I have been reading much talk online about the benefits of A442 (European pitch – the standard Orchestras tune to on continental Europe in the present day) verses A440 ( concert pitch in the UK and the USA since the early twentieth century). The difference between the two is seven cents, which is so minute that the majority of people would not be able to hear the different in weight and timbre between the two (although they certainly would be able to hear that a piano tuned to A442 is out of tune with other instruments at A440 if played together). There are some musicians who genuinely prefer the added brightness that A442 can bring to a piano and on rare occasion I might opt for A442 if this is a quality that the customer is searching for. The other reason I might choose A442 is if the piano is already sharp or has been tuned that way by a previous piano tuner, I might in the interest of tuning stability, choose to tune the piano at A442 again. It’s not something I would like to do and I’d always discuss it with the customer before the tuning – my attitude as a piano tuner is that since equal temperament and A440 have been the default for nearly all modern music since the early twentieth century, one shouldn’t deviate from that without good reason.
Sometimes a piano that has not been tuned in many years with require a bit of extra work to make sure it settles at concert pitch (A440). While a standard piano tuning is £50 for Sheffield customers and takes sixty to ninety minutes to complete, a pitch raise is £70 and usually takes two hours or more. The reason a pitch raise costs a little extra is because the piano is tuned twice – once slightly sharp so that when the wrest pins and the strings relax they flatten so that each note is roughly in tune. After that, the Sheffield piano tuner will perform a fine tuning to make sure the equal temperament, unisons and overall stability is at an extremely high standard. Due to the increased tension put on the piano, it must be tuned again fairly quickly (the Sheffield piano tuner recommends another tuning in three to six months, which will greatly aid the pianos stability). Pianos that have been tuned every six months eventually become so stable that each piano tuning is a ‘touch up’ rather than a full tuning.
Once the piano has been tuned, you will hear the Sheffield piano tuner playing a piece of music for a minute to test how well the piano plays on a musical level. After all, piano tuning and repairs are mechanical tasks, but having a piano that plays brilliantly is always the end goal.
Don’t forget to have your piano tuned this Summer. While you have some time off work and the kids are out of School, it might be the perfect time to devote some extra time to your hobbies. The Sheffield piano tuner is always open for business. Please remember, if your piano has not been tuned in a few years, it might need more work – £50 to £70 is the price of piano tuning depending on how sharp or flat its pitch is. For the best results your piano should be tuned twice a year, ensuring optimal stability and performance.
- Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.
I’m not trying to be cynical, but I do wonder how long I can keep my “introductory offer” open. With rising living costs it’s getting quite difficult for the piano tuners of Yorkshire who are reluctant to charge more (one of the main reasons I became a piano tuner was to give people a good deal and a good service). My information and pricing on this website is up-to-date, but don’t be shocked if I have to put my prices up later in the year.
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.
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has booked me in recent months. I’m extremely happy with the workflow since the restrictions were lifted – business has improved exponentially. After a seriously rough 2020-21 it’s very nice/pleasing to see people becoming more confident about having tradespeople into their homes. There’s an obvious build up of people who have postponed booking the piano tuner throughout these difficult times – it’s even more noticeable in a big city like Sheffield.
My rates remain extremely competitive for those in Sheffield and nearby areas who need a new piano tuner. Taking into account the price of fuel, it’s always a delight to have a day of piano tuning where all the jobs are close to home. Part and parcel of the trade is travel and which I see as par for the course – 90% of the time a long drive is taken as an opportunity to catch up on my music listening (after a long day of concentrating on overtones and pitch, I enjoy listening to music all the more). On my ‘Sheffield and South Yorkshire piano tuning’ days it does feel like I’ve both reduced my carbon footprint and saved money, however.
I’d also like to thank anyone in the other areas I cover for your custom. If you’ve struggled to find a piano tuner who would come out to your area, I’m glad that my willingness to travel has helped you.
The last few weeks have been… different. When it comes to finding new clients, I’ll be the first to admit that haven’t always been the most merchantable nor the most sedulous; thus I have had to get used to other piano tuners taking the lion’s share of new work in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. At first I didn’t complain about this: after a few years of due diligence, my perseverance had since paid off when satisfied customers began recommending me (this was particularly helpful when piano teachers recommended me to students looking for a Sheffield-based piano tuner). Word of mouth was enough to make piano tuning a viable enterprise.
Around 2017 – 2018, some saddening personal circumstances focused my attention back towards my piano tuning pursuits and my lack of visibility online. This led the to question “could I be doing more?” Unlike my early lacklustre efforts, I began utilising the internet with new rigour, ensuring my presence is conspicuously ever-present rather than a footnote on the bottom of a google search. I have steadily made myself known and this has resulted in an abundance of calls & emails which are very much welcome. Honesty is the key: all the relevant information one could want can (hopefully) be found on the website and if it can’t be found, I’m always quick to answer emails, texts and phone calls. I can safely say I’ll never be one for “hidden charges” and the like – that much is obvious at a quick glance of the website.
The light has began to shine on me again and I am most grateful for the continued interest in my work – this is still a growing piano tuning business after all, and new patronage is needed for its continued operation.
– Richard Lidster, Piano Tuner Sheffield
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.
For home bookings I can now book you in for a piano tuning at 8:30 AM or 9 AM on a week day morning. I have hitherto saved early morning slots for professional venues such as schools, churches, recording studios, but those enquires have sadly declined somewhat over the last sixteen months – particularly schools.
From my experiences piano tuning in Sheffield and beyond, I have found people have wildly different views on booking tradespeople to their homes under current circumstances, but rest assured I am taking the covid-19 precautions very seriously, with frequent testing and following all procedures that keep the customer happy. The customer is always right and your wishes will be respected.
I will rearrange a booking at the slightest sign of any symptoms. I’m vaccinated and very careful to social distance and regularly sanitise work hands, car and piano tuning kit (particularly the piano tuning lever and paps wedges that I regularly handle throughout the day). If you have any concerns, I’d be happy to discuss it with you before you book the piano tuning.
I will resume my visits to the North Yorkshire region after the 12th of April. Not only would it have been unsafe to travel there at the height of the pandemic, but the demand for piano tuning in Scarborough just wasn’t there. I’m starting to receive calls and will be happy to resume piano tuning in Scarborough as soon as possible. I started as a Sheffield piano tuner and still live in that city, but earning a living at this trade requires extensive travelling so please don’t think making a journey to your area is a hassle – it’s all part of the job.
– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield