Category Archives: Piano repairs

Piano Tuning Bookings This Week [Sheffield & Scarborough]

For my available times for piano tuning bookings, see the bullet point lists below. The first one is for South Yorkshire customers and the second for piano tuning in North Yorkshire (as far south as Bridlington) and Teesside (as far north as Middlesborough). I update this blog with my weekly availability every Monday and later dates are always available on request!

For customers in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire (Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, Chesterfield, etc), I am free at the following times:

  • Monday the 1st of May @ 6 PM
  • Monday the 1st of May @ 8 PM
  • Tuesday the 2nd @ 10 AM
  • Tuesday the 2nd @ 5 PM
  • Tuesday the 2nd @ 7 PM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 10 AM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 12 PM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 4 PM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 6 PM
  • Wednesday the 3rd @ 8 PM
  • Thursday the 4th @ 10 AM
  • Thursday the 4th @ 12 PM
  • Thursday the 4th @ 7 PM

For North Yorkshire & Teesside Customers (Whitby, Scarborough, Ravenscar, Guisborough, Pickering, Bridlington, Brotton, Ruswick Bay, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Redcar, Thornaby, Stokesly, Middlesbrough, etc) I am available at the following times this week:

  • Friday the 5th of May @ 7 PM
  • Saturday the 6th @ 1 PM
  • Saturday the 6th @ 4 PM
  • Saturday the 6th @ 7 PM
  • Sunday the 7th @ 10 AM
  • Sunday the 7th @ 2 PM
  • Sunday the 7th @ 4 PM
  • Sunday the 7th @ 6 PM
  • Sunday the 7th @ 8 PM

Availability This Week (27-03-17)

I still have plenty of available slots in my diary for piano tuning & repair jobs later this week. I can’t manage any bookings tomorrow (Tuesday the 28th) as I’m spending the whole day tuning a selection of pianos at a secondary school in Totley, Sheffield. However, I’m still looking for new (or old) customers for later in the week, and have the following times free:

  • Wednesday the 29th @ 4 PM
  • Wednesday the 29 @ 6 PM
  • Thursday the 30th @ 2 PM
  • Thursday the 30th @ 4 PM
  • Thursday the 30th @ 6 PM
  • Friday the 31st @ 10 AM
  • Friday the 31st @ 12 PM
  • Friday the 31st @ 2 PM
  • Saturday the 1st of April @ 2 PM
  • Sunday the 2nd of April @ 12 PM
  • Sunday the 2nd of April @ 4 PM

If anyone in North Yorkshire (especially Whitby, Scarborough and nearby areas) or Teesside is reading this wondering when I’ll next be tuning pianos in your area, I will be making two mid-week visits on the 4th of April and the 11th of April respectively, for piano tuning and repair work. If you contact me via phone (0754 266 7040) or by email (Richard@pianotunersheffield.co.uk) I will be happy to book you in at a time best suited to you.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

 

Availability this week [20-02-17]

If anyone is looking to book a piano tuner this week, I have a few slots available in my diary for both customer bases (South Yorkshire in the week and North Yorkshire on the weekend). I have some piano tuning and repair work at a local Church in Sheffield on Friday morning, after which I will set off on the 2 hour drive to Robin Hood’s Bay for a weekend of piano tuning in Whitby, Scarborough and beyond. I will be back in Sheffield on Sunday evening and am available to book a piano tuning later on in the day. My availability this week is as follows:

Sheffield (Includes South Yorkshire & Derbyshire: Rotherham, Chesterfield, Edale, Hathersage, Bakewell, Barnsley, Doncaster, Worksop, Retford, Holmfirth, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Glossop, etc):

  • Tuesday 21st @ 10 AM
  • Tuesday 21st @ 5 PM
  • Tuesday 21st @ 7 PM
  • Wednesday 22nd @ 12 PM
  • Thursday 23rd @ 12 PM
  • Thursday 23rd @ 2 PM
  • Thursday 23rd @ 6 PM
  • Sunday 26th @ 7 PM

Whitby & the District of Scarborough (Includes North Yorkshire & Teesside: Ravenscar, Robin Hood’s Bay, Guisborough, Pickering, Brotton, Ruswick Bay, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Staithes, Redcar, Thornaby, Stokesly, Middlesbrough, etc):

  • Friday 24th @ 6 PM
  • Saturday 25th @ 2 PM
  • Saturday 25th @ 5 PM
  • Sunday 26th @ 10 AM
  • Sunday 26th @ 12 PM
  • Sunday 26th @ 2 PM

Later dates are available by arrangement.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

New page added for North Yorkshire customers

I have created a new page on this website – pianotunersheffield.co.uk/piano-tuning-in-scarborough – specifically for piano tuning customers in Whitby and the district of Scarborough. I have also created a Facebook page to relocate interested parties to this website (where information on my piano tuning/repair/maintenance services and availability is more thorough). I am not planning to relocate there permanently, but I do make regular trips (at least once every fortnight) to tune for piano owners in North Yorkshire and Teesside. For those living in the region I will next be in your area on the following days:

  • Friday 24th of February
  • Saturday 25th of February
  • Sunday 26th of February

Please contact me for any queries. I am happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your piano!

Richard – Piano Tuner Sheffield.

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: 17/09/16

I’m glad it’s September – I’ve had more and more piano tuning work booked in, which, after how slow July and August were (they always are, as it’s a time when people are away on their holidays). I’ve had at least one new enquiry a day this week, a huge increase from the Summer.

Of the many jobs I had booked this week, I will tell you about some of the more interesting ones:

On Tuesday I had a slightly more high profile piano tuning than usual; a tuning for wedding in Wortley, at the eponymous Wortley Hall, located just south of Barnsley. A large stately home which is now used for weddings, which contained a grand piano which had henceforth been displayed for show rather than for playing. A customer had wanted the piano tuning for her wedding, and since the venue hadn’t been receiving regular visists from a piano tuner, she called me. Since I had a piano tuning job in Barnsley later that day, fitting another piano tuning job in Wortley that morning was perfect. The worst thing about the piano I noticed upon immediate inspection was that the keys were filthy with brown muck and horribly sticky as if a child had spilt juice over them during a wedding ceremony (which wouldn’t surpise me). A had some cleaning equipment with me so I cleaned the keys with a lightly damp cloth and a special cleaning solution I carry with me. While tuning I had three customers take down my details (one assumes piano tuners are hard to come by in that area), which was a pleasant surprise! Presumably they liked what they heard!

On Wednesday morning I had a piano tuning at a school on the other side of Sheffield, near Attercliffe. Unfortunately I was booked in during both assembly and a PE lesson ( these mistakes sometimes happen from time to time), so trying to tune a piano in a hall full of screaming kids proved quite difficult. Luckily I had some repair jobs I had to do first (glueing a plastic hammer flange back in place, replacing three or four center pins and replacing some worn out bridle tapes), so I could get on with that those tasks while the kids took assembly, and then got most of the tuning done while the kids were out of the hall.

I got the job done in time to get to my next job, which was in a suburb in Sheffield near to Silverdale school (Millhouses I think), to assess a piano given to the customer for free by a friend. This customer had kept the piano in the garage which she wasn’t sure was worth keeping, as it had been given to her for free by a friend, and she wanted to start playing again as she hadn’t played much since childhood. It was true that the piano was very old (another overdamper) and not in the best condition, but I agreed to see what I could do in terms of fixing three of the notes which weren’t working, which I managed to do within twenty minutes or so. I then did an extremely rough tuning on the piano, doing the whole thing as fast as I could, finishing it in half an hour. This was just to give her an idea of what it would sound like if it was in tune and to prepare it for a proper piano tuning later on once it had been moved into the house. Obviously it stil sounded rough after tuning in that amount of time – I don’t believe any piano tuner can tune a piano in under an hour and have it sounding as excellent as it should do (on average it takes me around 90 minutes to perform a proper piano tuning).

Friday morning I tuned an old piano on the other side of Sheffield, past Woodseats and near Grave’s Park and Bishop’s House. The customer had kept his piano in the conservatory for a few years (always a bad idea, but thankfully he had moved it into the corner of his Kitchen, away from radiators and the hot stoves). Before the piano tuning I had to perform some customary repair jobs (applying teflon powder to the key bushings; lubricating the jack and hammer flange center pins with Protek CLP; gluing sticker cloth and damper felts back on to the action), which took about half an hour in total but which were necessary in order to fix keys which weren’t working and to restore the piano into its proper condition. Then came the tuning which took a good 90 minutes but completely transformed the sound of piano from something you’d hear in an old western film to something resembling a musical instrument (a very nice sounding one at that, in all seriousness). It is always satisfying to restore a piano which is in such an awful state as the customer usually seems ecstatic at how much better the piano sounds/plays afterwards and is more appreciative of the hard work put in to improve it.

On Friday afternoon I had a lovely drive to Bradwell, a village in Derbyshire that I’d driven through in the past but had never been there for work. Hopefully more people in that area will call me when they need a piano tuner, I certainly enjoyed the drive from Sheffield into Derbyshire, through Bamford, past Castleton… a much more pleasant drive than the usual ones across the city. During my life as a piano tuner I’d driven that way for work in Castleton, Hathersage and Glossop, but never in such nice weather. The piano tuning job was an enjoyable one. The piano was a straight-strung overdamper which the customer had an inherited from an elderly relative, and judging by the design I’d have put the piano as at least 80 years old, although it had clearly been kept in reasonable condition by its previous owner and had had some restoration done on it in the not so distant past. In terms of repair work, there wasn’t a lot for me to do. The piano tuning took about 90 minutes to tune and, again, the improvement in its overall sound was noticable after the tuning. Unfortunately I couldn’t bring the piano up to concern pitch due it’s age and how flat it was (70 cents flat of A440), but I got a good tuning out of it by tuning the piano to middle C.

I had other jobs that week but they were usual run of the mill tuning in customers homes and not very interesting to write about. If you’d like to book a piano tuning please get a touch, there are still plenty of available times in my diary for this next upcoming week.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

Weekly Update 26/07/16

Another busy couple of weeks, the most notable occurance being a job at the Cruicible Theater in Sheffield city centre, tuning and repairing a lovely modern upright piano last Saturday morning. With the usual problems of sticking keys (easily remedied with application of teflon powder to the key bushings) and horrible summer humidity causing the piano to go slightly flat of concert pitch, I was glad to get the piano tuned and in working order within 90 minutes, ready for the show starting at 12 PM.

Weekends tend to be busiest time for me, with more people at home on that day and looking to book a piano tuner. I’m fully booked this Saturday (30/07/16), but Sunday evening is still available to those who would like to book a piano tuning. In regard to booking a piano tuning at the last minute, this isn’t a problem for me. If you would like to book a piano tuning but would prefer it to be either on the day or the day after, please don’t hesitate to contact me as there’s a good chance I will be able to fit you in. If you live outside of Sheffield, you will have to bear in mind that the added travel time might make it more difficult for me to fit you in to my schedule, but this isn’t always the case (especially if you live relatively close: in towns such as Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster or Chesterfield).

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

Weekly Update: 26th of of May

The last two weeks have been busier than usual. Aside from the usual piano tuning jobs scattered across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and other parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire, I’ve had six seperate bookings at the Lyceum and Cruicible Theaters to tune their pianos for rehearsals and for the premire of the play Flowers For Mrs Harris (a musical based on the novel by Paul Gallico). Yesterday evening I caught the bus into town to tune the grand piano in between performances. If anyone has seen the play on its current run, I hope the piano sounded lovely.

On Tuesday I purchased a whole new set of tools for replacing the centre pins (a job I’m required to perform for a Sheffield customer next week). Centre pins are the pins found inside the hammer flange that allows the hammer to move when a key is hit. The bushings holding the pins can become too loose or two tight, which can be remedied by adjusting the action parts (which is usually ill-advised as too much alteration will create an uneven touch across the piano – as a quick fix, however, minor adjustments can be made to the capstan screw, the let-off button or the back checks). In my two years of piano tuning professionally I have thus far been able to get by without replacing centre pins. I think this is mainly because in Sheffield (and the north of England generally) the cold and damp climate tends to swell the flange bushings (and the key bushings for that matter) making them grip the pin too firmly – when this is occurs, I apply some protek lubrication which loosens the grip (this has worked every time so far). In hotter climates the reverse is true: the dryness causes the bushings to loosen their grip. The good news is that I’m at the stage now where I’ve got all the tools I need for piano tuning and for the vast majority of repair and regulation work required on the job.

 

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

Tuning and restoring old pianos (over 80 years old)

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.

 

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

Re-stringing

If your piano breaks a string while I’m tuning it I will have to make a second visit to re-string it. Leaving a string off can cause uneven wear to the hammer felt causing more regulating work in the long run, so the best course of action is  to put another string on the piano as soon as possible. This is just something that happens from time to time (it’s not the fault of the piano tuner!), every piano will break a string or two in its lifetime. Luckily re-stringing is a fairly quick and simple job. At the end of a piano tuning session I will measure the string with a micrometre so I can gauge the correct size (piano strings come in different sizes unfortunatley). I will ask to make another visit in a few weeks time (I will have to order a new piano string and wait for the delivery) and on that visit I will charge you the price I paid for the new string.
Pianos aren’t re-strung all at once in the way string instruments usually are. Piano strings are much thicker and strung at a higher tension. A piano tuner/technician may decide to re-string the copper bass strings if they begin to rust and lose tonal quality, but as a rule, piano strings are only replaced individually when necessary.

 

[Sorry for the rushed post, I’ve just finished my morning piano tuning in Sheffield and I’m about to leave for a weekend of piano tuning in Scarborough. I might go into this in more detail in a future post, but I think most customers get the gist of the re-stringing process from this post.]

 

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.