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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!)

Another revamp in order?

I’m desperately trying to revamp this website to make it appear more contemporary and mobile-friendly, but it’s difficult to do without affecting certain algorithms that determine it’s visibility. Apologies to anyone struggling with the layout, it’s legible but it could be more professional-looking. I’ve tried my best.

Overall I wish I’d made it less about myself and more about piano tuning, but I like to stress that I’m a musician and how that makes me respectful to each piano. I have a high standard to what I want from a piano, and I make sure I leave the customer with a piano that I would be happy to play myself.

I’m offering some earlier hours now to offset the loss of revenue due to Covid-19. I used to keep earlier times for professional venues, but I’m happy to tune pianos at homes at 9 AM now. I’ve realised how convenient it is: once the piano tuning is done it gives the customer the rest of the day free. It doesn’t matter where you are: Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Harrogate, York – I’m piano tuning in all those towns and any nearby area.

I’m very motivated right now. I hope to see my Leeds piano tuning business back to pre-Covid levels, but that’s a while away yet!

Last minute Christmas Bookings (Piano Tuning in Leeds)

Looking for a piano tuning in Leeds before Christmas? Left it until the eleventh hour? I still have a few hours left for piano tuning in Leeds and West Yorkshire:

  • Tuesday the 22nd @ 2 PM
  • Tuesday the 22nd @ 5 PM
  • Tuesday the 22nd @ 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday the 23rd @ 11 AM
  • Wednesday the 23rd @ 2 PM
  • Wednesday the 23rd @ 5 PM
  • Wednesday the 23rd @ 7:30 PM

If none of those times work and it’s an absolute emergency I may be able to squeeze a booking in on another day.

The healing power of A432

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.

You decide: