Category Archives: 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.

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!)

What’s going on with me?

What’s going on with me, the Leeds piano tuner? Outside of lots and lots of West Yorkshire piano tuning (lots in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Harrogate) I’m also doing analogue recording as a hobby. I don’t charge anything for this.

I own two reel to reel machines (a Fostex B 16-track and a Fost R 8-track) and a Tascam 8-track midistudio (cassette recorder). I also own a set of professional-level microphones, some mixing hardware (external mic preamps & EQ, 2 compressors/limiters,  and a valve-based compressor/saturator), mic stands and leads, and a passion and enthusiasm for music that’s almost unparalleled. If someone wants me to do some recording for fun, I never charge anything for it and I never say no.

Now piano tuning? That’s another matter. That’s my bread and butter and main source of income. My prices in that regards are very reasonable compared to most others in the UK, where the average is between £60 and £90 depends on location – much more expensive in the south East.. This blog should be focused on piano tuning really. I never turn down piano tuning work and am available twenty-four-seven, tuning hammer in hand.

Weekend Piano Tuning now available

Every piano tuner wants to be firing on all cylinders right now and fitting too many jobs in a single day can occasionally hinder this! For that reason I am now trying to spread my working hours across the week by adding a few weekend jobs to the list. If you’re looking for a piano tuner in the Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield areas, may I suggest a weekend booking? Depending on your schedule, it might be a quicker way to book my piano tuning services at short notice. Booking something a few weeks in advance can be helpful for me, but the customer is always right.

I will try to update my Leeds and Bradford piano tuning availability page as often as I can, but – on a personal note – I’m very rarely home at the moment. Outside of my long working hours, I’m usually visiting family or going for solitary walks in the countryside.

The post-lockdown rush

For the last fortnight I’ve been unseasonably busy with the post-lockdown piano tuning rush! If you have had to wait a week or two for your Leeds or Bradford piano tuning then I do apologise and can only put it down to people being sensibly cautious over the last fourteen months. Thankfully the vaccine has instilled in people a new confidence and willingness to book their piano tuner, and the sudden rush of phone calls and emails has cheered me up no end.

I’m still updating my piano tuner availability page, but unless you have a particular day in mind, it’s sometimes easier to call or text me on 07542667040. Over the last few weeks I’ve found that my availability is snapped up so quickly that I can’t update the page in time.

More Leeds piano tuning reminders

I dislike doing admin but it’s necessary. I was out of work for much of last year. This has thrown my books off course. I’m sending out belated reminders for all my previous piano tuning customers in Leeds and Bradford. If you haven’t received a reminder yet, I apologise – I’m getting there!

  • Richard, Leeds Piano Tuner.

Piano Tuning Dip

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.

 

Continuation

After an interesting year of mild starvation I’ve had a week of work that was as equal to a typical pre-March 2020 week. In the past year, lack of work led to apathy and caused me to neglect this website a little. Thanks to the recent slew of calls I’m feeling much happier and more motivated about my Leeds and Bradford piano tuning.

I haven’t always been on time with reminders or with updating my Leeds piano tuner availability section. When you originally start a business you spend a lot of time on the website, making sure the availability is updated at least once a day and you have more to talk about on your blog. As time goes on you start to rely on people texting, emailing or contacting you to give a time that works best for them for a piano tuning. There are fewer topics you can write about that you haven’t already said. Also, piano tuning, repairs and regulation are niche topics I’m not sure how many people are genuinely interested.

I don’t think I’ll use this blog as much as I used to when I started piano tuning. There just isn’t as much new ground to cover. Instead it’ll be used for any important updates.

Still working safely in Leeds and Bradford under lockdown

If you’re worried about the legality of booking a piano tuner during lockdown, don’t be. Tradespeople of all types are allowed to continue their work under the new rules. Please see the yorkshire post for more details. This link covers the health and safety guidelines that me and other piano tuners have been asked to follow throughout the pandemic. Common sense isn’t always so common! Sometimes it’s helpful to remind yourself of the best way to stay safe (I need the reminder myself from time to time).