Helpful Tips & Links

Tips and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do pianos need regular tunings?
This is important enough to recommend using the Internet for help. Google both "piano pitch raising", and "piano tuning stability". The point of it all is to get a piano truly stable and keep it that way. Playing, environment, even age play a part, as does what kind of piano it is, how often it's played, who plays it, and what kind of literature is used. I've seen pianos on concert stages have "tuning slips" in less than an hour of playing, even though they're tuned as many as 20 times a year by very high level tuners.

2. What are the best brands of pianos?
This a trick question, sort of. The piano industry is changing at a pace that it is virtually impossible to keep up with all the goings on. Much of the piano market now comes from Asia, especially China, Korea, and Indonesia. Many old, recognized names have been purchased by very new companies far removed from connection to the original companies. Persons purchasing pianos these days need to do careful research. Larry Fine's book, "The New and Used Piano Buyer's Guide" is excellent. Magazines like "Music Trades" also help. The consumer needs to carefully research the market, and piano manufacturers before purchasing a piano. His or her own playing and hearing of particular brands of instruments. The one which is best is the one which best meets the needs and expectations of the user.

3. Best Advice
Become educated about your pianos and pianos in general!!! The Piano Technicians Guild has a marvelous web site with loads of information- see link on the home page. There is at the PTG site also reference to the Piano Book, by Larry Fine. The PTG site has an "ask an expert" area as well. The moving company "Dadandbrad.com" site also has much useful information. Your valuable investment is best utilized when you are informed about what you have and need..

The New and Used Piano Buyers Guide, www.pianobuyer.com, is an excellent resource and gives some idea of pricing of new pianos.

4. What is the Piano Technicians Guild?
The PTG is an organization dedicated to educating technicians and the public. PTG qualifies technicians through a series of examinations, insuring that a modicum of quality work will be done on a client's piano. Registered Piano Technician is the designation for a technician who has passed all required examinations. The PTG attempts to hold high standards for workmanship and ethics. The local PTG site, www.houstuner.org lists all local PTG members, RPT's and their contact information.

Many PTG members take great advantage of continuing education opportunities within the Guild, and spend thousands of their own dollars to become better equipped to serve the pianos of their clients. There are also numerous e-mail lists which technicians use frequently when need of virtually immediate help with a challenging problem.

5. Moving Pianos and Other Stuff
 Here's a site worth checking out. They have a lot of good info on piano moving, which can help you recognize someone who knows what they are doing, and also some valuable information if you wish to attempt to move your own piano. They also are informative about the "wheels" on pianos, which are sometimes accidents waiting to happen.  www.carefulpianomovers.com

Learn to Move

6. Can a piano be tuned in 30 minutes?
It has been done, but it is unusual. I have done it a few times on school pianos which I tuned each semester, and which had remained so close to being in tune they needed only a touch-up. . Some of the answer depends on one's standard for tuning. "Not likely" is the correct answer if one wants an excellent and stable tuning.

7. What about electronic tuning devices?
A fool with a tool is still a fool. However, the PTG has pitted their best aural tuner against their best ETD tuner, and in two events, each tuning the same make and model of piano, each of the tuners won once, and in each instance the vote was 3-2. The truth of the matter is that what makes a tuner good is that s/he is a good tuner. Electronics are not perfect, but neither is the human ear. My bias is that few totally aural tuners can beat the electronic's accuracy.
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