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).
A happy new year to my cherished and valued customers (that’s all of you). A sincerest thank you to everyone who was kind enough to book my piano tuning services during the turbulent and rather frightening 2020. While I received some financial assistance via the self-employed grant, I only managed to keep above water due to people occasionally needing my piano tuning skills in Leeds and Bradford. One would think with people having more “leisure time”, pianos would be popular again, but that hasn’t been the case from what I’ve seen. Many children begin on digital pianos, which is no substitute for the real thing as far as I’m concerned. Call me old-fashioned, but if you are serious musician, nothing can compare to the touch of a well-regulated and finely tuned Schimmel or a Kawa acoustic piano. Digital pianos and keyboards have their uses (headphone practice and live performance), but an acoustic piano should be the mainstay of your piano playing.
Now I’m just sounding old and cranky. Enough of that. Let’s keep positive and hope 2021 is a much better year for all of us.
A big thank you to anyone who has enquired about a piano tuning during these turbulent times. We all need to support local businesses right now.
My workload has been cut in half since March of this year. Mercifully, I have earned enough money this week to order new stock (various oils, powders, glues, assorted piano parts) so I’m looking forward to using these next week.
Let’s all keep supporting local businesses and local tradespeople.
- – Richard, Piano Tuner Leeds.
In a desperate attempt to garner traffic to this moribund page (an overhaul is imminent), I’ve decided to start posting advertisements herein. If you have a piano for sale in Yorkshire and can prove it’s an overstrung or under-damped piano (pictures of the mechanism and the strings would be sufficient), in reasonable condition and built after 1950* I would consider making a post for you. Sending me an email at email@example.com is your best bet.
If you’d like me to evaluate your piano, I charge £25. Evaluation involves me looking over the case, the mechanism, the strings, the soundboard and the bridges to assess their condition. I also check the relative pitch of the piano to see what sort of future piano tuning would be required, and whether it is capable of a pitch raise. Finally, I give you a price that is both reasonable and competitive.
* Pianos made before that may be considered, although it would have to be a reputable brand (Steinway, Bechstein, Bluthner), in good condition and being offered at a sensible price. My inclination is to dissuade clients from purchasing older pianos even if they’re a high-end model, as the tone and feel is not worth paying £500+ for. Some piano tuners disagree with me, and if you have a Bechstein from 1880 that plays well and you enjoy, more power to you.
– Richard, Piano Tuner Leeds.
The Leeds piano tuner is still taking on clients. Although it is difficult to maintain a steady workflow during the pandemic, he will still be working one or two days a week. Staying safe is a top priority right now and at the first sign of symptoms he will cancel all bookings and self-isolate. If you are booking a piano tuning, he kindly asks the following from you:
- Please maintain social distancing during the booking
- Please allow the Leeds piano tuner to wash his hands before and after the tuning.
- Wiping the keys with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth would also be appreciated
Please be aware you may have to wait at least 6 – 7 days for your piano tuning booking as he tends to only work on Thursdays and Fridays at present (until his workflow returns to normal). He looks forward to hearing from you.
– Piano Tuner Leeds
With the coronavirus becoming an ever-greater concern for businesses, I’m determined to carry on working my usual hours as long as people need me. My immune system has been strengthened fighting the many viruses that dwell in overdamped pianos.
In the past week two customers have cancelled due to flu which is completely understandable. However, right now might be the easiest time to hire the piano tuner at short-notice as many people seem to be putting such jobs on hold. It’s certainly been a slow week for me.
On an unrelated note, I’d like to offer a sincere apology to anyone in Leeds or Bradford who has been looking for a piano tuner over the last few months. I’m currently without broadband and I haven’t been able to update my piano tuner’s availability page as regularly as I’d like to. This may have mislead some people who didn’t realise it was outdated. I’ll try to keep on top of it in future. I still have enough data on my mobile to check my emails every day for any Leeds piano tuning requests.
Outside of my piano tuning work, I’ve been producing a huge amount of my own music recently in my home studio. Here’s an uplifting power pop song I recorded over the weekend, with heavy influence from the great Bill Stevenson (in the drum tracks at least). This is the antithesis of the music I usually write, but I do love this genre:
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.
Today I received a polite message sent to me via Piano Tuner Leeds, asking about a full replacement of broken hammer flange cords on a second hand Yamaha U1. Needless to say, this will have to be discussed with the customer before pricing is decided upon. If you ever find yourself in his situation, it is highly advised that every cord is replaced. As with many broken action parts (particularly springs, tapes and cords), the breakage of one is a sign that others will soon follow. However, I always keep some spare rolls of cords in the car for emergency repairs. At a piano tuning visit to Headingley, Leeds I was urged to make a ten minute fix at the end of the booking, as is usually the case. In this instance, only one cord on the piano had broken – much to my relief.
Another job that occasionally comes up is the replacement of bad hammer butt felts and catcher leather on upright pianos. This is particularly important on older uprights, as the material tends to harden creating annoying clicks across the piano. As with many piano tuning and repair tasks, if only one or two need to replaced it can be completed for free after your tuning. I did not start a career in piano tuning to squeeze every penny out of the customer, but I do have bills to pay. That said, I want all my piano tuning clients to feel like they’ve been given a good deal as well as a first class service.
– Richard, Piano Tuner Leeds.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.