Category Archives: Rotherham Piano Tuning

Five Go Mad in Dorset

Does anyone remember the amusing Enid Blyton parody from The Comic Strip Presents starring Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders? I do. That’ll be me in 12 days time as I prepare for a delightful holiday in Dorset, a locality I’ve longed to visit for many a year. As such I shan’t be taking quite so many bookings until the 10th of October or later, at which time I’ll have returned to piano tuning all guns blazing.

I leave town at Friday the 1st of October (after an afternoon of piano tuning in Sheffield) and arrive in Dorset late in the evening. I will then spend a week eating what I like, drinking, playing the guitar, watching films, walking in the countryside and not even thinking about piano tuning or Sheffield! Actually, I will still be accepting calls and bookings but I might be a bit more difficult to get hold of between the 2nd and 10th of October. I’ll have my diary with me at the hotel, and will check emails every day. Sadly my usual offers of ‘last minute piano tuning bookings’ won’t be available until I get back to Sheffield.

Upcoming availability:

  • Friday the 24th of September @ 7 PM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 10 AM
  • Tuesday the 28th of September @ 9 AM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 8 PM
  • Unavailable between the 2nd and 10th of October (holiday in Dorset, still able to take calls and emails)
  • Monday the 11th of October @ 11 AM
  • Tuesday the 12th of October @ 9 AM
  • Tuesday the 12th of October @ 11:30 AM
  • Tuesday the 12th of October @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday the 13th of October @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday the 13th of October @ 5 PM
  • Thursday the 14th of October @ 11 AM
  • Thursday the 14th of October @ 2 PM
  • Thursday the 14th of October @ 5 PM
  • Thursday the 14th of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Friday the 15th of October @ 11 AM
  • Friday the 15th of October @ 2 PM
  • Friday the 15th of October @ 5 PM
  • Friday the 15th of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Saturday the 16th of October @ 11 AM
  • Saturday the 16th of October @ 2 PM
  • Saturday the 16th of October @ 5 PM
  • Sunday the 17th of October @ 11 AM
  • Sunday the 17th of October @ 2 PM
  • Sunday the 17th of October @ 5 PM
  • Sunday the 17th of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Monday the 18th of October @ 10:30 AM
  • Tuesday the 19th of October @ 11 AM
  • Tuesday the 19th of October @ 2 PM
  • Tuesday the 19th of October @ 5 PM
  • Wednesday the 20th of October @ 9 AM
  • Wednesday the 20th of October @ 11:30 AM
  • Wednesday the 20th of October @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday the 20th of October @ 5 PM
  • Wednesday the 20th of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Thursday the 21st of October @ 9 AM
  • Thursday the 21st of October @ 11:30 AM
  • Thursday the 21st of October @ 2 PM
  • Thursday the 21st of October @ 5 PM
  • Thursday the 21st of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Friday the 22nd of October @ 9 AM
  • Friday the 22nd of October @ 11:30 AM
  • Friday the 22nd of October @ 2 PM
  • Friday the 22nd of October @ 5 PM
  • Friday the 22nd of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Saturday the 23rd of October @ 11 AM
  • Saturday the 23rd of October @ 2 PM
  • Saturday the 23rd of October @ 5 PM
  • Saturday the 23rd of October @ 7:30 PM
  • Sunday the 24th of October @ 11 AM
  • Sunday the 24th of October @ 2 PM
  • Sunday the 24th of October @ 5 PM
  • Sunday the 24th of October @ 7:30 PM

Weekly Piano Tuning News Report

As a matter of course, your illustrious Sheffield piano tuner has had another long week of paying careful attention to such frequencies as 440, 156.82, 104.66, and 131.87 for twelve to fourteen hours each day (I must be good at this by now surely?) and tweaking/tuning musical notes to such frequencies to set a piano to equal temperament in a musically pleasing manner. As such I haven’t been able to update my availability page since last Friday, but hasn’t been by choice. I’m not quite as busy next week, and have lots of availability after the 20th of September. Most customers don’t book that far in advance, but I’m happy to work around your schedule. If you’d like a last minute booking it might be easier to arrange that via phone call (07542667040) as slots that were advertised via text can soon be snapped up.

Outside the world of piano tuning, I have still been recording local musicians and singer-songwriters in my spare time as mentioned before. I love sound and capturing combinations of sounds but that can be a distracting and time-consuming hobby. After all my long hours of piano tuning in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Chesterfield I have been able to afford a few microphones that were once outside of my budget. I may use this piano tuning blog to link some of my recordings, recently using a Neumann u87 and a vintage ribbon microphone in the future. Moving them around the room and closer or further away from the source is what I love doing at the moment, trying to master the art of recording is something I will be pursue for many years.

The busy bee that is me (business matters)

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

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.

Now taking early morning bookings

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.

 

The Long and Winding Road

First off, let me say that I’m still open for business and taking on new clients if you need me. BUT, with that said:

I’m very sad to say that currently winding down my career as a Sheffield piano tuner with a view to starting a second job. Amongst other reasons, the financial strain caused by the coronavirus has been such a severe set back that it’s no longer tenable to continue the low profit and high investments (weekly order of action parts, hardware, tools, high fuel costs) involved in this job. As much as I’ve enjoyed tuning pianos and particularly giving people a great deal, when factoring in my expenses and time working/travelling, a minimum wage 9 to 5 (or part time) job would giving me a greater income and involve less time spent on the roads. While the coronavirus is one of the larger factors in my decision, the previous six years were still a massive disappointment in terms of what I thought I’d get of it as a career.

I will happily take on new clients for anyone looking for a good piano tuning at a good price. Once I obtain another job (be in part time or full time) I’ll continue to tune pianos for a reasonable price out of office hours. I have worked painstakingly to develop this skill and to build up a clientele over the last seven years and I would never abandon it completely.

What I will no long offer is full action overhauls. This is the most costly, time consuming and non-profitable part of the job and it is no long worth it for me in this climate. There are many other Sheffield piano tuners who can offer that for anyone who desires more extensive work. By and large the types of people who would be willing to spend money on a full overhaul are the sorts who’ve already invested in a more robust piano that needs little in the way of maintenance.

Otherwise, the service I offer and the price remains the same. For £50 you will get a highly accurate piano tuning, plus minor repairs and regulation that will get your piano to a vefry respectable playing standard. Generally I will spend an hour to two hours giving your piano the excellent service it deserves.

Piano Tuner Scarborough?

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

A slight change of schedule for the Sheffield piano tuner

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the lockdown will be lifted in April. There will be a slight change of schedule for my piano tuning in Sheffield over the coming weeks. I plan to start work later and end later in the evening, my first job being at 2 PM and the last 7:30 PM. I’ll still offer at least one morning booking per work however.

I want to use my mornings to try and regain the high level of physical fitness I attained before the lockdown ruined things. This helps me to get a good nights sleep, go for a run and then spend an hour in the gym which was a regular part of my day before Covid-19. This might seem irrelevant to my piano tuning work, but it helps a lot with focus and motivation, particularly if my daily exercise takes place first thing in the morning rather than in the evening. The lockdown has led to me feeling quite lethargic recently, I’m sure we’ll all feel relieved when we can resume normal life.

– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.

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.