All posts by pianotunerleeds

Back to normal hours

No more rest for the Leeds piano tuner I’m afraid, I’m back to my normal routine after a brief sojourn. I’ve updated my availability for the rest of the month. If you’d like to book your piano tuning further in the future, I have lots more availability in November and December (I just haven’t listed any of those hours just yet).

Back home at last

I’ve just arrived home safely after a delightful week in Bettiscombe, Dorset. Far away from civilisation, I had little on my mind this week. Very relaxing. I’m now reinvigorated and eager to start piano tuning once again in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Harrogate. It’s been so long I’d forgotten I’m a piano tuner. The only time piano tuning was of interest was when looking around Forde Abbey House and Gardens on Tuesday morning. The owner had an early John Broadwood from the late 18th century. Quite extraordinary.

A few last minute slots before my well-earned holiday

As my final two working weeks (before my holiday) draw to a close, I have a few available slots left in my diary:

  • Friday the 24th of September @ 5 PM
  • Friday the 24th of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 11 AM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 8 PM

Many more hours are available after the 9th of October. Over the next two weeks I’m slowly winding down to prepare for my well-deserved vacation in Bettiscombe which will be between the 2nd and 9th of October. I may be difficult to get hold of during that time, as I’ll be unwinding by eating lots of food and going for jaunts in the countryside – piano tuning will be the last thing on my mind. However, there’ll be lots more Leeds and Bradford piano tuning after that. I can accommodate your schedule, with a few weeks notice, and will try to be flexible with working hours.

Piano Tuner operating as usual in Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and Harrogate

Okay. If you’ve left things to the eleventh-hour and need an emergency piano tuning in Leeds (or thereabouts) I have two 2 PM slots on Thursday the 16th and Friday the 17th of September this coming week. If you’d like to book these, it may be preferable to give me a call 07542667040 – I wouldn’t want to offer someone a slot only for it to be snatched away at the final moment.

The following weeks I have the following hours free for West Yorkshire Piano Tuning:

  • Monday the 20th of September @ 9 AM
  • Monday the 20th of September @ 11:30 AM
  • Monday the 20th of September @ 2 PM
  • Monday the 20th of September @ 5 PM
  • Monday the 20th of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Thursday the 23rd of September @ 2 PM
  • Thursday the 23rd of September @ 5 PM
  • Thursday the 23rd of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Friday the 24th of September @ 9 AM
  • Friday the 24th of September @ 2 PM
  • Friday the 24th of September @ 5 PM
  • Friday the 24th of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 9 AM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 11:30 AM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 2 PM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 5 PM
  • Monday the 27th of September @ 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 9 AM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 11:30 AM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 2:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 29th of September @ 8 PM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 9 AM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 11:30 AM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 2:30 PM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 5:30 PM
  • Thursday the 30th of September @ 8 PM

I’ll be on holiday in Dorset from the 2nd to the 9th of October. The week beginning Monday the 11th of October is good for me if you’d like to book something then.

Piano Tuner’s availability page to be updated ASAP

I’ll try to update my availability as soon as I can but I’m too exhausted to make a list at the moment and my brain isn’t working properly.

This week I’ve been working really long hours tuning pianos in different towns, from Leeds and York to Hull, Stockport, Nottingham and even one in Skegness this Wednesday! I love piano tuning, but the amount of travelling this week has really worn me out.  Much of this work has been through contacts in the Leeds piano industry which I’m grateful for, but I need a good bit of rest this weekend. A few hours sat on the sofa watching TV will sort me out.

I am getting my diet in order and trying to be a bit healthier as well. Cutting out fizzy drinks and service station food is on my list of goals and aspirations. You eat too much fast food when you spend this much time travelling as it’s quick and convenient, but bad for your health and has noticeable effects on energy levels. Adequate sleep is also a must, but I’ve only been getting 5 or 6 hours a night.

All in all I’m happy and grateful to receive piano tuning jobs in different towns, but I think it’s forgivable that I’m late to update the website as I’m hardly ever at the computer with such long hours! Onwards and upwards. Next week is looking to be a lot more balanced in terms of hours spent travelling.

At the height of my powers

I’m running out of things to talk about on this blog, so I’ll add some positive news. My piano tuning endeavours have reached their zenith, eclipsing pre-lockdown levels. For the last six weeks I’ve fervently worked on advertising in order to push this piano tuning business forward. Has it worked? Yes and no. I have been receiving 5 – 6 calls & emails a day. However, advertising costs are vast, a long with my business expenses (such as a bottle of PTFE a week, fuel, glues, tapes, action parts), it means I have to work very long hours to make ends meet. Am I happy about it? You bet. I love being a piano tuner. The travels around Leeds and far beyond are fun 99% of the time, and the job of piano tuning is always rewarding. #gratitude #positivity #growth

– Richard, Piano Tuner Leeds.

More opportunities for namedropping

It seems like anyone who works in anything to do with music loves to talk about the famous people they’ve worked with/for at every opportunity. It’s so pervasive it could almost be a Harry Enfield sketch. Well, I’m tuning a Yamaha C3 grand piano for John Grant and Richard Hawley on the 4th of September at the Piece Hall in Halifax. Please come along to hear how in tune the piano sounds once I’ve serviced it.

I’m pleased that concerts, recording studios, schools and churches that have booked me in recent months. Home visits are also valued. I treat each piano equally and give it the thorough care and attention it deserves!

When are my working hours?

I still like to update my ‘Piano Tuner’s Availability’ blog as often as I can. I regularly have days where I leave home at 8 AM and arrive home after 10 PM, at which point I’m too exhausted to log into this site, never mind write about Leeds and piano tuning (if I did, I’d sound tired and cranky!). In an ideal world I’d update my availability listings multiple times every day. If I can find a way to do that, I certainly will in due course.

Due to a problem with my browser, I’m unable to access the admin port of my website via my iphone which is somewhat unfortunate. If I could, then I could easily change the listings in my car when I’m early for a job (I usually park up on the road if I’m early). Because of this, I would view that page as a way to see whether my schedule fits yours and if there’s a particular day that would work well, if it hasn’t been updated in a day or two.

To earn a respectable living as a piano tuner, one must be willing to travel far and wide – only booking jobs in Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate would be a dead end. One or two days out of the week there will be nothing listed – this is usually because I’ll be booked up in a far away locality such as Scarborough or Whitby, where I get to have an enjoyable day at the seaside in between successive piano tuning. I didn’t used to like travelling, but I’ve learned that putting on some classical music or an audiobook makes such long drives much more bearable. Given that the last job of the day usually begins at 7:30 PM, driving back from Scarborough at 9 PM is a breeze.

Re-stringing a piano

A frequently asked question by many of my clients during a piano tuning is “will my piano ever need new strings?”

If a string snaps during the tuning process a small charge is made for a new string around £20 for a new string if it’s in the bass (a bit less if in the tenor or treble section) and £20 labour to fit the string. Putting a new string on takes me about 20 minutes. I would say a string breaks in about one in every hundred jobs so it’s not uncommon, but not something to be unduly concerned about.

If a string is missing from a piano it isn’t ideal, but one string missing isn’t going to effect the overall tension enough to cause problems. It can take between a week and a month for a bass string to be remade and sent back to me. If it’s in the very low end of the piano then the note won’t strike as the hammers for those keys only strike one string each. The upper bass the note will sound slightly weaker as the hammer will hit one string instead of two.

In the middle and treble sections things get a little more complicated and regular piano wire is used up here. Some of them are connected to the hitch pins with a coil at the other side of the string. Most of them wrap around the hitch pin meaning that if a string snaps in this section the hammer effectively hits two strings or one string depending on which string has snapped.

Re-stringing a whole piano is expensive (£2000+), but if it was part of a restoration process for an old but high-end piano, it might be worth it if done in conjunction with the replacement of a dried-out wrest plank and loose, rusted wrest pins. As a general rule, most pianos on the market would not benefit enough from such a process to be worth such an expenditure. I have found that many of the pianos I’ve encountered while piano tuning in West Yorkshire have some rusty strings and while this will negatively effect the tone, there are other much worse factors in tonal degradation. Rusty strings can also be cleaned on request, though again, much care has to be taken with health and safety plus the fragility of certain strings.

New strings do have an impact on the sound of a piano but there are so many other factors that contribute to good tone. And do you know what the most important one is? You guessed it: having your piano tuned and serviced regularly. Please get in touch with the Leeds piano tuner today to book your piano tuning: 0754 266 7040

Venturing into the world of piano sales

While not a natural salesman, I’ve been inclined to help a few clients with piano sales in the past as a quid pro quo, hoping they recommend me for Leeds and West Yorkshire piano tuning business. If you have anything you’d like to sell, please call me on 07542667040 or drop me an email to discuss (photographs are always appreciated). I can use my contacts in the piano trade to help with the sale, but I would charge a commission fee (usually 20%).

When it comes to piano selling, I normally class a piano into one of three categories:

  • Budget pianos: pianos worth £0 – £500. Pianos without the best components or craftmanship, but which are in satisfactory condition and could be suitable for a beginner or someone wishing to renew their piano playing after years. Piano tuning and light voicing can help improve the tone immeasurably as many of them have been neglected for years. Most spinets and console pianos fall into this category, as do all straight-strung and pretty much all overdamped pianos in 2021.
  • Intermediate pianos: pianos worth £500 – £2000: the majority of people would do well to invest in a piano in this category. A modern piano that is in excellent condition, well-regulated (or capable of being well-regulated) with good tone and no serious flaws. A second hand Challen, Fazer, medium-quality Yamaha (usually smaller-sized), or higher-end Bentley would be an example of this. After their first piano tuning most people are delighted with how good they sound.
  • Professional-level pianos: pianos worth at least £2000: very high order pianos that could easily take a player to grade 8, diploma and beyond. Top quality components help these pianos stay in tune for a long time and they usually need little in the way of repairs or regulation once in your home. The quality of the mechanism is one of the biggest advantages, as you’ll be able to play more dynamically (there’ll be a bigger difference between loud and soft playing, rather than “note on, note off”). Schimmels, Bluthners, Faziolis, higher-end Yamahas and Kawais would be examples of this.

There’ll certainly be some overlap in these categories, but as a general rule I’ve found they hold true. For example, some pianos being sold for £2500 might be considered intermediate by concert pianists, yet something in that price range will be incredibly sturdy and durable, will have a pleasing tone with good dynamic range and responsiveness. Many pianos in the budget price range aren’t worth buying, yet some are very respectable and could be appreciated and well-loved by an accomplished musician for their charm and vintage character. Each has to be looked at on a case to case basis, but as a general rule I have no problem categorising pianos this way when giving advice on what to buy. I usually suggest setting yourself a budget and considering what you want from a piano – after that it’s all a matter of personal preference: some prefer bright-sounding pianos for example, others like a warm tone; some prefer high gloss finish while others like the look of natural wood.

I’m happy to help with piano evaluation and inspection, but keep in mind I charge £25 for such a service (I have travel time and fuel costs to consider). For such a small price it would be worth having a piano looked at. Otherwise, I can give a rough idea from photographs sent over if something is worth pursuing (avoid all straight-strung pianos like the plague, they are usually untune-able!)