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Who tunes your piano?


Until recently I have never questioned who tuned my piano. Since I was a little girl the same gentleman has been our tuner. He knew me from the age of 8 and each year or so he would be over to tune the piano. This gentleman was a part of our lives. He had been to each house I had lived in, watched me grow up and then have my own children. Then tragically last year he died in a car accident on his way to a client.

The week before his death he had tuned my piano. He had been chatting with me about his young grandson and asked how my children and music studio were going. I was so sad to hear of the accident and his family’s heartache.

In the following months, in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to start looking for a piano tuner for the future. Someone who I could recommend to students and parents when they asked. I felt so reluctant to commence looking. It felt wrong.  As I asked around, several people recommended someone they had used before. I didn’t really want to recommend someone I had not used yet. As time continued to flow past, I eked the tuning out for as long as possible. It felt like a little piece of him was still alive inside my piano and if someone else touched it, he would be gone!

In the past, I had never truly considered HOW my piano was being tuned. I loved the sound of my piano, it was mellow, rich and warm. He knew just how to get the best out of the piano and I had grown accustomed to the way he tuned it.

But as the tuning slipped over the next year, it needed to be re-done. So, after careful deliberation I took the plunge. It didn’t turn out well. I asked them to return and tweak the tuning a little more for me. It was suddenly brighter in tone and held sound for longer. It just wasn’t right. My mellow warm piano was gone. Even after the re-tuning, I haven’t really been happy with it. I try to tell myself I will get used to it over time, I’m just being too picky. Perhaps it is just me missing my old tuner and “his way”.

Then I considered buying a new piano.

At that point I knew that I needed to look for another tuner. There is certainly no need to buy a new piano when I’m know the sound this one is capable of creating.

So after some more investigating, I have another tuner coming today. She was actually mentored by and trained with my old piano tuner for some time, learning the craft from him. I hope this means she has a similar style to his and will understand what I’m looking (and listening for). I will be open about what I do and don’t like about the current tuning (it was only re-tuned 3 months ago) and I hope that will help convey  what I would like to happen.

Fingers crossed! I hope this afternoon I am sitting down to practice on an instrument returned to it’s former glory.

How do you choose you tuner? Have you had the same tuner for a long time? I’m interested to know how you explain to your tuner what sound you want. I have never had to do this before and the words I seem to be coming up with are all wrong.

7 Responses to “Who tunes your piano?”

  1. Lyndall

    That is sad. Curious to know if your piano ever sound the same again after being retuned?


  2. Lyndall

    Carly I never realized that you could get different tones just depending on who (or how) tuned it! What make is your piano?


  3. Cris

    So sad for you as he is part of your childhood too..It is one of those obscure profession that no one realises it brings joy to musicians:) Is there a piano tuner you can recommend in sydney?


    • creativepianoprofessional

      Cris, Yes it was very sad. I had seen him once or twice a year since I was a little girl. It felt like part of him was inside my piano still and it took me a long time to have it tuned again after he died. Then that part of him that lingered disappeared when re-tuned.

      I have just found someone wonderful to tune my piano in Adelaide. I’m hesitant to give recommendations in Sydney when I personally have not had any tuning done by them. I would try the Piano Tuners Association of NSW. Perhaps some of our other readers would be able to point you in the right direction?


      • creativepianoprofessional

        Cris, here are some details from a colleague of mine.

        There’s a Yamaha technician who works for Logans Yamaha shop in Sydney, named Greg. I won’t give full details here, but I can give Carly info on request, or else call Logans Yamaha on (02) 9744 2400. I consult him very regularly on piano issues and general enquiries as he’s a close friend, but he that doesn’t make me biased…. much! If he were in Adelaide he’d be my No. 1 piano tuner. 🙂


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