Who Is Your Tuner?
Anyone can read a few DIY articles, purchase a tuning lever, download an app and hang a shingle as a piano tuner. In Tucson, there are a handful of first-rate professionals. Most are registered tuner/technicians certified by the Piano Technicians Guild. I am proud to be a member of that distinguished guild.
Mastering the art of piano tuning requires practice. I started out tuning floor pianos for the Muller Piano Company in Tucson and was fortunate to have as a mentor a blind gentleman named Frank Elias Ohm. Frank’s skill and acute sensitivity to sound illustrated for me what an excellent piano tuning should sound like. He demonstrated that learning to tune octaves, unisons and equal temperament is only half of the equation for a good piano tuning. Developing good tuning lever technique is just as important.
Eventually, I advanced at Muller to the position of field technician. My duties included in-home warranty tuning and service as well an occasional tuning for touring artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Burt Bacharach and Neil Sedaka. The Muller Piano Company closed its doors about ten years ago. Today I am an independent technician offering vast experience and the cumulative knowledge acquired from my years with the Muller Co. I tune and repair pianos.
How Often Should I Have My Piano Tuned?
Piano manufacturers recommend twice a year and four times for the first year of a brand new instrument. Teachers and serious players will usually have their piano tuned at least twice a year. If you have your piano tuned once a year, you can count on the basic tuning fee. If you wait two years before the next tuning, there's a fair chance that you will pay an additional fee for a pitch raise to keep the piano at A440 pitch. If you wait three years, it is almost certain that you will pay additional for a pitch raise.
If you own a piano that is quite old, it may be wise to simply tune it at its current pitch. This will eliminate the additional cost of a pitch raise and reduce the risk of string breakage that can occur during the process. If you have an older piano that you would prefer to be brought up to A440 pitch, we can talk about that as well. Feel free to call and discuss your options and pricing scenarios.
Tips For Tucson Piano Owners
People often praise the desert because of the dry air, but dryness is a piano killer! Buy a hygrometer to monitor your piano's climate. Avoid direct sunlight on the instrument, either through a window or a skylight. In addition to fading the finish, the heat from direct sunlight will dry out the pinblock causing the tuning pins to loosen and even slip, making it impossible to properly tune the instrument. For the best care of your instrument, invest in a room humidifier or have a certified technician install a piano climate control system. About 40% is the ideal humidity for maintaining a healthy piano.
What? Ceiling Fans?
The majority of homes in the desert have ceiling fans. Be aware that a spinning ceiling fan cuts the sound waves and will distort your piano's tone. This is particularly noticeable in sustained higher range notes. The only remedy is to turn off the fan.