Robert Estrin - piano expert

Tuner Vs. Technician

Learn the difference between a simple piano tuner and a real piano technician

In this video, Robert answers this very specific question: What's the difference between a piano tuner and a piano technician?

Released on June 14, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at and, where the question today is, what's the difference between a piano tuner and a piano technician? Is there a difference? Well, yes and no. There is certainly an overlap.

In a nutshell, all piano technicians, virtually all, are also piano tuners. But not all piano tuners are piano technicians. Here's the thing, piano tuners know how to do the thing that you call people to do for you on your piano all the time. What is that? Tune it. But what if a piano tuner comes there and you got a sticking key, or a squeaking peddle, or a broken string? Well, does the piano tuner know how to do that? Well they may and they may not. But a piano technician is skilled in a wide array of activities and disciplines on the piano. So they should be able to take care of those kind of issues for you. In fact, a registered piano technician has gone through a course with the Piano Technicians Guild that they have to be able to cover a wide range of skills out in the field. And even some technicians who aren't members of the guild may have vast experience with many aspects of the piano.

Interestingly, there is not one piano tuner who knows how to do everything. Surprisingly, sometimes we have an issue with a piano, whether it's new or used, that one technician can't solve, even one of the best technicians, and another technician comes by and boom, they've seen that problem before. Because a piano is a very complex machine with over 12,000 parts. And no one technician has experienced every particular problem.

But the bottom line for you is finding a piano technician who is a fine-tuner, who can also not only fix problems you have, but if you have a skilled piano technician, each time they come, or not every time, but some visits, they can spend a little extra time to do some sweet voicing, hammer alignment, string termination, action lubrication, keeping your piano playing on the top level to have a nice instrument. It could be really worthwhile to seek out a piano technician with a wide range of skillsets to keep your piano playing as beautifully as it can.

Thanks so much for joining me. Once again, Robert Estrin at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Lynn Tilton * VSM MEMBER * on June 14, 2017 @12:15 pm PST
What are the differences between a self-taught piano player and someone who plays by ear?

Last Sunday, while we were visiting friends, I learned that Chance, 17,plans to become a composer. So far, though he plays the piano as well as a ukulele he has had no piano lessons.

"No, I don't play by ear, I read the score," he emphasized.

Chance is a senior in high school and is a percussionist in the high school band. He made the local news in May when he was one of ten finalists in the 2017 Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest. The Wylie (Texas) news reported, "That involved watching a 4-minute movie and composing music he felt expressed his feelings associated with the film. To aid in composition, he utilized a computer program for songwriting."

So what does this composer do without piano lessons? To quote the local paper, "The student reported he became interested in writing film scores when he watched movies and started researching the composers who provided the music. He especially enjoyed the work of Hans Zimmer...[he] also noted that he plans to attend a Zimmer concert this July in Dallas."

He told the reporter, "Music has been a passion in my life. It has inspired me and helped me through times."

Lynn Tilton

ps: the family does have a piano, a Baldwin spinet with a beautiful tone.
Robert - host, on June 15, 2017 @11:52 am PST
Many composers including film composers work with music production software programs. While these programs offer notation windows for editing the score, there are many other ways of dealing with the music that don't necessitate even being able to read music!

If you can look at a film and improvise music, the software enables you to edit the parts and add other parts freely. You can even play parts slowly and speed them up. You can also utilize pre-recorded musical snippets (loops) which can be transposed to other keys. The tempos can also be changed. (Tempo changes and key changes can be manipulated separately from each other.)

There are serious composers working with new technologies that don't require reading music or even a highly accomplished keyboard technique. Imagination and fluency with the software are all that are required.
Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on June 14, 2017 @9:51 am PST
My narrower keyboard has been completed and shipped to the store where I bought my new upright Schimmel. The technician is in the process of fitting the keyboard. I wonder if later on I should call my usual piano tuner or call this technician.
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