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Who tunes your piano?

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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?

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  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?

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  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?

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    • 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?

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      • 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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