This is the normal servicing of the piano, normally done every six months. It is normal to tune the piano to what is called A440, or 'concert pitch'. However, there are occasions when it is not recommended that the piano be tuned to this, usually due to fragile strings, in which case, I can advise on what pitch to tune the piano to.
There are too many variables to say exactly how long a job will take, so when making an appointment, whilst it is not usually possible to state an exact time of arrival, I will generally be able to offer a ‘window’ not exceeding 2 hours. For example, for an afternoon appointment, I can say I will arrive sometime between 12-2pm. If owing to circumstances beyond my control, appointments over-run, I will call to confirm if a later time is convenient, or failing that, re-schedule for a future date.
As it is easy to lose track of time, I also offer a tuning reminder service to all clients who wish to have their pianos tuned on a regular basis. Once I know the interval between tunings that you require, be it every two months, or every two years, I can arrange for a reminder, either by phone, email or by post.
The Pianoforte Tuners' Association now offer an online reminder service. Simply enter the date and frequency of your tune, together with your e-mail address, and a reminder will be sent direct to your inbox.
Click the button to set up your e-mail reminder
ON SITE REPAIRS
As previously mentioned, a piano has around 5,000 parts in it, therefore there are an awful lot of things to go wrong! Assuming the piano is in basically reasonable order, virtually all repairs can be done 'in situe', anything from fixing a sticking note to fitting a complete set of dampers. However, it should be noted that there is normally a minimum call-out charge, therefore, in these cases, it is more cost-effective to combine minor faults with having the piano tuned.
There are some cases where the state of the piano is too bad to make on site repairs effective, in which case, the piano is taken away to the workshop. The most common defects that make this necessary are a) fragile strings, which means the piano requires re-stringing, and b) worn felts, and tight or loose pivot points (known as 'centres') which means the piano requires an action overhaul. In the case of the latter, quite often the piano action (the mechanical unit that holds all the hammers, levers, etc.), can be removed from the piano and taken away, without the need to transport the whole piano.
This is the fine adjustment of the action and keys that enables the piano to respond at it's optimum level. There are approximately ten adjustments on each note, and (usually) 88 notes on a piano-that means an awful lot of adjustments! The advantage of having a piano regularly tuned is that the adjustments can be checked each time, and the few that have gone out can be corrected at very little cost. If, however, the action is not serviced at all for some , to achieve any significant improvement, it will be necessary to go through the entire regulation sequence, which is many hours work.
Contrary to popular opinion, the touch of a piano can be altered. The 'weight of touch' is only partly due to the design of the piano; the other part is how the action and keys are set up and adjusted. It is quite possible to make the touch of a piano lighter or heavier, to suit the individual (within the limits of the piano; don't expect a 100 year old 'honky-tonk' to play like a modern-day Concert Grand, just because it's been regulated)!
Once again, it is a common mis-conception that the tone of a piano cannot be altered. The tone can be drastically altered by the toning (sometimes called 'voicing') of the hammers. Hammer felt has to be extremely hard in order to withstand being struck against the string, and as the hammer felt is wrapped very tightly round the hammer wood under extreme heat and pressure; this makes the nose of the hammer (the area which strikes the string) even harder. This will give the piano a very bright, hard tone. It can be softened by inserting needles around the hammer nose to reduce the hardness, and take off the harshness of the tone. Once again, to preserve the evenness of tone from one note to another, this needs to be done regularly, as the notes that get played most will tend to 'harden up' again.
Many people need to know the value of their piano for a number of reasons; either they wish to sell it, or for insurance purposes. Keeping in touch with the trade means that an accurate assessment of what your piano is worth can always be made, and, if required, put in writing.
Should you wish to upgrade your piano, I can usually find one from either a private seller or recommend a reputable dealer in the trade.
Should you wish to sell your piano,, I keep details of clients wishing to change their piano, so based on both parties requirements, my aim is to 'match' requirements to an available instrument. The fee for a resulting sale is a 10% commission
I hope this information has been useful; if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to call me.