Tuning | Restoration | Repair | Used Piano Sales | Costs | Downloads |

PIANO TUNING

Professional Tuning Service for All Types of Pianos in the Canberra and Surrounding Area (Canberra, Yass, Goulburn, Cooma)

Chris Leslie
Piano Tuner/Technician ARPT

Private home visits, concert venues, teachers, schools.
Weekdays, weekends and evenings:

Phone: 0429 516 111 (all hours)

Home: (02) 6251 6123

Email bookings, click : pianotuning@chrisleslie.com.au

Home
Tuning service - Fine aural tuning and regulation for all pianos from concert stage to home tunings.
Antique Piano Restoration - Reconditioning or rebuilding of antique and heirloom pianos.
Repairs - Problems and faults rectified. Re-stringing. Hammer replacement. Pinblock tightening. Emergency repairs.
Used Piano Sales - Pre-inspected second hand pianos for buyers and sellers. Sell your old piano here.
Table of Service Costs - Current service costs.
Fortepianos/Harpsichords - Professional tuning and maintenance.
Downloads - Download albums of reconditioning work and tuning application software.

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Piano Tuning and repairs

Keep your piano finely tuned and adjusted.

Traditional aural tuning using hearing rather than electronic devices.

All hours - private homes, concert venues, teachers, schools.

Most pianos will required a tune up every 12 months to maintain good condition and stability.


Piano tuning is the adjustment of the tension, and therefore pitch, for each of the strings in the piano. A tuning service also includes necessary regulation adjustments to your piano action and tone where required for top performance. I tune and service all acoustic pianos from concert stage grands to the home piano.

What to expect with a piano tuning appointment:

* I may be contacted at any time including evenings and weekends by mobile, SMS, home phone, Facebook or email. Mobile or SMS is best during the day. Email is good to make contact and enquiries but an appointment time is best done by phone.
* Appointments are normally week days on a day and time to suit you, but are also usually available on weekends, public holidays and evenings.
* Most times I can arrive at your place very close to the arranged time.
* A tuning session will normally last about one and a half hours. This will include any repairs of a necessary nature that will not take more than about 10 minutes. Some cases, e.g. very seriously out of tune pianos, old Beales and pianolas may require two hours or more. If more serious repairs are required you will be informed before tuning and we will decide on a repair strategy for your piano.
* If the piano could optionally benefit from additional work I will inform you and provide a reasonable cost estimate.
* Tuning is a skill that is dependent on hearing. Therefore, household noises (TV, vacuum cleaner, frying pan, children playing, machinery etc) should be kept to a minimum in order to receive a fine tuning.
* I welcome anybody to observe a piano tuning session and to ask question.
* I will provide a reminder, via SMS or email if available, when the next tuning should be due, usually after 12 months.
* Pianos that require a very significant amount of tuning, for example, if not tuned for many years, will after the initial tuning drift out of tune more quickly than a piano that has been maintained with regular tuning. Subsequent tunings will be required for eventual stabilization.

My tuning is accomplished using time-honoured aural techniques.


The pitch will normally be tuned to concert standard A440, i.e. the A above middle C vibrating at 440 cycles per second. Pitch is initially obtained using a tuning fork. In some cases a piano may be tuned to itself at a lower pitch depending on the purpose and condition of the piano.

The remaining notes are all tuned relative to A440 and conforming to equal temperament in which each octave is divided into 12 equal semi-tone intervals. Alternative tuning temperaments are available by request.

A piano that is found to be significantly flat in pitch will ideally require a pitch raise. This process takes longer than normal because two or three tuning passes are normally required. In these cases a follow-up visit is generally required. All old pianos that have not been tuned for many years invariably require a pitch raise.

If your piano is used for concerts, recording or teaching studios then it needs to be in the best possible condition. In these cases a Premium service every few years is recommended. For a premium service, about a day will be spent going though all mechanical adjustments, as well as tuning the strings, to be able to achieve the best optimal performance. A Premium service is also advisable for older or neglected pianos that need to be brought up to a good standard.

How often should your piano be tuned?

The recommendation is 1 year from the previous tuning, or, as soon as you think that it does not sound right. Pianos will always tend to drift out of tune slowly over time. The main factors causing a piano to drift are previous pitch corrections, climatic fluctuations, i.e. temperature and humidity, heavy playing and the condition of the piano. A regular annual tuning and checking keeps the piano in good condition, will sound better and better as each tuning refines the previous tuning, and will feel much better to play because mechanical adjustments will be kept under control.

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Antique Piano Restoration, Reconditioning and Rebuilding

Restore your old family piano

Contact me to make an appointment to determine the reconditioning potential of your old piano.

Reconditioning is the replacement of worn parts including keytops, hammers, strings, dampers, springs, felts, leathers etc etc. It will improve the piano's tone, playability as well as extend the piano's life. Reconditioning your old piano may be a cost-effective alternative to replacing your old piano.

A reconditioned older instrument, even those over 100 years old, can be as reliable as a new instrument, possess a richness and depth of sound not found in the cheaper new pianos, and be a treasure in the home. An old piano may also be a family heirloom and deserve some level of mechanical preservation.

Reconditioning the action of 20 to 40 year old pianos will also ensure correct even touch and continued reliability. Many users of pianos in this category are unaware of the deterioration that has gradually occurred and that their piano has developed uneven control.

Buying a cheaper and older second hand piano with the view of reconditioning can be cheaper than buying a second hand newer piano. These pianos should be inspected first for viability and reconditioning cost estimate.

The condition of main structural components of your piano, i.e. soundboard, bridges and pinblock, and your budget, will determine the recommended level of reconditioning. If your piano has poor main structural components then reconditioning should be limited. Your piano may require only partial reconditioning, or perhaps your budget will only allow a partial reconditioning. I will assess your piano to determine the best approach.

Components from your piano, or the while piano, will be temporarily removed and taken to my workshop in Canberra. Typically, a piano action will come to my workshop for two to three weeks. Parts may be replaced, or repaired whenever possible. Traditional hide glue is used for wood and felt joining. Re-stringing can generally be carried out in your home. I do not refinish the surface of the piano case.

Costs will be estimated prior to work commencing. Partial action reconditioning may start at around $360 and involves cleaning, hammer shaping and repairs. Around $1000 spent on your old piano action that is not too badly worn will result in reliable and well regulated action, and may retain many of the original components. Around $2000 to $3000 would rebuild fairly comprehensively a worn action back to new-like. A full and comprehensive restoration on an old piano with good existing soundboard, bridges and pinblock could cost around the same as a low-end new piano and produce a functionally as-new instrument with new strings, hammers, action components and keys.

For comparison, the cheapest new small pianos retail for around $3000. For this you will get the smallest and brashest sounding little plastic-coated instrument. Compare this with the beauty, depth of character and the warm tones of your old piano reliably reconditioned.

All action reconditioning is followed by full regulation adjustments and tuning in your home.

The following brands are particular high in quality, or historic instruments, and were exported to Australia in reasonable numbers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These should be maintained and reconditioned whenever possible: Bechstein, Bluthner, Erard, Feurich, Grotian, Rich Lipp, Ronisch, Schwechten, Gors and Kallmann, Broadwood, Carl Ecke. Let me know if you have any of these pianos. Old Australian built Beales and Paling Victors are often worthy of reconditioning. In fact any piano brand can be a good candidate for reconditioning and the potential depends more on the existing condition rather than the brand name.


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Piano Repair

Repairs to your piano. Almost any faults will be fixed.

Re-stringing. Individual strings, bass strings only or the whole piano
Hammer replacement. Natural felt hammers from Abel in Germany.
Keytop repair or replacement. Plastic sets or Ivory replacements.
Pinblock tightening. The latest fast techniques will restore the tuning pin tightness and salvage an otherwise useless un-tuneable piano.
Emergency repairs.
All other repairs.


Just about any fault on a piano can be repaired. Most simpler faults will be attended to as part of a tuning service. More involved repairs will be charged separately and carried out at your piano, or components from your piano will be repaired at my workshop. For the more serious problems I will likely suggest that the piano has a full reconditioning or rebuilding service.

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Table of Service Costs

As at 25th May 2015


Service Cost Comments

Evaluation/Inspection

$60

Inspection of pianos for viability

Tuning service 1

$150

Fine tuning for new clients. Including basic essential complementary repairs.

Tuning service 2

$130

Fine tuning for valued existing clients. Tunings for group bookings.

Tuning. Premium service

$360

Tuning and regulation/voicing service. Recommended for pianos that need to be in the best possible performance condition, or, for neglected pianos that need extra care to be brought up to a good standard.

In-house mechanical repairs or additional service.

$60 per hour

For repairs or adjustments out of the scope of complementary repairs during tuning

Reconditioning/Rebuilding

per quote

Reconditioning and rebuilding piano or piano components in my workshop. A minimum cost would be for cleaning, hammer shaping, repairs, key top or bushing replacement. A higher price would involve comprehensive replacements of all wearable action components, including hammer and string replacement, essentially rebuilding the playing action. Most reconditioning is somewhere in between depending on the starting condition, budgets and expectations.

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Links and Downloads


Photobucket: Reconditioning a 1847 Pleyel grand from the Canberra School of Music
Photobucket: Reconditioning a privately owned 1857 Erard grand
Photobucket: Historically reconditioning a 1840s Broadwood cottage upright belonging to Lanyon Homestead
Youtube video of 1840s John Broadwood cottage upright after work done
Facebook Album: Reconditioning a 1877 John Broadwood upright action
Facebook Album: Replacing hammers on a 1985 Royale grand
Piano tuning application software:
Piano tuning simulation application
Piano tuner with spectrum display
These are programming applications in progress written by me. Java is required on your computer. After downloading, click to run the program. Works on either Apple or Windows.