This is perhaps the most important decision you make in your life with your piano—a gifted, experienced, honest, reliable technician has the power to exponentially enhance the beauty of your instrument, your enjoyment of it, and gratitude for it.
I can’t stress this enough. There is usually one or two, and perhaps a handful (in big cities) of tuner-technicians who are perceived as “the guys”:* great tuners who can also provide complete mechanical and voicing services; who can rebuild & restore, or are allied with the best rebuilder/restorer in the area, who can be relied on to “do the right thing,” in the right time, within budget, and make the piano sound and feel a whole lot better than it did when they came upon it.
*non-gender-specific use of the word, as in walking into a roomful of men and women and saying, “How’re you guys doing?”
This person will probably come to you through a personal referral, and they will have a busy practice, servicing some of the best pianos in the area—-professional musicians, music teachers, people with great grand pianos, concert venues, recording studios, families with kids, passionate amateurs…a largely high-end practice, especially if you both live in a major city. This person will likely have done work for the dealer in your area that is perceived as the “good” guy, the honest guy, the store that deals with quality pianos and quality service: the “mensch” dealer.
This wizard of a piano technologist will willingly provide you with profuse references, but don’t waste your time—trust the person who referred them to you, watch them work for a few minutes, ask them some questions, and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you found this person, because
—they will tell you and show you the truth about the condition of your piano as they find it
—they will be really nice, interesting as a person, and totally professional in their approach to your instrument.
—they will offer complete piano service rather than just “tuning and leaving.”
—if you trust them, your piano will sound and feel better than it ever has.
These people are relatively few and far between, so hold on tight and treat them with the respect they deserve. They are artisans, craftsmen-and-women who have spent thousands of hours honing their intuitive and cerebral skills and are bringing you immense value for your money. They won’t lie to you, and you can take their recommendations to heart with no fear.
This “wizard” pianotech will be expensive—one of the highest-priced in your area. He/she will have a sliding scale for students and not-rich people who respect him/her and ask good questions;
They all love to teach.