Monthly Archives: October 2016

Weekly Update 20/10/16

Over the last two weeks I’ve been called out to some high profile piano tuning jobs, including a last minute booking at the Cruicible Theater in Sheffield to fix a sustain pedal on a John Broadwood upright, as well as a fine tune to ensure it was ready for a theatre production of Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Such pianos tend to be tuned so regularly that they are approximately at concert pitch already, but the delivery between venues tends to knock them slightly out of tune requiring a piano tuning before every peformance.

Yesterday I was called out to a recording studio near Sheffield city centre to tune a Yamaha C7 grand piano for an advert by a dutch software company. This was a big step for me, and a great experience that taught me about working in that industry and working under pressure in such situations. Needless to say the piano sounded excellent (even before it was tuned), but after it was tuned you could hear the full clarity and resonance of its tone. Pianos of that quality tend to be so well-made that tuning them isn’t actually as difficult as tuning an older, worn-out piano, for reasons I’ve described in previous blog posts.

That week I had an interesting experience fixing up an Eavestaff mini piano in Doncaster, tuning it twice in one afternoon in order to get it into shape so that it stays in tune (this was necessary as the piano had not been tuned in over twenty years, so the strings slipped back out of tune during the initial tuning). In such situations I’m glad I have an electronic tuning device as this makes the first rough tuning so much quicker, giving me a bit more time to spend on the second, more rigorous fine tune. Eavestaff pianos are incredibly difficult to tune not because of how they sound, but because of where the tuning pins are – either behind the keys and above the action, or underneath the keybed behind the bottom panel, requiring the piano tuner to neal down in order to tune them. They actually tend to be fairly good pianos when they’re well-maintained, but they’re a nightmare for piano tuners!

At other points over the last two weeks I’ve had piano tuning jobs in the usual places in Sheffield – Sharrow, Crookes, Hillsborough Heeley, Woodseats, Sheffield city centre, Attercliffe, Tinsley and so on. Usual tuning and maintenance, repairs and regulation. Occasional jobs in Rotherham, Doncaster and Chesterfield are always appreciated, and I don’t mind travelling further (although when I’m piano tuning outside of Sheffield there’s a very tiny extra charge for travel costs). I’m still trying to reach out to new customers so that I can broaden my customer base. I’m currently in talk with piano company in Manchester who have a few jobs for me to do over on that side on of the pennines. Strangely enough most of my long journeys outside Sheffield have tended to be to the east, from I can tell they already have a large number of piano tuners in the area. That said, I’m always happy to get more bookings over that side of the country and don’t mind making a car journey and chances are I will be able to fit you in an some point in the immediate future.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield

Weekly Update 13/10/16

First update for the month of October. Last week was fairly uneventful with most piano tunings booked on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving much of the rest of the week free. On Monday the 3rd I had my second call out to Wortley, a village just south of Barnsley, to tune a mini grand piano that the customer had been given for free. When I got there I discovered it was badly out of tune (about 30 cents flat) but had a great tone, all the keys were playing nicely and the action was in good condition. I tuned the piano in about 90 minutes, leaving it in a state that such a piano deserves, sounding much brighter and more resonant (and more importantly, in tune!). I then drove back to Sheffield, through Barnsley and towards Grenoside, so I could tune two more pianos nearer to my home.

Tuesday had another tuning at the Cruicible Theater in Sheffield city centre for a theater production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Tuning pianos in concert venues is usually easier in a away, as they are of such high quality that the harmonics to which I tune the pianos can be clearly heard right away (I’ve found the same thing with grand pianos). Sometimes with older pianos I have to spend a while listening to an interval beating because the sound is noisy and muffled, which makes the job take a tiny bit longer, but it’s something I’m used to and don’t have any complaints about.

This week has been much more busy. Most of the jobs were usual piano tuning and general maintenance work around Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham, although I had an interesting journey to Firberck (a small village south east of Rotherham) yesterday, place I’d never been to before. I pride myself on always being punctual but unfortunately on this occasion my sat nav ran out of battery while in the car and wouldn’t charge back up, so I had to phone the customer for directions which made me slightly late for this piano tuning job. Sometimes when I have a piano tuning job in a remote village far out of Sheffield I may have to phone to ask for directions while I’m near your house (when the sat nav works this isn’t usually a problem).

Earlier today I had a difficult job in the Loxely area of Sheffield, replacing piano key tops. Many times when key tops come off, the customer will keep the plastic or ivory key tops so that they can be stuck back on at a later date. The customer in question had kept 3 of the key tops which I glued back on as soon as I got there, but I had to bring some of my own key tops to glue on the keys. Once of the good things about having some experience being a piano tuner (I’ve been piano tuning for 2 years professionally now) is that I’ve had a chance to accumulate many piano parts that can be used for pianos with damaged or broken parts (this depends on whether they are right for the piano, of course).

When I’m not working as a piano tuner I’m usually playing my guitar at home or praciticing with my band at D.C. Studios in Barnsley. Although bandmates come from Sheffield, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Barnsley and Doncaster, we decided Barnsley would be a good place to meet. We had rehearsals on Thursday the 6th and Monday the 10th of October in preparation for a few gigs we have coming up at the end of the month.

If you would like to book a piano tuning, then please get in touch with me via phone or email. There are lots of available slots in my diary to book piano tunings for next week and the week after, as most people tend to book me in sooner rather than later (booking a tuning weeks or months in advance is not a problem if you’d prefer that).

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.