Who Is Your Tuner?
In Tucson, there are a handful of first-rate professionals. Most are registered tuner/technicians certified by the Piano Technicians Guild. I am proud to be a RPT member of that distinguished guild since 1985.
What is a RPT? The title of Registered Piano Technician (RPT) must be earned by passing a series of rigorous examinations.
On-site tuning, repair, regulation, voicing and general service of all makes of acoustic pianos. State-of-the-art Accu-tuner technology creates an aurally verified tuning tailored to the scale of your piano. I carry an inventory of parts, supplies and tools to cover just about any situation. Cleaning services are offered including grand soundboard cleaning and interior vacuuming. Schedule an appointment by phone, email or SMS text link on this page. My basic tuning fee is $115. A neglected piano will require a pitch raise to bring the instrument back up to the A440 international standard. This is typically an additional $45. All work is guaranteed.
I am a second generation piano technician. Under the tutelage of my father - Larry Prentice RPT, I was able to secure a position tuning rental and showroom pianos for the Muller Piano Company - the local Steinway dealer in Tucson. Eventually, after tuning hundreds of pianos and working in Muller's piano rebuilding shop, I achieved the RPT rating and advanced to the position of field technician. My duties included in-home warranty tuning and service as well an occasional tuning for touring artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Burt Bacharach, Journey and Neil Sedaka. The Muller Piano Company closed its doors about ten years ago. Today, I have resumed my career as an independent piano technician offering vast experience and the cumulative knowledge acquired from my years with the Muller Piano Co. I tune and repair pianos.
How Often Should I Have My Piano Tuned?
Piano manufacturers recommend twice a year and four times for the first year of a brand new instrument. Teachers and serious players will usually have their piano tuned at least twice a year. If you have your piano tuned twice a year, you can count on the basic tuning fee. If you wait one to two years before the next tuning, there's a good chance that you will pay an additional fee for a pitch raise to keep the piano at A440 pitch.
Using impact tuning hammer technology to mitigate the chances of string breakage, I have excellent success bringing neglected instruments back to a playable condition at the pitch standard of A440. However, on very rare occasions it may be advisable to tune the piano at its current pitch.
Steinway Verdigris Treatment
Very old Steinways suffer a malady known as verdigris - a green color corrosion caused by a chemical reaction between the paraffin wax Steinway put in the flange cloth and the nickel on the center pin. The result is a piano that plays poorly or is all together unplayable. To mitigate this problem, I utilize a device that sends an electrical charge through the flange center pin and dissolves the verdigris bond. A protective lubricant is then applied. The result is normalized action performance. While the longevity of this method may be limited to a few years, it provides a practical alternative to expensive hammer and shank replacement.
Tips For Tucson Piano Owners
People often praise the desert because of the dry air, but dryness is a piano killer! Buy a hygrometer to monitor your piano's climate. Avoid direct sunlight on the instrument, either through a window or a skylight. In addition to fading the finish, the heat from direct sunlight will dry out the pin block causing the tuning pins to loosen and even slip, making it impossible to properly tune the instrument. For the best care of your instrument, invest in a room humidifier or have a certified technician install a piano climate control system. About 40% is the ideal humidity for maintaining a healthy piano.
What? Ceiling Fans?
The majority of homes in the desert have ceiling fans. Be aware that a spinning ceiling fan cuts the sound waves and will distort your piano's tone. This is particularly noticeable in sustained higher range notes. The only remedy is to turn off the fan.