David Boyce Piano Services


Piano Tuner in Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, the west of Scotland and beyond. 

Tel: 07714959806  David@piano.plus.com

Reminiscences of Johan Strauss .mp3

Tuning Fees

 

TUNING

The fee for a tuning is £65 in Inverclyde and immediately surrounding areas. £70 elsewhere.

Additional charges apply for long distances.

Special rates are available for schools and other institutions with multiple pianos.


PITCH RAISE

When a piano hasn't been tuned for a long time, it is likely to have dropped below Concert Pitch (the international standard in which the A above Middle C is at 440Hz).

A piano substantially below Concert Pitch requires a Pitch Raise to get it properly in tune at the correct pitch. This is a "two-pass" tuning; effectively a double tuning. The strings are tuned sharp by a calculated amount, from where they settle back to approximately the right place. They are then fine tuned at the right pitch.

The cost and viability of a Pitch Raise can be discussed when assessing the piano.

 

DISTANCE - A LOGISTICAL PROBLEM

The West of Scotland poses special problems for making a living from piano work. There are few population centres - Glasgow is the only large city - and towns are spread far apart.

Let's imagine a piano technician based, like me, in Gourock.  Someone asks about a tuning in, say, the Highland town of Fort William.  That's about 110 miles away from Gourock, whether via Western Ferries crossing Gourock-Hunters Quay then up through Inveraray, or via Erskine Bridge and up by Loch Lomond.  The journey takes about 3 hours.  So, 6 hours of a day are taken up just driving to and from the job. Allow two hours for tuning, a reasonable time for rural pianos maybe less frequently maintained.  That adds up to an 8-hour day for a single tuning.

An average tuning fee in 2021 is around £70; substantially more in London. £70 divided by 8 gives £8.75 per hour. That's 3p more per hour than the National Minimum Wage.  Factor in fuel costs, tyre wear, and the £20 ferry fare if going by that route, and the rate is substantially below the minimum wage, for carrying out work which requires great skill, knowledge and concentration.

Because of low population density, it is not often possible to arrange three or more tunings in the same area.  Even if possible, an overnight B&B stay would be needed as it's impossible to travel there, tune three or four pianos and travel back all in the same day, especially in the months of short daylight hours. 

Compare all this with somewhere like, say, Hampshire in the South of England, where almost 1.4 million people live within a relatively small radius, with many populous towns an easy drive away.

An additional factor is that Councils used to have school and other pianos tuned faithfully twice a year, from central budgets. This work was put out to tender and provided "bread and butter" work for tuners.  Since the 2008 recession, Councils (with some exceptions) no longer provide this, and leave it to schools to maintain the pianos from their own school budgets.  With so many pressures on resources, it is understandable that piano maintenance gets deferred.

All this may help you to see why no-one earns a full-time living with piano work on the West Coast of Scotland.  Compare these figures with, for example, the published national teacher salary for a teacher at the top of the scale and you will see why when more than one option is available as a work choice, piano work, however enjoyable, would have to take second place.







 


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