It’s that time of year again – industrious piano students are preparing for their grades and their Christmas concerts and their keen ears require their pianos be tuned to A440. Concert halls, venues, clubs, pubs and restaurants in Leeds and Bradford are busier and require their pianos to be tuned as more and more customers mention it to them. I hope I don’t sound ungracious as I appreciate the increased interest, but a weekend booking might be more favourable right now (assuming you can manage it), as my week day West Yorkshire and Leeds piano tuning slots are being snapped up by the second. Please keep a keen eye on my availability page if you’re looking for a Leeds piano tuner, I’m updating it on a daily basis and it’ll give you a general idea of my schedule at the very least. My number is 07542667040 if you’d find it easier to make an appointment verbally.
I don’t know what it’s like for other piano tuners working in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield etc, but December appears to be the busiest month for anything musical. I’m being sensible with my bookings and not squeezing too much in – I leave sufficient time to do a thorough job on every Yorkshire and Leeds piano tuning.
Worried about Covid-19? I’m double vaccinated, have caught and defeated the virus in the past (thus have built up the antibodies), am testing regularly (last tested today: negative. Previously tested on Saturday: negative). I will wear a mask upon request and naturally keep two metres distance throughout each visit. I don’t think there’s a safer time to book than now – but the decision is yours!
My ‘Leeds Piano Tuner Availability’ page is best used as a guide to find an hour that fits your work schedule. I also work early mornings on a regular basis although these are ‘hidden’ piano tuning hours that I offer when no others suit you; they tend to be offered to theatres, schools, commercial venues and the like (usually in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield or Harrogate), but if you’re an early bird like me then a home booking at 7 AM or 8 AM might be your first choice. Piano tuning can be done at any time of day, as long as it isn’t disturbing a neighbour or relative, although I personally feel most energetic in the morning, afternoon and early evening.
As Christmas draws near, late evening bookings could be an option. While my stated last booking is usually 7:30 PM, I sometimes have a piano tuning booking at 9 – 10 PM as well if it meets the needs of the customer. I always like to have 2 hours available for each customer, even if it doesn’t take that long – this allows enough time to tune the piano and make any required adjustments to the mechanism.
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.
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!
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.
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
It seems like next week will be very slow. It’s a good time to get in touch with me about a piano tuning in Leeds, Bradford or Wakefield (I work in all West Yorkshire). I’m piano tuning in Sheffield on March the 8th all day (regular customers), but other days I’ll be ready and willing.
My current rate is £50 for a piano tuning. If the piano is flat of concert pitch (more than 7 cents on average) an optional piano raising service is offered for another £20. It’s entirely dependent on what the pianist needs from the piano and the piano tuning. Concert pitch (A440) is the pitch standard at which modern music is played to, but there are lower, historical pitch standards that work better for pre-1930s pianos (A432, A435). I’m open and transparent about the options before each piano tuning is carried out.
Minor repairs and regulation can be performed on the day for no extra charge. More extensive repairs/restoration depends on the price of the parts and the amount of labour it entails. I didn’t become a piano tuner to make the maximum profit, I like to give people an excellent deal and to help people.
At present I do not have the workspace for restoration jobs involving the cabinet, such as polishing/refinishing and have not performed such tasks since my training (2011 – 2014). My forte is in the piano tuning and in repairing and regulating the mechanism and the keys, much more than the aesthetics (although I do have a complete piano cleaning kit). If you’re looking for a refinishing service, many of my customers have an stellar experiences with this company.
The Leeds piano tuner would like to explain his absence. Over the Christmas break he has relocated to his home to town Sheffield to be nearer relatives – THIS WILL NOT affect his working hours or the possible range of his clientele. He will still be piano tuning in Leeds and Bradford at least four days a week. Traveling long distances is part of his job! In this day and age, a piano tuner seeking to earn a living has to be prepared to travel.
He is currently without internet access except for some monthly data on his iPhone, which allows him to respond to queries. For that reason, this blog will be updated sporadically for the foreseeable future. He has received some emails from other piano tuners who have found some of the posts on this blog informative, which has encouraged him to continue in some form, but until he has a modem and an internet connection, there won’t be as many posts.
Q: To Leeds Piano Tuner. When you say minor piano repairs what distinguishes this from major repairs?
A: When I say I carry out minor repairs and regulation for free after the piano tuning, I am referring to the standard maintenance that must be carried out to keep the piano playing at it’s best. Pianos are subject to changes in humidity which inevitably takes its toll on the action parts (particularly felts and wooden parts) over the years. If the parts become too worn or too swollen (with excess humidity) they have to be replaced – that would constitute a major repair job as I’d often have to order in new action parts. However, it’s often a matter of re-adjusting parts of the action to restore it to it’s past condition.
A quick, minor repair job could be anything from lubricing the key bushing with teflon power (allowing for smoother playing), as shown here:
To replacing one or two bridle tapes that have disintigrated or snapped (replacing every tape on the piano would fall under a major repair job):
Or regulating the capstan screw to stop hammer warbling (not an offical term):
One of the most common job of all is realigning any hammers that have come lose and re-tightening the flange screws or replacing lose centre pins:
Re-positioning the back checks so that the hammers check at an equal distance (another big problem that adds to unevenness of touch across many pianos):
And of course, making sure the pedals are as responsive as they can be is always a priority for the customer (sometimes by oiling, sometimes by regulating and sometimes by re-fitting the lift rod):
All highly technical. You could say some of them fall under the category of ‘piano regulation’ but I see repairs and regulation as one and the same. It’s a matter reversing atrophy. If a piano has been neglected for a number of years I focus on piano tuning first and foremost as there will be a lot more work in that regard. Then on the next visit I focus on jobs that could be considered secondary, but that will greatly improve the touch and sound of the piano, such as voicing, regulating the touch and cleaning out dirt and debris that’s clogging the action.
If you are unsure about the work your piano needs, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be happy to answer any questions. Sending pictures of your Leeds piano (particularly close ups of the action, the wrestplank and the strings) will give me a good indication of the amount of work your piano will need and whether or not it’s worth paying for extensive repairs (if needed) or whether you might want to invest in a newer piano. The majority of the time a first piano tuning visit costing £45 will go a long way in bringing your piano back to life.
Some good news for the clients whose pianos can’t be tuned to concert pitch (usually due to age and their poor condition) and had to be tuned thirty cents flat; I have left your piano with special healing powers! If you ask Winfried Otto Schumann that is who believed music played at A432 was more in tune with nature (see this article at attunedvibrations).
The gist of the article is that the fundamental resonant frequency of the universe is 8hz, a pitch inaudible to the human ear but is the frequency of much electromagnetic activity on our planet. If a piano’s bass section had more octaves and I were to tune the whole piano starting from an extremely low note which resonated at 8hz, we’d find the A above middle C to be 432hz rather than 440hz (440hz being the agreed upon standard since the early twentieth century), which interacts more harmoniously with the natural world, creating soothing effect on the human mind and body.
Historically the agreed pitch standard of Orchestras has tended to be lower than A440, with the tendency being for the pitch standard to rise over time with efforts to produce brighter and more brilliant sounding music. It was only in the early twentieth century that musicologists decided upon the A440, much to the dismay of singers who found this higher pitch standard vocally straining and other critics.
Perhaps the opponents of A440 were right all along? Speaking from personal experience I’ve found many pianos I’ve tuned sound better at A432 or A435 – although these tend to be pianos from a different era. Modern uprights clearly lose character when they’re too flat of A440.