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 have a second job working in the music industry in Sheffield. Piano tuning is for Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, with the occasional Tuesday morning thrown in for good measure. Regular customers will still be contacted every sixth months and the door is always open to new clients.
- – Richard, Sheffield Piano Tuner.
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.
Whenever I’m cheerfully tuning pianos in Sheffield, Rotherham, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Barnsley, Scarborough, Driffield, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Nottingham, Hull and Manchester (not to mentions the little villages and towns I manage on a regular basis) – what do I often neglect to mention? Piano cleaning.
In most instances, such a lapse of memory is forgivable as the customer will bring it up with me as I first arrive at their home. Sometimes, however, If a piano is particularly dusty and they haven’t mentioned it I’ll take the initiative and politely ask the piano tuning customer if they’d like me to give the action, frame, key bed and the cabinet a thorough dusting and remove any cobwebs or excess dirt with a hoover before the piano tuning. If the dust has made its way into the action this will be even more crucial as too much dust can hinder its performance.
I’ve had some delightful results cleaning the keys with my Cory Care Product ‘Key Brite’ solution, which whitens all ivory, plastic or ebony keys with quick and efficient results, leaving them almost as bright and shiny as new. Most customers are very satisfied with the improvement.
If you have a grand piano that needs cleaning (the soundboards of many older grands can be covered in soot from old chimneys) it can be a little more laborious as a special tool is needed to get between the strings in order to clean it – and this tool only cleans a small section of the board at a time. Alas, hoovers are never powerful enough to suck up the dust from the soundboard (that would be much quicker if it were possible). A strong leaf blower might work, but I don’t have such items in stock – such an item wouldn’t fit in my well-stocked Seat.
Dust doesn’t have much of an affect on the sound of the piano, but it can be visually unappealing and its wise to remove the build up before it gets into the mechanism – if it’s bothering you I’m more than happy to discuss cleaning options before or after your piano tuning booking.
Once a piano has passed its final cleaning inspection, a product I sometimes like to use is Cory’s piano polish. Works really well on the finish of most modern uprights and grands
I could write all day about piano cleaning, just as I could with my Sheffield piano tuning blogs. Fortunately I’ll leave you with the essentials. I have an upcoming blog post about ‘Piano Maintenance’ which will give you the piano tuning customer some advice on how to maintain the piano’s aesthetics, its tuning stability and how to extend its lifespan so you can enjoy playing and looking at it for many years to come.
Earlier this morning I had a fruitful discussion with a clever person working in the field of Web Design. I’ve asked them for guidance hoping they can make this website more marketable, more aesthetically-pleasing and more business-like. Many of the pages on this website have not been changed since 2014, though I’m quite happy with the way my details are presented and they all remain relevant and accurate. For me, the design and the layout seem a bit dated and in need of a revamp, but my brain tends not to focus on those things so I’ve procrastinated. I’m more of a pragmatic, “give me the facts” type of person, and given my short attention span I like the writing to be concise and to the point, and I feel I’ve largely succeeded.
What were your impressions when you found this website? Did it improve your knowledge of the piano and the role of the piano tuner and their skills? Was it interesting enough to hold your attention beyond getting my number/email for piano tuning? Or did it just do the job? Perhaps you can let me know when I’m round to tune your piano in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Worksop or any of the localities I travel to farther afield.
Piano tuning can seem dull compared to other topics, but if piano-playing is a big part of your life you would do well to learn what the piano tuner is doing (it might help you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth!). If you live in Sheffield like me, we may have shared the same experiences, so my ‘diary’ posts may also be relatable.
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.
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.
- 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
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 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.