Whether you use your piano for serious playing, or it just sits in the corner not being played for months on end, there is maintenance that pianos require. Aside from tunings, there can be a lot of technical issues on the inside of your piano.
Tuners will offer a basic tuning for a modest fee. If your piano hasn’t been tuned in a while, it may also require a pitch raise among other things.
Technicians can do a myriad of things to adjust how your piano plays. Don’t be afraid to ask what your piano needs and what they are doing to your piano. If your piano keys are too heavy or hard to push down, they can adjust that. If the pedals seem loose or soft, they can adjust that. If the sound is too bright or too mellow, they can adjust that. If your piano is dirty and dusty, even underneath the strings, they can fix that too.
Technicians want to make you happy and win your business, to them you are a valued client. I am not saying you should have them babysit while you go out to dinner, but within reason, they are generally more than happy to provide you with any service that you require.
Piano Tuner vs Technician
Tuners and technicians are not created equal. The main difference between a tuner and a technician is that a tuner will only tune the piano where a technician will tune and be able to adjust most other things on or in the piano.
Being a member of the Piano Technicians Guild can really be a great thing to look for in a tuner or technician. As members of the guild they share information and trainings that can really improve the quality of their work. This isn’t to say that those who are not members can’t do a great job. There are a lot of techs and tuners that are former members that are quite skilled, but being a current member is always a plus. When you use our site to search for a piano tuner, try selecting “Piano Technicians Guild” as a search filter.
Choosing a Technician
There are some things that tuners and technicians will do while others won’t or can’t. Ask questions and share information up front so neither of you are surprised later. Here is one experience that I recently had that explains how they can be different.
I was stopped in a restaurant by a guy who noticed that I was wearing a piano emblem on my shirt, given to me by a friends company. He asked if I could recommend a tuner in the area. We exchanged numbers and I told him I would reach out to some people and share his info. I was surprised that the first three people I called informed me that they did not service that area because it was too far for them to travel (it was about 40 min one way). I couldn’t believe it. Although I considered them terrific tuners or technicians, they would not provide that service.
On my fourth call I found a tuner that was more than happy to provide them a quote for tuning and servicing that area. This is why our website is a great tool for you to have. Easily search for a piano tuner in your area and see all their reviews, contact info, and other online information.
The most important thing when choosing a tuner, in my opinion, is to remember that this is a person that is coming to your home and working where your family lives, eats, and sleeps. Do your best to make sure they are a high quality individual. Not only should you and your family feel safe in your home, but a high quality professional will save you money in the long run by taking care of your piano correctly and not charging you for unnecessary things. Remember, if you make a poor choice and you don’t like the tuner or technician, don’t be afraid to use someone else.
The second thing when choosing a tuner or technician is the quality of their work. Read reviews and do a little research. Call a local piano store, concert venue, recital hall, theater, etc. and ask who they use. You can also check and leave reviews on this site or on the tuner or technician’s website. Word of mouth is the best compliment.
Price can often be a difficult thing to discuss. I won’t throw prices out in this article because all areas are different, locations are different, and pianos can be quite different.
Some important things to remember:
Get more than one quote, three preferably to keep them honest.
Share information that might be pertinent. For example, is your piano a hundred years old? A technician will work on a one hundred year old piano different than a new Steinway grand. There will also usually be additional cost because the piano is so old. Do you live an hour away from the nearest city? The further a tuner or technician has to drive will also affect the cost. These are things tuners and techs should be asking you. Be honest with them.
Find a tuner or technician that works for you. Not every piano is the same and not every piano will cost the same. Some pianos will require a little more attention than others. Keep this in mind when choosing a piano, a tuner or technician. The same technician that is working on a Steinway concert grand at the opera house isn’t necessarily the right choice for a piano teacher that needs his or her piano tuned a few times per year.
To find your next tuner go ahead and give Piano Professionals a try!