TO FELLOW TUNERS
Some of you fellows will be very upset with this book. You have been making some good cash picking quarters out of the teeth of old uprights at $30 per hour. Others of you will see the value of this book, and you may even see the usefulness of telling your customers about this book on the Web.
I do not claim to have covered everything to do with piano care and repair. There are a number of major repairs which I have not even mentioned because they are impossible for the do-it-yourselfer. However; I am certain that a newer tuner will find this book very useful in trouble shooting and repair technique.
An example would be my technique of treating tuning pins. I also still dream of finding a technique to "dope" uprights without laying them down. Have you got one? I would like to include it in later editions and give you full credit.
One of my chief objectives is to give the acoustic piano owner the motivation to keep his or her piano. These electronic pianos are getting more and more authentic. They will never completely replace the acoustic piano, but I am already seeing people dump the old family piano to buy a whiz bang electro-twanger from Macao. I am hoping that this book will help people cut some of the cost in maintaining their piano and thus give them the motivation to keep it. I trust you see the value of this strategy.
First mention of appreciation goes to my Lord who guided me into this trade. Here's how it happened. Shirley Bell was dabbling in piano tuning, but she saw the difficultly of a lady entering hundreds of unfamiliar homes. She handed me her tools one day and a piano study manual. I read it, and I saw at once that the trade would fit my needs of part time work to compliment my ministry as a pastor.
Second, At the beginning of my career, I located a Guild member tuner in Grand Rapids, MI-- Jerry Peterson. He was very patient, and, unlike some of the "old timers," he gave me help over and over again. He even let me call him from my customers' homes when I couldn't figure out a problem. There's a real gentleman.
Third-- Most of all, thanks very much to all of my customers, over the past 20+ years, who have been my friends and research laboratory for this book. I think of Bev Baker who always insisted I plan on lunch. There was Pinegrove Christian Reformed Church that took my word for it that their new Story and Clark was somehow defective-- people don't like to believe those things. I look forward to seeing Maude of Green Valley in the Glory. She would make a lunch, and we would have a prayer meeting just before I left for home. She is with Jesus right now.
I recall the chili peppers and good fellowship with Shorty Hunter, AND the free lesson in horse shoeing. I shall never forget the grass fed prime rib at the Austin ranch. The Birds always traded meat from their store for tuning, and I always came out better off in the deal.
I have watched kids grow up and go on to do greater things, like Christina who had dyslexia and would not give up-- she is playing very well today. Dianne and Jésus are special-- Jésus for his tales of the past and zeal for the present, and Dianne for her Mexican cooking. Mucho Gracias. Maxine at Music Max was so helpful when I moved to Arizona as she gave references and encouragement. On the Muskegon River lives a lady of great patience-- She helped me through a food poisoning attack when I nearly died of it in her home.
Then there are the rare finds-- Eisenhour's pilot and hunting buddy, Gunner-- the rage of San Jose, the Jimmy Dorsey Band, Jacky Kennedy's body guard, a CEO who rescues mega monster companies from failure, Keno Springs Golf Club... AND the uncommon "common folk" who teach horse handling, design gambling machines and cook me Pokolé, drill wells, raise roses, invent gadgets, sell produce by millions of tons, have a dish of Hershey's chocolates waiting, drive truck, preach in prisons, schmooze me with New Age silliness, guard prisoners, guard our borders, doctor the sick, teach kids, work at Gerbers, preach at Bible Baptist Church of Pensacola, teach music, drive trains, raise onions, raise hob, teach yoga, groom dogs, agitate politicians, sell Shackley, design jet plane wheels, manufactured Dri-Slide, fill prisoner's teeth, manage a Bible conference, take every cruise ship tour they can find, milk cows, fix Toyotas, sell cookies, nurse, manage nurses, fight abortion, raise a family, repair french horns, climb telephone poles, queer as a three dollar bill, live in retirement, restore a Rolls Royce, pastor Martyr's Memorial Baptist Church, grow apples, edit a newspaper, cut fire wood and sell it, manage a nut house, raise nuts (pecans), sell phoney antiques to Gringos, run a wrecking yard, sell Jalapeños and mangos by the ton, command a military Fort, work at GM, run a gas station, prosecute criminals, defend criminals, spray bugs, manage the Depot in Grant, drag race, doctor dogs and horses, on and on-- great folks all around.
I have had to flee from a few perverts, biting dogs, and witches, but I have been blessed with a lot of very special friends in my trade. "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places."
Special thanks to the music teachers who gave me lots of business. Also, I really appreciate all you folks who left the key under the mat and trusted me to come and tune while they were at work, and the check was on the piano. I of course have not mentioned but a small fraction of my friends and customers. This is who gave me thousands of learning session and PAID me to learn at that.
Fourth, and not least, thanks to all of you folks who bought the CD. Thanks also to the many customers who saw us on the Web and bought piano parts from us. This has certainly helped our income situation. You have been a real blessing as well. I have learned a lot from having to answer E-Mail and try to visualize a piano in South Africa, Omaha, or Thailand and tell you what you needed to do to fix it. I think that has been the ultimate test of my skills. Kind of like sitting on the bull, in the chute at the rodeo, and wondering what is coming next.
Steve Van Nattan