Tuning: Keep Your Piano Happy!

Pianos usually cost a pretty penny or two - and if you do receive/find one for free, please make sure to check it before accepting/buying the instrument. Pianos are an investment in money, as well as space.


Scenario One:

I purchased a second-hand piano off Craigslist from a very kind lady in North Vancouver, as she had purchased it from another family whose children were no longer using it. This kind lady's intention was that her own children would learn how to play the piano, this did not happen.
That is how I came about finding it on Craigslist -

I did my in-person check:
- played every single key to ensure each one felt proper, and to hear the sound - was I happy with the touch and overall sound?
- pressed each pedal and then again with the keys to listen to the sounds - where they doing what they're supposed to do?
- did a very superficial inspection of the front and back to see if there were any cracks in the wood

I thought this was good enough and was indeed happy with the instrument - she had several inquiries, and I was the lucky one she sold it to.

I hired piano movers to have it moved from her home to mine, and I then had a beautiful instrument in my new space :)

Second-Hand Piano: $1200.00
Piano Movers: $200.00
Time spent arranging appointments: priceless
$1400.00 + time

Finally, I booked an appointment with a piano technician, Hiroki Uchino, to tune this piano, as it was drastically out of tune and needed a little care in the sound department. It had already been sitting in it's new home for a few months - as suggested before having it tuned so it can acclimatize.

Upon arrival and a few questions, Hiroki mentioned that anyone purchasing a second-hand instrument should always have it looked over for interior damage that cannot be seen from the outside. To be honest, at this point, I was pretty scared it was damaged with $1400.00 down the drain!

He inspected the piano's soundboard and pins, luckily nothing was cracked or loose. *phewf!*

Lesson learned: ALWAYS book an appointment with an experienced and certified piano technician to inspect the piano before acquiring it. If the soundboard or pins were loose, then there's nothing that can be done. If a string breaks, that is easily replaceable - but a soundboard is essentially a whole new piano.

Scenario Two

My grandparents gifted me a piano after a few years of taking lessons, as they saw potential in me. It's a beautiful upright Kawai. Because I've been through so much with this piano, ups and downs, I've grown quite attached to it. So, after not having a consistent piano technician service the piano regularly at my parents home, and after one not so great experience with how it was tuned this one time - I never had it tuned again. It's a challenge to find a qualified and trustworthy piano technician!

A good friend and colleague of mine, recommended Hiroki Uchino, who had been tuning her upright and Mason & Hamlin grand for years. So after a couple years of procrastination, I finally booked an appointment with Hiroki. (I now wish I had booked sooner!)

He is very professional, attuned to details, respectful of all instruments -whether it be a grand or upright- and extremely knowledgeable in his profession.
I highly recommend him for all your piano needs:
- Piano Appraisal - I wish I had known about this before I purchased the second-hand piano, thankfully it was not broken! 
- Piano Tuning - fine tuning, as well as DEFCON 5 (aka pitch based tuning; basically, when the piano is so out of tune it needs 2 rounds of tuning to stay in tune)

It's also a very small world, Hiroki also tunes my childhood piano teacher's grand pianos :)
This, to me, is the solid seal of excellence -

Thank you, Hiroki, for saving my pianos!


Hiroki Uchino