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Fine Tune: $100
Pitch Adjustment: $50
A pitch adjustment becomes needed if the piano is either above (sharp) or below (flat) 8% of pitch. Pitch is, of course, the frequency
of the note, and a tuning fork is commonly used. For a number of decades, the commonly used pitch has been "A-440." The tuning fork is vibrating 440 times per second, as are the strings on the piano for the "A" located above "middle C" (the note "C" closest to the center of the piano) on the keyboard. This is also the pitch you hear if you go to a symphony concert and listen to the orchestra tuning up. The oboe player will play this note, usually more than once: To tune the wind instruments, and the stringed instruments. Pianos which go for more than two years without tuning usually need a pitch raise (which is what we call the pitch adjustment if the piano is flat). If a piano goes for ten or more years without tuning, it might be so flat that it's safer to do two pitch raises. Whatever the need, though, the normal procedure is to do the pitch raise, and immediately do the fine tune afterwards. Then the piano will hold its pitch at A-440 after being tuned. So the pitch raise makes up for all the time without tuning, all in one session. Regular tunings after that should mean
that no more pitch raises are needed. Sometimes a partial pitch adjustment is needed, if a change in humidity---the monsoon season, for example---causes only part of the piano to go more than 8% sharp or flat. This can happen because the copper-wound strings on the piano are not as sensitive as the plain-wire strings. A note about strings breakage: When strings are manufactured, they're made to withstand about twice the tension to which they'll normally be put. So you may wonder why a string would ever break. They can and do break from such things as age, rust, extra tension, etc. Even a piano which has been kept in tune every 6 months for its whole life can have a string break. But yes, it's relatively rare for strings to break. Piano technicians can't be responsible for string breakage, but we can take steps to lessen the chances of breakage. I'll commonly use a small amount of penetrating oil where the metal of the string touches the metal of the piano, to lessen friction and possible string breakage, and do this before starting a pitch raise. So the moral of the story is to keep the piano tuned regularly, once or twice a year, for example. Twice is better, once is certainly OK too.
Of course, there are many possible repairs which can become necessary on a piano. My normal repair fee is $60/hr, which is pro-rated with no minimum if I'm also doing another service that day, such as tuning. If I make a special trip to a piano to do a repair, then the minimum fee is $65. Sometimes a piano will need a major action done, such as replacing keytops, regulating the action, reshaping the hammers, etc. In those instances, I work on the basis of a flat rate, not by the hour. I'll inspect the piano, and talk about what the flate rate will be, in those circumstances. Sometimes a piano needs what could be termed a rebuild rather than a repair---putting in a new soundboard, for example. If the piano needs a repair or rebuild which is beyond my own scope, I can arrange getting it into the right hands for what's needed. Again, this can be discussed. When regulating the action, technicians look for three things, mainly: Evenness of touch, speed of repetition of the notes, and the power of the hammer against the strings. Evenness, speed, power: We call this the "ESP" of the piano. Not that there's any mind-reading going on: Just a help to increase the enrichment which can be had by playing on a well-tuned, well-regulated piano!
You may wonder about such things as a referral for piano lessons, how to repair a player piano, how to repair a newer piano disc system on a piano, a referral for piano moving, even if only temporarily in your home while you put in new flooring, for example. Or you may want to move a piano over a long distance. Regarding player pianos: I've tuned many, many player pianos. I leave repairs of the player mechanism to an expert in that area. Also, with a player piano, one might need to have that expert do other common repairs, if needed, while the player mechanism parts are removed for service/repair, so that he can then gain access to the parts that need the more common repairs, such as the strings. There may be other issues I haven't covered here. Just get in touch by going to the "Contact" page on this website. Look for the tabs near the top of each page on this website. So here's to your own enrichment, and here's to great music, and especially great piano music. Especially that.
I'd like to publicly thank the great mentors, teachers and technicians who have given me the training and inspiration I needed to provide all of these services. They include Jim Coleman, Sr., Richard Weinberger, Ken Martin, Randy Potter, Bob Ballantine, Russ Werneken, Rick Baldassin, the members of the local chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild, and the great teachers at the national conventions of the Guild. Thank you all for being great guides.