What Does a Piano Technician Do Besides Tuning Pianos?

When you hear the words ‘Piano technician’ most people think only of piano tuning. Tuning is, of course, a large part of the work of a piano technician but there are many more aspects to this fascinating, often overlooked musical profession.

A piano technician must be aware of the health of the whole instrument, understanding its constituent parts and being able to listen out for the pitch and tone of the instrument as diagnostic tools. The first and best known aspect of the job, piano tuning, is concerned with these sounds. The notes a piano produces are made by a series of hammers and strings inside. Each individual sound is the result of a hammer hitting the correct string or strings. If these strings are not at the correct level of tension the note will be off. Tuning a piano means making sure these notes are correct, that the same note in each octave are indeed the same note, the strings are at the right tension and the hammers are hitting the right strings. The technician will usually start with one note, perhaps using an instrument like a tuning fork to make sure the pitch is correct and ensure the rest of the strings are in tune with that first one.

Another key part of the job is repairing the instrument. This can mean replacing any strings that happen to have broken, repairing or replacing a pedal or any other part of the piano that’s become worn with use or been subjected to an accident. There are, after all, over 500 parts to each piano. Knowledge of each of these and how to fix them is essential to the piano technician. Any little bumps and marks, too, are his or her job. Many can be polished off by the owner but some are beyond that and an instrument not in good repair cannot produce the best sounds.

Many people also ask for the piano technician’s expertise when purchasing an instrument. They are, after all the experts at the pitch, tone and overall well being of the piano. So how do you find one of these experts? It`s always best to get personal recommendations when you need help from any music professional, including piano technicians. You can of course ask friends and music teachers but don’t forget specialist music shops such as  the UK’s Dawsons who will be able to advice you on finding reliable professionals with a good reputation.

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