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MMD > Archives > July 1996 > 1996.07.26 > 02Prev  Next

Exorbitant Piano Repair Quotation
By Larry Toto

This just happened last week:

A friend with an interest in players asked me to look at a player piano in a local nursing home to see why it doesn't play. (I have just rebuilt my first player this past year.) I found that the tempo level was pushed all the way to the left and binded slightly. I moved the lever and re-graphited the wind-motor since it appeared to show just a little bit a bared wood (15 minutes). The piano plays beautifully. A few notes were flat and one note (D7) will not play, but the piano played well, otherwise. It is to be tuned on the next round of tunings for several pianos. The stack and pumps seem tight and it takes little effort to play. There were a dozen rolls next to the piano which were mostly slow plodding pieces (hymns or orchestral pieces arranged for piano). I left a roll (QRS - "By the Beautiful Sea") because of its ability to lift the spirit.

I followed my evening visit with a phone call the next day. The director of the home was overjoyed that the piano was finally working again. She is scheduling a celebration to unveil the working player sometime soon. She then told me that a local piano shop had been by and wanted $6000 (six thousand dollars) to make the piano work again. The piano was left by them with the tempo level still all the way over as far as I can tell. I was at a loss for words. I felt that someone saw an opportunity to make some money. (This nursing home is a stately, well appointed home.)

Unless they saw something that I didn't see, this piano was fine. I am disturbed by this experience. The director was unable to justify such a large expenditure for a broken piano. Rather than make it work the best it could under the circumstances, it was kept incapacitated. This local piano shop is a big name in my area.

I don't want to hear any one tell me to leave the piano restoration work to the professional - that I'm second guessing a more experienced piano technician. This piano works fine after several minutes work. These fine people were denied the pleasure of the player since sometime back in 1995. My faith in others is shaken by this experience.

My car is in the shop running on three cylinders. I took it to the corner garage. They told me "diagnosis, rotor, and rotorcap - $131.00. Then they called me back and said - oops, fuel injector $220.00 more for the injector, plus labor. I'm pulling my car out and taking back to the dealer were I felt I was well taken care of.

Larry Toto

(Message sent Fri 26 Jul 1996, 15:24:04 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Exorbitant, Piano, Quotation, Repair

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