Just a quick post about tuning old pianos after an experience tuning an Edwardian piano for a customer in Rotherham last week, where a wooden bracket holding a celeste rail in place broke in my hands, requiring an extra gluing job. I have to stress that the wood becomes extremely brittle in pianos as they reach old age (about 80+ years; if your piano is considerably younger than this you needn’t worry), when taking the piano action out things can break in my hands even if I’m being as careful as possible. This is not due to mishandling the piano; I am always as careful as possible when performing any repair or restoration work on a piano, especially old pianos. The best option is to have the minimum amount of repair work necessary for the piano to function, because if the action is in a fragile state, there’s a risk of parts breaking, and it is difficult to find replacement parts for extremely old pianos. You can have parts remade, but it usually ends up costing more than the price of a newer, better piano. If the damage is outside the action that is less of a problem, usually a strong wood adhesive can glue back anything that breaks.
I usually have to take the celeste rail out of the piano to be able to fit my tuning wedges in between the strings as I tune the piano, but if I can avoid that I will. A broken celeste rail can lead to the sustain and damper pedals not working properly.
I’ve just been reading the home page and About Me section on this website, and I realised haven’t changed this website since I begun piano tuning professionally in the summer of 2014. The embarrassing picture of me piano tuning in my Sheffield home will need to be changed – even though I was pretend tuning at home in Sheffield, I forgot to take the celeste rail out. Most people won’t notice, but other piano tuners won’t be too impressed! There’s nothing wrong with leaving the celeste rail in, but it makes it harder to tune the piano. I have also realised the wording on some of the explainations aren’t quite clear enough, although the information itself is accurate. I’ve started making tweaks, but I can’t make too many changes or else this piano tuning website will stop appearing in search engines, which is one of the main ways potential customers in search of a piano tuner find me, especially those from Sheffield.
A lot of work needs to be done on the F.A.Q. section as well, I can’t think of a lot of questions I’m regularly asked about piano tuning and repairs, but forgot to add. If you think this site is lacking in information, then don’t worry, it is in the process of being updated!
To any musos who are reading, I’m starting to upload videos of me improvising over backing tracks on guitar. Growing up I was more of a metal, blues, classical and classic rock guy, but over the last few years I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz (mainly light/smooth jazz and fusion artists such as Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane, and Jean-Luc Ponty) and incorporating some of that style into my playing. If you’re a pianist (you might even be a piano tuning customer of mine!) and would like a jam, as long as you’re in Sheffield or nearby, I’m usually free in the evenings!
I also play the piano and the drums just as much as guitar, but I’m not as proficient on those instruments (I’ve played guitar a lot longer; I started when I was 9).
On the piano tuning front, I was busy in December 2015 but it died down a bit around Christmas and New Year, as expected. If you would like to book a piano tuning now would be a very good time as I’ve got a lot of free spaces available in my diary, and I won’t be leaving Sheffield for the next month or two (as I’ve mentioned before, I often go to Robin Hood’s Bay on weekends and sometimes tune pianos in the Whitby and Scarborough area).