Q: I HARDLY PLAY MY PIANO, WHY DOES IT NEED TUNING?
Whether your piano is played or not, it experiences the stress of changing levels of temperature and humidity. Most pianos are holding about 40,000 lbs of tension combined from the strings! Over time, if a piano is left untuned, metal fatigue can develop on the strings where they meet the tuning pins, causing the strings to become brittle and snap from any tuning attempt. (Some Russian technicians describe tuning as human exercise for an instrument: if a man sits in a chair for five years, he might stand up and walk across the room, but he won’t run a marathon!) If you are still not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should tune your piano.
Q: MY CHILDREN ARE JUST STARTING LESSONS. DO I STILL NEED TO TUNE MY PIANO?
Learning to play music is like learning a language: the window to become beautifully fluent in it is quite small, and starts early. Children should receive the basic tools for ear training early on, including a properly tuned piano. In addition, an out-of-tune piano can be discouraging for your child, reducing his or her chances of developing a true commitment to this intellectually and artistically rewarding past-time.
Q: YOUR TECHNICIAN TELLS ME THAT MY PIANO NEEDS TO BE TUNED AGAIN, AND HE WAS JUST HERE. WHAT GIVES?
The tuner has recommended a “pitch raise”. This is actually good news, and means bringing your piano back into tune requires only a two-stage tuning – instead of serious and potentially costly repairs. A pitch raise is often necessary if piano tuning has been neglected for some years. The tuner will slowly add tension to the strings (any attempt to add tension too quickly can result in broken strings or a tuning that doesn’t “stay”). While it’s more expensive than a straight-forward tuning, it’s critical to the health and quality of your instrument. Your technician may also suggest a tuning regimen to restore your piano’s stability.
Q: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY MY PIANO IS UNTUNABLE?
It happens. If your piano is old, was poorly manufactured, neglected, or some combination of the three, your piano might be untunable. This is most often a repairable problem. If our technician has deemed your piano to be untunable, we will follow up with a written estimate for repair. Usually, at the very least, the tuning pins need to be replaced. While this will require a substantial investment in your instrument, and has come as a surprise, it is often well worth the expense. We will charge a service call for the written estimate, which we will credit toward any repair we perform.
Q: I’D LIKE A BABY GRAND, BUT WE JUST DON’T HAVE SPACE. WHAT CAN I DO?
This is a common question. We’d be happy to give you a paper cutout of a baby grand to take home – you can lay it on the floor and see if you might accommodate a grand piano. These are free and can be a terrific help when visualizing your space.
Q: WHERE CAN I PARK WHEN I VISIT YOUR STORE?
There is free 1-hour street parking on Gibson Avenue and in the laneway north of Ramsden Park between 10 am and midnight. If you’d like to visit us earlier than 10 am, make an appointment and we’ll make sure that there’s a spot available in our small parking area next to our building.
Q. ARE YOU NEAR A TTC STOP?
We are! We are a 1-minute walk from the front door of Rosedale Subway station. When you leave the station, turn left and cross Yonge Street at the lights. Turn right to head north, cross Gibson Avenue and you’ll be at our front door.
Q. I DON’T LIVE IN TORONTO, BUT I’D LIKE YOU TO TUNE MY PIANO. CAN YOU HELP?
We can! We have customers all across southern Ontario. We make two trips a year to Ottawa, Collingwood, Huntsville, Muskoka, Guelph, London, St.Catharines/Niagara Region, Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, and Ottawa. We work hard to accommodate everyone’s schedules, but if we aren’t able to visit in a timely fashion, we have several technician partners all across the province that we are happy to recommend. Click here for more information.
Q. WHY DON’T YOU SELL NEW PIANOS?
We have in the past, and we may in the future. We were the Steinway dealer through the ‘roaring twenties’ and into the 1930s. We represented Baldwin through the ’50s and ’60s, and for most of our history, been the agents for at least one manufacturer. But through it all, our workshop was always busy, with piano repair, restoration, and refinishing. Today, a piano restored in our workshop is measurably superior to anything available new at the same price. We believe passionately in the value of the restored piano. Our full-service on-site workshop is the heart of our business. We’d love for you to visit to experience it for yourself.
Q. DO YOU BUY PIANOS?
Yes, we do. Every week we hear from several people who have pianos to sell. We also keep our ‘ears to the ground’ and eyes open for pianos for sale. If you have a piano for sale, feel free to contact us. Photographs, maintenance history, make, model and serial number will help us determine if we’d like to come and see your piano ourselves. Please understand that we are contacted by so many people that we can’t get out to see every piano. Our best advice is to collect as much information as you can about the piano before you call or email. Click here for more information.
Q: MY NEIGHBOUR HAS OFFERED ME THEIR PIANO. SHOULD I TAKE IT?
Maybe – what’s that old saw about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? If you think about it, someone giving a piano away hasn’t been using it. If they haven’t been using it, they likely haven’t maintained it, i.e. it hasn’t been tuned in a long time. While a piano that hasn’t been used will show less wear, particularly throughout the action, neglect can present a myriad of problems.
Our best advice is to have the piano assessed by a Paul Hahn & Co. technician before making arrangements to have it moved.
Q. WHAT DOES ‘RESTORATION’ MEAN?
For us, restoration of a grand piano means that we’ve replaced the pin block. If that hasn’t been replaced, we consider the piano to have been reconditioned. In uprights, pin blocks require replacement less often, so restoration means that the piano has been restored to the original function. Click here for more information.
Q. WHAT DOES YOUR WARRANTY INCLUDE?
We are proud to offer a comprehensive warranty on every piano we sell. That means that we warranty against defective parts and workmanship. Anything we can’t repair onsite we will repair in our workshop at our expense. Unfortunately, we cannot warranty against damage sustained by the piano through anything but normal use. While we can help if a young child hammers each ivory, an uncle spills a glass of red wine inside the piano or a plant on the lid is overwatered, these aren’t covered by our warranty. Typically our warranty is 5 years, with a 10-year warranty on every Steinway we sell.
Q: WILL YOU ACCEPT A TRADE-IN?
Yes. If the piano is something we think we can find a home for, we will offer a fair trade-in value. If we don’t think we can find a home for your existing piano, we are happy to help with the removal of your existing piano.
THE PIANO TUNER IS COMING – WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE HIS VISIT EASIER?
Thanks for asking! There are a few things that will make the tuner’s visit easier.
1) Clear the area – Please remove all books, lamps, picture frames, or anything else from the top of your piano. The tuner will need to open the top of your upright to remove the front panel. If you have a grand, they’ll need to remove the music desk.
2) Light – small adjustments could be made while the tuner while they are working the piano, but if they can’t see, they’ll miss them. Please provide as much light as possible.
3) Quiet – not ‘pin-drop’ quiet, but the sound of dogs barking, vacuums, screaming children or construction noise make tuning your piano almost impossible, and are distracting for the tuner. We’re happy to work with you to find a time to have your piano tuned that will be the least disruptive for you and your family, and will ensure the best possible result for your instrument.
4) Parking – if you are able to provide parking in your driveway, or in a guest spot at your building, it’s helpful. Let us know any ‘tricks’ when you are arranging your piano tuning. We also need to know about any restrictions on your street i.e. no parking before 10am etc. We try as much as possible to locate free and convenient parking, but aren’t always successful. You may be charged for the technician’s parking.
5) List – if you are not able to be there when our tuner visits, please leave a list of things you would like them to address i.e. which keys are sticking, where there’s a buzz etc. Pianos have a habit of fixing themselves prior to the tech’s visit and then breaking themselves after the tech leaves. More information helps us serve you better.
6) Watching the tuner – our techs are passionate about pianos, and we love our customers. Occasionally our customers ask if they can watch – the answer is yes, but please bear in mind that our techs are trying to work efficiently. And ask yourself, how productive would I be at work if someone was looking over my shoulder while I worked for an hour?
7) Payment – when you book your tuning, we will establish how you’d like to pay. Our tuners will accept a cheque or cash, and can issue a receipt on the spot. Once we receive that in the office, we’ll issue a formal receipt for your records. If you prefer to pay by credit card, you can call it in to the office at 416.922.3122. Please don’t email your credit card info.
I JUST BOUGHT A PIANO ONLINE, SO I’LL CALL YOU TO TUNE IT AFTER IT’S DELIVERED.
Wait! Stop! What you’re about to read often comes as a shock, but here it is: many pianos for sale on the private market are not tuneable. There are three reasons why this might be: age, neglect or poor manufacturing, or some combination of the three, can render a piano un-tuneable. Many pianos for sale on the private market are being sold because they aren’t being used, and if they aren’t being used, it’s a safe bet that they haven’t been tuned in a long time. Even if the piano is still tuneable, it will require remedial work to restore tuning stability, often in the form of several visits from a technician, which often add up, and destroy any kind of ‘bargain’ price for the piano.
Our best advice, if you are looking to buy a piano on the private market, is to call us first, BEFORE you buy the piano. One of our Field Technicians will visit the piano and assess it, potentially saving you thousands of dollars, or at the very least, an extra move to get it out of your house and deliver it to us for repair, or ‘Piano Heaven’, operated by the City Of Toronto in the form of a transfer station.
Every week, and sometimes several times a week, we’re called to visit a piano that has been purchased privately and already moved, and is not tuneable. The ‘great deal’ the customer got on the piano evaporates, and a decision needs to be made, all of which are expensive. Removal or repair both have price tags attached.
Call us first to book an assessment appointment – $100 could save you thousands.
HOW CAN I PAY YOU?
We love answering this question!
PIANO TUNING & REPAIR – You can pay the tuner directly with a credit card, a cheque or with cash. He will give you a receipt and the office will send a receipted invoice to you by email, or by regular mail if requested. You can also call the store at 416-922-3122 and give us your VISA or MC number, and we’ll process the payment and send you a receipted invoice. If you would like to pay with Interac, we can process this in person at our store. We also accept American Express, but we charge a 5% transaction fee to process the payment.
PIANO PURCHASES – We accept payment by cheque, VISA, MC or American Express. We will accept up to $1,000 by VISA or MasterCard – with a cheque for the balance, unless other arrangements are made. If you’d like to pay with American Express, we charge a 5% transaction fee.
PIANO RENTALS – We require payment before the piano is delivered. Once you’ve received our invoice, payment is possible by cheque, cash, or by calling in a VISA, MC or American Express credit card number. If you would like to pay with American Express, there is an additional 5% fee that will apply.