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

If a piano has not been tuned for a long time, it is likely to have dropped below Concert Pitch (Concert Pitch is the standard pitch for musical instruments, in which the note A above middle C is at 440Hz).  

A piano that is substantially below Concert Pitch will require a Pitch Raise to get it to be properly in tune at the correct pitch. This is a double tuning, also called a two-pass tuning. The strings are initially tuned sharp by a carefully calculated amount, from where they settle back to approximately the right place. They then need to be fine tuned at Concert Pitch.

The price for, and viability of, a Pitch Raise can be discussed on assessing the piano. 


DISTANCE - A LOGISTICAL PROBLEM

The West of Scotland poses special logistical 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.  An enquiry is received about a tuning in, say the Highland town of Fort William.  That's about 110 miles away from Gourock, whether going via the Western Ferries crossing from Gourock to Hunters Quay near Dunoon, then up through Inveraray, or going across the Erskine Bridge and up by Loch Lomond.  The journey takes about three hours.

So, 6 hours of a day are taken up just by driving to and from the job.  Allow two hours for the tuning, a reasonable time for more rural pianos probably less frequently maintained.  That's an 8 hour day for a single tuning.

An average tuning fee in 2020 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 it was possible, an overnight B&B stay would be necessary as it would be impracticable 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 take second place.







 


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