The toughest part is usually the customer! The problems of being
a tuner-player technician are endless. ( I fully agree with others who
tell the same story: Do a good job, and get blamed for everything under
the sun! )
A couple of horror story examples: I once rebuilt a nice
Standard action. A few months later, I received a call to say that many
notes no longer played. After doing some detective work, it seems that
Little Johnnie took his new water pistol and decided to see how much
water would go down the tracker bar! This of course was my fault? Since
I guaranteed my work, this little prank by Jr. should be covered?...
Yes?... I think not. But the trouble this family caused me, and
the names I got called for not replacing water damaged pouches free of
charge, did much damage to me.. No amount of explanation would soothe
these irate customers.
Another: After I carefully tuned a piano. The customer moved the
piano in front of a very hot radiator, and complained to me that the
tuning I did was terrible! I went back and carefully explained the
problem, and re-tuned the piano, but the customer refused to pay me,
saying it should have stayed in tune, and a little heat could not
possibly make *that much difference!* This abuse a conscientious piano
technician receives is endless!
One more: After carefully tuning another piano, I received a
call: "You broke several ivories and you better get back here and replace
them all!" (they were fine when I left the home) The truth: Little" Miss
Monster" used a can opener and tried to remove as many ivories as she
could... who got the blame..the tuner of course! The truth came out long
after the damage was done. Mother told all her friends that the tuner
broke a lot of the ivories when he tuned the piano and refused to fix
Many years ago, I attended several PPG meetings and the majority
of members at the meetings had no interest in players at all. At the
time, not one could answer one question I asked. Several told me: "tear
out those damn players and save yourself a lot of trouble!"
Needless to say, I never joined their jolly group.
In regard to John W. Miller's not being in a position to pay for
a full restoration, and feeling deprived of luxury, I once was in the
same position. I got books on players, talked with those in the
profession of restoration, and did the work myself. The piano is *still*
playing nicely, and my restoration was done in 1953! John....stop feeling
sorry for yourself, and start reading some books on players, and start
doing some work on your piano when it needs it. I did it, and the
results were fantastic!
Again......... retirement is nice! When the phone rings, I tell
them "I am retired!" "You will have to call someone else!" "Who?" "Gee,
I really don't know" (If I recommended someone who does not suit them,
I'd probably get blamed again)... I'm too busy now...but.... I have time
to keep my own player tuned and in top condition.