Tips for the Efficient Tuner: Part 6

By Benjamin Sanchez posted 02-07-2018 20:48

As a ride on to last time’s tip, here’s yet another for preserving your body. Who knows, it may even increase your speed as well.

Tip 6: Tune Ambidextrously

The fact of the matter is, in tuning one piano, we hit the key about 10,000 times, give or take a few hundred. If you’re tuning within the first half of a second, that means you’re also trying to make a tiny movement with your tuning lever about 10,000 times per piano. That’s a lot of little tiny, super stressful movements.

No matter how good your technique is, it has the potential to cause physical damage. My father works in corporate America, and tells me many of his coworkers often develop joint problems in their fingers— from clicking a mouse several thousand times a day! If such a simple movement can cause such damage, how much more the complex movements of tuning!

Learning to tune ambidextrously can help decrease your odds of hurting yourself. If you can split the stress 50 / 50, or even 30 / 70, you are doing your body a big favor.

“Listen to your body, and when it hurts, stop.” That’s great advice, and I’d fully recommend following it. However, be aware that the best course of action is always prevention. When your body starts to hurt, it’s already suffering some level of damage.

So, from an efficiency standpoint, is the learning curve worth the extra time involved in training your off hand? From a health point, it is. However, it is a new skill (for that hand), and accordingly it will probably take about as much time at first as when you first began tuning.

For me, what helped was training my left hand at the time I switched over to an impact lever. I simply learned to tune (with the impact lever) with my left hand until the angle became uncomfortable, then switched over to my right hand. Now I’m as efficient an impact tuner in one hand as the other. I’m still working on becoming equally efficient when tuning grands, but I can’t help but think that, 30 years from now, my body will thank me big time for saving it from as much physical stress as possible.