Welcome to the Nashville Piano Rescue Frequently Asked Questions Page . This page might turn into a blog so bear with me. As the business owner I am going to answer every question I can think of and I will start with the meat and potatoes of it right off the bat.
Online Reviews : Normally online reviews drive business owners crazy. They cant sleep at night or whatever and here is my take on it. We moved into Nashville in July of 2008 became operational by February of 2009 during the recession and provided hundreds of pianos to starving musicians, schools, hospitals , brought pianos out to video shoots for free, provided thousands of hours of free moving labor to Metro Nashville and it's various different arms like the museums and symphonies and to date in 2019 we have thirteen online reviews. 40 Percent of those are negative and I think it's a game to see who can out manuever the next person with another negative review because no one reads the positive reviews.
How do I answer these negative reviews ? Well it's like this : If you are an impatient person don't call me . Just because I did this insanely awesome refinishing job for your neighbor Mel doesnt mean that I'm going to have time to put a motion activated camera in my shop to document your refinishing job down to the second. There is a fine line between customer service and complete abuse. If you have hired me for a piano move and we verbally agreed that you have 5 entry steps to get in and I get to your house and its a third floor carry out with 46 steps and you tell me " Well you wouldnt have showed up if I said 46 " That is a problem. So my issue with online reviews are that people have issues with understanding why there is a difference between 5 and 46.
I am a total non believer in excuses so I will own up to whatever issues but the nastiness has increased on the public impatience level drastically in the last couple years. I can assue future customers that I have addressed all these issues and I have gone back to the family owned and operated business model with no outside help which was a mistake straying from to begin with.
If I am posting photos to my website or on facebook while I eat a turkey sandwich and post photos there please don't go ballistic if I am not at that very moment working on your piano which again reverts back to the impatient people thing and to solve that issue I am just not working on someone elses piano ever again without a referral. Honestly it's not worth it. I have hundreds of pianos to restore and sell . So as far as piano restorations go you will now need a referral from someone " sane" that we have done business with in the past. As the website says " we dont do rush jobs" In fact there are several restoration companies out there that have brand new contracts that state " It takes as long as it takes".
So bottom line is I am really not too concerned about online reviews. One of my negative reviewers that complained whatever also complained about a restaurants forks being too heavy. All I can say is I am glad I dont sell those forks.
Why did Nashville Piano Rescue Leave Nashville ? The short answer there is extremely high rent. When you have 500 pianos you need a large space. We experimented over the years with smaller spaces and someone always wants to know what else do you have. The original building that got wiped out in the 2010 flood had almost 1000 pianos in it and people would still ask what else do you have. I absolutely refuse to pay 10k per 1000 sqft in Nashville. We saw business expenses explode by 500% from 2014 to 2019. So the rent that was 900 dollars a month in 2014 was 12k dollars in 2015 and that was just basic rent with no real expansion of new buyers. Then when the announcement came in 2017 that there was to be a sales tax increase proposed we lost our main shop in Kentucky to the mass exodus of companies fleeing Nashville ahead of that passing. So we didn't have a work space anymore and something had to be done. So we started moving to the Louisville area to set up a new workshop.
Piano ownership costs per year ? Depends on what type and for the record Spinet pianos get a bad rap because techs don't like working on them. You just need to find the right Tech. Piano cleaning which is what the photo above is about. That was a case of a mouse stealing an entire bag of Walnuts and storing them under the keys. Schedule a piano cleaning once a year for a few bucks and you wont lose your walnuts. Normally it includes vacuuming and key cleaning. Baby Grand Pianos cost about 500 dollars a year to keep in good condition. Personally I have never been a fan of grand pianos as they go out of tune faster and generally that is where most of the issues in the business come from. Lots of dirt and dust gets inside them , they attract cats and things can get out of adjustment easily with a resident cat inside. Uprights are far easier for upkeep and almost kid proof . Unless it is a big old upright then age plays into it. Many big old uprights have clicky actions or squeaks. Another big issue on big uprights due to age is Coal dust. If you look inside and its dusty in there well it could be coal dust. Before other types of heat everyone used coal to heat their homes and if you have any respiratory issues you will want that thing cleaned in advance.
Piano Tunings and Warranties : Why we are no longer providing that service : So for about ten years we sold pianos that included a tuning and a two year warranty and now in late 2019 we have dropped that service when we sell pianos and here is the reason. Piano ownership on the part of the buyer is a responsibility . What we discovered after selling a piano with a free tuning attached was that over 90% and that is a documented number of people didnt redeem the free tuning until after a year of ownership. Pianos are to be tuned on average of twice a year but studio usage increases that number. All instruments get tuned. A piano is a machine and tuning it is preventative maintenance but by letting it sit there until you cant stand it anymore just makes more work on us in the long run. We are now shop tuning after the inspection process and then simply giving a tuner referral .
Piano Tuning Questions : While we are talking about piano tuning I can answer a few questions about tuning. Piano Tuning involves the strings , the bridges , tuning pins, the pin block which is a block of wood behind the iron plate ( referred to as the harp) so if your piano tuner just left and one of the pedals doesnt work it has nothing to do with tuning. If your tuner says the piano has a cracked soundboard ? Well again that has nothing to do with tuning and more to do with tone. If a soundboard has a crack against the grain or under a bridge then there will be a buzz or a dull tone.
My baby grand or grand piano seems to go out of tune faster than my upright piano : The main reason grand pianos go out of tune faster is that the pinblock is exposed to air on two sides. So behind the fall board ( keycover) exposed to air there and exposed to air on top whereas on an upright the pinblock is sealed and glued to the frame in the back.
Recently I noticed rust on my tuning pins but no where else where did it come from ? That rust normally comes from your piano being tuned and the technician bringing in his tuning wrench from a different humidity level than what is in the house. So the socket of the wrench has moisture in it which is transferred over to the pins and over time they begin to rust.
If I put new hammers on my piano will it sound better : Every Time I hear this question brought up it takes me back to the early 1970s when door to door " hawker" salesmen would try to sell that clear vinyl covering to go on the furniture. It was literally on every sofa in the 70s and there was always a trade-off.
First off lets start with prices of parts. Maybe a year ago a set of new hammers of decent quality was about 300.00 wholesale. Now that price is around 500.00 and parts in general for piano repair have skyrocketed . It is enormously labor intensive so for someone to say hey uh that piano will sound better with a brand new set of hammers on it without even coming out to see the piano ? Well I would run away because chances are that piano isnt going to sound any better and I would say that if you are going to drop 1k or more to have that work done that if it doesnt sound any better or changes within a couple months that whoever did the job buys your piano. New hammers on old strings is kind of a no brainer on sound and then later on the next thing is going to be hey uh...This piano would sound better with new strings and it will just go on and on.
My Piano was tuned but it really doesn't sound that good or sounded better in the showroom. : This goes back to what I was talking about earlier with piano tuners. If you are a novice player or bought the piano for your child to learn on then the piano tuner is going to know that in advance especially if he was sent from the store . So how would you know if it was correctly tuned. We've gone through years of dealing with this issue since we always farmed out the tunings. Time is a tell tale fact on your piano tuning. It takes about an hour to do a tuning and the tuner isnt going to like it but you can stand right there and watch. Perhaps make an onion sandwich and slowly chew it right behind your tuner . ( Someone did that to me once) Unfortunately professional piano players that know whether the piano was tuned or not tuned are going to know if they got a good tuning and novice occasional players are at the luck of the draw and you as the paying customer need to check the work. Simple as that.
I just bought a big old upright from the 1920s but the piano tuner said it cant be tuned ? : Here is what he or she is talking about . Pianos and other instruments made before 1940 are tuned to a different standard of pitch. The longer something sits without being tuned the harder it is to bring back up to pitch and you hired a piano tuner to tune the piano who has you down for a block of time. I can assure you that no piano tuner on the planet wants to stand up and try to tune one of those big upright pianos after it sat in Aunt Betty's home for 50 years. The New pitch standard is A440 and the old standard was A435 so if that piano hasn't been tuned since 1950 it is probably at A400 or worse and old strings cannot handle that kind of stretch involved. So your tuner is correct on things will break or it will take several tunings and a lot of $$ to get it back in shape. Perhaps a scale change and new strings as well.
Now for some easy questions :
Is Nashville Piano Rescue changing its name to Derby City Piano : Currently we are using the ten plus years of established google history while we build the new brand for the area. If we weren't using it we would lose our google coverage. So to answer the question we are keeping both names.
Does Nashville Piano Rescue buy Pianos : The short answer there is Yes and No . We will not buy anything from any southern state and if there is no traceable history on where it came from we wont touch it. There have been many instances of pianos left in homes that are not the persons piano selling it and we've been burned on that several times. We also no longer take consignments . That in itself is a lose lose for us. We have had so many that have hidden issues. At least with our stuff we know what it is and where it came from. We do however go out on trips and look for one owner Baldwin Pianos. I honestly from experience do not like Steinway pianos and could care less about them but Baldwin stuff appeals to the kind of customer we deal with . I Also don't care for grand pianos. They are nice to look at but a customer is looking at a 500 dollar a year in preventative costs for ownership and if it hasn't been rebuilt you are never going to be happy with it. We also buy mini pianos or those with 63 to 73 keys which can be any brand.
Why Doesn't Nashville Piano have a YouTube page or post in depth video coverage of shop work ? Well I am pretty old school when it comes to protection of my craft which stems from refinishing mainly. Second to that would be the piano moving. Those tradesman out there that are posting how to videos constantly must be on the verge of retirement or didn't learn anything in the 2007 -10 recession because we were very busy while everyone else was laying off. A lot of what I do is proprietary and in fact one of our negative reviews is about not writing a how to DIY refinishing paper in depth on a piano refinish. It's really not something you think about a play by play how to every detail and good refinishers will always leave something out. Like those recipes that don't quite taste right. The other reason is I am busy doing it not recording it or " Oh I have to stop and snapchat or Instagram" There is also a major liability issue. There have been several segments of the website removed some by attorney interaction and some by a mere letter of the possibility of someone doing something I posted or giving a tip and someone fell down the stairs with a bowl of lucky charms anxious to try out a tip I posted online
How long have you been moving Pianos ? Since around 1978 as we were working for a piano moving company during the summer back then. I know just about every to do and definitely what not to do when moving pianos. I have seen it all and personally experienced falling through a concrete stairwell at an apartment complex in Nashville . People never seem to account for the weight of a piano plus the equipment and weight of everyone helping. Pianos and stairs have never been a good combination and we avoid stairs. If you want it up stairs then spend the $ and hire a crane to lift it up there.
We do a very specific type of piano moving where less is more and has netted us no claims ever by being smarter and taking a lot of the work out of it. Presentation will get you in big trouble on piano moves. It's not a steak dinner it's a piano move. You need to be able to touch it and control the weight and if you cant control that weight something is going to break. We go out on lots of jobs where other movers have gotten stuck in stairwells or torn the top off a grand piano. In fact grand piano lid damage is number one on the list for claims with insurers because movers don't want to take the time to remove the lid mainly because they don't want the lid falling over in the truck. An example is pad wrapping and shrink wrapping. This was all the rage in the 1980s shrink wrap everything. The problems come in when that polyester piano ( high gloss formal black) is now shrink wrapped and has a pad on it. The pad isn't just laying there it is compressed to the finish so the strings from the pad being sewed together are now scratching the surface. You can breathe on Polyester and it will scratch. Its better to just put nothing on it. Again less is more and shrink wrapping then tipping a grand onto a skidboard is where most of the damage comes in. If it isn't perfect and the lid touches that skid board at anytime it will break the top.
Equipment : We pad walkways before the ramps are set. An aluminum or fiberglass ramp will scratch brick or flagstone easily . No black wheels on any moving dollies. Black wheels are a huge no no. Also we don't use Hammond organ dollies to move pianos. This is a two part set up with handles like two small handtrucks strapped together. I've been seeing this more and more. You can use them to move a wood stove or a safe but they were not designed to move anything with a heavy flat bottom especially across a door threshold.
Aluminum rental truck ramps : I would say it depends on the piano. The U pack it trailers from ABF use a folding aluminum ramp with huge holes in it and a piano dolly will not work on it, So you will either have to get a piano mover to do a truck to truck move or get your own ramp. Piano weight formula is 150 pounds per foot of height on an upright and personally I wouldn't use a rental truck ramp with any large grand or big upright. We build our own ramps out of wood and a wood ramp will warn you with a noise before something happens. With aluminum there is no warning they just snap and there have been lots of broken legs associated with broken aluminum ramps on rental trucks.
Will My New Piano Fit going up or downstairs : Here is a thing about stairs especially going up. If you are inexperienced you will be out of energy by the third or fourth step and if you work out at the gym everyday you might make it to the sixth step and be unable to continue so make sure you have a complete extra set of people waiting to take over when you run out of juice. We get lots of calls from people stuck in stairwells and before you even try it or if it has a switch back landing make a large cardboard box the same dimensions as the piano and just carry it up there. If it doesn't get stuck then it will fit. If you have to put it over your head to make a turn ? I can tell you now you wont be lifting 500 pounds over your head. Remember work smarter not harder.