Piano Tuning as a career. . .

ukepicker

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So I've seen the documentary on how they make (and voice) Steinways.
I've read the book about Glenn Gould's favorite pianos and tuner.

But I don't really play. My wife does. And I recently inherited my grandmother's piano.

Today, we are having it tuned.

And I swear, the dude walked in with an ipad and a little wrench and tuned one of each note by ipad, and then the others (pairs or triples) by ear. And it is the most satisfying thing I've heard in a long time.

I always thought the whole thing was much more involved than that. Needles and overtones and the complex interplay between notes and registers, etc etc


Maybe I need to look into a new career.


(disclosure: I did not look to see which app he was using, I'll ask him.)
 

bondoman

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I came across a vintage piano tuner kit years ago that had a bunch of tuning forks and tools in it. Kinda mad I didn't buy it now. But yea everything's electronic these days.
 

dickey

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One thing I noticed in my 16 years of doing pest control & going into about 200 homes per week...very few people have pianos anymore; in fact around here you can find nice ones for FREE on Craigslist all day long. No one wants them anymore in this "instant gratification" world in which we live. Takes too much effort to learn to play. Detracts from their phone time.
Another thing people no longer have in their homes is a real stereo...earbuds ain't no way to listen to Floyd or Zep.
 

hnryclay

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Its not as easy as it looks. Most pianos are not totally "in tune" but are in tune to themselves. There is a great deal of experience needed to get it right. You might not be able to hear if a 6th octave c was out a few cents, but if it was in and the e on the octave had a bad timbar at pitch it would be instantly recognizable. Good tuners can sweeten an old instrument to play well. Most can repair key action, and some can perform overhauls. Its usaually a two year degree from a trade school.
 

bebopbrain

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So I've seen the documentary on how they make (and voice) Steinways.

Note By Note? Great documentary. You don't need to like music to appreciate it. The scene where they implement a new nepotism policy is classic.

Most piano tuners double as technicians. If the piano is way out of tune, the process of bringing it back is more complicated.
 

JL_LI

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One thing I noticed in my 16 years of doing pest control & going into about 200 homes per week...very few people have pianos anymore.

Another thing people no longer have in their homes is a real stereo...earbuds ain't no way to listen to Floyd or Zep.
The times they are a changin’ all right. I have guitars in a few rooms at a time but no piano. My wife and I no longer have a stereo. We have Harmon Kardon audio systems in our cars. I do my listening while driving and my editing at the computer through a desktop Bose. It’s too late to start piano lessons, even on a Casio. Two hands is hard enough as I found out learning finger style. Read two lines of music at the same time and play them both. :eek: Not me, at least not me at 71. Tune a piano? I could probably do that but I remember when I built a bicycle wheel from parts. After I finished, my only thought was, now what! With my limited skills, I’m probably better off sticking to tuning my guitar.
 

boris bubbanov

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My Dad was a tuner at Wurlitzer at their plant in North Tonawanda, New York.

But I suspect he may have been hired because he was very light in weight and one of the smaller guys they could find (he bulked up later in the Army Air Corps). He could get in there, where others couldn't fit.

His sense of pitch was quite good, even though his hearing (of speech, etc.) actually was lousy. And his sense of tone, well, not good either.

I suppose the human brain adapts to make best use of what info it can receive. And I suppose tuning organs is way different than pianos.

I guess I am saying, just because someone is an excellent entertainer or musician, doesn't necessarily mean they'd be better tuning instruments.
 

AAT65

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My grandpa used to tune his piano (now ours) himself. I still have his tuning fork: the only tools he had were the tuning fork, a clip (which is lost) to mute 2 of the strings for each note while tuning the others, and a wrench.
Personally if I had to tune the piano I would happily use any help an iPad app could give me! But we are waiting for a new piano tuner to come see to the piano someday soon...
 

lil scotty

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One thing I noticed in my 16 years of doing pest control & going into about 200 homes per week...very few people have pianos anymore; in fact around here you can find nice ones for FREE on Craigslist all day long. No one wants them anymore in this "instant gratification" world in which we live. Takes too much effort to learn to play. Detracts from their phone time.
Another thing people no longer have in their homes is a real stereo...earbuds ain't no way to listen to Floyd or Zep.
Additionally, pianos used to be “family” owned, passed down, generationally. Sometimes they stayed in the same house for generations. Now, people move, like A LOT, and they’re a ***** to move, like pool tables and China cabinets etc. They’re seen as of another time. Why deal with them when you can get a portable keyboard etc?: No maintenance, no tuning etc. I love my studio piano. Of the instruments I own, it is my favorite. Bought on the cheap on CL. It had been maintained.
 

Chester P Squier

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The most recent time we had our piano tuned, it was also repaired. One of the grandkids had experimented with picking strings with his fingers, sticking his hand under the keyboard area.

Of our five grandkids, that one is the most likely to be a composter or otherwise creative musician.
 

421JAM

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So I've seen the documentary on how they make (and voice) Steinways.
I've read the book about Glenn Gould's favorite pianos and tuner.

But I don't really play. My wife does. And I recently inherited my grandmother's piano.

Today, we are having it tuned.

And I swear, the dude walked in with an ipad and a little wrench and tuned one of each note by ipad, and then the others (pairs or triples) by ear. And it is the most satisfying thing I've heard in a long time.

I always thought the whole thing was much more involved than that. Needles and overtones and the complex interplay between notes and registers, etc etc


Maybe I need to look into a new career.


(disclosure: I did not look to see which app he was using, I'll ask him.)

It is more involved than that depending on the state of the piano.
 

howardlo

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Pianos are normal tuned tempered. Higher registers a little sharp as the octaves go up and the lower registers a bit flat as the octaves go down. Based on the way human hearing interprets sound. A high note sung a bit flat is always very evident, much more so than a high note sung a bit sharp.
 

rghill

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Friend of mine tunes pianos and restores harpsicords. He also plays in a classical quartet and a country band. A man of many talents.

He tuned my parent's grand piano a few years ago. It was quite entertaining to watch. It was a show and a learning experience. Like you said, it's partly science and a lot tuning by ear.
 

Killing Floor

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My dad had a Yamaha concert in the house growing up. He didn't collect a lot of things but that piano was his pride and joy. He would wake us up on Saturday too early playing. But a couple times a year the tuner guy would come. I remember laying on the floor watching him. It's really cool to see.
 




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