This website is currently undergoing maintenance and for the next week or it will only work intermittently. If you’re reading this it might be better to use my facebook page until this site’s various problems have been fixed. My contact details are available on there.
It’s now July and it’s starting to feel like summer. I’ve had some lovely drives to piano tuning jobs outside of Sheffield, made more pleasant by the short patches of nice weather we’ve had. If you live in Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, Chestefield, Dronfield, Hathersage, Bakewell, don’t hesitate to contact my about possible tunings. I have transport and a car journey is not a problem.
I was asked at a Rotherham piano tuning last week whether this is a good time of year to get the piano tuned. There’s no best time of year to tune a piano – the tuning is constantly fluctuating all year round with changes in humidity (which cause the strings to stretch and contract). As a general rule pianos tend to go sharp in summer and flat in the winter. This is why you should have your piano tuned twice a year. Not only is this crucial if you want your piano to be at concert pitch, but like a car, a piano requires periodic maintenance and piano tuners are the only people able to make these repairs and regulations.
Outside of piano tuning, my band Harmony of Spheres have started gigging, with our first gig on the 23rd of July at West Street Live in Sheffield, the night before the EU referendum result. At the moment we play 70s progressive rock covers (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion, Rush, Jethro Tull and others) with a view to adding original material as we progress. There are a few videos on youtube of that gig, although I’m a bit embarrassed that I bent a string out of tune on of them (as a piano tuner has made my ear too sensitive to anything slightly out of tune). We’re playing in Dronfield on Friday night and at the White Lion pub on London Road, Sheffield on Saturday night, so çome a long if it sounds like something you might enjoy.
A perfunctory weekly update. Aside from having some house work being done (a new kitchen), the week has seen the usual run of piano tunings across Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster (with one in Castleton and one in Barnsley). I also ordered a new tuning lever as my old one was starting to wear out and grip the pins less firmly than it should. Piano tuning tools are always quite expensive, but you’ve got to spend money to make money. It works like a charm and looks a lot like this:
I haven’t got any interesting stories to tell, but I thought I should keep this blog updated anyway. Hopefully, with a few more piano tuning bookings coming in, I’ll have something more to write about next week!
It’s been another busy week of piano tuning in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Not only did I have another booking at the Cruicible Theater tuning their grand piano for the performance of Flowers In The Attic , I also have had more customers ringing me up from all over South Yorkshire (on one day I travelled from Rotherham to Sheffield to Doncaster for three seperate piano tuning sessions).
I’m raising my prices by £5 this week as although having such competitive prices has allowed me to find a lot more work (which was essential in my first year of tuning professionally), I’m now at the stage where these prices seem unfair to other Sheffield piano tuners and it seems the time is right to raise these prices slightly. A standard piano tuning will now cost £45 (with a £10 discount if it’s your first booking) which is still an absolute bargain as far as I’m concerned. If you’ve already got a booking with me as of today (09/07/16) the new prices won’t apply. The prices page has now been updated with the new prices added.
This is my first blog post in a few weeks. I still intend to update this blog at least once a week, but the last two weeks have been fairly uneventful, so I haven’t had much to write about! Last week I had a last minute booking at a local Theater in Sheffield, tuning an upright piano for rehearsals. I only had two hours to do a full tuning (a pitch & fine) and some voicing/repair work (making sure the keys were equal in touch and velocity) but managed to get the piano in tune and all the keys feeling much more smooth than they were before I arrived. If I had more time I would have spent more time on voicing as the keys still felt a little heavy to me, but rehearsals began at 9:30 AM and I had been there since 7:30 AM, and much of that time was spent on the tuning, so it was a matter of improving the piano as much as possible in that time, before leaving for another piano tuning on the other side of Sheffield.
I’ve begun thinking about putting my prices up slightly, getting rid of the introductory offer and raising everything by £5 (both on piano tunings and pitch raises). My current prices are well below the going rate, so you are currently getting a bargain if you hire me. These changes may happen as soon as April 2016, so you can still get an astonishingly cheap piano tuning if you book over the next month or so (the new prices will still be cheap compared to what many piano tuners charge, however). Anyone who already has a booking needn’t worry – my current prices will remain until the ‘prices’ page on this website has been updated, which will be in April 2016 at the earliest.
The reason I have kept my prices so low is that I only began piano tuning professionally a year and a half ago after completing my training at Newark College in July 2014, and I’d rather be working more for less money than charging high prices but only getting intermittent work (I enjoy my work). This approach has worked well in the last six months or so, as I’m now receiving about one new query per day.
I have another blog post prepared, a post about broken dampers in the piano action, which I will post next week. I’ve had two customers in the last two days (one in Sheffield and one in Barnsley) whose piano needed dampers fixing, which is a common problem that every piano owner should be aware of. The piano tuning customer in Barnsley had a damper misaligned with the strings, which was easily fixed with a screwdriver by loosing the damper block screws and turning the damper slightly some that it rested on all three strings. The other customer had a different problem: the piano action was resting slightly too far back off the strings (this was easily remedied by taking the action out and putting it back in properly), but as the piano was very old (a 1920s overdamper), the rust and decay of the piano strings had seeped onto the damper felt, causing the strings to ring out longer than they should. Cleaning the damper felt helped for the most part, but there were still certain felts that were so badly damaged they needed to be replaced. More about this next week.
I hope to hear from more customers this week. If you’ve been thinking about booking a piano tuning now is the time to do it! Get ’em while they’re cheap!
Crisis over: I’ve found my phone down the side of my bed and replied to the text messages people sent me over the last few days.
In other news, I had another piano tuning in Scarborough yesterday which went well. Another 80-year-old overdamper which, aside from being a whole tone flat, was in reasonable condition. If you know anyone in the Whitby/Scarborough area who needs a piano tuner, please let them know (I’m up there every other weekend) that I’m trying to build a seperate customer base in that area. I have no problem travelling outside of Sheffield (I regularly drive to Rotherham, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Swinton, Mexborough, etc to tune pianos) and will make visits to relatives in that area (some live in Scarborough, some live in Robin Hood’s Bay) so the long journey is no problem for me.
To any musos who are reading, I’m starting to upload videos of me improvising over backing tracks on guitar. Growing up I was more of a metal, blues, classical and classic rock guy, but over the last few years I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz (mainly light/smooth jazz and fusion artists such as Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane, and Jean-Luc Ponty) and incorporating some of that style into my playing. If you’re a pianist (you might even be a piano tuning customer of mine!) and would like a jam, as long as you’re in Sheffield or nearby, I’m usually free in the evenings!
I also play the piano and the drums just as much as guitar, but I’m not as proficient on those instruments (I’ve played guitar a lot longer; I started when I was 9).
On the piano tuning front, I was busy in December 2015 but it died down a bit around Christmas and New Year, as expected. If you would like to book a piano tuning now would be a very good time as I’ve got a lot of free spaces available in my diary, and I won’t be leaving Sheffield for the next month or two (as I’ve mentioned before, I often go to Robin Hood’s Bay on weekends and sometimes tune pianos in the Whitby and Scarborough area).
I am about to write another post about piano repair & regulation as well as a seperate post about piano tuning that I will finish and post on Saturday. I’ve had a full day of piano tuning in Sheffield today, and will have a full day of tuning 3 pianos at a school in Darnall (the other side of Sheffield near Rotherham) tomorrow, so I haven’t had the chance.
I will be visiting family in the beautiful Robin Hood’s Bay in the upcoming weeks. As usual, I shall have my piano tuning kit so that I can book any jobs while I’m there. I already have one piano tuning booked on the 24th October at 10 A.M. but anyone else would like a book on the following dates, I’m more than happy to book you in. The dates I’m in Robin Hood’s Bay are:
Saturday the 24th October – Sunday the 25th October
Saturday the 31st October – Sunday the 1st of November
Saturday the 14th November – Sunday the 15 of November
I leave my house in Sheffield on the friday afternoon, arrive in Robin Hood’s Bay on friday evening and leave around 5 P.M. in the evening on Sunday. If there are any Sheffield customers who would like their piano tuning on one of these weekends, I can only fit you in on a sunday night in the late evening.