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References and Acknowledgements

Books I recommend:

The Piano Book by Larry Fine

This is the reference for helping piano buyers make informed choices. There is a wealth of information on piano construction that is easy to understand, as well as how to work with piano salespeople and tuner-technicians. During my training, I learned more about pianos from reading this book than any other books we read. One of the reasons this book is so invaluable is that it is written for a consumer perspective. There is so much that we tuners see from a technical perspective, it is important when relating to customers to understand their point of view.

One section of the book is an analysis of current makes and models. I think Larry would be the first one to say that the piano reviews are based on opinion and should not be regarded as the definitive review of all pianos for sale. There are several specific piano models I have worked on regularly which I consistently found to have serious structural issues. I would certainly recommend against buying these models, but there is no mention of the problems in The Piano Book. For liability reasons, I’m sure Larry needs more than just my anecdotal evidence before he recommends against buying a specific piano model. (notice I’m not mentioning names, either) Regardless of what the book does or doesn’t say, I’ve encountered these issues enough to know there is a consistent problem. Also, I’ve found that I don’t completely agree with the reviews of several pianos sold by the piano dealers I’ve worked for. These pianos I know very well and found some of the book’s criticisms too harsh in some cases, and in other cases it didn’t go far enough. Every tuner has difference experiences and opinions, and no book can cover them all. Larry has done consumers an invaluable service by writing this book, and I hope he gets satisfaction from knowing that his book rankles disreputable piano dealers everywhere by arming buyers with valuable information.

The Piano Book 2003-2004 Supplemental by Larry Fine

This Supplemental provides the latest reviews and updated information for The Piano Book.

Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding by Arthur Reblitz

This book is a great reference that encompasses many areas of piano technology. There are no other books that I know of that cover so much information so well.

Pierce Piano Atlas by Bob Pierce

This book provides the age (by serial number) and production information for countless piano manufacturers worldwide. Although much of the information from this book can now be found online, I find it helpful to keep in my car as a reference. Bob’s 32-page tribute to himself is a little much, but when you write and publish your own book, you can include whatever you want. Besides, that picture of Bob standing next to Miss International is classic. Click on image to get it.

Steinway Technical Reference Guide

While written as a reference manual for servicing Steinway pianos, the information in this manual can apply to many other makes as well. The manual can be purchased through the Steinway parts department at parts@steinway.com.

Online resources:

Piano Technicians Guild

The PTG is one of the largest resources available for anyone interested in piano tuning and technology. They publish a monthly newsletter, hold monthly chapter meetings all over the country, and organize seminars and conventions. Online resources include a list of training programs, PTG members across the country, and many other piano industry links. www.ptg.org

Other online tuning tutorial

Steve Van Nattan's tutorial of aural tuning


Piano Supply Houses

I buy most of my parts and tools from Schaff and Pianotek. Both companies offer some unique tools, parts and services, and I find it useful to have both catalogs. They both have a policy of selling only to piano tuners and dealers. As an alternative, there are online businesses that sell tools to anyone, though these businesses usually buy from the supply houses and mark them up accordingly.

About the recording of this tutorial

The recording was done on a Kawai G2 grand piano. Transducers used were the AKG c460. The source was recorded in mono thru a Symetrix pre-amp direct to Digidesign's ProTools HD Accel 2 system at 44.1Khz/24bit thru the 96 i/o. Minimal processing was done with Waves and Bomb Factory software plug-ins. MP3 files were then bounced using Digi's high level encoder. The engineer was Brad Pierce and was recorded at StarFleet Audio in Sutton, Massachusetts.

Special thanks

The following people have make this tutorial possible: my father William McCullough, piano tuner-technician extraordinaire from Maine , Frank Hanson and Vinny D’Erico, my instructors from New England Conservatory, Ludwig Tomescu with whom I apprenticed at Steinway, Ismael Cunha, who kept me underwing at Steinway, everyone in C&A at the time I was there: Ron Connors, Alex Markovicz, EddieWedburg, Dirk Dickten, Carl Rhodes; Lou Falcone, my partner-in-crime at M. Steinert & Sons, Brad Pierce at Starfleet Audio for making this recording session happen, and last but not least, my wife Jennifer for supporting me in my career and talking me out of becoming a computer programmer when I was so frustrated with learning how to tune.

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