ARCHIVE POST - Upper East Side to Flatiron in one day for a Brooklyn Piano Tuner

Originally Published on Nov. 5th, 2014 on

Crowded train for a Brooklyn Piano Tuner's commute!

80% of my work happens in Brooklyn -in fact, I've spent only a small portion of my time in the city since moving to New York, so it always feels like a bit of an adventure to go into Manhattan. Today I had two appointments in the city, which may be a first. I try to work my schedule around rush hour travel, but given the distance to my first appointment I caught the tail end of the morning rush. I was struck both today and yesterday by how much more crowded a crowded train is in Manhattan than Brooklyn-cattle led to the slaughter of 9-5. You can hear people sweat.

Surreal subway station experiences abound...

At last, redemption as I rise into a neon bee hive...

One of the many extraordinary sights that confronts a traveling piano tuner in New York on a daily basis.

Magnificent lobbies today!

Ready to pitch raise this grand piano.

A loving Korean mother cooks glass noodles with anchovies for her piano prodigy daughter - the friendliest Pomeranian I've ever met takes a surprise leap into my lap from under a Mason and Hamlin baby grand that's one week old-at least to this family. It's not bad at all, but but boy does it make me excited to sell my first grand piano... "They were asking $25,000, but they were in a hurry to sell so we got it for 10k." wow. oldest sales pitch in the book. I'm not saying they got ripped off, but I could probably find one that was 80% as nice for 50% as much. Lots of questions about what I think about the tone and touch...nothing's perfect, but I'm very happy with the results.

Stunning views from a high-rise apartment.

Head south to the Flatiron...such stylish buildings...

Infinite reflections of a Brooklyn piano tuner...

Confronted by a surreal hallway.

Let the piano tuning show begin.

This "Sagenhaft" was a strange combination of a glossy outside and cheap insides - particle board, flimsy parts - clearly a lower tier Asian make with corners cut and cheap materials used, then a "European" name in Germanic script slapped onto the front - all that being said, most of the piano had a surprisingly good tone and I liked the touch.  But the pins were too loose - it felt like tuning a plastic toy - had to take multiple passes, but I just barely managed to get things to hold together.

Before my arrival I read a note on the appointment informing me that the customer was highly displeased with the last tuner - I was worried that the piano would be a mess and I wouldn't be able to satisfy the customer. But J. was a great guy - he showed me the warps in a piece of veneer covering the back of the pin block that the other tuner used to claim the piano was "un-tuneable" before proceeding to tune it anyway and claim he needed to return for a second tuning.  I didn't find the piano untuneable - I may end up treating the pins at our next appointment, but I was really happy with how the tuning came out given my initial worries, and I enjoyed meeting J. - he left me to my work at the tuning's beginning saying he'd "be in his office."

Turns out the signed Magic Johnson jersey dedicated to "the DJ" on the wall wasn't kidding, and the office was actually a drool-worthy music production suite overlooking the city.  Shout out to DJTheory, enjoying one of your mixes right now - it was fun talking music!