- How often should I retune my piano? Every 6 - 12 months is a good rule of thumb....or when it starts sounding dissonant or 'ringy'. This of course depends on use and environment. My busiest time is around Xmas and final Trinity exams so please try to schedule tuning several weeks in advance.
- How long does tuning take? I budget additional time for a first visit since the temperament of the piano must be set up (each piano model is unique) and often cleaning or minor repairs are necessary. First visit - 2 - 2.5 hours - Regular maintenance - 1.5 hours average
- Can the sound and touch of my piano be improved? Usually the answer is yes - the sound (softness or brightness of tone) can be adjusted through 'voicing' of the hammers; the piano's touch (lightness or heaviness of the keys) can be changed by 'regulation' of the action parts. The time and cost of each procedure can be explained in more detail and depending on the value of the piano I can advise on the most economical methods of achieving improvement or making repairs to a severely worn or damaged instrument.
- How much is my piano worth? more than any other piece of furniture, pianos attract sentimental value which is sometimes difficult to reconcile when an old instrument is in poor condition. The age, make and condition all factor into value and I am happy to inspect a piano at no obligation or provide a written opinion on condition/value for a standard tuning fee. For a rule of thumb estimate you may consult the Piano World valuation guide, adding a small factor for transport to Cayman (noting that musical instruments are not dutiable).
I came to piano technology like many technicians through a love of making music on this instrument. For the average piano owner, the instrument may be a mysterious black box that with some applied skill makes pleasing sounds (or not as the case may be!). My relationship with the piano has always seemed very personal - sitting down with my new musical partner to play a piece or an improvisation is always an adventure, sometimes frustrating but other times beautiful and even magical. You may have carefully selected your piano or it may have been a practical decision given very little thought however regardless of its condition or monetary value, each instrument has its own characteristics. The challenge for a technician is optimizing the performance of that instrument to meet an owner’s expectations. Do you want a brighter/softer sound, quicker response, better control in pianissimo passages or more power in the bass register? Not everything is possible even with tuning, regulation, repair and adjustment of your piano! You may hope for performance the piano will never be able to deliver even at its best, so be realistic. Chances are though that unless you have had your piano properly serviced it could give you more than you are now getting. If you are happy with the instrument or it is just a tool to pound out music lessons I can tune or repair it at minimum cost.
BLUE WATER PRODUCTIONS LTD..
- Master Piano Technicians of America - I am active member and past editor of the MPT Journal. This organisation provides educational opportunities for member technicians and an active forum for ongoing discussion.
- Piano Technicians Guild - as well as serving a large international group of piano professionals, the PTG website has useful information for piano owners as well.
- Piano Price Point - an online newsletter full of interesting articles and links. Whether you are a piano owner or someone considering a new piano you will probably find something of interest here.
- Piano World Forums - a goldmine of information, opinion, and gossip about the world of pianos; the site also sells piano-related supplies.
- Piano Street - a UK based forum for pianists, educators, students and technicians.