianos" will need more than a basic tuning, 99% of the time. Pitch raises, broken hammers/strings, loose tuning pins, messed up dampers, sticking keys, sluggish actions, often multiple items from this list at once.



SSUSHHH.....don't tell anybody but that's where the money is found.....tuning is one thing but fixing it too.....now you are talking about my income....I sound like a shyster but in reality I am totally honest with customers before I begin by telling them what I "think" will happen when I take this or that off etc. so, $50 pianos usually are a challenge but it isn't long before you start making some sounds the customer likes and after that big smile comes on their face they open up their wallet......I wish it was that easy but it's something like that I find.


Isn’t that what being a good tech is? Making every piano the best it can be given the individual piano’s condition
Those who own $50 pianos still appreciate what can be done for them and for the piano they own

Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859644 06/17/19 04:05 PM
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Quote
Those who own $50 pianos still appreciate what can be done for them and for the piano they own


But they don't necessarily want to pay to have it done.....

Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859702 06/17/19 06:26 PM
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Quote
SSUSHHH.....don't tell anybody but that's where the money is found.....tuning is one thing but fixing it too.....now you are talking about my income....I sound like a shyster but in reality I am totally honest with customers before I begin by telling them what I "think" will happen when I take this or that off etc. so, $50 pianos usually are a challenge but it isn't long before you start making some sounds the customer likes and after that big smile comes on their face they open up their wallet......I wish it was that easy but it's something like that I find.


Yes, I was just telling someone the other day that I owe I lot to the spinet pianos in the world. If you learn how to tune & repair them a good living can be made. And many of them are actually sweet little pianos that have a wonderful purpose to fulfill. Training the next generation of pianists!


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859704 06/17/19 06:28 PM
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Quote
Isn’t that what being a good tech is? Making every piano the best it can be given the individual piano’s condition
Those who own $50 pianos still appreciate what can be done for them and for the piano they own


thumb


"That Tuning Guy"
Scott Kerns
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859726 06/17/19 07:44 PM
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Tuning spinets, especially poor-quality spinets, is what separates the real tuners from the rest of the crowd.


Semipro Tech
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
David Boyce #2859732 06/17/19 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Quote
Those who own $50 pianos still appreciate what can be done for them and for the piano they own


But they don't necessarily want to pay to have it done.....


Agreed, David, the reality is often a series proven helps applied that are secure for a period....kind of "good" bandaids more-or-less....as far as payment I compromise low all the time simply because I'm so interested in getting the chance to improve that piano. I get a sense of pride and joy after the fact.


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859832 06/18/19 02:49 AM
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Me too.

Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859868 06/18/19 06:02 AM
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"You don't think there are $50 pianos in universities?"

I'm sure there are some, but not at the universities I have been to. Mostly very good Steinways
in the classrooms, and even in the lowly practice rooms, there are often good Yamaha consoles
worth at least a few hundred.

But there is the psychology of someone who is too cheap to spend a few hundred on a piano, who
waits to get a cheap or free piano, only to spend $90-150 on the tuning, and even more for any
required repairs. As has been mentioned, someone who doesn't want to spend much on the
piano itself, certainly doesn't want to spend much on the tuning, repairs, and regulation.

However, cheap pianos, and sometimes even free pianos, can sometimes be made into
decent instruments. Part of this is due to the fact that the piano is not as popular of an
instrument as it once was, so the market is flooded with older instruments.

Perhaps tuning for a showroom has spoiled me. Those brand new grands and uprights
were a pleasure to tune, but the work was comparatively easy.

And that's certainly an interesting point of view: The Best pianos techs are the ones who make
the worst pianos sound good? Could be. It's certainly more of a challenge.

But don't tell that to the techs who are too snobby to work on spinets!

grin


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Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859883 06/18/19 07:02 AM
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I hope that anyone who believes people wait for a free to inexpensive piano rather than spend more do so out of ‘cheapness’ will find a way to vet their potential clients before they provide service. If you believe that, be sure to only have clients with good pianos and not take on the others.

I understand what it can be like that buying any musical instrument is a financial struggle. I’m no longer there, but I remember when I was and what it felt like.... and how I wanted to still maintain my cheap piano. Save for more? At the time, that would have been a laughable thought. You can have no idea what the struggles of someone else can be just by looking at them or where they live.

We have run off forum members here who were proud of their new spinet that cost $50, and were excited to learn to play. Then they read disparaging and disheartening comments about the piano they love and leave here. I hope the open negativity will stop.

We all should be pleased to have anyone trying to play, no matter on what instrument. I admire the techs here who view that doing the best they can for any client is the reason they work in the industry. Don’t feel that way? Fine. take on the work you find to be of value to you.

Enough of my rant.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2859940 06/18/19 09:49 AM
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I tried to talk a guy out of spending $200 to fix a $5 piano. He asked what kind of piano he could get for $200. That's something to consider! So I took the job and they ended up with a playable piano.

Another owner said he paid $80,000 for an old upright, but the house it came in was free. wink


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2860095 06/18/19 03:53 PM
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The smarter people are the ones who don't judge a piano based upon how much they
paid for it.

For example, the inspiration for this thread was a fella that spent $50 on an old Everett spinet,
which tuned up rather nicely, after gluing some pins. Definitely a decent instrument now.

And an even more extreme example: A friend of mine was given an excellent Steinway upright
for free. I have tuned it 3 times, adjusted some keydip, and done some minor regulation, and
now it's a great instrument!

grin


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Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
dogperson #2860258 06/19/19 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
We have run off forum members here who were proud of their new spinet that cost $50, and were excited to learn to play. Then they read disparaging and disheartening comments about the piano they love and leave here. I hope the open negativity will stop.

We all should be pleased to have anyone trying to play, no matter on what instrument.

thumb



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Musicdude #2860386 06/19/19 10:49 AM
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There was a Steinway F for free in Indianapolis recently. The case looked good, the keys were level and not badly chipped. I would have gone and got it if I had had room for a fourth piano in my house.

Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
BDB #2860796 06/20/19 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Tuning spinets, especially poor-quality spinets, is what separates the real tuners from the rest of the crowd.


I have to tune about a dozen 1098s each year. Is that enough penance to qualify for a “get out of jail free” card?


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
Retsacnal #2860812 06/20/19 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by dogperson
We have run off forum members here who were proud of their new spinet that cost $50, and were excited to learn to play. Then they read disparaging and disheartening comments about the piano they love and leave here. I hope the open negativity will stop.

We all should be pleased to have anyone trying to play, no matter on what instrument.

thumb




Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: $100 Tunings on $50 Pianos
terminaldegree #2860923 06/20/19 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by BDB
Tuning spinets, especially poor-quality spinets, is what separates the real tuners from the rest of the crowd.


I have to tune about a dozen 1098s each year. Is that enough penance to qualify for a “get out of jail free” card?


Yep! That'll do it. You are now a free man. (speaking unofficially, of course)


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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