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 Post subject: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
My mother is giving me a nice Baldwin upright. I was thinking of tuning it myself for several reasons: I live probably 60 miles from the nearest professional piano tuner, my house varies a lot in temperature so it would require frequent tuning, I have a good ear and plenty of free time. I imagine if tuned frequently, it would not take that long.

Does anyone know about how much it costs to move a piano 120 miles and up 12 stairs?


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 1999
Location: U.S.A.
Hi differencetone,

I'm a pianist, not a tuner/technician; however, in the past I sometimes tuned my parents' piano, a 1920s Ivers & Pond baby grand as well as a Whitney console belonging to a neighbor. Both were in a sad state such that I could do little harm.

My own piano is a 1984 Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6'3") partially rebuilt. Although I do things like tightening the action, leveling the hammers, putting teflon powder on the knuckles, adjusting the pedal mechanisms, keeping the steel strings free of rust particles, brushing out the hammer grooves, and cleaning the soundboard, I do not tune the piano despite having a very good ear. I do admit to keeping a tuning lever handy which I only use to fix a unison here or there between tunings. But tuning requires training in temperaments, tuning intervals, setting pins, stretching the octaves, etc. etc. Without a solid knowledge of those things, and given that my Baldwin is a high performance grand, I don't want to mess with it. For example, it's easy to widen the drill holes in a pinblock, thus loosening tuning pins, due to poor tuning lever technique. With a short slip into inattentiveness, it's also easy to pull on the wrong string and break it. So there is risk involved.

If your Baldwin upright is an old, beat-up one where you cannot do much more harm, then yes you could probably tune it yourself if you wished to do so. But if it's a Model 6000 Vertical (52") in great shape, I absolutely would not mess with it! You're better off paying the money to maintain it properly, which would then give you years of pleasure in playing it.

I don't know about the moving cost. Visit the Baldwin Piano site, and you'll find the specifications including weight there by clicking on the correct model of upright. Usually two men can move an upright. Given the weight, mileage, steps, and crew size, you should be able to easily obtain three quotations from movers over the phone. If you're in the U.S., and if the move will be interstate, then the rate will be based on weight. If it's intrastate, then it will usually be an hourly rate which is generally better for you. Either way, you'll need to pay a tip as well at the conclusion of the delivery. Also, most larger cities have a moving company that specializes only in pianos. If you have a choice between a regular household mover(s) or a dedicated piano mover, always go with the latter regardless of price, as they are far more proficient at what they do. If you're limited to household movers, then you could go with the lowest or lower estimate. If the piano is in excellent shape, you would be well advised to take the insurance option for actual depreciated value, not insurance based on the number of pounds involved. The former will enable you to cover the cost of a used equivalent replacement piano. The latter will buy you dinner--maybe.
I hope this helps.

David

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"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


Last edited by Rachfan on Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
It's in good shape. Probably worth 2,000 from what I could find online. Hasn't been tuned in a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Posts: 1999
Location: U.S.A.
Hi differencetone,

If the piano has not been tuned for a long time (perhaps even a matter of years), that's a very strong argument not to attempt tuning it yourself. By now the piano could be a half tone to a full tone flat. That means the pitch will have to cautiously be raised over several visits. Most people correctly deduce that in that process it's possible to break strings. True. But that's not the overriding issue. The major concern is that the sudden and great change in tension (15 to 20 tons worth depending on the model) will crack the soundboard, possibly beyond repair. It's something you need to be keenly aware of. That's why it must be done in stages.

David

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"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
Thanks, I did not know that. This piano is starting to look more expensive. How important is it that the room stay at a steady temperature where I plan to move it?


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
differencetone wrote:
Thanks, I did not know that. This piano is starting to look more expensive. How important is it that the room stay at a steady temperature where I plan to move it?

Most important. And also the humidity.

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 Post subject: Re: Anyone Tune Their Own Piano?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 1999
Location: U.S.A.
Hi differencetone,

A fairly consistent co