I am not the cheapest piano technician in the area. I never have been and never will be. Why? Because I’m really good at what I do and I have a very high standard of professional ethics. If you’re shopping only on price I’m not your technician. My concept is one of complete piano care where I help you get the very best musical experience out of your instrument.
There is a pitch standard in this country of A=440. This means that the A above middle C should vibrate at 440 cycles a second. Pianos are designed to be tuned at this pitch and sound best there. By tuning your piano to A440, you can be assured that it will be in tune with other instruments in case you or your child decides to play along with a clarinet, trumpet or violin.
There is only one reason to not tune to A440, and that is if your piano is so old, rickety and frail and in poor condition that the frame and strings simply won’t take the tension. In that case, cut your losses and invest in a better piano.
I charge more because I want to work with people who care about their piano and are looking for skill, experience and professionalism. I stand behind my skills by being a member of the Piano Technicians Guild and having earned the title of RPT, Registered Piano Technician. To achieve RPT status one must take a series of tests, including written, tuning and a bench test. The tests are reasonable and cover the fundamental skills one should have to service pianos in the field. Recent changes to the test have increased the time pressure meaning that one must have facility in addition to knowledge. One must have practiced these skills to be able to perform them correctly within an allotted period of time. This shows the difference between book learning and practice.
One can belong to the Guild without taking the tests at a level called Associate. Associates attend chapter meetings and regional and national conventions, connecting with skilled technicians from all over the world. They are encouraged to work towards RPT status but are welcome to remain at the Associate level for as long as they wish. In fact there are many skilled and respected technicians who are Associates. Frequently these are specialists who do not need the full set of repair and tuning skills needed for RPT status.
There are skilled technicians who are not members of the Guild as well, but my experience is that they are the minority. Usually those that avoid the PTG are not driven to improve their skills, see piano work as easy money and are afraid to be “outed”. The RPT tests are reasonable but they are not easy. Even skilled techs avoid them for various reasons, and often show a misunderstanding of the process. The tests are designed to demonstrate basic skills and any tech with proper training and experience should be able to pass them. The tests have a reasonable allowance for mistakes and errors and have been meticulously refined over decades to be objective and fair. But they are not easy. The result is Pass/Fail, not a ranking or evaluation of overall skills. For this reason, there can be differences in skills and abilities between RPT’s.
The problem with piano technology is that it is very hard for the average consumer to judge what is right and wrong, leading to many people getting taken in by techs with low ethical standards and poor skills who see piano tuning as easy money. If you’re buying a commodity item, price shopping makes sense. If I can get a box of Quaker Oatmeal 25 cents cheaper somewhere, it makes sense to purchase there. When you’re depending on skilled professionalism, shopping only on price is dangerous.
If you’ve read this far, you should get a reward! I charge $150 for the first hour and $100 for each hour after that. If you’re a new customer, or if you tune once a year you should plan on a 2 hour service call costing $250. A lot gets done during this call, more than just tuning and I am sure you will be happy with the results. Discounts are available for more frequent tunings. If that seems expensive, call me. I’m happy to discuss your specific situation. Connecticut residents will have the CT sales tax added to their invoices.
I’m also quite fast, which means I get a lot of work done during a visit. I offer a day long grand piano service that will really bring the tone and touch of your piano back to a good place, a place you have probably forgotten about! This day service costs $850.00
Why the hourly rate and why can’t I just quote a price like the others? Because I’m not like the others and I approach caring for your piano differently. When I leave, your piano will be solidly in tune. Often I spend time fixing annoying squeaks in the pedals or keys that stick. Bringing pianos into correct and optimal condition is a flow of work, not a series of discreet steps. If your piano is way out of tune, it simply takes longer to tune it. Sometimes to make it stable, I have to go through sections 3 and 4 times. Generally I can get a lot done in 1.5 to 2 hours and you will see a noticeable and dramatic improvement.
I provide the service your piano requires. When you have a set tuning fee, then the technician is motivated to provide that amount of service and no more, even if the piano requires it.
I really love pianos and I’m very good at what I do. If your piano is important to you, then I hope you will give my service a try. I look forward to meeting you and your piano!