Friday, February 5, 2016


After I wrote yesterday's post I became curious to see if I could find a chord organ similar to the one I had as a child.

I found a picture of one very much like the one I had, only mine had legs on it - perhaps my Dad added the legs to it, himself.

Back to my piano...

There are a few things very different about my piano that you just don't see on other pianos...

The first thing that is obviously different is the music stand.  Not very many piano's in Canada have a music stand such as mine - because piano's that have this type of stand are from Europe.  My piano is an Irish piano. Built in Belfast by Hart and Churchill in 1929.

The second thing about my piano, is that it is not a spinet, and it is not a full upright - it is a half-upright... these are not all that common either.

The piano teacher I studied with all those years - had a piano that looked just like my piano... it had a music stand just like my piano, and it was a half-upright... I know because she always made me set the metronome myself, and while it wasn't an easy reach for me to take it off the piano to set it - it was still easy enough to reach where it sat on the lid - without me having to stand up - which would have been the case if her piano had been a full upright.

All this went through my mind as I stood looking at my "new" piano... can you imagine the excitement that shot through my heart when I was also told that Gary had found out that the piano had originally been owned by a piano teacher who had brought it with her from somewhere in Europe?

My teacher was from Europe - France to be exact - her piano looked just like this new piano... could it be possible?

Well there is no way to prove that indeed this was my teacher's piano - but I know it is.

I can't explain the feeling I have always had when I play it - like I was speaking to a cherished old friend, who knew me as well as I knew them.  I still feel that way every time I play it.

So what has all of this got to do with having my piano tuned this past Tuesday?  Well now you know how much I cherish my instrument, and why.

Back to Tuesday!

Just minutes into the tuning of my piano, I sensed that the tuner was not happy.  He hadn't really gotten right down to business as other tuners had in the past, but he sat staring at the strings at the back of the piano.  Then he fumbled in his bag of tools and then he stared some more.

I sat waiting for something to happen, and then he turned to me and asked me the strangest thing.  He asked what I use my piano for.  "Do you just play for pleasure, or?"  were his exact words.  I wondered why he asked such a question really - who cares why I play it - I play it! ( Now I am getting irritated).

Then he turned around and told me that my piano was built all wrong!

Well this is news to me!   How does a piano live to be three years short of 90 yrs old if it is built wrong, and why am I being told this now?
So he shows me - his tuning tool is too large for the first 4 pins beside middle C.  Strange - I had two different tuners work on this piano before, and neither ever alluded to this problem.

So he starts to tune the piano beginning with the 5th pin! Ah - hello - what about the first 4 pins?  He completes tuning the whole piano and then tells me that he has silenced half the strings on the first 4 pins with felt, and that it will have to stay that way until he can return to remove those 4 pins and replace them with longer pins so his tool will work.

He told me the piano will have to be taken apart, the strings removed the new pins replaced and then restrung... "It's not cheap" was his other comment.

News flash - neither was his tuning job!   He charged me 165.00 to "tune" my piano, and he altered my instrument, and the next day 40% of the keys below middle C were flat!

I am sick - I plan to use my piano to teach piano lessons in fall.  I am performing at the nursing home for the residents there several times a month, and I am the accompanist for the church services at the nursing home as well  - I need my piano to practice!

To say nothing of the fact that I wish to be able to sit and play my piano whenever I please, and after a 165.00 tuning bill - I should be able to play for months without noticing a note out of tune.

Am I being taken advantage of?

It sure feels that way - all I know is that no one is taking my piano apart.  The other thing I know is that it is not my or my piano's fault that the tuner does not have the right equipment to perform the job.  That piano has been successfully tuned for 86 years.

Taking my gloves off on this one - hope it doesn't get ugly!

1 comment:

  1. That is quite a story about your piano! It's amazing. It's so cool. But the piano tuner sounds odd to me. Is there another tuner in the area? I gave away my piano last year. I no longer played it, and I tried selling it for 2 years. No one wants pianos anymore it seems. We bought a keyboard which takes up way less room. But I haven't really played it much either. I seem to spend all my time on my computer keyboard. LOL! I hope you can get your poor piano fixed soon.