Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

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NewAge
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Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by NewAge » 12 Oct 2010, 23:29

I was unhappy with my previous piano tuner, who prior to that last visit was requested to schedule for a regulation in addition to tuning, but during the visit insisted regulation wasn't necessary as the piano (a Sauter Masterclass) was barely 2 years old. And despite my insistence and pointing out clearly a few areas where the hammer alignment could be improved, and string seated checked, said that in general, regulation was not required before approx 10 years. This was the tuner too, who to my horror, thought a squeaky damper pedal could be cured by a quick blast of WD40.

Since then I've asked around, and last week had a tuner/technician affiliated with S&S and Schimmel pay a visit. He did a tuning, regulated the action, then removed the action to rectify a damper pedal squeak that was clearly coming from the upper damper mechanism. Lower pedal areas were also Protek'd to ease slight stiction. When completed, everything sounded and felt superb.
But the biggest surprise was still to come, when I got my cheque book out.
I had an idea of the work involved (he was here for almost 2hrs), and I had budgeted approx £150 pounds especially as he wasn't my regular tuner, was in great demand, and had to coax him several times by phone to confirm an appointment.
His total charge was €80 euros (approx £70 pounds), which I thought was brilliant! Perhaps the freshly brewed coffee and hobnob biscuits that were offered may have gone some way in securing some hidden discount. One thing's for sure, he agreed to pay another visit in 6 months time, so it's great to have established contact with someone who clearly gets satisfaction from a job done well.
Was I lucky, or is this frequently the going rate for similar tuning & rectification action in UK - and elsewhere in Europe?
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by D.J.Smith » 13 Oct 2010, 09:24

You were very fortunate to find a tuner who is also a competent technician. They are very few and far between. The price is low too. I paid rather more than that, pro rata, earlier this year. Perhaps you are prettier than me. :D

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Colin Nicholson » 13 Oct 2010, 13:26

Who is (s)he??? can come and do my piano!!
That's a very good price, I would have charged nearer £100, but depends on what needed doing.
I suspect though the whole of the regulation process was not needed?
Nice 1 though....
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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Gill the Piano » 13 Oct 2010, 16:33

...and they might have been CHOCOLATE Hobnobs...
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Barrie Heaton » 13 Oct 2010, 17:29

Tuning prices in Europe
#
Poland 52 euros
Germany 88 Euros
Netherlands 71 Euros

*
UK area price
UK South £75.00
UK Midlands £55.00
UK North W £ 48.00
UK North E £45.00
Scotland £55. to £ 90 (the further up the more expensive)
Wales £49.00


So you did very well must have been some good coffee I would say he has just charge you for the tuning and the other bits were simple to fix

Barrie,

# Euro piano mag
* UK piano tuners survey
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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by NewAge » 14 Oct 2010, 19:42

Thanks all for your feedback.
Looks like I was fortunate and was charged just for the tuning, the regulation just needing some fine tweaking.
The Hobnobbs offered were 'plain', but were obviously appreciated. :wink:
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by joseph » 16 Oct 2010, 09:59

I pay £70 to get my piano tuned, the tuner is from Edinburgh and I am in Dundee. I wouldn't ask anyone else in the area to tune my piano to be honest, but thats also because I have a good relationship with my tuner and I trust him to do whatever needs done.

If the piano needs more, like hammer re-shaping and fitting to the strings with a full regulation, about a days servicing in other words, I pay £250.

In the next couple of years it will probably start needing felts replaced and perhaps keyboard bushings done, but I'm just gonna persevere with it as is. In an ideal world I'd have it all done of course......

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Model V » 16 Oct 2010, 11:19

There really is some crap in the tuning industry - and finding a good tuner who is also an excellent technician is rare indeed. As far as I know there isn't a good tuner/technician in my home town and, (having been recommended by the best in the business) I now have a guy who is happy to travel 30+ miles to do the pianos where I work. He charges more but is worth every penny.

God bless him and the other (sadly few) greats out there. A rare and wonderful breed.

MV.

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by NewAge » 16 Oct 2010, 11:22

joseph wrote:I pay £70 to get my piano tuned, the tuner is from Edinburgh and I am in Dundee. I wouldn't ask anyone else in the area to tune my piano to be honest, but thats also because I have a good relationship with my tuner and I trust him to do whatever needs done.

If the piano needs more, like hammer re-shaping and fitting to the strings with a full regulation, about a days servicing in other words, I pay £250.

In the next couple of years it will probably start needing felts replaced and perhaps keyboard bushings done, but I'm just gonna persevere with it as is. In an ideal world I'd have it all done of course......
Joseph,
This sounds as if you have had a full regulation more than once. Assuming it's with the same piano and used say 3 hrs/day (or more?), what sort of time was it between regulations, i.e. 2 years, 5 years, more?
I think most of us here know that the 'average' piano owner would not have a full regulation done in the life of a piano. I'm pretty certain that was the case when we were young kids, in fact I bet that when our piano was tuned - when it became really necessary - we went without a good meal that day as the funds were always very tight.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Barrie Heaton » 16 Oct 2010, 16:21

NewAge wrote:
Joseph,
This sounds as if you have had a full regulation more than once. Assuming it's with the same piano and used say 3 hrs/day (or more?), what sort of time was it between regulations, i.e. 2 years, 5 years, more?
.
A lot depend on the quality of the playing and the quality of the piano 3 hrs a day hard playing will requite little bits on each visit especially the voicing

On a new grand piano with moderate playing

2 years level hammers (lost motion ) teflon rollers, tighten screws, check the spread, (movement common on cheep pianos) Time 20min to 2 hours depending on the piano.

3 - 4 years The above plus re level keys, polish capstans, bat, balance pins, damper wires. Then do a full reg sequence. 4 to 8 hours depending on the piano.

The above is not taking into account wear on the hammers that may involve refacing or steaming

The above is just rough guide, a lot depend on many factors player, piano and environment is just a few

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by D.J.Smith » 17 Oct 2010, 08:44

Barry.

Small query : what do you mean "bat" ?

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Oct 2010, 09:13

I think Barrie is referring to bat pins - front pins under keys. Named as they resemble cricket bats
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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by NewAge » 17 Oct 2010, 09:15

D.J.Smith wrote:Barry.

Small query : what do you mean "bat" ?
I wondered the same but was too embarrased to ask!

Today one can get dictionaries, tutorials etc on the new SMS jargon/language, but I've yet to see one on 'Heaton'isms. Personally I love 'em - keep 'em coming Barrie. :wink:
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Barrie Heaton » 17 Oct 2010, 11:22

NewAge wrote:
D.J.Smith wrote:Barry.

Small query : what do you mean "bat" ?
I wondered the same but was too embarrased to ask!

Today one can get dictionaries, tutorials etc on the new SMS jargon/language, but I've yet to see one on 'Heaton'isms. Personally I love 'em - keep 'em coming Barrie. :wink:
That is the correct name for them invented by Erard In 1840, under patent number 8643 they are shaped like cricket bats so you can turn them to take out movement in the key when the bushing wears out. The story goes they he was bit bored at a game of cricket and :idea: :!:

The handle of the bat is a point that goes into the key frame and the bat sits above, the front of the key rest over it. Sat at the piano you are looking at the thinnish part of the bat.

I did this for F%N in 2001 just mouse over the parts
http://www.fletcher-newman.co.uk/flash/ ... ction.html
http://www.fletcher-newman.co.uk/flash/ ... ction.html


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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by D.J.Smith » 17 Oct 2010, 15:23

Thanks for the explanation.

Turning the pins to compensate for worn out bushes must be a cheap short-term fix that would only accelerate wear of what's left of the bushing ? I doubt that's what perfectionist M.Erard intended ?

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Oct 2010, 18:23

Sometimes when a bat pin is turned (either clockwise or anti-clockwise), depending on the severity of worn bushings & how far the pin needs to be turned, this can also change the spacing between the keys very slightly. If the front key bushings are badly worn, the keys will 'knock' from side to side, and it affects the tiny gap between each keys. Although turning the bat pins helps to reduce knocking and regain some sort of spacing, they are sometimes cranked over aswell if the bushings are excessively worn. Not to be confused for cranking the centre rail pin - this is done to "straighten" a wonky, lop-sided key!

A newly bushed & eased key front should 'wiggle' side to side about an 'eighth of an inch' (so they said at college!) - and if you compare, say, Middle C to top A, you may see what I mean. Rebushing a complete keyboard is an art in itself.
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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by Barrie Heaton » 17 Oct 2010, 20:05

D.J.Smith wrote:Thanks for the explanation.

Turning the pins to compensate for worn out bushes must be a cheap short-term fix that would only accelerate wear of what's left of the bushing ? I doubt that's what perfectionist M.Erard intended ?
No that is what he intended on some piano can add 3 - 5 years

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Re: Delighted with a tuning & regulation (at last)

Post by joseph » 18 Oct 2010, 21:37

I've had the piano 3 and a half years and its had a full regulation twice - when it was delivered it was given one paid for by the shop, and then 2 years after that it was given another one. The hammers were re-shaped at that time too. The piano does get heavy use since I practise a lot. I guess the first full regulation was basically the initial set up. It sounds great though. Keyboard will probably hold out for another couple of years before it needs relevelling and stuff. I think I'll get a good 4 more years out of the hammers although by then they will probably be sounding quite harsh and not have much voice left in them, given the amount of use I give the piano. Mind you, you never know...

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