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Sunday, March 30, 2014

THE PIANO TUNER Vaudeville Routine 1911

Here is a funny vaudeville routine recorded in 1911 by Ada Jones and Steve Porter.

Claude Dampier as a piano tuner from the film Radio Parade of 1935


Pianometry: Theorem #1: The shortest distance between piano sales and piano service is a tightrope.

In "pianometry" the shortest distance between sales and service is a tightrope. Salesman sells a piano saying: "It only needs tuning once a year." He later contracts the tech to do the complimentary in-home tuning. Buyer is aghast when tech tells the truth: "It'll need mucho tunings - especially in the first year or two, then at least twice per year thereafter." Buyer complains to salesman. Salesman complains to tech.

Such is the ongoing conflict between sales and service.

Is there a way to salvage a potential loss in future maintenance revenue whilst remaining in good graces with the piano dealer? Perhaps. Remind the salesman that with every new unit sold goes a manufacturers warranty and care guide. These almost always recommend several tunings in the first year and at least twice per year thereafter.

Will it work? Won't know unless we try.

I know of at least one case where it worked quite well - so well, in fact, that one particular salesmen incorporated into his pitch: "If you cannot afford proper maintenance, you cannot afford the piano." Prospects were so impressed by his candor and honesty that he experienced an increase in piano sales. It was a win for everyone: Dealer, salesman, tech and especially the buyer.

Did this knowledge of higher costs tend to drive business to digitals? Yes. However, the salesman's effective counter was: “Yes, we've sold a few, but most come back in a year or two wanting the real thing, that is, the piano."


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Price fixing by Piano Technicians? Don't make me laugh!

"Also, the PTG makes a big effort to keep discussion of money out of its operations. There are heavy federal penalties for any suggestion of price manipulation, so we don't get into it. The price of any given tech is not set or promoted [by] the PTG, it is a result of the individual tech's efforts and expertise. There are RPT's out there doing such a poor job that they get little return business and have no way to raise their prices, and there are RPT's that, like myself, have tuned our prices and quality of work to our market so closely that we are maxed out for time, and our prices reflect that, i.e. if you want my time, it will cost a lot more than another tech who's quality of work hasn't created more demand for their services.

"If we want more income, we either work longer hours, or we make our time more valuable. We can't blame anyone or any organization for the market. " - RPT 
The discussion is here:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The ca.1990s Baldwin C1 Grand Piano looks a lot like an R, but it isn't !

The 1990s second tier Baldwin C1 Classic Grand 5'7" (above) is sometimes mistaken for the much better quality Baldwin R Artist Series Grand  (5'8").  Though USA made, the C1 is inferior quality both in materials and workmanship.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Musical Herald: Notes on F. Liszt, A. Rubinstein, et al., ca.1886.

The Musical Herald monthly magazine (June 1886)
Notes on Liszt, et al., from The Musical Herald monthly magazine (June1886)

The Musical Herald July 1886. Ivers & Pond Piano Company.

The Musical Herald monthly magazine (July 1886)
From The Musical Herald

C.C. Briggs & Co., Pianoforte. Knabe Piano-Fortes. ca.1886.

From The Musical Herald monthly magazine of 1886

From The Musical Herald monthly magazine of 1886

Mason & Hamlin: The Old Method. The New Method. ca.1886

From The Musical Herald monthly magazine   (July 1886)

"The Metal Carrier System"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Houston, Texas ca.1948. Recognize anyone?

Houston, Texas ca.1948. From the left: Dean Meyers, Jim Alexander, Ann Rubin, Joyce Meyers, Anna Widding (mom), and Bob Widding (dad) at the piano. The photo was taken in the basement of either the Meyers, Alexander or Rubin home. Presumably, Mr. Rubin took the picture. Dad was general manager of Columbia Dry Goods at the corner of Travis and Prairie in downtown Houston until 1957 when it closed due to a fire. I think Dean Meyers was an M.D., but I may be mistaken.  Beyond this, nothing is known of the photo.