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Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

  • 1.  Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 27 days ago
    I have a tuning coming up that I suspect is a YC with swollen brackets, based on the conversation with the owner. This brings up a few questions, the first of which is; what is an "average" charge for such a job? I see complete action regulation in addition to all the disassembly and reassembly. The other question would be is this something you would attempt to do in the customer's home, or in the shop? I realize the regulating time will likely be effected by how much "deregulation" was already done in attempts to keep the piano playing.  Hmm, I suppose the new brackets are not a "warranty item" at this late date.
    I have already informed the owner that the piano may be in "dire straights" so he shouldn't be too surprised when I may have to be the bearer of bad news.
    Thanks!
    David Dewey


  • 2.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 27 days ago
    Changing the brackets doesn't take long. I've done several and changing the brackets is a 20 minute job. Do it one bracket at a time. How much regulation is required after can really vary. Some of that may depend on how much regulation was done trying to compensate for the expanding brackets in the first place. Mostly it's going to be blow and let off (and drop). I would think 4 hours at the outside would be plenty and probably more than you need. I would just advise the customer that it's hard to predict exactly. Of course if the piano was already out of regulation then that's a good time to address everything. All this can be done on site but have some extra screws of various lengths for the bracket feet. The thickness of the replacements may not be the same.

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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
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  • 3.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 27 days ago
    I would bring it into the shop. David's estimate is realistic if everything goes your way but my experience is it often does not. For example the holes for the front screws of the middle brackets often need to be plugged and re-drilled. As you noted, there's the likely chance that the action has been "deregulated", if the first thing you see is that the let off buttons are turned way down and the drop screws are likewise way off that's quite a bit of extra work, particularly the let offs that require reinserting the tool every1/3rd turn, they could very well be several full revolutions off.
    The piano is somewhere around 30 years old so it's not unreasonable to find the key height to be a bit low which will affect the regulation, and the jacks will probably be set deeper than they should be owing to time. When you arrive you can make an assessment, looking for the tell tale signs of deregulation and general condition. If everything is way out and the other aspects of the regulation are off as would be typical of a piano that age, I would recommend a complete reconditioning from key height to hammers shaping and filing. That's not an unrealistic investment as it would turn a piano that barely works into a quite serviceable instrument. People who I've done this for have been amazed and grateful. If you do the minimum to just get it going the results will probably be not too satisfying for you or the owner.

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 4.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 27 days ago
    David,

    I would help them to understand that they just happen to be on the unknowingly receiving end of one of the strangest and mist bizarre situations in this industry, and unfortunately, correcting it CAN become quite time consuming. Depending on the specifics of the situation it could be a simple 2 hour job, or it possibly be an entire days work (including shop time), or more. The suggestion to do complete reconditioning is a good one. Remember (and make sure the client understands this) that pianos have a "design lifespan" of 30-40 years [not 90-100]. At that point significant upgrade work is usually needed to keep it operating at anything near its original design potential.

    Your hourly rate, plus service charge, plus materials, plus travel, all enter into the equation. I would prepare them for the "worst" and if it turns out to be less involved...great.

    Don't feel sorry for the client. True, it's not their fault, but its also not your fault. However you have the ability to "resurrect" an otherwise dead instrument. That's worth quite a bit. Dont sell yourself short.

    My .02

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Member
    Posted 27 days ago
     <True, it's not their fault,

    Actually the situation is the result of their own decisions of how much they chose to spend on a piano. Whether you want to define that situation as "fault" may or may not be the proper word. But their  situation is a result of monetary decisions they made. Specifically, they bought into the absolute bottom of the market, on the cheap. Its the same thing with buying anything at Walmart. You buy on the cheap, expect it to be toast in short order...as it is designed to be disposable.  Other instruments in this price point will have other issues...maybe not the bracket issue...but other action issues, and abrasive tone issues, and be hopelessly under serviced. They will be underserviced, in part, because service for these things is time consuming and fraught with unseen problems...hence expensive. So the price point expectations hold across the board.  Expecting reasonable performance in an instrument whose very existence is defined by bottom of the barrel marketing cynicism, is unreasonable.

    The dealers are seriously culpable here. They know what they are selling, but choose not to educate their victims, as to what bottom of the piano market actually means.

    I disagree with the 4 hours way of approaching this. It is simply continuing the initial mindset that got these folks into the position they are currently in. I will not service these, without a commitment from the client to turn the piano into an actual instrument. They can be turned into reasonably decent entry level pianos, as I have proven in a number of very successful spec chinese lovelies. However, a commitment to spend much more than they actually purchased the piano for, needs to be made for me to even touch the piano. At this point, I will not even tune these types of pianos.

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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 6.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Posted 26 days ago
    Well stated Peter...esp... don't sell yourself short

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    Leslie Koltvedt
    Marietta GA
    734-657-7034
    lkpianos@gmail.com
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  • 7.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    Well, I saw the customer (and the piano) today. Turns out it is a Kohler & Campbell made by Samik in Korea, and if my Pierce Book is to be believed, made in 2005. The owner then admitted to me that some time ago another tuner told her of expanding parts and he replaced some. The brackets were gold colored, and the action appeared to be pretty much in regulation. There were/are a few anomalies, mostly uneven checking, and I found the lyre brace screws were very loose.  It had been moved to this house about a month or so ago, explaining the loose screws.  Amazingly , it was in very close tune even. So, all that worry about expanding brackets was for naught!  Piano was actually very clean, compared to most I get to work on around here.
    David Dewey
     





  • 8.  RE: Estimated Billing for replacing YC swollen brackets

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    👍👍

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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