Category Archives: Piano Tuner Doncaster

Why so cheap? £45 for a Sheffield Piano Tuning is below the going rate

I know what you’re thinking. £45 for a piano tuning in Sheffield seems under-priced, so there must be hidden charges included. Well, the only time a ‘hidden’ charge might apply is if I were to turn up and find that the piano needs a pitch raise rather than a standard piano tuning to tune it to concert pitch – in those instances I charge £45 for the first tuning, and then £20 for a second two weeks after the first. That isn’t just me; every piano tuner will charge extra for a pitch raise (every piano tuner I’ve heard of at least), and most like to break it up into two visits two weeks apart to ensure the best result in terms of tuning stability.

For the £45 you get two hours of my labour – which includes a full piano tuning and any minor piano repairs that can be done within that time. This is usually enough to ensure a piano is fully functional/operational. It’s then up to the customer to decide if they’d like to spend more on extra action parts or on some of the finer points of piano regulation that might take it up a level in terms of its performance (not so much its sound – that will have been taken care of during the piano tuning).

I hope I’ve done my 10,000 hours of piano tuning and repairs by now. From what I’ve observed, a good tuning and a basic set up of the action will leave the majority of piano tuning customers very happy indeed. There are certain players (usually in possession of high-end pianos) who may desire something a little more extensive, such as voicing/toning the hammers to achieve a certain sound (typically a brighter or a warmer tone). Generally speaking, if someone has looked after their piano and had it tuned & serviced regularly, I’ll spend about an hour to an hour and a half on the piano tuning plus a little time making any adjustments to compensate for one or two worn action parts. If it’s an older piano and the action is showing more severe signs of wear, I’ll suggest replacing action parts if it’s cost effective to do so and if such a decision would greatly improve its playability and performance.

I’m glad that, even with rising living costs, I can continue to give people in the Sheffield area a good deal on piano tuning. It’s a business model that has worked quite well over the years, and helps me get a few new customers each week, plus my round of regulars. I work in other cities and towns, as mentioned across this website, but travel costs have to be taken into consideration on those trips (although my prices are still competitive even then). If a customer can book me in with a neighbour at the same time I’ll sometimes offer a discount as well, depending on the location.

  • Richard, Sheffield Piano Tuner.

Commission for piano sales

While I’m primarily a Sheffield piano tuner, I occasionally sell pianos (usually ones in the £500 – £1000 range – perfect for upgrades). I’m particularly drawn to ‘Chappell’ and ‘Challen’ pianos from the early to mid 20th century, as they tend to age significantly well and keep their tone. In an ideal world I would have a workshop set up to do repairs on both the action as well as more aesthetic improvements (polishing and refinishing pianos), but I live in a small flat without a garage so this isn’t practical at present.

Sometimes I receive an enquiry from someone who wishes to sell a piano, but would like to book a piano tuner beforehand. This is an excellent idea as it allows me to look over the action/mechanism and give it a worthy assessment. Minor TLC can be performed if the customer is pushed for time, and more extensive repairs can be done (my fee for repairs is £20 per hour).

If you would like me to use my contacts in the piano trade to speed up your sale, I charge a commission of 10-20% of the sale (depending on the value of the piano). I am often in contact with people who wish to upgrade their piano and have got in the habit of saving their details for when the perfect piano comes along.

The last time I did significant restoration work before selling a piano (i.e. not the usual repair work undertaken in a customer’s home) was when I still lived with my parents in 2012. They had the room for me to set up a mini workshop and on my time off I would take in free pianos found on Freecycle and restore them to the best of my ability. It was a great learning experience coinciding with my time studying piano tuning and repairs at college, away from Sheffield. I would recommend every aspiring piano tuner and tech to do this while learning their trade, nothing quite compares to throwing yourself in at the deep end this way. This was before I had gathered a sizeable set of tools, so jobs such as re-stringing were especially challenging, forcing me to think outside the box and use household items such as screwdrivers to make a neat coil. Once you have been a piano tuner for several years, you will become quicker at your job, partly through experience and partly due to the useful piano tools that are able to be purchased on the market today.

Piano Tuner Sheffield open for business during current lockdown

In short, you are legally allowed piano tuners and other tradespeople into your home during tier 4 and tier 5 lockdowns.

In terms of exposure to Covid-19, Piano tuning is a relatively low risk profession. What social interaction I have had since march has been at a safe distance. I have good common sense and have been washing my hands religiously (with alcohol-based sanitizer), both in the car and when I return to my Sheffield home. I will happily wear a face mask on request.

A few links to keep your mind at rest:

UkGov

Daily Express Article

The Times

 

Let’s support local piano tuners and tradespeople. But let’s do it while staying safe and obeying the lockdown rules.

How is the Sheffield piano tuner dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Many people are asking how the Sheffield piano tuner is coping with the pandemic and what his available hours are for piano tuning.

Business hours are back to how they were during the lockdown, but he is taking more precautions to avoid catching the virus and potentially spreading it to others (being particularly mindful of the elderly occupants at his  Sheffield residence). Here are a few steps he is undertaking to ensure everyone stays safe:

  1. Before the piano tuning , he will politely ask the customer to clean the keys (rub in vertical motions to prevent dirt getting down the sides) with an antibacterial wipe.
  2. He will take care to maintain social distancing during every visit.
  3. Bookings are arranged geographically, so that one day will be for Sheffield piano tuning, one for Leeds, one for Hull, etc (piano tuning in 2020 requires wide travel)
  4. For customers who are particularly anxious, masks are kept in the car to be worn on request.

These steps will be rigorously followed for the foreseeable future. He is very appreciative of anyone who books a piano tuning during this difficult and uncertain time. If anything changes this website and blog will be updated immediately.

A new post from my sister page Piano Tuner Leeds

Please view my other blog for a post advertising a new song we’ve just recorded:

Apostle – Reaper

Yes, I have a Piano Tuner Sheffield website and a Piano Tuner Leeds website. It’s difficult to keep on top of both websites sometimes, but as far as booking customers in both areas? So far, so good. There seems to be more work in West Yorkshire, particularly in Leeds and Harrogate where a lack of piano tuners (mainly due to older piano tuners retiring from the trade) has increased demand – so much so that I can group together Leeds piano tuning jobs with Sheffield piano tuning jobs. That’s always nice. Honestly, I quite enjoy the long drives between cities as well as seeing new localities after the piano tuning work. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like work.

The problem with Sheffield is that there are already several Sheffield Piano Tuners currently active so for a city of its size I have fewer clients than you’d expect. Down south there doesn’t seem to be many Chesterfield Piano Tuners, so I get several jobs a week in that area. Rotherham is also a popular area – perhaps I should call myself the Rotherham Piano Tuner instead!

More and more piano tuning work in Hull and Humberside recently, so a third piano tuning website might be on my list shortly!

Why has the Sheffield Piano Tuner been silent for so long?

For the last nine months the Sheffield Piano Tuner has been splitting his time evenly between Sheffield and West Yorkshire in the hopes of gaining more customers in towns such as Wakefield, Halifax, Bradford and Leeds. The hard work I’ve put into promoting my business in those towns has, unfortunately, caused me to neglect this website somewhat (aside from updating my availability page a few times per week), as at least two thirds of my piano tuning enquiries are from people who live far away from Sheffield. I’m still a Sheffield piano tuner though and will be forcing myself to update this website more so I can attract customers in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Chesterfield. There are many people in those towns as well who need a piano tuner – please pass my name on if you anyone; my number is 07542667040 and my email is richard@pianotunersheffield.co.uk.

 

For information about The Sheffield Piano Tuner’s new workshop check my sister website. The blog page on that website is updated much more regularly with diary entries.

A Happy 2019 from the Piano Tuner

Happy New Year from the piano tuner! After two piano-free days I’m glad to be tuning again in Sheffield, Rotherham, Chesterfield and Doncaster. January is usually a slow month for me, so if you’ve been putting off booking a tuning, please get in touch. If you’re thinking of putting it off further, here’s a message from an old Bentley piano:

If your piano requires any replacement parts, I’ll be placing an order with my suppliers (Fletcher & Newman) after the 7th of January when they’ve re-opened. I have a large collection of sundry parts for odd jobs which can be used during a piano tuning session, but if it needs a component of a specific size or shape, you may have to wait a week. I pride myself on my punctuality and organisational abilities, so I will make sure I have everything I need to fix your piano as soon as I possibly can.

Piano of the week: The Schimmel Vogel V115

Anyone searching for a wide-ranging instrument at an affordable price might take a look at this elegant 45″ studio piano, a remarkable feat of German engineering using traditionally old-fashioned methods of production (wasn’t it great when they built things to last?). I haven’t encountered a great number of them in my piano tuning work, but the few I have made an immediate and lasting impression on me – largely thanks to their hugely diverse tonal palette.

Here’s a snippet from a Pianist magazine article detailing the superior production of its spruce soundboard:

Anyone can work out that a ‘budget’ upright can’t be made exactly the same way as a concert grand, but differences are rarely spelled out. One important area is the soundboard, the heart of the piano’s tonal response. It’s not simply a matter of which material you use: there is also the question of how you put it together.

There are two fundamentally different methods of constructing the soundboard of a piano, says Simon Loat of Schimmel’s UK distributor, Forsyth Bros. ‘The mid-market tends to be where the two methodologies cross over and explains why two pianos of the same size can produce sounds which are totally different.’

For mass production where speed is of the essence, a flat soundboard is attached to ribs cut with a curved profile, immediately forming a crown once the two are joined. The traditional ‘German’ method, where high humidity straight ribs are joined with a low-humidity soundboard and the transfer of moisture results in the crown, takes around six months. It delivers a richer tonal character, but costs a lot more.

In order to produce the Vogel, a mid-market priced piano with an expensive traditional soundboard, Schimmel makes the soundboard assembly in its Braunschweig factory. It then ships the ‘strung backs’ (soundboard, wooden back frame and bracing and iron frame plus tensioned strings) to the Vogel assembly plant in Poland to take advantage of cheaper labour costs.

Halloween Availability [31-10-17]

For piano tuning and maintenance this week, I still have the following times available for bookings:

  • Wednesday 1st November @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday 1st November @ 7 PM
  • Wednesday 1st November @ 9 PM
  • Thursday 2nd November @ 12 PM
  • Thursday 2nd November @ 2 PM
  • Friday 3rd November @ 9 AM
  • Friday 3rd November @ 11 AM
  • Saturday 4th November @ 2 PM
  • Sunday 5th November @ 2 PM
  • Sunday 5th November @ 4 PM

Later dates are also available by arrangement.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

Piano Tuning In Sheffield and Scarborough this week

For anyone in South Yorkshire or Derbyshire in need of a piano tuner this week I am available at the following times:

  • Monday 15th of May @ 6 PM
  • Monday 15th of May @ 8 PM
  • Tuesday 16th of May @ 12 PM
  • Tuesday 16th of May @ 5 PM
  • Tuesday 16th of May @ 7 PM
  • Wednesday 17th of May @ 10 AM
  • Wednesday 17th of May @ 4 PM
  • Wednesday 17th of May @ 7 PM
  • Thursday 18th of May @ 7 PM
  • Friday 19th of May @ 10 AM

For customers in North Yorkshire, East Riding or Teesside, I will be in Whitby and Scarborough tuning pianos this weekend and have a few times still available in my diary to fill up:

  • Friday 19th of May @ 8 PM
  • Saturday 20th of May @ 10 AM
  • Saturday 20th of May @ 2 PM

Later dates are available on request.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.